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  1. #1
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    Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    This formal debate will between myself and Manc. The format will be as follows;

    Each party will get 1 definition post and one rebuttal/clarification post

    There will then be a statement of position post from each party followed by a back and forth of three replies.

    Finally there will be a summation post followed by the announcement from the judges.

    I expect the format to look like this;

    Squatch Definitions
    Manc Definitions
    Squatch refinement/questions
    Manc refinement/questions

    Squatch OP
    Manc OP

    Squatch 1
    Manc 1
    Squatch2
    Manc 2
    Squatch3
    Manc 3

    Squatch final post
    Manc Final post

    Judges summary.

    Rules:
    The judges for this debate will be: Dr Gonzo, Eliotitus and Lukecash12.
    There is a 7 day max waiting time between posts, violation will result in forfeit.
    Excess posts will be deleted.
    Judges will base their decision on clarity of argument, soundness of logic, strength of support and persuasiveness.


    On to the definitions;

    Capitalism- "An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals.

    Socialism- "The stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles."

    Communism- "A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state. Or a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.'

    Fascism- A corporatist political philosophy that entrenches politics as a semi-formal state religion. Assumes an organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It views all subjects as inherently political and maintains that state action is justified to achieve the common good. This includes all aspects of life including heath and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action through a variety of means including force and social pressure. All aspects of public and private life must be organized towards these objectives and any rival identity of the public is labed as an enemy. (Liberal Fascism)

    Utility- The capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.

    Efficiency- Accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a given task with the least amount of resources involved.

    All definitions are from Dictionary.com (unless noted)
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  2. #2
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Ok, cheers Squatch.

    Definitions

    Well, this is gonna be difficult! The exact meaning of socialism / communism has changed over time.

    Capitalism - private ownership of the means of production. The exploitation of wage labour for profit. The system in the USA and UK etc is obviously not pure capitalism, but we call it capitalism rather than a mixed economy, as the capitalist class have colossal power and wealth.

    Socialism - the abolition of capitalism. It would have to be on an international basis, at least a number of advanced countries to start with. The big industries taken into public ownership. The masses to democratically control production and distribution, and the running of the economy generally.

    Communism - this word has changed its meaning, but for simplicity lets call it the end goal of socialism, complete socialisation of the economy, the state withers away to nothing and eventually there is little or no need for money. We don't really use the word these days, socialism can cover both stages. Its just one process.

    Fascism - Fascism is right-wing, fiercely nationalist, subjectivist in philosophy, and totalitarian in practice. It is an extreme reactionary form of capitalist government.
    http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/f/a.htm#fascism


    Utility - had to look this one up!

    A quantity reflecting the subjective value someone attaches to a commodity reflected in how much they are willing to pay for it. As a component part of the theory of marginal utility, utility became the foundation concept of modern economics.
    http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/u/t.htm#utility

    Efficiency - whatever the dictionary says. Depends on the circumstances.

    Stalinism - a bureaucratically deformed workers state. The politics of that bureaucracy, which has taken power off the masses. A corruption of Marxism. The politics of the CPs around the world who were influenced by Moscow after Stalinism took over.

    Dialectical materialism - a combination of dialectics and materialism, the foundation of Marxism.

  3. #3
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    Capitalism - private ownership of the means of production. The exploitation
    of wage labour for profit. The system in the USA and UK etc is obviously not
    pure capitalism, but we call it capitalism rather than a mixed
    economy, as the capitalist class have colossal power and wealth.
    I
    think our definitions are largely close, the key point being that the means
    of production are privately held and regulated. I would submit that it
    would also include resources that are non-labor focused as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Socialism - the abolition of capitalism. It would have to be on
    an international basis, at least a number of advanced countries to start
    with. The big industries taken into public ownership. The masses to
    democratically control production and distribution, and the running of the
    economy generally.
    There is nothing inherently international in
    socialism. If we are dealing in abstractions such as socialism we could
    well argue that any one nation where some of the principles of collectivism
    are incorporated is socialist. We agree that it is a transition state
    between capitalism and communism where principles of communism are beginning
    to be applied.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Communism - this word has changed its meaning, but for
    simplicity lets call it the end goal of socialism, complete socialisation of
    the economy, the state withers away to nothing and eventually there is
    little or no need for money. We don't really use the word these days,
    socialism can cover both stages. Its just one process.
    I agree with
    you up to the point where you note that the "state withers away," while this
    may be the "ideal" state mentioned by Marx and Engels, it is inherently
    untenable due to its inability to distribute resources on a large scale. Without a redistributive power, be it the market or the state there is no way to organize complex and geographically diverse production methods like the ones that produce virtually all goods and services today.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Fascism - Fascism is right-wing, fiercely nationalist, subjectivist in
    philosophy, and totalitarian in practice. It is an extreme reactionary form
    of capitalist government.
    http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/f/a.htm#fascism
    Fascism is only right wing in that it is defined by socialists as right wing. It shares virtually no other characteristics with what is defined as "right wing." However, this could probably take a whole other thread to resolve.
    So how about we agree that fascism is the expression of corporatism, ie that the state and industry are one, we can individually disagree on who owns whom. I would argue that the state owns industry you would likely argue the other, regardless I think we can agree that the interests of the state and of industry are unified under fascism and that it is certainly not a "free market" system.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Utility - had to look this one up!

    A quantity reflecting the subjective value someone attaches to a commodity
    reflected in how much they are willing to pay for it. As a component part of
    the theory of marginal utility, utility became the foundation concept of
    modern economics.
    http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/u/t.htm#utility
    Close, but not exactly, utility in economics can be described as the personal value we get out of any particular good or service. I make this distinction because it still applies when money is not used. If I trade my apple for your orange, I did so because I get more utility out of the orange than I do out the apple.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Stalinism - a bureaucratically deformed workers state. The politics of that
    bureaucracy, which has taken power off the masses. A corruption of Marxism.
    The politics of the CPs around the world who were influenced by Moscow after
    Stalinism took over.
    While I don't think I or most main stream political scientists would agree with this definition, I'll more or less go with it for now. The question that needs to be refined is, are you arguing that the bureaucracy of Stalin's USSR or Mao's China or Castro's Cuba, etc. is incompatible with true socialism or communism?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Yeah, I think our definitions of capitalism are roughly the same. The means of production being largely privately owned. I'm not sure what you mean by non - labour focussed resources.

    You say there is nothing inherently international in socialism. This is incorrect, as far as Marxists are concerned. To a Marxist, socialism is inherently international like a triangle inherently has three sides. For instance in 'Principles of Communism' Engels writes:

    "Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?
    No"

    In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels ended on the slogan ' workers of the world unite!".

    The main reason socialism has to be international is that if you had an isolated state attempting socialism, the capitalist countries would use various means to destroy it - warfare and / or economic sabotage. There are plenty of examples of this happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If we are dealing in abstractions such as socialism we could
    well argue that any one nation where some of the principles of collectivism
    are incorporated is socialist. We agree that it is a transition state
    between capitalism and communism where principles of communism are beginning
    to be applied.
    Well, socialism isn't an abstraction it's a real movement with real goals. A nation where some of the 'principles of collectivism' is not necessarily socialist at all. In fact it is highly unlikely that a nation described like this would classify as socialist.

    To understand anything like this you have to look at the process, not just a few superficial features. This is why Marxists use the ideas of dialectical materialism, and always look at the process not just a moment in time. For example, in Britain even the Tories (strongly pro-capitalist) nationalised some big industries. Hardly for any socialist reasons. That was nothing to do with socialism, it was capitalism trying to keep its system going. Same with the bank bailouts.


    You say that it's 'untenable' for the state to wither away, but not really giving a reason. Maybe it's because you don't understand the Marxist use of the word state.

    The state is basically the ruling class (capitalists in the case today) using force to maintain their rule. So, they have the army, the police, the courts, the prisons and so on.

    Distribution of products and services would be done by the people, in an organised way. That is not a 'state', that is people co-operating to get a job done.

    Not we come to a problem area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Fascism is only right wing in that it is defined by socialists as right wing. It shares virtually no other characteristics with what is defined as "right wing." However, this could probably take a whole other thread to resolve.
    So how about we agree that fascism is the expression of corporatism, ie that the state and industry are one, we can individually disagree on who owns whom. I would argue that the state owns industry you would likely argue the other, regardless I think we can agree that the interests of the state and of industry are unified under fascism and that it is certainly not a "free market" system.

    and originally..
    Fascism- A corporatist political philosophy that entrenches politics as a semi-formal state religion. Assumes an organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It views all subjects as inherently political and maintains that state action is justified to achieve the common good. This includes all aspects of life including heath and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action through a variety of means including force and social pressure. All aspects of public and private life must be organized towards these objectives and any rival identity of the public is labed as an enemy. (Liberal Fascism)
    Yes it would take another thread, but obviously I want to at least explain the Marxist view and the mainstream academic view.

    It's not true that only socialists define fascism as right wing. Dictionaries do, the academics (historians) do, even the mainstream media and politicians do. In other words, more or less everyone. And so did Mussolini.

    A few examples :
    The Oxford English dictionary "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organisation"

    "Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right ', a Fascist century." Mussolini

    The book Liberal Fascism you get your original definition from seems to have been originally ignored by academia, and later, when it was getting support from some of the far right in America like Beck, was absolutely trashed.

    For example here's Oxford historian Roger Griffin, author of The Nature of Fascism and, more recently, Modernism and Fascism: The sense of a beginning under Mussolini and Hitler:

    "Goldberg’s book perverts historical and historiographical truth with the scarcely hidden agenda"

    http://hnn.us/articles/122473.html
    The rest were just as damming. I wont flood the thread with more examples. Just a few links for anyone interested
    http://hnn.us/articles/122245.html
    http://hnn.us/articles/122247.html
    http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/...h-jughead.html
    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiw...al-fascism-and



    Interestingly, your book says Mussolini was a socialist until he died, but Mussolini himself said socialism was finished by 1919!

    "To sort of start the story, the reason why we see fascism as a thing of the right is because fascism was originally a form of right-wing socialism. Mussolini was born a socialist, he died a socialist, he never abandoned his love of socialism, he was one of the most important socialist intellectuals in Europe and was one of the most important socialist activists in Italy, and the only reason he got dubbed a fascist and therefore a right-winger is because he supported World War I." Liberal Fascism
    "When the war ended in 1919 Socialism, as a doctrine, was already dead" Mussolini

    The other problem with the statement "the only reason he got dubbed a fascist and therefore a right-winger is because he supported World War I." is that Mussolini founded the Fascist Party, and wrote the Doctrine of Fascism.

    Even the rabid right wing rag the Daily Mail, which I believe at one time supported the Nazis, uses the normal definition:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/mosl...m-Austria.html
    "The far right is on the march again: the rise of Fascism in Austria - title is self explanatory.

    Anyway, you could say all this is an 'appeal to authority'. I reckon Mussolini is an authority on fascism alright. But how to explain simply why fascism is right wing. Well on all the fundamental points, fascism is the opposite of socialism.

    I could list all the reasons why fascism is considered to be right wing, in a nutshell fascism is ultra nationalist whereas socialism is internationalist. Hitler wanted to use some pseudo-socialist rhetoric to win over mass support, so he called his party National Socialist, but later said he regretted using this misnomer.

    Socialism is internationalist, fascism is obviously fiercely nationalist. As explained above.

    Fascism is very strongly anti-socialist, as clearly expressed by Mussolini above, and by Hitler when he rounded up the socialists early in 1933 during his takeover of Germany. It's true that Stalin attacked the Trotskyists, but thats another story. Stalin had little in common with fascism.

    Fascism does not require the abolition of capitalism, socialism does. In fact fascism was helped by many industrialists in Germany, financed on their way to power. Socialism is based on the workers movement, fascism was based on the middle class, and to an extent the capitalist class. Fascism smashed the workers movement. It did not attempt to smash the capitalist class.

    Fascism in Germany was based on wanting war, the Bolsheviks (socialists) came to power on the promise of peace, and signed a deal with Germany ending the fighting in WW1. In Germany, the capitalists did well out of the war, or at least that was the aim.

    Fascism hates equality, and obviously in Germany was heavily based on racism. Socialism is completely opposed to racism - how could it be internationalist and racist, and in fact the Nazis proclaimed the Bolsheviks to be a Jewish plot.


    Now you define corporatism as 'the state and industry are one'. This is a bit loose and vague. There is already corporatism in capitalist countries, it doesn't mean they are fascist. Despite what your book says! You could loosely say, incorrectly, that in socialism, in the early stages, the state and industry are one. Its pretty meaningless. In fascist Germany the bosses more or less could do what they wanted, the Nazis had destroyed the workers movement for them (that was the deal for getting the finance). Corporatism in a normal capitalist economy is MORE regulated by the state.

    When the Russian revolution happened (attempting socialism) the capitalists fought it, and Britain etc sent in armies to try to smash it.
    In Nazi Germany, trade with the capitalists in the USA FLOURISHED.
    Just take one example - General Motors. As the Nazis were rounding up people and preparing for war, GM expanded its operation in germany, booming one of the country's largest employers! http://hnn.us/articles/38255.html

    IBM became integral to the Nazi regime, beginning their relationship in 1933. They helped Hitler keep tabs on all the Jews he wanted to kill, 'automating' the holocaust.http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/

    In 1938, the Nazi regime awarded Henry Ford the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest medal for foreigners.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ford

    We all know about Bush's grandfather. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004...secondworldwar

    The list goes on and on

    In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote 'the suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists... We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims. '

    Going back earlier, before they took power, the Nazis got help from many industrialists. The Krupps, Thyssens, Kirkdorfs etc.

    Here is a respected history site, linked by the BBC
    "Soon after Adolf Hitler became chancellor he announced new elections. Hermann Goering called a meeting of important industrialists where he told them that the 1933 General Election could be the last in Germany for a very long time. Goering added that the NSDAP would need a considerable amount of of money to ensure victory. Those present responded by donating 3 million Reichmarks. As Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary after the meeting: "Radio and press are at our disposal. Even money is not lacking this time."
    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GER1933.htm

    You say
    I would argue that the state owns industry you would likely argue the other, regardless I think we can agree that the interests of the state and of industry are unified under fascism and that it is certainly not a "free market" system.
    Well in Germany is wasn't a one or the other situation, the bosses had free reign as long as they complied with the Nazis plans in general. The Nazis used a sort of Keynesian approach and built loads of infrastructure, and prepared for war. The Nazis and the bosses had a kind of understanding, an agreement. Its not free market, but how much free market is there ever in a capitalist nation.


    squatch:
    While I don't think I or most main stream political scientists would agree with this definition, I'll more or less go with it for now. The question that needs to be refined is, are you arguing that the bureaucracy of Stalin's USSR or Mao's China or Castro's Cuba, etc. is incompatible with true socialism or communism?

    100% so, yes. I can expand more on this if necessary. Socialism could never exist in a Stalinist country, Stalinism = FAILED socialism, taken over by a middle class bureaucracy via a POLITICAL COUNTER REVOLUTION, in a country too isolated and too backward for socialism to succeed. Stalinism was never gonna last forever, in the end it had to collapse back to capitalism, or be overthrown and replaced by genuine socialism, which by definition is democratic, and far more so than what we call democracy in capitalist democracies.

    If anything, Stalinism actively fought AGAINST socialism around the world, I can give many examples, but if a country declared itself socialist, then obviously Russia had to help it. Also Russia did play a sort of imperialist game with America. Geopolitical rivalry.
    Last edited by manc; October 2nd, 2010 at 07:26 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    You say there is nothing inherently international in socialism. This is incorrect, as far as Marxists are concerned.
    This is only because both Marx and Engels are writing about the rise of socialism at the time, not about the abstract concept. Say for example that there was only one country in the world and that it was capitalist. Are you saying then that it is impossible for it to move towards socialism and eventually communism? What about implementing collectivist principles requires more than one nation state (ie internationalism)?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well, socialism isn't an abstraction it's a real movement with real goals. A nation where some of the 'principles of collectivism' is not necessarily socialist at all. In fact it is highly unlikely that a nation described like this would classify as socialist.

    To understand anything like this you have to look at the process, not just a few superficial features. This is why Marxists use the ideas of dialectical materialism, and always look at the process not just a moment in time. For example, in Britain even the Tories (strongly pro-capitalist) nationalised some big industries. Hardly for any socialist reasons. That was nothing to do with socialism, it was capitalism trying to keep its system going. Same with the bank bailouts.
    This isn't much of a definition to go off of. It must have some collectivist principles, but those aren't sufficient, direction (vaguely) is needed, but steps are not included. If a state were to nationalize all industry, redistribute accumulated wealth and facilitate communal consumption it still wouldn't be socialist because it isn't international. What precisely would be a socialist state then?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    You say that it's 'untenable' for the state to wither away, but not really giving a reason. Maybe it's because you don't understand the Marxist use of the word state.

    The state is basically the ruling class (capitalists in the case today) using force to maintain their rule. So, they have the army, the police, the courts, the prisons and so on.

    Distribution of products and services would be done by the people, in an organised way. That is not a 'state', that is people co-operating to get a job done.
    State is a pretty common term, yours fits definition 11 pretty well, "the operations or activities of a central civil government: "
    So you are saying that in a communist society there would be national/international/local government interfering in the society, but rather a large group of people getting together to determine how goods and services should be allocated? Doesn't that rather sound exactly like a free market system?

    As to a working definition of socialism for the purposes of the debate I will put forward the dictionary definition that it is a system in which the economy is based largely on collectivist principles. These principles dictate that resource allocation and utilization be centralized, be it by a state or a body of citizens or whatever, and planned for a desired outcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yes it would take another thread, but obviously I want to at least explain the Marxist view and the mainstream academic view.

    It's not true that only socialists define fascism as right wing. Dictionaries do, the academics (historians) do, even the mainstream media and politicians do. In other words, more or less everyone. And so did Mussolini.
    Largely because most historians have taken the communist view as given. We can truncate this debate largely since I doubt it will be necessary. However, I'll simply ask one question, if Right Wingers want a smaller less powerful central government why is extreme right wing a large totalitarian government? If on the other hand you define right wing as conservative and "reactionary" then how can a movement that overthrow the existing social order be a conservative movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc

    "Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right ', a Fascist century." Mussolini
    Challenge to support a claim. Please support this with a valid citation.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    The book Liberal Fascism you get your original definition from seems to have been originally ignored by academia, and later, when it was getting support from some of the far right in America like Beck, was absolutely trashed.
    This is an appeal to authority, academia ignored quantum mechanics and heliocentrism for a long time too, that does not make them incorrect.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Interestingly, your book says Mussolini was a socialist until he died, but Mussolini himself said socialism was finished by 1919!
    You'll note that Liberal Fascism cites just this fact, it wasn't because he switched sides, just as I pointed out earlier, it was because Fascism supplanted socialism. The only thing that changed for Mussolini was that he moved away from the internationalism of socialism to a nationalist version. Indeed Mussolini's last public statement was this;
    Quote Originally Posted by Mussolini
    I bequeath the republic to the republicans not to the monarchists, and the work of social reform to the socialists and not to the middle classes.
    Liberal Fascism, Location 965.


    However, your explanation of the "differences" between fascism and socialism comes solely down the nationalism/internationalism difference, which isn't really that much. We discussed the Nazi platform earlier, but in an attempt to keep the thread on track, lets table fascism label for now.
    Rather, can we agree that fascism, given its authoritarian nature is at least not a free market capitalist ideology?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Now you define corporatism as 'the state and industry are one'. This is a bit loose and vague. There is already corporatism in capitalist countries, it doesn't mean they are fascist.
    Why don't we just go with the Encyclopedia Britannica?
    Theory and practice of organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state. According to the theory, employers and employees would be organized into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and largely controlling the people and activities within their jurisdiction.
    http://www.answers.com/topic/corporatism

    In the corporatist state the economy is organized by the government, it is certainly not a free market system.



    The OP

    I will attempt to argue over the next several posts that the inherent tenets of socialism (as defined above) will always produce less total wealth than an equivalent (in resources, population, etc) free market economy. More importantly, I will argue that the collectivist system inherently produces less utility (more generically total satisfaction) from the allocation of resources than in a free market. To do so I will take a two step approach, first I will walk through the basic tenets of socialism and attempt to point out how they inevitably lead to the conditions I have labeled above. Then I will use several case studies of socialist (or at least trending towards socialist) countries and how their economies reacted.

    First, let us start off describing generically the traits we often encounter in societies that trend towards socialism or collectivism. This is not an exhaustive list, nor does any individual trait define the society as collectivist. Since societies obviously exist on a continuum we can say that these traits move the society closer towards collectivist.

    Limited to no private property, resources including capital, physical and labor types are owned or controlled not by an individual, but rather by a group, be it the labor class or the state directly.

    Planning, the economy within a socialist society is planned to some extent, since resources are not controlled by private individuals the allocation of those resources is determined by the State or the Union or whatever leadership group has control over them.

    Limited to no capital markets or capital collection. Since ownership is not controlled by the individual capital is retained within the Union or State or Group (from hereon to simply be referred to as the State since that group retains ultimate authority over the society). Capital distribution is done allocated in accordance with factors such as distribution requirements and not based on a planned or required return calculation such as NPV.

    Given this (non-exhaustive) list of traits, here are the inherent problems of a socialistic society. I understand that my opponent will argue my use of examples in the following sections, however, we rarely can talk about absolutes. It may be true that there has never been a perfectly communist or socialist society, but likewise there has never been a perfect free market society. The examples I use are ones in which the society has more collectivist traits than not and I will endeavor to show how the problems illustrated were caused by those traits.

    Information transmittal. All modern economic systems must deal with the need to transmit information about consumption and supply. In a capitalist society this is done via the price system, which transmits the relative demands and production for given materials. In a socialistic system there are a variety of possible substitutes. One possible answer is to use the price system and set or restrict prices, in which case the prices fail to transmit to consumers any changes in supply and suppliers fail to know about changes in demand. This lack of information flow creates a situation where producers don’t react to changes in demand or taste.

    If for example people tend to like butter less over a few years and instead like margarine, we become faced with a situation where we must sacrifice utility or produce waste. In our example the margarine producer is presumably trying to produce just enough margarine to satisfy demand, otherwise he would be wasting resources no one wants, and should have no inventory. If then, demand increases, he will still have no inventory and will be unaware that more people would buy his product if they could. Consumers, faced with shortages will turn to butter to satisfy that demand with a lower utility (ie they would prefer margarine, but will take butter). In either situation the “market” has satisfied demand in less than optimum ways either by wasting resources on large inventories or by forcing consumers to pick less preferable goods.

    The other possible method is to preplan at a macro level the production and distribution of all goods and services. This, more common answer, causes scarcity for a different reason. An example could best illustrate the point I think. Let’s say we have two identical countries, identical resources, populations, skills, etc. Both have let’s say 100 people in their economy. Country A (market economy) produces 100 people’s worth of production per year and distribute it with 100 units of utility. Country B (planned economy) takes five of its workers out to plan the economy. Let’s say that they are excellent planners and that they distribute the goods just as efficiently as the market economy (which is unlikely), and are able to achieve 1 unit of utility for every unit of production. The problem arises that since they are planning, they are not producing, so the economy only produces 95 people’s worth of goods and correspondingly only 95 units of utility.

    Emergence A market economy is a complex operation that functions somewhat on emergent principles,
    In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence
    To put it another way a market economy relies on the collective analytical powers of millions of people making billions of decisions daily. A planned economy by whatever sized group is necessarily less efficient not only because of less producers available to the economy, but because they are clearly unable to process all the possibilities that a market can. In modern economies there are billions of decisions being made daily concerning production, services, transportation routes, times, etc. Due to simple human constraints it is impossible for a select group of people to make these decisions with enough information to replicate a market type economy efficiently. This can be observed historically through the growth of what Hayek described as “spontaneous orders.” Good examples of this:
    “In composing a final set of arguments against socialism, Hayek made a distinction between “spontaneous orders” and “constructed orders.” He averred that many social institutions—among them language, money, the common law, the moral code, and trade—are instances of spontaneous orders. These orders arise as a result of human action, and they come about as a result of individuals pursuing goals, but they are not the product of human design, because no one intended that they arise. They survive because they confer benefits on the societies that practice them. Hayek claimed that due to their “scientistic prejudices” those whom he dubbed “rationalist constructivists” neither recognized that institutions could (and in fact do) arise spontaneously nor understood how these institutions could benefit society. By comparison, “constructed orders” often contain flaws because attempts by planners to redesign, create, or plan social institutions often have unintended, unanticipated, or adverse consequences. Hayek linked his discussion of spontaneous orders to his earlier insights about knowledge with the claim that spontaneously formed orders often are able to adapt more readily in environments characterized by rapid change and widespread uncertainty due to the dispersion of knowledge. Constructed orders lack such adaptability.”
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/...l-institutions

    Risk, socialism has no internal mechanism to account for risk. By risk we mean the reality that in any economy with any group of people there is a certain percentage of projects that will fail. In a market economy risk and risk tolerance are transmitted through prices. IE I will loan you 10 dollars and charge you more if I think there is a less likely chance of getting this back. On the macro level risk prevents certain projects from being undertaken (they are too costly given the risk) and funnels resources to ones that will produce more for the given level of risk. The market system adjusts prices to account for the likelihood of success. However in a socialist system prices are either or set or there are no prices and so information about risk is lost. If projects have identical returns and costs they are evenly desirable in the socialist system, while in the market system the price of the project is determined partially by its risk and drives organizations to pick the highest return given a certain level of risk tolerance decided by the individual. This skewing of projects under the socialist system would lead to a proportionally higher number of project failures and a corresponding loss of resources (value destruction) that decreases the overall net pool of value to fund the economy.

    Agency Costs Since compensation is determined by need in a socialist system there is no control over agency costs (the cost to a business or organization when its employee’s decide to do something better for them personally than for the company, ie buying a corporate jet for prestige rather than returning the money to stockholders or investing in R&D). Since people are individual and act in accordance with individual utility curves (a tradeoff between rewards) there is an increasing likelihood that individuals will supplement their income by taking some kind of perk, either using more office supplies or other resources or taking more time off either official or not. There is no reward for taking the extra time to plan a better system or reduce the inefficiencies, I cannot force the system to give me more pay or benefits, what I can do is go home a bit early or read at work or a thousand other little personal benefits that likewise don’t hurt my income.

    Consumption Consumption in a market based economy is based on utility curves (tradeoffs). I value a cheeseburger more than I value the next most preferable item, say a taco, that I could get for a dollar. That individual decision is based on my inherent preference for cheeseburgers (unknowable to the state) versus either my inherent like of the next preferable product (also unknowable to the state), with the resulting loss of utility from not purchasing the second item (the taco) being the opportunity cost. In a socialistic system where resource allocation is determined by either “need” or equality, an individual need not face an opportunity cost. The result is increased consumption, this economic theorem is where we get demand curves from and can be seen in effect easily in everyday life from the concept behind governmental subsidies to sales at K-Mart. The socialist system since it has no restraint (via price) on the demand side of production always has more per capita consumption than an equivalent market economy.

    If you add to this the law of decreasing marginal returns (ie you get less satisfaction (utility) out of your 50th cheeseburger than you did out of your first) you will see that in total the society produces less total utility than an equivalent market based society where individuals must pick what is most productive for them.

    Liberty Regardless of the economic system labor will still have to produce goods and services for society. Given the wide array of human personality types it is certainly likely that a segment of the population will not want to perform labor to their full potential. Under a capitalist system they are free to either work and get a pay that both parties agree on (ie being hired) or not work and have no resources with which to obtain utility (ie be homeless). Under a socialistic system these people will either be forced to work or not. In the former situation their liberty will be decreased and in the later other citizens’ liberty will be decreased since they must work extra to support our non-workers at the minimal level that is a tenet of socialism. Since liberty and utility can be loosely related (the option of choice retains value to individuals (this can be demonstrated through the Black-Scholes options pricing model which shows the value of stock options and projects)). In either situation total utility in the society is decreased relative to the equivalent market economy because someone’s options are removed.

    There are a series of likely complaints to be offered by my opponent, some of which I will preempt here to some extent.

    The Commons It is often argued by the proponents of socialism that market economies do not protect the “commons” usually thought of as the environment. They argue relatively theoretically that capitalists, focused solely on profit ignore the environment and have no clear incentive to protect what they do not own. This seemingly reasonable objection crumbles under the weight of a second look both from logic and historical evidence. Participants in a market based economy based economy live and play in the commons just as they would in a socialist economy, they have a vested interest forming groups or clubs or influencing the owner of the land to prevent certain types of development. Purely through market forces most companies have become vastly more sustainable over the last two decades, not simply for PR reasons, but as a competitive advantage (if you are a lumber company you will be in a better place to compete if there are trees left).

    We should clearly suspect something is wrong with the initial statement when we simply look around us. The environments of more market based economies like the United States and Western Europe are far more pristine than those of more socialistic economies (the Soviet Union and China). Historically the difference has been one of power. Exxon as powerful as we might feel they are cannot cover up an oil spill, they have no power to arrest whistleblowers or shut down news agencies that report unfavorably on them. Governments have no such restrictions, the Soviet Union and China are great examples of this, massive environmental disasters are suppressed through media blackouts and roundups of people. The west didn’t even find out about Chernobyl (not a statement on nuclear technology by the way, but on Soviet methods) until the radiation was picked up by monitoring devices emplaced to detect nuclear testing. http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Mag...8302793032.pdf

    Poverty in market based economies are often criticized for their poverty rates, it is claimed that the market “leaves people behind.” Yet there is very little evidence of this. While it could be argued that the income distribution level is more of a normal distribution (in the statistical sense) than in a socialistic society. The veracity of this claim, which has not been shown, fails to account for the difference in overall output between the two types of societies for the reasons I highlighted above. While it might be true that the difference between the top percentile and the lowest percentile in income is greater under market systems, it is also true that the lowest percentile is demonstrably better off in market economies. This is due not only to overall income levels, but because of charity derived from the extra income generated under a market system that is destroyed (as pointed out above) under a socialist system.

    Further, the makeup of those two percentiles is also markedly different. Historically, socialist societies have tended to have much more fixed income levels, largely due to government assignment and control. Capitalist economies however have much more fluid income levels. The lowest quintile of earners in the United States is largely made up by the very young (teenagers) and the very old (retirees), both of which live off of accumulated wealth, either theirs or their parents. Several landmark studies over the last decade have shown this in the United States, including a 1992 Treasury Department study which showed that between 1979 and 1988, 86% of people in the bottom quintile moved to a higher quintile, while 35% of those in the top quintile moved lower. Income Mobility and the U.S. Economy: Open Society or Caste System? Joint Economic Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 102nd Cong., 2nd Sess., January 1992.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc said in this post:
    You say there is nothing inherently international in socialism. This is incorrect, as far as Marxists are concerned.
    This is only because both Marx and Engels are writing about the rise of socialism at the time, not about the abstract concept. Say for example that there was only one country in the world and that it was capitalist. Are you saying then that it is impossible for it to move towards socialism and eventually communism? What about implementing collectivist principles requires more than one nation state (ie internationalism)?
    Marxism is about the real world, and there are lots of countries. All Marxists (except Stalinists who are hardly Marxists) accept that internationalism is a vital ingredient.

    In fact at one time, in the Communist manifesto, Marx used the word communism a bit differently, to emphasise this point:

    Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence
    .

    Now I'm not suggesting that we use this definition, or even the way Marx used the word generally, as basically Marxists nowadays use different terms as I explained. The reason for posting this is to illustrate a point. Marxism is about the real world, not about concepts. Marxism is based on materialism, and is opposed to idealism.

    Why do you think the song sung at Marxist rallies is always The Internationale?

    Abstraction can be a tool, but I see no point in pondering on a capitalist world with only one country, as that is not the case and is never likely to be so.

    You ask why implementing collectivist principles requires more than one nation.

    I already explained that in post 4:

    The main reason socialism has to be international is that if you had an isolated state attempting socialism, the capitalist countries would use various means to destroy it - warfare and / or economic sabotage. There are plenty of examples of this happening.
    It's no even just that, socialism its about abolition of class society, there would be little point in doing it just in one country, even if it was somehow possible.

    Socialists have to explain to workers that their interests are different from the capitalists'. One obvious way to do it, especially if there is a war on, is to explain that the workers in different countries have more in common with each other than they do with the ruling class. For instance on the topic of immigration, the bosses use this to divide the workers, the socialists try to cut across that, because to get socialism you have to unite the workers regardless of whether they are immigrants or not.

    Marxists by the way have always had international organisations. There were the famous Internationals which the Communist Parties were part of. The Socialist Party in England and Wales has its own international with about 30 countries having sections. The First International was the IWA - Marx was a leading figure.

    Even if you just look at a group of workers on strike it is likely to have an international element. Many times strikes are supported in different ways by workers in different countries. And with wars it tends to be the opposite, with socialists opposing them.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Well, socialism isn't an abstraction it's a real movement with real goals. A nation where some of the 'principles of collectivism' is not necessarily socialist at all. In fact it is highly unlikely that a nation described like this would classify as socialist.

    To understand anything like this you have to look at the process, not just a few superficial features. This is why Marxists use the ideas of dialectical materialism, and always look at the process not just a moment in time. For example, in Britain even the Tories (strongly pro-capitalist) nationalised some big industries. Hardly for any socialist reasons. That was nothing to do with socialism, it was capitalism trying to keep its system going. Same with the bank bailouts.

    This isn't much of a definition to go off of. It must have some collectivist principles, but those aren't sufficient, direction (vaguely) is needed, but steps are not included. If a state were to nationalize all industry, redistribute accumulated wealth and facilitate communal consumption it still wouldn't be socialist because it isn't international. What precisely would be a socialist state then?
    Socialism is international, its about public ownership of at least the big industry, and importantly it's about democratic workers control of production and distribution. I doubt a country could get as far as you describe on its own. Even if the capitalists didn't start a war on it, they would wreck it with economic sabotage. Anyway, the missing ingredient is mass workers participation. The workers, organised, taking a part in the running of society. The word 'soviet' actually means a democratic committee, based in a workplace or locality, responsible for organising things. Lenin in 1918:

    Proletarian democracy is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; Soviet power is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.

    To fail to see this one must either deliberately serve the bourgeoisie, or be politically as dead as a doornail, unable to see real life from behind the dusty pages of bourgeois books, be thoroughly imbued with bourgeois-democratic prejudices, and thereby objectively convert oneself into a lackey of the bourgeoisie.
    And this was at when the struggle for socialism had only just begun. Lenin never claimed they had actually succeeded.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    State is a pretty common term, yours fits definition 11 pretty well, "the operations or activities of a central civil government: "
    So you are saying that in a communist society there would be national/international/local government interfering in the society, but rather a large group of people getting together to determine how goods and services should be allocated? Doesn't that rather sound exactly like a free market system?

    As to a working definition of socialism for the purposes of the debate I will put forward the dictionary definition that it is a system in which the economy is based largely on collectivist principles. These principles dictate that resource allocation and utilization be centralized, be it by a state or a body of citizens or whatever, and planned for a desired outcome.
    You can put forward dictionary definitions if you want, but they will be one line of inadequacy. No it doesn't sound anything like the free market system. It's the complete opposite. That's the whole point. A free market system is based on private ownership of the means of production, it's not 'planned' as such, in that each company makes its plans, but there is no overall planning, mostly its left to the 'market' which is basically the force of profit. A market system is based on class exploitation. In socialism there would be no capitalist class. There may still be some small scale markets, but exploitation would be largely phased out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Largely because most historians have taken the communist view as given. We can truncate this debate largely since I doubt it will be necessary. However, I'll simply ask one question, if Right Wingers want a smaller less powerful central government why is extreme right wing a large totalitarian government? If on the other hand you define right wing as conservative and "reactionary" then how can a movement that overthrow the existing social order be a conservative movement.
    OK. I would ask you to support that historians have taken the communist view as given, if you were wanting to pursue this one. You are talking about experts, like a nuclear physicist in his lab. You do not stumble into a top job at Oxford University just by repeating what the Trotskyists say. You have to supply a ton of detail and analysis. Not that top historians get everything right, but as this is fairly straightforward, to me, they do. Ok, to answer your specific questions. If Right Wingers want a smaller less powerful central government why is extreme right wing a large totalitarian government? Well who says right wingers want a smaller government? Ok, its largely true, mainly because they want lower taxes. But Thatcher, a famous right winger, never really got public spending that much lower than Labour did, maybe a bit towards the end. The Nazis actually gave the bosses more freedom in many ways, taking away workers rights. But with fascism there are some specifics. Fascism can only occur at certain historical times. The working class has to be enough of a threat to give fascism is reason for existence, but weak enough for fascism to crush it. Fascism is like a battering ram against the workers. It's a last resort for the bosses, when bourgeois democracy isn't delivering, or is fragile. Bit too much to explain here, but that's the gist. Of course a lot of it was linked to the buildup to war. Fascism is an unusual strain of right wing politics, and its emphasis on the state is different from mainstream right wing and of course the libertarian end (which we dont even have in the UK). And remember, even the Tories nationalised companies.
    As for the other bit, how can reactionaries overthrow the existing order. This is fairly straightforward. The existing order is a mess, chaos, the petty bourgeois ruined, Germany humiliated, etc. The fascists want to go back to a idealised image of an earlier time when everything was rosy, but to do that they have to seize power, get rid of all the communists (and Jews), and win a war.




    Challenge to support a claim. Please support this with a valid citation.


    It's easy to find. Here is one
    Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the " right ", a Fascist century.
    THE DOCTRINE OF FASCISM
    BENITO MUSSOLINI (1932)
    (ONLY COMPLETE OFFICIAL TEXT ON THE INTERNET)
    sourcehttp://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This is an appeal to authority, academia ignored quantum mechanics and heliocentrism for a long time too, that does not make them incorrect.

    Yeah, and I said you would say that, but I also provided concrete examples of the incredible distortions in the book.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You'll note that Liberal Fascism cites just this fact, it wasn't because he switched sides, just as I pointed out earlier, it was because Fascism supplanted socialism. The only thing that changed for Mussolini was that he moved away from the internationalism of socialism to a nationalist version. Indeed Mussolini's last public statement was this;

    Mussolini
    I bequeath the republic to the republicans not to the monarchists, and the work of social reform to the socialists and not to the middle classes.
    Liberal Fascism, Location 965.
    I thought we weren't gonna bother with all this? Whatever.

    Liberal Fascism said Mussolini was a socialist until he died. Mussolini said socialism was dead by 1919. A clear contradiction. You somehow seem to convince yourself that there is no contradiction because fascism replaced socialism, the implication being that they are more or less the same thing! It's quite remarkable. Mussolini was much clearer. I gave another quote which spelled it out in more detail. Show me where Mussolini says that fascism is actually just a new name for socialism. He said socialism was dead. Dead, not renamed. Not rebranded. Dead. He rammed the point home:

    "When the war ended in 1919 Socialism, as a doctrine, was already dead; it continued to exist only as a grudge, especially in Italy where its only chance lay in inciting to reprisals against the men who had willed the war and who were to be made to pay for it."

    "Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism...."

    "Such a conception of life makes Fascism the resolute negation of the doctrine underlying so-called scientific and Marxian socialism, the doctrine of historic materialism which would explain the history of mankind in terms of the class struggle and by changes in the processes and instruments of production, to the exclusion of all else."

    "Having thus struck a blow at socialism..."

    "After socialism, Fascism trains its guns on the whole block of democratic ideologies..."

    "The Fascist negation of socialism, democracy, liberalism..."

    "Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the " right ", a Fascist century."
    my emphasis
    All from the article linked above. Can it get any clearer? Fascism was to finish off socialism, not give it a face lift.
    Ok, as for the quote, whats this 965 business? I could do with the context. No matter. He supposedly said this to a journalist before he died. There is just one quote on the net, which takes it from your book. Not looking too substantial.

    Interesting that Mussolini's economics minister De Stefani followed laissez-faire, free market economics, favouring free trade, lower taxes for the rich, and privatisation. Doesn't sound much like socialism does it? Sounds more like what I imagine your views to be.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    However, your explanation of the "differences" between fascism and socialism comes solely down the nationalism/internationalism difference, which isn't really that much. We discussed the Nazi platform earlier, but in an attempt to keep the thread on track, lets table fascism label for now.
    Rather, can we agree that fascism, given its authoritarian nature is at least not a free market capitalist ideology?
    No, I dunno how you arrive at that conclusion, after everything I have written. I listed all sorts of differences, you just seem to have ignored it. What about the fact that capitalism thrived in Nazi Germany, with big American companies expanding their business? By contrast when the Bolsheviks took over Russia, America sent an army to fight them. Its a bit different. The Americans themselves sent 13,000 troops to fight the Bolsheviks, but they worked in conjunction with many more from other countries such as Britain and Japan. By contrast the Nazis were great for the capitalists as I explained.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Why don't we just go with the Encyclopedia Britannica?
    Theory and practice of organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state. According to the theory, employers and employees would be organized into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and largely controlling the people and activities within their jurisdiction.
    http://www.answers.com/topic/corporatism

    In the corporatist state the economy is organized by the government, it is certainly not a free market system.
    Well, I haven't spent ages reading about this word. I think it all depends on the context. Its not commonly used. For instance the FT mentions capitalism over 4,000 times and corporatism 100 odd times. What do you mean by a corporatist state? Its all a bit vague. You get some corporatism in capitalist societies like America, and you get it in fascist ones like Nazi Germany. Anyway, corporatism does not imply lack of private ownership, it just implies some government intervention. The sort of 'partnership' thing. Corporatism basically means that some capitalists have so much power they can get a lot of control over government, and get the government to give them all sorts of subsidies and so on.

    Interesting quote by the way from President Roosevelt in 1938:

    "The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpora...S._corporatism


    A modern example (of corporatism) you might agree with me on is the US military industry which is in league with the governments big time, and they get vast subsidies. There are many others. But few people bother with the word corporatism. Its just how capitalism operates in practice. They are interested in profits, not definitions.

    And now! Onto the thread. I will write my OP BEFORE I read yours, to make it fairer, then read and reply to yours.

    Opening Post

    Why we need socialism.

    Capitalism took over from feudalism as the dominant economic system in the advanced countries, starting with the English civil war. Overthrowing feudalism enabled the capitalists to become the dominant ruling class and tailor the system to suit capitalism. This gave those countries which did this an edge, and so Britain, France and Holland were able to industrialise quicker and start to colonise other countries for cheap raw materials, and for their markets and so on. When the capitalists ran out of countries to colonise, the world erupted in the First World War. Capitalism was no longer a progressive force for the planet as a whole. After that came a crazy bubble followed by an almighty crash - the Great Depression. This and unresolved problems in Germany led to the rise of fascism and the Second World War. Since then the colonies got nominal independence, but never had a chance of catching up with the advanced countries, who largely keep the poor ones firmly in their place. Now we have a world of incredible contrasts. Half of all the wealth is owned by just 2-3% of the people. Half of the world lives on $3 per day, and one sixth, a billion people, go hungry (millions starving to death) despite NO SHORTAGE OF FOOD! This is the ultimate indictment of capitalism as a global system. It cannot or will not distribute food to people who need it. In the meantime, the rich countries go to the other extreme, allowing companies to market junk food to kids, and of course the result is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and so on. Pure madness.

    So, the system needs radical change, or replacement. Problem with radical change (reform) is that its like trying to tie down a tiger. Its just gonna bite your head off. There are a thousand examples of this. The only time the tiger doesn't eat you is when he is saving you for later, maybe he wants you to reproduce so his food supply is gonna continue. I hope this analogy is not lost on the reader. Capitalism makes concessions to suit itself. Sometime its forced, but then it just takes these back later. Sometimes it does it to stop the masses revolting, or just all dying. It never does it out of the goodness of its heart!

    No, the only way to tackle a tiger is to shoot it. It's pretty straightforward. You have to have a decisive change, where the power is taken from the capitalist class by the working class. This is called a socialist revolution. You won't get socialism the next day, but you can set foot on the path towards it.

    This is what's required by the hungry, by the people who can't afford medicine, by the man who just lost his job.

    A couple of years ago capitalism slid into one of its periodic crises, well explained by Marx, and this one was a biggie, and is still nowhere near over. Hundreds of thousand of workers are going to lose their livelihoods. Even the serious capitalists were forced to ask if the system could survive, and in what form. Marxists however had been warning for years that the party would soon be over.

    These crises are endemic in the system. Its essentially a crisis of 'overproduction', in a system which can NEVER operate at anything like full capacity. All these people who are wanting food, or a house, or some decent clothes, and we have a crisis of overproduction! It doesn't sound right, does it? So what do the capitalists do? Destroy.

    Marx sums it up like it was written yesterday:

    In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx...festo/ch01.htm

    So, we have a rough idea of what socialism is, and why its needed. How would it work? Well it would start with a workers government taking over the biggest companies. Unemployment would be eliminated as jobs were created for everyone - useful jobs like building the equipment needed to make renewable energy and public transport. Obviously we need to start reversing the destruction of the planet which is inevitable if the capitalist system continues. Things like weapons factories would be swapped over to producing useful things rather than destructive things. The waste would be taken out of the system, for instance all the people working in marketing could be doing something more useful. We would stop keeping the poor countries poor and instead give them a hand to modernise, in a green and sustainable way. Things like agriculture would be changed over to sustainable techniques.

    Eventually a global socialist economy would emerge. Wars would be a thing of the past. So too would crime to a large extent. In healthcare we would focus on prevention. Production and distribution would be socialised. The emphasis of course would be on ecological sustainability - the long term survival of the planet and the human race.

    I realise of course that there is a lot I haven't covered, and a lot of things I have said which you could say 'support' to. And I can write a long essay with sources on each statement, if necessary. Anyway, I will leave it there for now and cover any specifics as they crop up.

    Ok, on to your OP...




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It may be true that there has never been a perfectly communist or socialist society, but likewise there has never been a perfect free market society.
    A sweeping statement. In a nutshell, Stalinism was separated from Bolshevism by a political counter-revolution, and a river of blood.
    On the other hand, when bankers get their bailouts from the government, there is no bloodshed is there? Even in the most extreme form of a capitalist economy, Nazi Germany, the capitalists, as I have demonstrated, flourished! So I dont think you are really making an even comparison. I would say Stalinism is a distortion of socialism, but government involvement in a capitalist economy is largely on BEHALF of the capitalists (even the welfare state is there to keep the workers alive, and to prevent revolution). Stalinism did no deal with the socialists - it killed them!





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    In a capitalist society this is done via the price system, which transmits the relative demands and production for given materials.
    So how come all the hungry people in the world don't register as 'demand'?









    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If for example people tend to like butter less over a few years and instead like margarine, we become faced with a situation where we must sacrifice utility or produce waste. In our example the margarine producer is presumably trying to produce just enough margarine to satisfy demand, otherwise he would be wasting resources no one wants, and should have no inventory. If then, demand increases, he will still have no inventory and will be unaware that more people would buy his product if they could. Consumers, faced with shortages will turn to butter to satisfy that demand with a lower utility (ie they would prefer margarine, but will take butter). In either situation the “market” has satisfied demand in less than optimum ways either by wasting resources on large inventories or by forcing consumers to pick less preferable goods.
    Sounds like you are worrying too much about small details. We have computers these days. We are perfectly capable of working out how much butter to produce. If people stop using butter so much, we would scale back production accordingly.

    What we would do, actually, in my view anyway, is move towards community restaurants serving up healthy, mainly locally grown (using sustainable techniques) food at a very low cost, or for free. This would eliminate the colossal waste you have in capitalism: Bloke in Africa grows some beans. He gets a few pennies for them. They get FLOWN to the UK and put on a shelf in a big supermarket called Sainsburys. Only nice long straight unblemished beans are allowed. The rest dont make it. The water Kenya desperately needs is effectively being flown in 'embedded' ( I hate the word virtual - this is real water) to the UK. Then Mrs Bloggs wanders in, buys said beans, and goes home to face what for many is drudgery of cooking and washing up. There aint no need for all this silliness. In socialism we wouldnt do much of this at all. And think how much it would save on things like the healthcare bill, the environmental costs, time, resources etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Let’s say we have two identical countries, identical resources, populations, skills, etc. Both have let’s say 100 people in their economy. Country A (market economy) produces 100 people’s worth of production per year and distribute it with 100 units of utility. Country B (planned economy) takes five of its workers out to plan the economy. Let’s say that they are excellent planners and that they distribute the goods just as efficiently as the market economy (which is unlikely), and are able to achieve 1 unit of utility for every unit of production. The problem arises that since they are planning, they are not producing, so the economy only produces 95 people’s worth of goods and correspondingly only 95 units of utility.
    Sorry but this doesn't make sense. In socialism, everyone would be involved in planning. Ok, some would be elected to do it full time. But are you claiming that in capitalism everyone is involved in production? I think not!!

    For a kick off you have your speculators and traders and what not. Bloodsucking leeches. The ones who do the least get the most it seems. Then you have the people in marketing etc. Just comparing the state health service in the UK to the American private one, there is more admin in the American system. Far, far more! And in capitalism you always have unemployment. 100% doing useful work? In America, off the top of my head, more like 50% or less. What about workers making weapons? Useless. Even car production is questionable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Emergence ... a market economy relies on the collective analytical powers of millions of people making billions of decisions daily.
    etc. To do what? Buy or not buy things - supply and demand. I have already shown that this does not feed the hungry or provide homes for the homeless. As for Hayek, he seems to be thinking more of the Stalinist regimes, where planning was undoubtedly cumbersome. This is why DEMOCRATIC PLANNING is vital, and decisions can be made at whatever level is applicable, far MORE than in capitalism where the boss gets to make the decisions, even if he hasn't got a clue what he is doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Risk, socialism has no internal mechanism to account for risk.
    Lets talk about risk. In capitalism we see stupid risks being taken, the feeding frenzy before the crash (short term huge profits encourage enormous risk taking), the risks of destroying the planet - nobody seems interested, the wars, the chaos. Yeah, I see risk, there is a risk my pension wont be enough to survive on. There is a risk I wont earn enough money next month to pay the bills. Of course socialists could plan for failures. It hardly needs saying. We would try multiple approaches to problems, keeping the best and scrapping the worst. Trial and error. Its the best way, not theory. Except we would have a lot more control than the capitalist system does. To me, what this guy is saying is just playing with words.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    ...buying a corporate jet for prestige rather than returning the money to stockholders or investing in R&D).
    Lol! Well ok its a fair point, though the jet example is OTT. Whats to stop all the workers at factory X being lazy sods. Well, its possible.

    To get socialism in the first place, even to step on the road towards it, you have to change people's thinking somewhat. But once you were on that road, people's thinking would start to be changed by their environment. People thing according to the conditions they live in. In a capitalist factory, you might well skive at work, because you get no reward, the boss takes any extra effort you put in. In a socialist factory your skiving would be to the detriment of your fellow workers, or workers in general, and everyone would know that, so the culture would be that is is unacceptable to skive because you are stealing from your fellow workers (rather than just that twat the boss, in a capitalist factory).

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I value a cheeseburger more than I value the next most preferable item, say a taco, that I could get for a dollar. etc
    I dunno about all this theory. Is it relevant? I looked it up in wikipedia and it said this:

    "In a 2005 survey at the annual meeting of American Economic Association, 21.6% of professional economists surveyed chose the correct answer to a question on opportunity cost." Cool!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost

    Anyway, we would keep it simple, eventually, and make food free! How does that factor in?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Liberty Regardless of the economic system labor will still have to produce goods and services for society. Given the wide array of human personality types it is certainly likely that a segment of the population will not want to perform labor to their full potential.
    Well, see my reply above on the skiving one. Everyone would be expected to work to the same degree. That would become the culture. Equality demands equal effort. Of course it wouldn't be hard work like it is now, and the working week could be dramatically reduced over time.






    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It is often argued by the proponents of socialism that market economies do not protect the “commons” usually thought of as the environment.
    Well for a kick off you are comparing with the USSR which was Stalinist not socialist. I have explained above what we would do and how.

    Is capitalism looking after the environment? You got to be kidding. The earth is on the verge of catastrophe. I'm not gonna repeat all of what I wrote in my Global Resources thread. maybe a few key points.

    But to take on your argument about the logging company. When the logs run out, the company simply ships its operation elsewhere, or shifts to a completely new business.

    I happen to know someone who is an expert on the whole environment thing, and she isn't a socialist as such, just a soft left reformist. Anyway, I said that I thought all the carbon trading stuff was useless, doing more harm than good. She agreed with me. This was someone who had organised the kind of things on this subject that get on the television news. I just chucked in that anecdote instead of a long boring explanation of why the market system of carbon trading is useless.

    The end result of capitalism?

    Global CO2 is up by about 35%, all of it caused by man (near as dammit anyway - we can tell from isotopes), let alone the other gases and the feedback mechanisms kicking in. Global warming threatens catastrophe of unimaginable scale.

    Across the globe, people face shortages in the future, or even now, of basics like water and soil. Overexploitation. Look at the fishing industry. There's bugger all left almost.

    For everyone in the world to live like an American we would need at least 5 planet earths. Its just not gonna happen.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Poverty in market based economies are often criticized for their poverty rates, it is claimed that the market “leaves people behind.”
    Well first a quick reminder, there has never been a socialist country.

    Second, a correction or two. Inequality in the western countries, especially America, and the world as a whole, is hardly imaginable. Just 2-3% own as much as the other 97%.

    In the last 30 years, the bottom 20% in America have got virtually no better off at all, from a negative to plus 6%, depending on sources. Meanwhile the top 1% has got about 3 times richer I think, and the top 0.1% six times, off the top of my head.

    Here we can graphically see how nearly all the wealth has gone to the people at the top


    Household income levels and gains for different percentiles in 2003 dollars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    between 1979 and 1988, 86% of people in the bottom quintile moved to a higher quintile, while 35% of those in the top quintile moved lower.
    Well its a very short timespan and I have no idea what the methodology is. Yeah, is the young are in the bottom 20%, chances are most will rise up in time. But the MUST BE REPLACED. You still have a bottom 20%, and its hardly any better off than 30 or 40 years ago.

    another graph

    Inflation adjusted percentage increase in after-tax household income for the top 1% and the four quintiles, between 1979 and 2005 (gains by top 1% are reflected by bottom bar; bottom quintile by top bar)
    graphs from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_...usehold_income
    Last edited by manc; October 8th, 2010 at 10:09 AM. Reason: small clarification

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    Marxism is about the real world, and there are lots of countries. All Marxists (except Stalinists who are hardly Marxists) accept that internationalism is a vital ingredient.
    You're response shows that socialist movements have been international in character. That is not the argument, my point is that there is nothing inherently international about socialism. There is nothing about the theory or practice that necessitates internationalism.

    I will illustrate this again with the question: If there was only one country in the entire world and it was capitalist, does that mean it would be impossible for it to become socialist and eventually communist?
    What about international borders allows for socialism?


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Socialism is international, its about public ownership of at least the big industry, and importantly it's about democratic workers control of production and distribution...the missing ingredient is mass workers participation. The workers, organised, taking a part in the running of society.
    Which is as I pointed out a governmental control (even if the government it a democratic one) of industry.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    No it doesn't sound anything like the free market system.
    Individuals making individual choices about labor and resource allocation is exactly what you described and exactly the free market system.



    The first step in questioning this OP is to point out the historical errors and conclusions drawn in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Capitalism took over from feudalism as the dominant economic system in the advanced countries,
    This is Marx's view of history and has largely been discredited by mainstream historians. As with any economic system of course there is rarely a clear dividing line between operations, but it certainly was not a clear transition between feudalism and capitalism. Rather, feudalism gave way to a form of proto-capitalism in the form of Bergs and trade guilds largely on mainland Europe with the growth of towns and cities. This form of early capitalism was then suppressed with the rise of powerful states and absolutist monarchies. This gave rise to mercantilism which was a form of state controlled economy. From the link above;
    mercantilism, economic theory and practice common in Europe from the 16th to the 18th century that promoted governmental regulation of a nation’s economy for the purpose of augmenting state power...
    It was only with the decline of these state powers that capitalism increased.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    When the capitalists ran out of countries to colonise, the world erupted in the First World War.
    This is a good example of correlation not being causation. My opponent would like you to believe that capitalism is not a self-sustaining system, that it will inevitably collapse in on itself (as Marxism claims). The First World War has long been trumpeted as just that example. The Europeans, having run out of colonies fought a protracted war for control. Yet that doesn't seem to have been the case.
    Following the war the number of colonies decreased, (colonialism itself had been decreasing since the end of the 18th Century) rather than increased which is what you might expect with winners shoring up their gains.
    Most academic work has cast WWI as a final extension of the alliance warfare starting in the mid-19th Century with the rise of Metternich's alliance system. It is important to remember that the war kicked off as the response to an assassination and a series of secret treaties, not internal strife or a foreign conflict within the colonies as you would expect if my opponent's view was correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Capitalism was no longer a progressive force for the planet as a whole. After that came a crazy bubble followed by an almighty crash - the Great Depression.
    We have discussed this in brief already and we can cover it more here. The Great Depression was largely a failure of central banking with expanded the money supply in wake of a recession. If my opponent is going to assert that the Depression was a failure of capitalism he will have to back that up with some reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Since then the colonies got nominal independence, but never had a chance of catching up with the advanced countries, who largely keep the poor ones firmly in their place.
    Challenge to support a claim.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    a billion people, go hungry (millions starving to death) despite NO SHORTAGE OF FOOD! This is the ultimate indictment of capitalism as a global system.
    If that is the example we would like to use as a standard I am more than happy to do so.
    It is estimated that 36M people die a year from starvation. Out of a population of roughly 6B. Which is a 0.6% starvation rate.
    There are three examples I would like to use as counters. These three are certainly not "perfectly communist," but they were certainly closer than any example we have. As I argued originally, this is a question of margins.

    China during the Great Leap Forward suffered 20-30 Million deaths of starvation, out of a population of 541M, a rate of between 3 and 5 percent. A 5 to 8 times larger death rate.

    The Soviet Union under Lenin suffered a massive famine;
    François Furet estimated there were 5 million deaths in the famine; [4] for comparison, the worst crop failure of late Tsarist Russia, in 1892, caused 375,000 to 400,000 deaths.[8] That failure followed years of normal and bumper harvests, with the resulting buildup of reserves; the harvest of 1888 had been "excellent beyond even the more optimistic hopes". [5] Also, that was in a time of peace, international commerce, and good order; there had not been war throughout Russia as there was from 1914 to 1920.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_famine_of_1921
    With a population of 137M, we see a death rate of 0.96% death rate, a 60% higher death rate.

    By far the most telling is the Soviet famine of 1932, which was a direct result of collectivist actions rather than weather. Death estimates range from 2.6 to 10 million. from a population of just under 29M, giving us a death rate of anywhere between 8.9% and 34%. A 14.8 to 56.6 times larger death rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    No, the only way to tackle a tiger is to shoot it. It's pretty straightforward. You have to have a decisive change, where the power is taken from the capitalist class by the working class.
    At this point I would like to ask my opponent just how he would define the working class and the "capitalist" class?
    What exactly distinguishes the two?
    I would argue that the labels are meaningless when you deal with real people. Lets take a CEO and a machinist. I imagine they would fall into my opponents respective categories. Both are in essence selling the same thing, their labor, both can contract freely in a capitalist society for that labor. Both are subject to the same legal restrictions (with current regulation the CEO has far more legal liability).
    I would imagine that he is following the standard definition of Bourgeoisie. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bourgeoisie Usually this means the owners of the means of production and property.
    For our example the CEO and machinist are still no different. They both probably, or at least can own stock in the company. In the American system the largest owners of public firms are institutional investors that represent the retirement and pension systems of many companies. It certainly wouldn't be fair to say that our CEO owns the company (in a control sense) any more than our worker does. So I'm not sure what really distinguishes the difference between the two.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    A couple of years ago capitalism slid into one of its periodic crises, well explained by Marx, and this one was a biggie, and is still nowhere near over. Hundreds of thousand of workers are going to lose their livelihoods. Even the serious capitalists were forced to ask if the system could survive, and in what form. Marxists however had been warning for years that the party would soon be over. These crises are endemic in the system.
    Challenge to support a claim. If you are going to imply that the current recession, or indeed any recession is because of capitalism you will need to support that. There is plenty of evidence that the current crises has arisen largely from governmental and central bank policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    So, we have a rough idea of what socialism is, and why its needed. How would it work? Well it would start with a workers government taking over the biggest companies.
    I would like the judges to note this sentence, he is validating my initial definition that a government of some sort would mandate and direct production. Given that, if my second premise holds that those directors are not producing goods then the result is an inevitable and as I will later show, demonstrated loss of production.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Obviously we need to start reversing the destruction of the planet which is inevitable if the capitalist system continues.
    Given the fact that capitalist countries largely have a better environmental record than more socialistic countries, you are going to need to support this. Challenge to support a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Eventually a global socialist economy would emerge. Wars would be a thing of the past.
    Also given the rather violent nature of more socialistic countries you will need to support this. Challenge to support a claim.
    I will remind you that two capitalistic democracies have never gone to war. The same is not true for socialist countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    So too would crime to a large extent.
    Challenge to support a claim. Again, since socialist countries have tended to have more crime than capitalist countries could you support this? Challenge to support a claim.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    A sweeping statement. In a nutshell, Stalinism was separated from Bolshevism by a political counter-revolution, and a river of blood.
    On the other hand, when bankers get their bailouts from the government, there is no bloodshed is there?
    Are you then contesting that the USSR was just as free market oriented as the United States?


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Even in the most extreme form of a capitalist economy, Nazi Germany,
    Challenge to support a claim. If they are going to be tabbulated on the free market side you are going to need to show that they didn't interfere with market forces, your statements up till now have not done so. Challenge to support a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    So how come all the hungry people in the world don't register as 'demand'?
    Demand represents just that, the demand for goods, not the consumption of them. Their demand is part of the aggregate demand that determines the price.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Sounds like you are worrying too much about small details. We have computers these days. We are perfectly capable of working out how much butter to produce. If people stop using butter so much, we would scale back production accordingly.
    That would still require an army of bureaucrats to man or maintain such a system. An army that I covered in my OP. Further the time it would take for each of us to individually allocate our demand for goods in such a system would be incredibly inefficient. Further, this system would only aggravate the problem of over consumption dealt with in the OP, by further reducing the individual cost for marginal consumption.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    What we would do, actually, in my view anyway, is move towards community restaurants serving up healthy, mainly locally grown (using sustainable techniques) food at a very low cost, or for free. This would eliminate the colossal waste you have in capitalism: Bloke in Africa grows some beans. He gets a few pennies for them. They get FLOWN to the UK and put on a shelf in a big supermarket called Sainsburys.
    The problem with your system (which I would argue hints at the problem with all collectivized societies, third order effects), is that it ignores the specialization of labor. You are in effect arguing that a bloke in Manchester is as good as our African at growing beans and in contrast the man in Africa is as good at whatever the man in Manchester does.
    Even if you were to argue that they can be trained to do each others' jobs this ignores the increased production that comes from specialization. There is a reason that in a capitalist society the beans are grown in Africa while textiles are made in Manchester. If it were more efficient to grow the beans in Manchester they would be grown there. Are you maintaining that there is absolutely no difference between workers no matter their location or culture?
    How do you account for resources? You can't produce even simple objects like pencils locally, how would you maintain that "most" objects can be?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Sorry but this doesn't make sense. In socialism, everyone would be involved in planning. Ok, some would be elected to do it full time. But are you claiming that in capitalism everyone is involved in production? I think not!!

    For a kick off you have your speculators and traders and what not. Bloodsucking leeches. The ones who do the least get the most it seems. Then you have the people in marketing etc. Just comparing the state health service in the UK to the American private one, there is more admin in the American system. Far, far more! And in capitalism you always have unemployment. 100% doing useful work? In America, off the top of my head, more like 50% or less. What about workers making weapons? Useless. Even car production is questionable.
    You have an underlying assumption here that you, Manc, are more capable at deciding what is useful and what isn't than individuals can do for themselves. That is an authoritarian assumption, in fact it is the authoritarian assumption that underlies socialism. You assume that those things shouldn't be produced because you "know" better than the people willing to pay for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    etc. To do what? Buy or not buy things - supply and demand. I have already shown that this does not feed the hungry or provide homes for the homeless. As for Hayek, he seems to be thinking more of the Stalinist regimes, where planning was undoubtedly cumbersome. This is why DEMOCRATIC PLANNING is vital, and decisions can be made at whatever level is applicable, far MORE than in capitalism where the boss gets to make the decisions, even if he hasn't got a clue what he is doing.
    This is a pretty shallow view of economics. The large scale market doesn't just decide what I buy. My individual purchase decisions along with billions of others decides what gets produced, how much of it, and even how it is produced via competition.
    You have claimed that the market economy does not "feed the hungry or provide homes for the homeless." What kind of evidence could you possibly use to support that assertion in the face of the hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty in free market economies?

    Lets take a few examples;

    Taiwan is one of the great free market stories of human history. In the 1950s, Taiwan was ruled by Chiang Kai-sheck and instituted a command type economy.
    Following his death a political backlash came about and dramatic reforms were enacted all but eliminating governmental interference in the economy. They moved quickly to being one of the economically liberal (in the classical sense) country on the planet. From that point forward growth sky rocketed. First, in basic manufacturing as the economy switched from agriculture to simple manufacturing then increasingly to higher tech manufacturing. Despite dramatic technological and societal shifts they have maintained low unemployment and have been able to transform their industry remarkably quickly. Today they have the lowest poverty rate on the planet capping a remarkable change. http://www.gio.gov.tw/info/taiwan-st.../edown/3-2.htm

    China is of course the most visible. Often it is hailed as a perfect example of "planning," but instead China languished in poverty from the rise of communism in the 50s until the 90s when a series of reforms in areas allowed limited markets to grow in parts of China. Those areas have seen massive growth. The fact that most of those being lifted out of poverty come from these zones is remarkable testament to the power of the market to create wealth. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Com..._10_06_TS.html

    India is a rare example as well. For years after the end of colonization India practiced a very strict command economy, in fact the majority party of the country was the socialist party. Stagnation and poverty remained high in the country for decades with little to no progress.
    Finally being pushed to the wall and bankruptcy the "Economic Liberalisation of 1991." The move towards a free market economy changed India's prospects greatly. Foreign investment flooded in, jobs exploded, wealth led to massive increases in the standard of living and education. They trail only China in the numbers of people raised out of poverty.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Lets talk about risk. In capitalism we see stupid risks being taken,
    Challenge to support a claim. Prove that risks taken in capitalism are inherently "stupid."

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Of course socialists could plan for failures. It hardly needs saying. We would try multiple approaches to problems, keeping the best and scrapping the worst. Trial and error. Its the best way, not theory. Except we would have a lot more control than the capitalist system does. To me, what this guy is saying is just playing with words.
    This is in no way a refutation of the argument presented. Your argument is that "they would take care of it," is not a convincing one. How would they handle it, through what mechanism would the evaluate risk and return, how do socialist planners evaluate which projects maximize efficiency? Unless you can answer these questions (no socialist economist till this point has) the point stands.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Lol! Well ok its a fair point, though the jet example is OTT.
    I'm assuming you have never seen "Barbarians at the Gates" then?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Whats to stop all the workers at factory X being lazy sods. Well, its possible.
    The market has already solved this problem, socialism has not.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    To get socialism in the first place, even to step on the road towards it, you have to change people's thinking somewhat. But once you were on that road, people's thinking would start to be changed by their environment. People thing according to the conditions they live in. In a capitalist factory, you might well skive at work, because you get no reward, the boss takes any extra effort you put in. In a socialist factory your skiving would be to the detriment of your fellow workers, or workers in general, and everyone would know that, so the culture would be that is is unacceptable to skive because you are stealing from your fellow workers (rather than just that twat the boss, in a capitalist factory).
    This is the classic "better man" defense of socialism. The claim (which subsequently failed to materialize in Lenin's Russia and all other such experiments) was that people would mysteriously become "better" once socialism was enacted. The mechanism though is unclear. You have stated that because it would hurt their fellow workers our utopian socialist will work hard. I see no reason for that to be.
    For example, lets say your utopian worker makes pencils in a pencil factory. If he decides to screw off, what is the effect on his fellow workers? They certainly won't lose any pencils, heck they have first choice of the pencils coming off the line. The only effect they would get would be dramatically removed as others slack off as well or have to devote time towards doing something else (due to their shortage of pencils) rather than their assigned task. My point being that the pain of fewer pencils being produced has no direct route back to his fellow workers.
    Contrast this with a free market system where a worker decides to produce less. In that system profits for the company are reduced and conceivably wages are cut or workers laid off. If enough people slack off there is a direct effect of the plant closing and people losing their jobs. The tangible concern and reward from the company's profits/loss is directly felt by the workers, unlike in your system.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Anyway, we would keep it simple, eventually, and make food free! How does that factor in?
    Because you cannot produce an infinite amount of goods. To return to the example, if you have a choice to make cheeseburgers and tacos, you have to select a balance. You cannot produce an infinite number of cheeseburgers and tacos.
    In free markets I contribute to that decision by purchasing a set number of cheeseburgers and tacos that are within my resources. The aggregate demand of everyone out there helps determine the ratio.
    Socialism has no such mechanism since everyone can simply "take as much as they like." There is no direct restriction on consumption outside of a vague concept of "need" which is neither defined or monitored.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Everyone would be expected to work to the same degree.
    What happens if they don't? What if they refuse to do the work?


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well for a kick off you are comparing with the USSR which was Stalinist not socialist.
    Fine, I have not said they were socialist, are you arguing that they are just as free market oriented as the United States?


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Is capitalism looking after the environment?
    My point was that nations that engage in collectivist principles have more environmental damage than those with less. Unless you can show otherwise the point stands.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    But to take on your argument about the logging company. When the logs run out, the company simply ships its operation elsewhere, or shifts to a completely new business.
    This hasn't been the case though, companies like Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific plant far more trees than they cut down. It is far cheaper to manage the land you have then continuously buy new large swaths of valuable forest.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Global CO2 is up by about 35%, all of it caused by man
    Its not really relevant to this debate, but you need to support this statement. Challenge to support a claim.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Second, a correction or two. Inequality in the western countries, especially America, and the world as a whole, is hardly imaginable. Just 2-3% own as much as the other 97%.
    Question to opponent. Which is more important to you, that people earn similar amounts or that everyone has more? To put it another way, which would you rather have, two people making $5 or two people one making $100, the other making $6?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well its a very short timespan and I have no idea what the methodology is. Yeah, is the young are in the bottom 20%, chances are most will rise up in time. But the MUST BE REPLACED. You still have a bottom 20%, and its hardly any better off than 30 or 40 years ago.
    That completely misses the point of my post. The problem with most inequality surveys and specifically with the one you point out below is that they track meaningless categories, not real people.
    For example, your graph tracks "households" the nature of which have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Its an apples and oranges comparison.

    Further, as I pointed out in the OP, most of these increases are reflective of increased American productivity. The lowest quintile is largely made up of two groups of people, the very young and the retired. The retired are using savings they earned before money was inflated and have no income, hence they are low. The young have no appreciable skills and are often working to gain experience, hence their wages are low. The best judge of economic improvement are skilled workers (the vast bulk of the actual workers in this country), their wages as you have shown have dramatically increased largely because they are valued more and produce more than they did 25 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    another graph

    Inflation adjusted percentage increase in after-tax household income for the top 1% and the four quintiles, between 1979 and 2005 (gains by top 1% are reflected by bottom bar; bottom quintile by top bar)
    graphs from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_...usehold_income
    Again I will ask my question, which is better everyone making an equal amount or everyone making more?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Ok, wrote about 30% more than would fit in, so I had to trim some sections very severely!

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    …my point is that there is nothing inherently international about socialism.
    I have already answered this in posts 4 and 6. Briefly, if you tried to have socialism in one country, the capitalists would try to smash it. So you do it in as many countries as poss to minimise that. Also, what would be the point of socialism in one country?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Which is as I pointed out a governmental control (even if the government it a democratic one) of industry.
    No, socialism = mass participation, not just ticking a box every 5 years. You need that to make the economy vibrant and not stagnating as happens when a bureaucracy runs it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Individuals making individual choices about labor and resource allocation is exactly what you described and exactly the free market system.
    Ok, how can I explain. In capitalism it's not planned. There are hungry people in the world, a billion of them. No capitalist factors them into his 'plans'. The market takes no notice of these people, they might as well not exist. The market works off supply and demand. Being hungry does not count as demand. If you have no money your NEED for food does not count as DEMAND. Your version assumes people have money.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The first step in questioning this OP is to point out the historical errors and conclusions drawn in it.
    manc
    Capitalism took over from feudalism ...
    This is Marx's view of history and has largely been discredited by mainstream historians.
    Well I was simplifying history into a sentence. Mercantilism was a feature before and after the English revolution. It became big in the the Elizabethan Era (1558–1603). A lot of it was to do with the different monarchies around Europe wanting wars with each other. I think to some extent it also went along with the trend towards a nation state. In England it peaked at 1660. After the civil war it began to wane. I'm not sure why you think Marx's view has been discredited by historians. It sounds like you think Marx and Engels were unaware of mercantilism or ignored it. The main thing is the bourgeoisie supported the revolution, and after it feudalism and mercantilism declined and capitalism became the dominant system. Capitalism needed the revolution to sweep away the old feudal structures and create a modern nation state.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    When the capitalists ran out of countries to colonise, the world erupted in the First World War.
    This is a good example of correlation not being causation.
    Lol! History doesn't work as simply as my one liners, obviously. And yeah, many academics still dont 'get' it. They cant see the wood for the trees, thats the problem. And I'm not sure colonialism had been declining since the end of the 1700s. From 1870 to 1914 (note - the year WW1 kicked off) there was a massive wave of colonialism. Wikipedia say that in this short period

    Wiki states in the same article
    In Germany, rising pan-germanism was coupled to imperialism in the Alldeutsche Verband ("Pangermanic League"), which argued that Britain's world power position gave the British unfair advantages on international markets, thus limiting Germany's economic growth and threatening its security.
    See the connection?

    Germany was late on the colonial scene. Too late really. Hence the massive tensions with the imperialist countries which were one step ahead. But Germany was expanding and Britain etc saw this as a threat.

    A lot of this wave is whats called the 'scramble for Africa'.

    In another wiki article it says that Imperial Germany only began its colonial efforts in 1884.

    It states

    The 1914 assassination of the Habsburg archduke brought the European nations slithering, as David Lloyd George wrote, "over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war.” On 5 August 1914, Britain decided to carry the struggle to Africa and the Pacific, initiating colonial campaigns with naval might and dominion manpower to conquer Germany's protectorates.

    Both in the British Empire and, eventually in the United States, it was feared that Germany eventually would “make a bid for world hegemony”[48] by means of an African conscript army.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...e_for_colonies

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    Capitalism was no longer a progressive force for the planet as a whole. After that came a crazy bubble followed by an almighty crash - the Great Depression.
    The Great Depression was largely a failure of central banking with expanded the money supply in wake of a recession.
    Well the actions and policies made it worse, but capitalism is prone to regular crises as Marx described. Are you saying that every time is just down to another mistake?

    So, why is capitalism prone to recessions? Well one way of putting it simply is like this. The capitalists employ workers. They pay them a wage which is less than the value of their work. They sell the fruits of this labour and pocket the difference - profit. What is actually means on a large scale in practice is that the workers can never afford to buy back all of what they have made, so the capitalists cant sell it all. Capitalism never manages to operate at full capacity and every few years these contradictions come to a head in a crash, in which the capitalists have to start destroying the means of production.

    The mid 1920s and the mid 2000s are examples of what the capitalists will do. If they think they can make easy money by speculation, thats what they will do. The banks took huge risks because thats the logic of the system. You have to do whatever to make as much money as possible, to stay in business, and to satisfy shareholders etc.

    In the '20s huge amounts of money were made by the richest people in America. However most people were getting poorer. That is a bubble which will burst. 80 years later, the capitalists had learned nothing, indeed they had spent the last 30 year deregulating the finance industry.

    In 1929 the government policy was 'no bailouts'. In 3 years a third of the American economy was destroyed. Unemployment rose from 3% to 24%.

    It was a credit based boom in the 20s, the capitalists made the same mistake in 2001-7. Underlying that is the capitalist system. Credit was seen as a way to stimulate the economy. Basically a way to try to compensate for the fact that the workers arent paid enough, because capitalists obviously extract a profit.
    Of course credit fuelled booms cant last.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Since then the colonies got nominal independence, but never had a chance of catching up with the advanced countries, who largely keep the poor ones firmly in their place.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If you are going to imply that the current recession, or indeed any recession is because of capitalism you will need to support that. There is plenty of evidence that the current crises has arisen largely from governmental and central bank policy.
    Well I think I more or less covered that a bit earlier in this post. The key point is that the capitalists went on a feeding frenzy while the workers got sod all. The workers were getting a smaller and smaller share of the cake. They were encouraged to buy things on credit. But, just like sharks do what they do because they are sharks, capitalists do what they do because they are capitalists. Its the pressure of competition, to stay in business and deliver maximum profits, which drives the kind of madness we see. In the end, its lack of demand from workers which caused a housing slowdown and inevitably the whole hose of cards comes tumbling down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    So, we have a rough idea of what socialism is, and why its needed. How would it work? Well it would start with a workers government taking over the biggest companies.
    I would like the judges to note this sentence, he is validating my initial definition that a government of some sort would mandate and direct production. Given that, if my second premise holds that those directors are not producing goods then the result is an inevitable and as I will later show, demonstrated loss of production.
    Er, what? As I say the people running the companies would be elected people. I don't see how that shows less is gonna get produced. Far from it. We would probably end up reducing the working week because we didn't need to do so many hours. This frees up workers to play a role in running society. It's capitalism that wastes maybe half the workforce. Get them in useful work and we can eliminate want AND reduce the working week.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    Obviously we need to start reversing the destruction of the planet which is inevitable if the capitalist system continues.
    Given the fact that capitalist countries largely have a better environmental record than more socialistic countries, you are going to need to support this.
    Well the biggest problem is global warming, and the biggest culprit there is clearly America, a capitalist country. America has about 4% of the worlds population and produces about 25% of the CO2. In other words, Americans produce 6 times more CO2 than the average.

    I said earlier that for everyone in the world to live like an American it would require at least 5 planet earths. So clearly thats impossible.

    I also mentioned some of the other problems, water shortages, degradation of land, over fishing, pollution, deforestation, nuclear waste and so on.

    Capitalism cannot and will not tackle these problems. It has not done so and it will not do so.

    There are various reasons.

    1. A capitalist does not usually have to factor in environmental destruction into his calculations. Some schemes like carbon credits exist, but as I say, they do more harm than good.

    2. The profit motive overrides environmental concerns.

    3. The scale of the global warming problem is so big it needs a massive swap to green energy, public transport and so on. The only time capitalist economies ever seem to manage a massive swap in production in a short time is in a war. And then it requires huge government intervention.

    Global capitalism means that the human race now uses more ecological resources than is sustainable, and this figure is increasing. Environmental intensity is the pollution produced per unit of consumption. It has been calculated that the impact on the environment resulting from all sources of pollution must be reduced by 50% to ensure sustainable growth (some put the figure much higher).

    What it means is that environmental intensity need to be reduced by at least 10 times, if you allow for increasing population and consumption in the world.

    The ways to reduce it include
    1. Change products to less damaging ones
    2. Use less harmful inputs (eg green energy instead of fossil fuels)
    3. Develop new technology which is more efficient
    4. Change the social aspects - eg more public transport






    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    Eventually a global socialist economy would emerge. Wars would be a thing of the past
    .

    Challenge to support a claim.

    Also given the rather violent nature of more socialistic countries you will need to support this. Challenge to support a claim.
    I will remind you that two capitalistic democracies have never gone to war. The same is not true for socialist countries.
    What? The most socialist country was Russia for the first 6 years before Lenin died. And what did they do? They pulled Russia out of the World War 1, probably shortening the war. Apart from that, what do we have thats sort of socialist, apart from the Stalinist states. Few years in Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela. I don't remember any wars.

    Socialism is internationalist, so wars wouldn't be on the agenda. We would close down all the weapons factories.

    You say two capitalist democracies have never gone to war. Maybe so, I dunno. If its true its only because so many capitalist countries weren't democracies. But plenty of capitalist democracies have started wars. How many wars has America started, or joined in for its own reasons? Just what exactly was America doing carpet bombing south Asia for decades? Playing hide and seek?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    So too would crime to a large extent.
    Challenge to support a claim. Again, since socialist countries have tended to have more crime than capitalist countries could you support this? Challenge to support a claim.
    First I've heard of it. In a socialist society we would be moving towards equality. The end goal is communism, where there is little or no need for money. What sort of crime would there be?

    There wouldn't be robbery or anything like that.

    I could write at length why things like domestic violence would be vastly reduced. Even if it (talking hypothetically for a sec) wasn't, we would ensure that every battered wife got a home, childcare etc. Its not easy to put in a nutshell. Capitalism is very much tied to the ideology of the nuclear family, and a patriarchal system. Socialism would scrap all of that. Domestic violence by the way increases in capitalist recessions.

    Culture would change. People's material position would change. Everything would change. What basis for crime would there be?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    A sweeping statement. In a nutshell, Stalinism was separated from Bolshevism by a political counter-revolution, and a river of blood.
    On the other hand, when bankers get their bailouts from the government, there is no bloodshed is there?
    Are you then contesting that the USSR was just as free market oriented as the United States?
    I dont understand this. Why would I contest that? You haven't said the USSR was as free market as the USA. Or is this a typo and should it say contending? Either way I don't understand it. My point is that to say what you are basically saying is not a realistic comparison. Stalinism was socialism OVERTHROWN. Barak Obama has not gone round murdering capitalists. Not yet anyway. What I mean by a POLITICAL counter revolution is that POWER went from the working class, albeit less democratic that it should be due to the civil war, to the bureaucracy. This is different from a SOCIAL counter-revolution which would have basically been privatisation - reinstatement of private property. The economy stayed nationalised of course. Stalin killed nearly all the original Bolshevik leaders and the Trotskyists etc. Leading members of the Left Opposition included Trotsky of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Even in the most extreme form of a capitalist economy, Nazi Germany,
    Challenge to support a claim. If they are going to be tabbulated on the free market side you are going to need to show that they didn't interfere with market forces, your statements up till now have not done so. Challenge to support a claim.
    Really? I thought I had written a shed load on that.

    A quick summary

    1. The Nazis were sworn enemies of socialism

    2. The capitalists aided the Nazis

    3. Capitalism thrived in Nazi Germany. American capitalism benefitted hugely. By 1939, 70% of German cars were made by GM and Ford inside Germany. Opel, owned by GM, was building warplanes as well! And when we talk of cars, think of the things German troops drove around in.

    4. Hitler gave top awards to leading capitalists like Henry Ford.

    "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration," declared Hitler, who kept a life-size portrait of the American industrialist next to his desk.

    http://www.ranknfile-ue.org/uen_nastybiz.html

    Of course the Nazis interfered. There was bit of Keynesian spending, like building the aotobahns, but mainly because of the build up to war.

    And the capitalists got rich.

    Now check this out

    While GM and Ford were helping the Nazis equip for war, they were resisting the American governments efforts to get them to retool in the USA!


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    So how come all the hungry people in the world don't register as 'demand'?
    Demand represents just that, the demand for goods, not the consumption of them. Their demand is part of the aggregate demand that determines the price.
    Well it certainly shows that relying on market forces, supply and demand, is no way to get the world fed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Sounds like you are worrying too much about small details. We have computers these days. We are perfectly capable of working out how much butter to produce. If people stop using butter so much, we would scale back production accordingly.

    That would still require an army of bureaucrats to man or maintain such a system. An army that I covered in my OP. Further the time it would take for each of us to individually allocate our demand for goods in such a system would be incredibly inefficient. Further, this system would only aggravate the problem of over consumption dealt with in the OP, by further reducing the individual cost for marginal consumption.

    You know, computers are incredible things. They can easily do complicated calculations that would take humans forever. A lot of this stuff can just be turned over to computers and machines. Computers could tell instantly whether people are buying less butter, and trigger a drop in production to match. Of course we would need some planners, computer programmers etc. These people exist now to some extent. We could retrain some of the marketing people maybe, just a thought. At the moment, you can get a computer degree and still end up on the dole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The problem with your system (which I would argue hints at the problem with all collectivized societies, third order effects), is that it ignores the specialization of labor. You are in effect arguing that a bloke in Manchester is as good as our African at growing beans and in contrast the man in Africa is as good at whatever the man in Manchester does.
    Even if you were to argue that they can be trained to do each others' jobs this ignores the increased production that comes from specialization. There is a reason that in a capitalist society the beans are grown in Africa while textiles are made in Manchester. If it were more efficient to grow the beans in Manchester they would be grown there. Are you maintaining that there is absolutely no difference between workers no matter their location or culture?
    How do you account for resources? You can't produce even simple objects like pencils locally, how would you maintain that "most" objects can be?
    Yeah, one reason is that the British colonised India and deliberately destroyed their textiles industry. I'm not talking about producing everything locally, but there is no reason most food cant be. This is a big subject, its called sustainable agriculture, and it involves changes to agricultural practice (more emphasis on the organic side) as well as things like growing locally. Governments acknowledge it's importance these days, but it's mainly lip service. Token gestures. The only government that took it on big time was Cuba.

    As regards growing beans in Britain or America, maybe it wouldnt be quite as easy as Kenya, but at least you wouldnt need planes flying around carrying them. I'm sure we could develop better ways. Maybe we would have to live more with seasonal variations, like in the old days. And the man in Kenya? Well he could probably do most things, given some training and resources.

    I know some jobs are specialised, but people can learn new skills. It's not rocket science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You have an underlying assumption here that you, Manc, are more capable at deciding what is useful and what isn't than individuals can do for themselves. That is an authoritarian assumption, in fact it is the authoritarian assumption that underlies socialism. You assume that those things shouldn't be produced because you "know" better than the people willing to pay for them.
    Yeah, I know that hungry people need food. It's pretty obvious. I'm pretty sure they would agree. I'm almost certain that most homeless people would like a home. I'm quite sure that the millions on council house waiting lists in Britain would like a house. Im fairly sure that most sick people would like some medicine or a doctor or whatever.
    Im almost positive that most people would like their kids to have an education, get a decent job and so on. Im fairly certain that old people would like to be able to heat their homes.

    Anyway, we could always ask people what they wanted. This is what the Marxists did in the city of Liverpool in the 80s, when they tore down rotten tenement blocks and built thousands of proper houses. They said they wanted semi-detached houses with gardens. Thats what they got. They wanted nurseries and sports centres. Thats what they got.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    etc. To do what? Buy or not buy things - supply and demand. I have already shown that this does not feed the hungry or provide homes for the homeless. As for Hayek, he seems to be thinking more of the Stalinist regimes, where planning was undoubtedly cumbersome. This is why DEMOCRATIC PLANNING is vital, and decisions can be made at whatever level is applicable, far MORE than in capitalism where the boss gets to make the decisions, even if he hasn't got a clue what he is doing.
    This is a pretty shallow view of economics. The large scale market doesn't just decide what I buy. My individual purchase decisions along with billions of others decides what gets produced, how much of it, and even how it is produced via competition.
    You have claimed that the market economy does not "feed the hungry or provide homes for the homeless." What kind of evidence could you possibly use to support that assertion in the face of the hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty in free market economies?
    Well there is enough food in the world, but the market cannot and will not feed the billion who are hungry. Capitalism was an essential stage in history, it developed industry, and it has lifted some poor countries onto a higher level, but most poor countries now are being held back. See what I quoted from Oxfam. It is true that global poverty rates have fallen, but most of that is because of China. Excluding China, the number of people living on $1 per day has not fallen significantly over the last 30 years, perhaps 10% at most. The inequality is staggering. 10% of people in the world receive half the income. And although poverty has declined in China, inequality has increased.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Lets take a few examples;

    Taiwan
    Well Chiang Kai Shek was actually an American puppet. Ok, what happened was that the US sponsored the expansion in Taiwan precisely to increase their influence in the area, partly as a response to the Chinese revolution. The KMT were there because Mao kicked them out of China. When they fled there they took the entire Chinese gold and foreign currency reserves. In actual fact, the KMT still owns decisive sectors of the Taiwanese economy. Japan also invested heavily during the later expansion.. When the KMT fled there some of the Chinese elite went with them, the capitalists. Also, the Japanese had built up agriculture and infrastructure there already. America sent at least $4 billion to kickstart the economy. The KMT then allowed capitalism to grow under the umbrella of a fully protected market.. Wikipedia says
    Most of the development was thanks to the flexibility of familiar companies which produced for foreign traders established in Taiwan and for international trade nets with the help of intermediaries. But the importance of the State must not be forgotten. It was the central organism which coordinated the industrialization process, it created the infrastructures, it attracted foreign investment, it decided the strategic priorities and, when necessary, recurred to impose its conditions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_Miracle

    The same sort of thing applies to Singapore which the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet described Singapore as "almost a state capitalist country". South Korea too got massive US aid.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    China
    Yes there is massive capitalist development in China, and paradoxically it is based on the foundations provided by Stalinism, the shattering of the old feudal system and the building up of infrastructure. This is why it was China that was getting all the foreign investment and not India in the 1990s and earlier. In 1995 China was the world's second biggest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) after the USA. However inequality there is on the increase.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    India
    India was a capitalist country. Indira nationalised some banks. It was more of a bailout, and she took some power of the feudal castes. 75% of the economy is private source. There was more state intervention before 1991 but it was nothing like a socialist economy, Marxists would classify it as capitalist. You are holding up India as an example of success, but do you know there are millions of starving people there. As I said before, during British rule we systematically de-industrialised the country. However from 1951 to 1979 India did manage to grow its industry by 4.5% each year. In 1991 they got a big cash injection from the IMF. And began a neo-liberal programme similar to western countries. The leading party may have been called socialist, but that does not mean it was a socialist country. France and Spain etc have had socialist party governments.

    According to your own figures, India has only reduced poverty by 2% over 3 years, its an improvement if its correct, but its not a huge figure, and still leaves 24% living off less than $1 per day.

    In fact in India in the 60s and 70s, not only was it a capitalist country, but the Communist Party had a distinct Stalinist line of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, saying there was no chance of an independent workers movement. This was in keeping with the Stalinist 2 stage theory - you need capitalism properly established before you can have socialism - i.e. an excuse to derail socialist movements around the world. So the CPI aligned itself with the Congress Party and Indira Gandhi.

    Ok, lets take a quick look at India's biggest companies.

    1. Reliance Industries, worth $36 billion, founded in 1966. Annual turnover $44 billion. India's biggest company. And it is a private company.

    2. the banks, well I mentioned earlier Indira nationalised many of them, basically as a bailout. ICICI bank is private though, its the third biggest bank. Its assets are $120 billion. wiki says "In 1955, The Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Limited (ICICI) was incorporated at the initiative of World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry, with the objective of creating a development financial institution for providing medium-term and long-term project financing to Indian businesses."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICICI_Bank

    3. Power - some of that was nationalised, just like many European countries.

    4. Tata - turnover $67 billion, owned by the Tata family for 140 years.

    5.Bharti - worth $23 billion. set up by Sunil Mittal who graduated from Punjab university in 1976. He immediately started his first small business, expanding in 1980 and 1981. in 1984 he started assembing phones and by the early 1990s was manufacturing all sorts of electrical stuff.

    You see, capitalism didnt spring up overnight in India, in 1991. It had always existed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Challenge to support a claim. Prove that risks taken in capitalism are inherently "stupid."
    Well, it depends how you define it. Put it this way, it helped precipitate the economic crash didn't it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This is in no way a refutation of the argument presented.
    There are top economists who are Marxists, such as Andrew Glyn of Oxford, but I am not one of them. But basically socialism is something which is worked out according to Marxist principles - trial an error rather than pure theory. I mean if you take the views of capitalist economists, they dont all agree do they? Half of them are saying the UK government strategy is too risky. Unfortunately Andrew Glyn has died, so I can't ask him. By the way, he taught economics to Ed Miliband, who is now the leader of the Labour Party, who said "It was my privilege to be taught by him".

    You say 'information about risk is lost'. This makes no sense. Planners could assess outcomes, and then these could be checked in practice. If something turned out to be a bad idea we would change it.

    The best theory here is that practice makes perfect. Economists can waffle on about risk but they never prevented the crash did they?

    Risk in capitalism is a funny one. On the one hand you have the excessive risk taking such as led to the economic crash. Surely that is obvious to see - the companies all crashed didnt they. On the other hand companies or banks often play things too safe, for instance they will only do something if they think it will generate a profit in a short timespan. Often this is in contradiction to the long term interests of humanity. In socialism you could play a much 'longer game', ie not have to justify immediate profits. So for example you could bring in new technology even if the benefits might not be seen for a longer period than what a bank will lend on.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The market has already solved this problem, socialism has not.
    I disagree. Well, not that I am saying workers are lazy now, but I don't think you can say they would be as I have explained.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This is the classic "better man" defense of socialism. The claim (which subsequently failed to materialize in Lenin's Russia and all other such experiments) was that people would mysteriously become "better" once socialism was enacted.
    Well the people volunteered to fight in the Red Army didn't they? Anyway, we have been over Russia. It had no chance on its own, being such a backward country. But this is pure speculation on your part. You must realise that people think differently according to what kind of society they live in, and their position in it. Peer pressure would be the 'whip' in a socialist society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Because you cannot produce an infinite amount of goods.
    We wouldn't want to produce an infinite amount of food. I don't know why you think we would. We would use computers to track supply and demand etc, and try to keep waste to a minimum. Maybe if you turned up to the community restaurant at 8pm they would have run out of some of the most popular stuff. I dont think that never happens in a capitalist restaurant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Everyone would be expected to work to the same degree.
    What happens if they don't? What if they refuse to do the work?
    Why do you think people will refuse to work? This is socialism we are talking about, not Stalinism, not capitalism. It would be like refusing to pull your weight in a family. It would be seen as out of order.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Well for a kick off you are comparing with the USSR which was Stalinist not socialist.
    Fine, I have not said they were socialist, are you arguing that they are just as free market oriented as the United States?
    What? There was no free market in the USSR! Not much anyway. What has this to do with anything? I dont know why you are asking me this, it makes no sense. Just because the USSR wasnt socialist doesn't mean it was capitalist. Russia was a deformed workers state. You can say it was half socialist. It had the planned economy. But it didnt have the mass workers participation socialism requires, that was supplanted by a bureaucratic dictatorship.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    My point was that nations that engage in collectivist principles have more environmental damage than those with less. Unless you can show otherwise the point stands.
    I think I have covered this earlier in this post and / or others.

    The biggest single piece of environmental damage in the world I would say is America's colossal carbon footprint.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    …companies like Weyerhaeuser and Georgia-Pacific plant far more trees than they cut down.
    So there is no deforestation? According to wikipedia, its been estimated that half of the mature tropical forests that covered the planet before 1947 have been cleared. And some scientists estimate that only 10% will remain in a few years.

    In the USA, half the country was once covered in forests. Most of it was gone by 1910. "The 2005 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment ranked the United States as seventh highest country losing its old growth forests, a vast majority of which were removed prior to the 20th century"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation_in_the_United_States

    Land is cleared in places like central and south america for things like cattle. The beef is exported to other countries including the USA. Its all a global thing, you cant look at countries in isolation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Global CO2 is up by about 35%, all of it caused by man
    Its not really relevant to this debate, but you need to support this statement. Challenge to support a claim.
    Well, I think it is relevant. Anyway, What can I find...

    Over the last 150 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have risen from 280 to nearly 380 parts per million (ppm). The fact that this is due virtually entirely to human activities is so well established that one rarely sees it questioned.
    sourceOk to summarise
    1. If we calculate how much fossil fuels have been burned by man and so on, its enough to raise atmospheric CO2 to 500ppm. Fortunately the oceans etc took up some of that.
    2. Isotopes. CO2 from burning fossil fuels has a different Carbon isotope to atmospheric CO2. This is tracked in different ways including tree rings, ice cores etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Question to opponent. Which is more important to you, that people earn similar amounts or that everyone has more? To put it another way, which would you rather have, two people making $5 or two people one making $100, the other making $6?
    Well if you ask this question to the general public you might be surprised, as the evidence seems to show that they would prefer the former. This was heavily researched by Richard Layard, a current programme director at, the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

    However this is nothing to do with what socialists think really. Our answer is that we want everyone on £10.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    The best judge of economic improvement are skilled workers (the vast bulk of the actual workers in this country), their wages as you have shown have dramatically increased largely because they are valued more and produce more than they did 25 years ago.

    Well, those figures I showed were the ones which supported my case the LEAST.

    According to economist Paul Krugman, the average wage in America has increased 10% in real terms in the last 30 years, whereas the CEO's have increased 30 fold.

    But I have seen other figures which reckon that 90% of the population are no better off.


    For instance this source shows only 4% increase for a production worker



    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesam...er/wealth.html

    according to this source middle incomes are up 20% adjusted for inflation, but housing costs are up 56%, healthcare is up 155% and university costs up 60%


    http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-conten...lass-costs.png
    Last edited by manc; October 19th, 2010 at 11:45 AM.

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    First, I should note to the judges that I have challenged my opponent to support many of his claims. Where I have felt that he has not done so I have not furthered the challenges in this post for space reasons, but will summarize them in my final post.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I have already answered this in posts 4 and 6. Briefly, if you tried to have socialism in one country, the capitalists would try to smash it.
    Question to opponent.How would capitalist countries destroy socialism if there was only one, socialist country?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    No, socialism = mass participation,
    Fine, then by this definition, capitalism = socialism, since in capitalism there is mass participation in the economy. Everyone decides what to produce via the price system, so everyone has a vote.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Ok, how can I explain. In capitalism it's not planned. There are hungry people in the world, a billion of them. No capitalist factors them into his 'plans'.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Being hungry does not count as demand.
    Challenge to support a claim. Please support that they do not affect the price system at all.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    In England it peaked at 1660. After the civil war it began to wane.
    Again, this is not exactly accurate, mercantilism was in effect well into the 18th century, it was the chief complaint that led to the American revolution you will remember. Americans were required to trade with England and were forced to pay taxes on that trade.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I'm not sure why you think Marx's view has been discredited by historians. It sounds like you think Marx and Engels were unaware of mercantilism or ignored it.
    I think they conveniently ignored it. As I’ve pointed out before, Marx was a consumer of history, not a producer. He raided history for examples of situations that supported his theories and ignored those that didn’t fit.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Lol! History doesn't work as simply as my one liners, obviously.
    Indeed, so if you would like to argue causation you will need to support that, otherwise we can consider that claim retracted.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    From 1870 to 1914 (note - the year WW1 kicked off) there was a massive wave of colonialism.
    But this does not dispute the fact that colonialism as a whole decreased during that same period.
    In 1811, Venezuela declared independence, a loss of 912,000 square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/ve.html
    In 1816, Argentina followed suite, 2.78M square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/ar.html
    Bolivia in 1822, 1.1M square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/bl.html
    Chile also in 1811, 760K square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/ci.html
    Equador in 1822, 283K square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/ec.html
    Colombia in 1819, 1.14M square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/co.html
    Brazil in 1822, 8.5M square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/br.html
    Paraguay 1811, 406.7K square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/pa.html
    Peru, 1822, 1.28M square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/pe.html
    Uruguay, 1825, 175K square miles, https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/uy.html
    That means (given your sources 8.8M addition) a net loss of 8.5M square miles. This does not even include decreases in China and the south pacific during that time frame.

    And all of this is an aside to your original claim that WWI was somehow the result of capitalism’s running out of colonies. It also ignores the clear success of capitalism from 1914 until the present day.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    See the connection?

    Germany was late on the colonial scene. Too late really.
    Yet Spain and Portugal were early on the scene, why don’t we see them included? A wiki opinion section is hardly decisive support for your claim. Unless you can show a compelling chain of logic as to why Germany fought in Europe in WWI for colonies outside of Europe this claim has little merit.
    Again I would ask you the question, if capitalism is not self-sustaining, how can you explain its remarkable success over the last hundred or so years since WWI?
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well the actions and policies made it worse, but capitalism is prone to regular crises as Marx described. Are you saying that every time is just down to another mistake?
    I’m saying that you have not shown at all that these crises were in anyway inherent to a free market system. We can point out economic crises all day, you’ll find an interesting fact, that they are largely tied to the actions of central banks, and unless you can show that they are somehow inherent to a free market system.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    They pay them a wage which is less than the value of their work.
    Challenge to support a claim. Profit does not mean that the value of their work is less than their wage.

    My opponent has demonstrated here a common misconception about profit and capital. If a laborer puts a window into an automobile, he would like you to believe that some amount of the car's final value proportional to the time he spent doing that chore belongs to that laborer. IE that profit shows that some portion of the car’s “price” is “stolen” from the worker.
    Yet, if a worker puts a window into a car frame, what is the actual value of the resulting windowed car frame? How much would people pay for a steel (or aluminum) frame that has a couple of windows in it? We can in fact ask this question at all the stages of the car’s production to illustrate a point. The organization itself, including the management adds value to the car as well. They arrange the production, the coordinate the workers, they plan the delivery, etc. The workers independently cannot produce a product of any value, nor can management or the stock holders. The organization facilitates that function so the organization should retain a portion of the value.
    My opponent would also like you to believe that greedy stockholders are exploiting those laborers. But let me ask another question about our figurative laborer. From whence comes his windows? Or the car frame? The capital required for those supplies, and the machines, and the factory and their wages (remember they get paid regardless of whether the car actually sells) all come from individuals and groups that have taken on substantial risk to fund the organization. Marx tried to claim that investors were simply parasites, but we can see that they often lose far, far more than laborers if the company fails. A laborer losses his job, no one comes in and take his bank account, past wages or property. The investor has given a portion of their money (usually retirement money) and loses all of it. That is a substantial amount of risk and to argue that it shouldn’t be rewarded is to be frank absurd. The value that they add to the company (by allowing it to operate) earns them a share of that car’s sales price as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    In the '20s huge amounts of money were made by the richest people in America. However most people were getting poorer.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    In 3 years a third of the American economy was destroyed. Unemployment rose from 3% to 24%.
    You’ll notice of course that it stayed at 3% (and the stock market regained almost all of its value) until the government intervened with Smoot-Hawley.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Since then the colonies got nominal independence, but never had a chance of catching up with the advanced countries, who largely keep the poor ones firmly in their place.
    Manc has relayed to me that he will respond to this in his last post.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well I think I more or less covered that a bit earlier in this post. The key point is that the capitalists went on a feeding frenzy while the workers got sod all. The workers were getting a smaller and smaller share of the cake.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Er, what? As I say the people running the companies would be elected people.
    There are only two things that can be meant by this as I see it. Either that we replace the board elected by the owners with a board elected by the workers (like there is in Germany for example). In which case we will see lower efficiencies and smaller growth and production. “Stockholder-Manager Conflicts and Firm Value.” John Byrd, Robert Parrino, and Gunnar Pritsch. Association for Investment Management and Research. PG 25
    Or a government set up outside the corporation to manage the largest corporations. In which case premise 1 of my argument is confirmed.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    It's capitalism that wastes maybe half the workforce.
    Challenge to support a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Capitalism cannot and will not tackle these problems. It has not done so and it will not do so.
    All of these problems are more abundant in socialized countries than in free-market economies. A simple look at both China and the Soviet Union when compared to anywhere in Western Europe or the United States will show that land degradation is lower, nuclear waste is contained more securely, water is more abundant and deforestation has been reversed. Until you can actually cite a figure around these claims, you haven’t shown anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    1. A capitalist does not usually have to factor in environmental destruction into his calculations.
    Challenge to support a claim. Support this. I provided a very real example in Weyerhaeuser and other lumber companies. You need to directly support this claim or retract it.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    2. The profit motive overrides environmental concerns.
    Fallacy, false dichotomy.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    What? The most socialist country was Russia for the first 6 years before Lenin died. And what did they do? They pulled Russia out of the World War 1, probably shortening the war.
    I’m not sure how Russia leaving shortened the war, it allowed Germany to concentrate forces on the western front, prolonging allied conflicts there.
    Regardless, you are assuming that Lenin pulled Russia out of WWI from some benevolent anti-war socialist stance rather than because the country was physically unable to fight anymore.
    And while you dismiss them as “Stalinst” they are certainly more socialist than free-market countries like the United States. So if socialism is more peaceful than capitalism, why are countries like the Soviet Union and China more belligerent than countries with more free market economies?
    I will grant you that neither example is “perfectly socialist,” but it is certainly more socialist, so why aren’t there the peaceful benefits?
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Socialism is internationalist, so wars wouldn't be on the agenda.
    Except of course with capitalist countries right? Even Marx admitted this much.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Or is this a typo and should it say contending? Either way I don't understand it.
    Contending was the word. My point was to point out that along the continuum of free market to socialist, Stalin’s Russia was much closer to socialist than the United States. Unless of course you can contest that.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    You know, computers are incredible things. They can easily do complicated calculations that would take humans forever. A lot of this stuff can just be turned over to computers and machines. Computers could tell instantly whether people are buying less butter, and trigger a drop in production to match. Of course we would need some planners, computer programmers etc. These people exist now to some extent. We could retrain some of the marketing people maybe, just a thought. At the moment, you can get a computer degree and still end up on the dole.
    Irrelevant, a technology available to both systems cannot inherently make one system superior. The faster response time to demand likewise makes the free-market more efficient.
    Further, to replicate a simple economy would take hundreds of thousands of planners, not just the few you portray. They would have to map demand for every single product produced in the economy, which includes products that flow into other products. They would simultaneously have to map supply for each of those products, supply routes, production locations, production techniques, prioritize shipments, prioritize production (which is more important, tin for a pencil or tin for a can?). There are literally billions of connections that they would have to model into the computer and those connections change in a free market daily, sometimes hourly. To maintain that we can simply put some numbers into a magical box and it will make everything right in the world is a gross simplification.

    The problem with your system (which I would argue hints at the problem with all collectivized societies, third order effects), is that it ignores the specialization of labor. You are in effect arguing that a bloke in Manchester is as good as our African at growing beans and in contrast the man in Africa is as good at whatever the man in Manchester does.
    Even if you were to argue that they can be trained to do each others' jobs this ignores the increased production that comes from specialization. There is a reason that in a capitalist society the beans are grown in Africa while textiles are made in Manchester. If it were more efficient to grow the beans in Manchester they would be grown there. Are you maintaining that there is absolutely no difference between workers no matter their location or culture?
    How do you account for resources? You can't produce even simple objects like pencils locally, how would you maintain that "most" objects can be?
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    As regards growing beans in Britain or America, maybe it wouldnt be quite as easy as Kenya, but at least you wouldnt need planes flying around carrying them. I'm sure we could develop better ways.
    Challenge to support a claim. Then support that belief with a compelling business case. Why is it more effective to do so? What are the savings, what are the costs (financial, resource, culturally, environmentally, etc)?
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yeah, I know that hungry people need food. It's pretty obvious.
    Ah, but that isn’t the question is it? What food, from where, whose are you taking, how will you get it there? Will it be beans or rice? You are still assuming that you, Manc, can make a better decision about how these people live their lives than they can.
    Your own case study is a perfect example;
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Anyway, we could always ask people what they wanted. This is what the Marxists did in the city of Liverpool in the 80s, when they tore down rotten tenement blocks and built thousands of proper houses. They said they wanted semi-detached houses with gardens. Thats what they got. They wanted nurseries and sports centres. Thats what they got.
    Yes those beautiful socialists destroyed those evil tenement homes and everyone was happy right?
    In 1987 at the end of the experiment Liverpool was on the verge of bankruptcy.
    Government owned housing’s rates skyrocketed, eventually requiring national governmental intervention
    Quality of the housing deteriorated dramatically until national relief funds kicked in
    Property values dropped significantly.
    The reasons for all of these problems was because they council believed it knew more than the market about market desires.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well there is enough food in the world, but the market cannot and will not feed the billion who are hungry.
    Strawman Manc, no one has claimed that a free market is perfect, we are claiming that it is better. I showed in my last post (which you ignored) that the free market has a lower starvation rate than communist countries.
    As for lifting out of poverty, I would agree that the majority of people lifted out of poverty were in China. In fact it was I who brought it up. This is because China adopted free-market reforms, China is the perfect example of the power of the free market to destroy poverty.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    See what I quoted from Oxfam.
    You quoted nothing from Oxfam that I can see, if you are going to reference it you need to link it.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well Chiang Kai Shek was actually an American puppet. Ok, what happened was that the US sponsored the expansion in Taiwan precisely to increase their influence in the area, partly as a response to the Chinese revolution.
    There are a lot of claims here without support Manc. There is further a timing issue. As I showed in the last post, Taiwan does not start economic growth until AFTER Shek leaves power. So your claims that it was just some American plot are unsupported.
    Further, your attempt at an explanation does not fit with the timeline. Why was Taiwan so poor for so long if the government was the one that ended the poverty? Why was it only after free-market reforms were enacted that the growth rate sky rocketed?
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    …allowed capitalism to grow under the umbrella of a fully protected market.. Wikipedia says
    Wikipedia is not a valid citation manc, the ability to change the page at will is exactly why it isn’t a good source to use. For example, you cite it several times, you claim it supports that the business elite fled with the KMT (wiki points out “citation needed”). Your quote about most of the development being backed by the government, offers no citation nor logical support. I offered verifiable sources, your counter is an opinion document on an open source website. You’ll have to do better.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yes there is massive capitalist development in China,
    I would like the judges to acknowledge this as a concession. While he attempts to say that the free market is somehow due to the Stalinistic events in the past, he offers no support for this seemingly odd comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    India was a capitalist country. Indira nationalised some banks. It was more of a bailout, and she took some power of the feudal castes. 75% of the economy is private source. There was more state intervention before 1991 but it was nothing like a socialist economy, Marxists would classify it as capitalist.
    Until Manc can support this with a valid third party source, I would like to propose to the judges that his claim be dropped. I showed extensively that India followed a command style economic system until 1991, he has offered no support otherwise.
    Further, the “evidence” that he later offers only supports my position. He makes no objection to the following facts. 1) Since 1991 India has had a largely free-market economy. 2) Since 1991, India has had continued growth.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well, it depends how you define it. Put it this way, it helped precipitate the economic crash didn't it.
    No, a lack of risk brought on by government assurances brought on the crises.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    But basically socialism is something which is worked out according to Marxist principles - trial an error rather than pure theory. I mean if you take the views of capitalist economists, they dont all agree do they?
    I’ll deal with the later point first. It is irrelevant if economists in a free market system fully understand the system because its effectiveness is not predicated on our understanding, but rather on each person understanding their own desires. It isn’t a question of whether the economist in charge understands the system because there is no economist in charge.
    Take this in opposition to your economy which as we’ve discussed is planned (while we disagree on planned by whom, we can agree at least that there is planning). In that case, the accuracy of those in charge is of paramount importance. Any error in the theories of those running the economy is compounded dramatically throughout the system. That “trial and error” is much, much more dangerous than the free-market equivalent for exactly the reasons I’ve listed out. Government does not and cannot have all the relevant information (including preferences), risk is not fully transmitted back to the decision maker (the government is not going to lose their job if they don’t maximize production).
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    You say 'information about risk is lost'. This makes no sense. Planners could assess outcomes, and then these could be checked in practice. If something turned out to be a bad idea we would change it.
    That is not generally what is meant by risk. Risk is a measure of the likelihood of failure of a project. We are not talking about deciding whether to continue a project, but rather deciding on which project to start. Do we use our limited resource of tin to help make pencils or cans or both and if so in what percentages? There is a risk associated with each of those decisions, what if pencils are unpopular, what if tin is found to be unsuitable for can manufacture, etc? Deciding to change course mid way through as you suggest is expensive and involves a great deal of inefficiency.
    Risk is a measure that tells us how much you need to compensate me to negate my concerns over a project. Without the price system there is no mechanism to transmit this information before the project begins. That is what is meant by risk information being lost.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    On the one hand you have the excessive risk taking such as led to the economic crash.
    Yes! Absolutely, the taking of excessive risk in the form of leverage (both in peoples’ decisions in the housing market and on wall street) was a major cause of the crash. To argue however that risk as an abstract concept was to blame is meaningless, in fact there is risk in the socialist system too, projects are just as likely to fail (if not more so) and the risk is still there.
    The relevant question to ask above is “why did people take higher risks than they had in the past?” Indeed this is what we mean by excessive isn’t it? The answer most often bandied about is “greed,” but this too is meaningless. Greed was present before that risk was taken, in fact it has always been present both in good times in bad. If we are to blame greed for the crash, we have to blame it for the boom too. Rather, the answer is found in the disassociation of risk from the risk taker.
    In both situations, we can see that the people who decided how much risk to take were not the ones that bore the full cost of the negative consequences of that risk. Let’s take banks as an example, they bought and sold extremely risky mortgages, the lent to people who had absolutely no likelihood of paying back the loan, why? Greed falls flat here, why would you loan out money you won’t get back? Rather it was because the government had intervened with two programs. One was the community reinvestment act that required banks to lend to low income individuals (the ones least likely to be able to afford a home) and the second one was Fannie/Freddie which the government instructed to buy a certain portion of those risky loans from the bank. The fact that those organizations were backed by the federal government constituted an implicit support for them. Bank executives were faced with an interesting question. If they didn’t lend to people who couldn’t afford the house they were buying they would be in violation of federal law. However, if they took on extraordinary risk and made those loans they could simply sell them to the government (or later as part of securities) and get a huge premium. Congress had already confirmed the “too big to fail” concept during the 80s so the risk of failure was virtually non-existent.
    Here we see programs that look good from the surface (who doesn’t want poorer people to buy a home?) have massively unintended consequences, largely because risk and consequence were separated. This is exactly the kind of system that my opponent would like to set up. What risk is there in a socialist system? Succeed or fail you get the same reward.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I disagree. Well, not that I am saying workers are lazy now, but I don't think you can say they would be as I have explained.
    Again, let us return to our closest example, the Soviet Union. Productivity in the Soviet Union (especially agriculture) lagged far, far behind the west, even when indexed to control for environmental factors. See the graph on page 3 of this analysis, http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes...510410.web.pdf Too head off one obvious objection, the decline in the productivity post-empire was largely due to the industry being unsustainable via subsidies.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well the people volunteered to fight in the Red Army didn't they?...Peer pressure would be the 'whip' in a socialist society.
    Americans volunteered for WWII as well, that doesn’t mean they somehow became perfect. Soviet conscription is legendary by the way so perhaps we shouldn’t use them as a prime example of socialism rising to be selfless. Are you suggesting then that some form of pressure is necessary? What happens if someone in your system decides they don’t really care about what people think of them, they don’t want to work? Question to opponent.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    We wouldn't want to produce an infinite amount of food.
    My argument is that you are forced to make decisions about production. Which do you make more of cheeseburgers or tacos? Simply appealing to computers to solve the problem is an error. Computers are not intrinsic to socialism, they benefit the free market at least equally. You have maintained in effect that these magical devices would simply “know” how much of each good to produce, when, using what resources and how they are valued over other resources?
    To ask a practical question, how are you going to make value decisions? Let’s say you have the total resources to produce either two cheeseburgers or two tacos. Further lets say you have two consumers and you get to decide what proportion to make.
    Here is what you computer will get:
    Consumer A: I really like Cheeseburgers, I would like two.
    Consumer B: I really like Tacos, I would like two.
    What do you produce?
    To make that decision in a socialist system you have to know their indifference curves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indifference_curve, and to use your computer system we would have to enter a nearly endless supply of those curves. How many tacos is one cheeseburger worth? How many pencils is it worth? How many cars? Etc, etc, etc. Entering this data into the computer system would prohibit other productive work, lowering total utility.
    The free market eliminates this problem through the price system. Through an emergent process currency developed to substitute as a universal means of exchange.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Why do you think people will refuse to work? This is socialism we are talking about, not Stalinism, not capitalism. It would be like refusing to pull your weight in a family. It would be seen as out of order.
    Come now, are you claiming that no one in the entire country would be unwilling to work?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    What? There was no free market in the USSR! Not much anyway.
    Good, then we agree. My point was that on the continuum from free market to command economy, the USSR was much closer to your example of socialism than to the United States. In fact it is the best historical example we have for how socialism might actually develop (regardless of whether or not you feel it is bastardized). If you can suggest a better historical example, let’s have it.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    So there is no deforestation?
    Challenge to support a claim. Please support where I said that. I pointed out that there is in fact a profit motive for companies to protect the environment. You haven’t explained how you can reconcile the massive, massive ecological disasters of the communist world with your claim that they would better protect the environment than the free market.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc’s link
    Over the last 150 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have risen from 280 to nearly 380 parts per million (ppm).
    You are aware that that is a 26% increase and that your source fails to separate out any contribution by nature. So you can at best support that manmade CO2 is less than 26% of total atmospheric CO2.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well if you ask this question to the general public you might be surprised, as the evidence seems to show that they would prefer the former. This was heavily researched by Richard Layard, a current programme director at, the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

    However this is nothing to do with what socialists think really. Our answer is that we want everyone on £10.
    I didn’t ask which they preferred, I asked what you preferred. Further, given the scarcity of resources in the world, everyone making more than the average now is not only unsupported, but to be frank a fantasy world.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well, those figures I showed were the ones which supported my case the LEAST.
    If by least you mean not at all. The figures showed that the vast bulk of gainfully employed Americans over the last decade have seen real (in the economic sense) wage improvement.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    According to economist Paul Krugman, the average wage in America has increased 10% in real terms in the last 30 years,
    This here is proof that wages are getting better. Your comparison is a false one. You are comparing them to CEOs also under the free market, not to available data from socialist economies. Unless you can compare those numbers to a socialist example it is meaningless.
    A second slightly snarky response. Paul Krugman has become increasingly a pariah in the economic community. He championed the stimulus (which failed) and has only this week argued that the only reason it failed was because it was too small! He ignores the fact that there was exactly zero uptick in real spending in GDP despite hundreds of billions of dollars being poured into the economy. Krugman, despite his nobel prize is to be frank a joke. Ok, /soapbox.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    For instance this source shows only 4% increase for a production worker
    Slightly small point, that is a tiny proportion of our economy that has showed very little increase in productivity, the numbers quoted above for overall worker increases are much more reliable.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    according to this source middle incomes are up 20% adjusted for inflation, but housing costs are up 56%, healthcare is up 155% and university costs up 60%
    Yep, and look at those sources.
    Housing-massive governmental subsidies
    Healthcare- Increased regulation and governmental subsidies
    Universities- Massive governmental spending

    Do you see the common thread here? Subsidies have in every situation led to raised prices over time via over consumption.

    I would also like to offer my opponent a chance to return to some of the point I have made against socialism that he has not covered:
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    At this point I would like to ask my opponent just how he would define the working class and the "capitalist" class?
    What exactly distinguishes the two?
    I would argue that the labels are meaningless when you deal with real people. Lets take a CEO and a machinist. I imagine they would fall into my opponents respective categories. Both are in essence selling the same thing, their labor, both can contract freely in a capitalist society for that labor. Both are subject to the same legal restrictions (with current regulation the CEO has far more legal liability).
    I would imagine that he is following the standard definition of Bourgeoisie. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bourgeoisie Usually this means the owners of the means of production and property.
    For our example the CEO and machinist are still no different. They both probably, or at least can own stock in the company. In the American system the largest owners of public firms are institutional investors that represent the retirement and pension systems of many companies. It certainly wouldn't be fair to say that our CEO owns the company (in a control sense) any more than our worker does. So I'm not sure what really distinguishes the difference between the two.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  10. #10
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Ok, this is a 'extra' post. Something weird has happened, and a big chunk of my last post vanished, although it's still inside ODN if you 'reply to this' my last post. But if you then try to post it this chunk vanishes. Anyway, here it is. Sorry to Squatch for all the inconvenience. I will do my next post in a few days Squatch, and then you can do one replying specifically to this and one to my main one. This is why two or three major points seemed to not be addressed and why I mentioned having mentioned Oxfam before! More info on this weirdness on my test thread.

    manc
    Since then the colonies got nominal independence, but never had a chance of catching up with the advanced countries, who largely keep the poor ones firmly in their place

    Squatch

    CHALLENGE
    (note I have typed this out not in the normal way, because that is what seems to screw up the stuff below)





    Well according to Oxfam, 97% of international trade benefits rich countries, and only 3% benefits poor ones. The report talks about " "rigged rules and double standards" that favour the rich". source

    Oxfam summarises it like this

    DUMPING
    "The rich world tells the poor world to get rid of subsidies, but continues to spend $1 billion a day subsidising its own farming enterprises. Rich countries dump subsidised produce on developing countries, driving down the price of local produce - with devastating effects on the local economy. This unlevel playing field has made many poor farmers even poorer, or forced them off their land completely"

    Market Access
    "Rich countries limit and control poor countries' share of the world market by charging high taxes on imported goods. As a result, many poor countries can only afford to export raw materials, which give far lower returns than finished products."

    Forced Liberalisation
    "Rich countries have long used the IMF and World Bank, and aggressive bilateral trade deals, to push open the door of poor countries' markets to a flood of cheap products but now rich countries plan to use the binding rules of the WTO to kick that door down altogether"

    Labour Rights"Globalisation and trade have drawn millions of women in developing countries into paid work. Their labour is contributing to rising global prosperity and to the profits of some of the world's most powerful companies. But women workers are systematically being denied their fair share of the benefits from their labour."

    Patents"Increased patent protection for companies in rich countries costs developing countries $40 billion each year."

    Regional Trade Agreements"Regional Trade Agreements between equal partners can be beneficial to both – but between a rich and a poor economy, the stronger economy always comes out on top"
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It is estimated that 36M people die a year from starvation. Out of a population of roughly 6B. Which is a 0.6% starvation rate.
    China during the Great Leap Forward ...
    The Soviet Union under Lenin...
    0.6% may die from hunger but about 15% are malnourished. These people die despite no lack of food in the world. Its because they cant afford to buy food.
    Russia was prone to droughts and famines, and in 1921-2 at the end of the civil war there was a bad one. Maybe 5 million died. This was due to lack of food. As well as the drought the problems were
    1. World War 1 had destroyed much of the agriculture and indeed things like horses and equipment
    2. The civil war and the military interventions by the capitalist countries did the same. 21 capitalist armies invaded from Britain, America, Japan etc.
    3. An economic embargo by the capitalist countries. The western powers were deliberately trying to starve Russia from 1919 onwards.
    4. The rich peasants had tried to make profits, hiding food during the civil war to stop it getting requisitioned. The Bolsheviks I think were forced to start collectivising agriculture too early and this didn't help, they recognised this and reversed it around about this time. Some say that peasants refused to grow food because it was getting requisitioned.

    Some aid did come eventually from the outside world. The Red Cross and Save the Children in particular. You mention that the 1892 famine killed only a few hundred thousand. The difference is that that famine followed years of bumper crops, so plenty of food was stockpiled. And of course there was no embargo and it was not preceded by years of war.

    The Chinese famine was part natural disaster and part bad planning/mismanagement. Sadly it was also a result of changes in agricultural practice which were thought to increase food production but did not. Close planting and deep ploughing.

    In 1960, 60% of agricultural land received no rain at all! In some places in Southern China there were floods, which can be just as damaging as drought.

    The Soviet famine of 1932 was a result of Stalin's policies, forced collectivisation. It marked the end of the NEP (New Economic Policy) implemented by the Bolsheviks in 1921.

    The original policy of the Bolsheviks was to give land TO the peasants, not take it off them.

    A lot of this relates to the fact that socialism is not going to work in a backward country, especially if it is isolated.

    Marx never really thought socialism would start in a semi-feudal place like Russia, because of these very reasons. It could only have worked in Russia if it had spread to advanced countries, the Bolsheviks hoped it would spread to Germany.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    At this point I would like to ask my opponent just how he would define the working class and the "capitalist" class?
    Yeah, the capitalist class, the bourgeoisie, owns the means of production. They employ the working class. The CEO however, although employed, is hardly in the same position as the workers. It is the COE who makes workers redundant, or refuses a wage rise. He is running the show from the point of view of the capitalist, trying to ensure maximum profits for the capitalist. He may also get a chunk of the company. So he is effectively part of the capitalist class. He also probably gets huge wages, and has more in common with the capitalists than the workers from all sorts of points of view.


    PS, when I go through your last post Squatch, any references to challenges being ignored I will probably just ignore for simplicity, unless they contain new stuff I need to address.

  11. #11
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    First, a message to the judges, these posts (mine and manc's last) should be taken as addendums to their predeccessors rather than as totally new posts.


    [QUOTE=manc;449911]

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well according to Oxfam, 97% of international trade benefits rich countries, and only 3% benefits poor ones.
    Methodology to reports is a critical area for review. The OXFAM report, which can be found here

    Therea are some massive problems with this report. I'll begin with those and then move onto some interesting quotes that paint a different picture in the report than that summary would indicate.

    First, the report is a conglomoration of several different studies that had widely different methodologies and data sets. The summing of those data sets is not a valid statistical sample and rather than debate that minutia I would posit that it reflects on the academic depth of the report. If the authors are unaware of such a basic statistical rule, I find it unlikely that they were fully aware of the complexities of economic theory or international trade. Glaringly they seem to imply that global trade is a fixed pie, that increasing income in a developing state requires or at least implies a decrease in developed countries income.
    This shift in distribution of world export activity implied by our simulation is very modest,
    http://www.maketradefair.com/en/inde...cat=2&select=5
    There is absolutely no rational basis for this idea however, the US produces more GDP alone today than was produced by Europe a hundred years ago. How can we say then that the total pie of GDP is unchanging?

    Rather the study suggests that trade is immensly valuable, but that it needs protection in developing nations. The problem with this idea is that it presupposes that individuals would trade given protectionist policies and ignores the proven development models I explored earlier and again below.

    Once you start to examine the actual studies themselves you will find no better research methodology.

    One study defined "poor income nations" as those whose GDP is below a certain percent of their major trading partner. That definition is begging the question.

    More typically, the reports stopped tracking countries as "poor" when they rose above a set GDP limit. While this would seem fine in the abstract, think about how it applies to the countries in question.
    Lets say the countries in question are the United States and Liberia.
    The United States as a developed nation will have demand for basic goods that can be produced cheaply, agriculture, textiles and the like, the value of which is relatively low in agrigate.
    Liberia on the other hand can produce those goods more cheaply than the US and so does not import them. Rather they, as a developing economy, import more complex products with the money they got exporting basic goods. They import machinery, computers, cell phones, etc. The value of these goods in aggregate are much much higher.

    Here is where the OXFAM studies stop. They say "ahha" we've got you, look at that more money is going out than is coming in!

    But that is only the first step in trade. Liberia uses those advanced goods in its industry to produce more advanced materials domestically, which it can then export.
    This is shown in their data as countries like China and India mysteriously drop out of the reports as they begin exporting more valuable products. Korea is a perfect example of this as well.

    Oxfam is looking at these countries much like a factory. They see all the money going out to rent the building, buy machinery and raw materials and they scream that the company is being exploited. They don't wait to see what comes out of the factory and if it makes money from those goods.


    A final flaw in the study. It takes highly specific industries and tracks them as place holders for the society at large. Industries like coffee and textiles might be representative of the society when it begins international trade, but may not be as the country develops. It would be as if you were to examine the amount of money going into the window washing industry in the United States and infer that because it is so low the whole country is stagnating.
    In fact, the US went through a very similar process. Farmers were the vast bulk of this country at the close of the eighteenth century. If you were to track solely their income levels and standards of living you would miss the amazing transformation the society went through over the next hundred years.
    Not a single study in the report mentions trade of more complex goods than a bicycle. One report cites hand looms in India (the government subsidy of which is an interesting story), but not the export of cars, service labor or a thousand other profitable goods from that country.

    To summarize, of course all the economic benefits of international trade are going to go to rich countries if you define "rich countries" as the ones getting benefits from international trade and ignore the changes in societies and industries over time.

    From the report:
    Developing countries have registered particularly rapid increases in their ratios of exports to GDP. Exports now account for more than one-quarter of their combined GDP, a proportion which is higher than for rich countries. The composition of exports from developing countries has also been changing. While many remain dependent on primary commodities, the share of manufactured goods has been growing. Over the past decade, there has been a boom in high-technology exports, with countries such as China, India, and Mexico emerging as major suppliers of cutting-edge technologies, as well as labour-intensive goods.

    Chapter 1, http://www.maketradefair.com/en/inde...2002153411.htm

    Cutely:
    History makes a mockery of the claim that trade cannot work for the poor. Participation in world trade has figured prominently in many of the most successful cases of poverty reduction - and, compared with aid, it has far more potential to benefit the poor.
    Chapter 2

    I'll take each of their "definitions" in turn:

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Dumping, Patents, Market Access
    These are all examples of governmental interference in free market operations. To imply that they are bad (and they are) is to concede the point that the free market is more efficient than the less than free market.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Forced Liberalisation
    "Rich countries have long used the IMF and World Bank, and aggressive bilateral trade deals, to push open the door of poor countries' markets to a flood of cheap products but now rich countries plan to use the binding rules of the WTO to kick that door down altogether"
    An important note here, the "cheap products" they refer to are ones that are not produced in country. The alternative is not that these countries would simply start miraculously producing these goods themselves, but rather would not have them at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Labour Rights"Globalisation and trade have drawn millions of women in developing countries into paid work. Their labour is contributing to rising global prosperity and to the profits of some of the world's most powerful companies. But women workers are systematically being denied their fair share of the benefits from their labour."
    These are cultural issues. Is OXFAM suggesting that developed nations impose their own cultural values upon developing nations? Further, lets again explore the alternative. The alternative is to not trade with those nations which is certainly economically worse than a lessened wage.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Regional Trade Agreements"Regional Trade Agreements between equal partners can be beneficial to both – but between a rich and a poor economy, the stronger economy always comes out on top"
    This is a claim they directly contradict in their own study. As I cite above, trade increases the economic prosperity of both economies, by definition. That kind of win-win situation is better than a lose-win that would be implied under their economic structure.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    0.6% may die from hunger but about 15% are malnourished. These people die despite no lack of food in the world. Its because they cant afford to buy food.
    Apples and Oranges manc, obviously a greater percentage are malnourished than die, but that was true of the examples I cited of socialist countries as well.
    Further, you are arguing for economic development, not the removal of the free market here. I agree that because these deaths are largely because the free market has not brought them food, as opposed to the socialist starvations which arose from the government actually destroying food production.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    2. The civil war and the military interventions by the capitalist countries did the same. 21 capitalist armies invaded from Britain, America, Japan etc.
    3. An economic embargo by the capitalist countries. The western powers were deliberately trying to starve Russia from 1919 onwards.
    4. The rich peasants had tried to make profits, hiding food during the civil war to stop it getting requisitioned. The Bolsheviks I think were forced to start collectivising agriculture too early and this didn't help, they recognised this and reversed it around about this time. Some say that peasants refused to grow food because it was getting requisitioned.
    I would like to point out to the judges that none of this is supported either by links here or elsewhere. Since I will not have a chance to respond to it due to debate restrictions I ask that it be stricken. The events he cites simply did not happen, there is no evidence provided here or elsewhere for the concepts he cites.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    The Chinese famine...was also a result of changes in agricultural practice which were thought to increase food production but did not. Close planting and deep ploughing.
    My opponent is absolutely right here, and absolutely proves my point. Socialist systems rely on central planning, if the central planner is at all wrong, disaster ensues. You'll notice that the US has also had plenty of natural disasters and not had the equivalent food shortages.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yeah, the capitalist class, the bourgeoisie, owns the means of production. They employ the working class.
    This is the simplistic view Marx expressed as well. In virtually all free market systems these are all the same people. Marx used one example only of this in his writings, the English wool factories. He conveniently forgot to mention that those plants were set up initially in part by government grants to specific individuals, hardly a free market principle. The result was that one or two individuals owned the factory rather than a conglomeration of people as would arise naturally for capital intensive systems.

    The irony is, that when left alone the market tends towards the same people investing money (ie owning) and working there. This comes by two routes. First, entrepreneurship. In situations where people have an idea they invest both their time and money into the idea because they believe in it. When they bring others on they usually offer up stakes of control rather than cash because they need that money to run the business.
    Second, in larger firms, stock is granted to the employees to limit agency costs. We talked about this earlier. There is always a conflict between the worker's desire to do other things (go home, play around, etc) and the company's need for the worker to produce. This is sovled if the worker gets a proportional share of the revenue generated by his work. This is sometimes done through profit sharing, but more often is done through grants of stock and ownership. Very few firms do not offer retirement plans based on stock ownership.

    Further, this again commits the fallacy of treating statistical categories like flesh and blood people. His "capitalists" the shareholders earn the money they invest in companies by producing! The capitalists become capitalists by being proletariat. Likewise, our proletariat earns money for their work that they turn around and invest in the market or retirement plans or even in banks (which turn around and loan to businesses) and become capitalists.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  12. #12
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    How would capitalist countries destroy socialism if there was only one, socialist country?
    By warfare (or other force, eg sponsoring a coup), or economic sabotage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    No, socialism = mass participation,
    Fine, then by this definition, capitalism = socialism
    I dont just mean consuming. I mean deciding how the economy is run. Actually running it. I mean the people being involved in the day to day decisions being made. Decision making is both centralised and massively decentralised at the same time. It has to be co-ordinated at the top, but as much as possible is made as far as possible at the lowest levels. This huge increase in participatory democracy is absolutely essential for socialism. This is what soviets are for.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Ok, how can I explain. In capitalism it's not planned. There are hungry people in the world, a billion of them. No capitalist factors them into his 'plans'.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Capitalists do not factor in the hungry. They plan to sell the food to people with money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Challenge to support a claim. Please support that they do not affect the price system at all.
    Well, they may do a bit in some way. But they don't GET FED. Thats the main thing. All this talk of 'supply and demand' being a wonderful system, but it basically disregards the hungry and so they stay hungry and millions die, every year.

    There is no mechanism whereby the markets worry about feeding the hungry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    ... mercantilism was in effect well into the 18th century
    Mercantilism may well still existed to some extent in the 1700s, I just said it waned after the English revolution. It existed in the feudal system and it existed in the capitalist system. The main thing here is that the English civil war was basically capitalism overthrowing feudalism because feudalism was no longer progressive.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I think they conveniently ignored it.
    Marx and Engels used the word 'mercantile' (the word which was used most in those days) 132 times and mercantilism 19 times.

    here is a brief footnote from Anti-Duhring
    "Mercantilism — a school of bourgeois political economy, that emerged in the last third of the fifteenth century; it expressed the interests of the merchant bourgeoisie in the age of the primitive accumulation of capital, identified the wealth of the country with the accumulation of money and attached primary importance in this to the state. Marx called the early period of mercantilism the monetary system (see MECW, Vol. 36)."


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Lol! History doesn't work as simply as my one liners, obviously.

    Indeed, so if you would like to argue causation you will need to support that, otherwise we can consider that claim retracted.
    see below for more specific detail




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    But this does not dispute the fact that colonialism as a whole decreased during that same period.
    In 1811, Venezuela declared independence, a loss of 912,000 square miles,
    etc

    And these are all in Latin America, which didnt have much to do with world war 1. see below



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    And all of this is an aside to your original claim that WWI was somehow the result of capitalism’s running out of colonies. It also ignores the clear success of capitalism from 1914 until the present day.
    See below




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Yet Spain and Portugal were early on the scene, why don’t we see them included? A wiki opinion section is hardly decisive support for your claim. Unless you can show a compelling chain of logic as to why Germany fought in Europe in WWI for colonies outside of Europe this claim has little merit.
    Included in what? Germany fought to increase its territory and colonies, in alliance with Italy and Japan, against their weaker neighbours and at the expense of the main colonial powers - Britain, France and Holland. These latter had all the best strategic and economic territories. The background was a clash in the Balkans. Germany aimed to move through the Balkans and on to the Middle East, rich in oil and strategically important. For instance they were building a railway from Berlin to Baghdad. Doing this was seriously pissing the Russians and British off, and also the French. The British of course controlled the vital Suez Canal which would be threatened. When war started Italy defected, bribed by the Allies. In the end of course Britain captured Iraq in 1917.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Again I would ask you the question, if capitalism is not self-sustaining, how can you explain its remarkable success over the last hundred or so years since WWI?
    So much to write, so little space. Of course we have new technology to make life better. Thats basic progress, technology improves. People invented some superb things. In a socialist society they might have invented more. Note that one of the handiest things, the internet, was not patented, and was given free to the world by its inventor Tim Berners-Lee. Capitalism did manage a massive expansion of world trade from the end of WW2 to the late 1960s. Im not sure you could call the thirties and WW2 a remarkable success. After 1973, things started going all pear-shaped again, with the oil crisis and recession. After that, there were various recessions and in the 80s in came the butcher Thatcher, groomed by capitalism to smash the workers and scrap keynesianism in favour of deregulation (the banks etc), privatisation (give away the family jewels to your chums) and neo-liberalism generally.
    After 1991 Russia, China and India joined in more, creating a temporary expansion in global capitalism, but this is a spur in the horses side, not a long term thing. In 2001 the capitalists in America did exactly what Marx predicted, lowing interest rates to combat the dotcom crash and setting the scene for the 2008 near global meltdown.

    Yeah capitalism will stagger on if not overthrown, new inventions happen, and occasionally there are a few boom years. The last one was built on credit!



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I’m saying that you have not shown at all that these crises were in anyway inherent to a free market system. We can point out economic crises all day, you’ll find an interesting fact, that they are largely tied to the actions of central banks, and unless you can show that they are somehow inherent to a free market system.
    I explained one bit to you - the fact that workers arent paid enough to buy back what they produce. Even Henry Ford recognised that. He paid his workers higher than usual wages because he recognised that people needed to be able to afford the cars!

    Many capitalist commentators understand these basics to some extent.

    I explained that credit was massively extended in the early 2000s precisely because the workers are not paid enough (because profit is extracted). This was the only way the capitalists could get the workers buying stuff. They were encouraged to use the equity on their house as a cash machine.

    I also explained that capitalists systems always suffer from overproduction, which is the same thing really. In addition, capitalists in America and Britain moved over to finance in large numbers, because they could make bigger profits like that. the finance industry being so large made the crisis much bigger. Competition creates a need to compete, to take short term risks and so on. People refused to see the obvious, that it would all crash down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    They pay them a wage which is less than the value of their work.

    Challenge to support a claim. Profit does not mean that the value of their work is less than their wage.
    Profit is what the capitalist extracts. This means there is that much difference between what a worker gets paid, and what the goods he makes are worth.

    I pay you £10 for a days work. You make goods I can sell for £12. I put them in the shops for £12. I pocket £2. You cant afford to buy them. Ok this is a simplification and is only part of the story. But the fact is that the workers have been getting a smaller share of the cake. But the party depends on the workers buying what the capitalists are selling.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If a laborer puts a window into an automobile, he would like you to believe that some amount of the car's final value proportional to the time he spent doing that chore belongs to that laborer. IE that profit shows that some portion of the car’s “price” is “stolen” from the worker.
    To keep things simple, bear in mind that over the last 30 year the capitalists have increased their slice of the nation cake a lot, and the workers share has DECREASED. Look at the overview. They could only afford to buy stuff over recent years because of all the cheap credit.

    I dont care whether Bill Gates or the Waltons did anything useful in their lives, their companies can be taken over and they wont be missed. They do not deserve $ tens of billions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    In the '20s huge amounts of money were made by the richest people in America. However most people were getting poorer.
    Challenge to support a claim.

    TIMELINES OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION:
    By 1929, the richest 1 percent will own 40 percent of the nation's wealth. The bottom 93 percent will have experienced a 4 percent drop in real disposable per-capita income between 1923 and 1929.
    http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n...epression.html
    website recommended by Encyclopedia Britannica.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    In 3 years a third of the American economy was destroyed. Unemployment rose from 3% to 24%.
    You’ll notice of course that it stayed at 3% (and the stock market regained almost all of its value) until the government intervened with Smoot-Hawley.
    OMG, what are you trying to prove, that it all went down the pan because of government? The capitalist system went into a massive meltdown in 1929. Obviously the repercussions were going to take years to unfold. Obviously the government would do or not do various things. Their biggest mistake was NOT doing anything at the start, having a policy of letting all the failing companies go under. After a while they probably panicked and started to try to do something, eg restrict imports. It might have made things worse, it might not, economists are divided on that. In 1929, imports were only 4.2% of the US economy (and exports 5.0%), so it hardly seems that significant. And the US had had much higher tariffs at previous times. However, yes, tariffs do contract international trade and so they are or can be harmful. Governments still do it though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Well I think I more or less covered that a bit earlier in this post. The key point is that the capitalists went on a feeding frenzy while the workers got sod all. The workers were getting a smaller and smaller share of the cake.
    Challenge to support a claim.

    There are plenty of figures.

    n the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth and the top 1% owned 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth.

    According to this 2006 study by the Federal Reserve System, from 1989 to 2004, the distribution in the United States had been changing with indications there was a greater concentration of wealth held by the top 10% and top 1% of the population.[1]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distrib..._United_States

    From 1967 to 2007 the top 10% in America saw their share of the cake double to 50%. Obviously the others lost out. http://www.slate.com/id/2266025/entry/2266026 (see the yellow graph for a visual depiction).


    since 1983, America's richest 20% have seen their share of the pie increase by about 4%, while the rest of the country has gotten ever-smaller slivers. The middle class, for example, has lost over 23% of its relative share of wealth, and the poorest 40% of the population has seen its tiny share slashed by a brutal 78%.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/am...tion/19684224/


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Er, what? As I say the people running the companies would be elected people.

    There are only two things that can be meant by this as I see it. Either that we replace the board elected by the owners with a board elected by the workers (like there is in Germany for example). In which case we will see lower efficiencies and smaller growth and production. “Stockholder-Manager Conflicts and Firm Value.” John Byrd, Robert Parrino, and Gunnar Pritsch. Association for Investment Management and Research. PG 25
    Or a government set up outside the corporation to manage the largest corporations. In which case premise 1 of my argument is confirmed.
    Neither. A third would elected workers, a third from the government, and a third elected direct from the public and or consumers (eg rail passengers.) Also, your German example is still within a capitalist system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post


    manc
    It's capitalism that wastes maybe half the workforce.

    Challenge to support a claim.


    Well, real unemployment in America is about 22%. On top of that you have millions of people doing useless jobs like marketing and making weapons.

    For instance if you compare the US health industry, its 3 times as expensive as in Britain. Admin costs in the USA are 7.3% of this huge figure, compared to 3.3% of the three-times lower figure in the UK. In other words, admin costs in the USA are about 6 times as much as in the NHS.
    In terms of actual administrative costs, Medicare spent less than 2 percent of its resources on administration, while private insurance companies spent more than 13 percent
    wiki

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Capitalism cannot and will not tackle these problems. It has not done so and it will not do so.

    All of these problems are more abundant in socialized countries than in free-market economies. A simple look at both China and the Soviet Union when compared to anywhere in Western Europe or the United States will show that land degradation is lower, nuclear waste is contained more securely, water is more abundant and deforestation has been reversed. Until you can actually cite a figure around these claims, you haven’t shown anything.
    Well the USSR and China are not socialist.

    Anyway China has overtaken the USA in renewables investing.

    I have explained why capitalism cannot tackle these problems on the scale that socialism could. For example we would take all the energy, transport and arms manufacturing companies over. We would retool the weapons factories to create green energy and transport, and other useful things. We would create millions of jobs to eliminate the colossal waste of nearly a quarter of the population. We would launch a massive shift to green energy and public transport, and other things like green housing. I mentioned the agricultural policy and community restaurants. A capitalist is simply interested in greenback, not green living. They have to be, to stay in business.
    The achievements of the capitalist countries is pitiful. Do you want to go down in history as the generation that could have saved the planet but didnt bother?
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    1. A capitalist does not usually have to factor in environmental destruction into his calculations.


    Challenge to support a claim. Support this. I provided a very real example in Weyerhaeuser and other lumber companies. You need to directly support this claim or retract it.
    The Stern Review on the Economics Of Climate Change says "Climate change presents a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen."[5]
    my emphasis
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality#Negative

    Externality
    In economics, an externality (or transaction spillover) is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices[1], incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit. A benefit in this case is called a positive externality or external benefit, while a cost is called a negative externality or external cost.
    same link

    External costs are things like congestion, pollution etc.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I’m not sure how Russia leaving shortened the war, it allowed Germany to concentrate forces on the western front, prolonging allied conflicts there.
    Regardless, you are assuming that Lenin pulled Russia out of WWI from some benevolent anti-war socialist stance rather than because the country was physically unable to fight anymore.
    And while you dismiss them as “Stalinst” they are certainly more socialist than free-market countries like the United States. So if socialism is more peaceful than capitalism, why are countries like the Soviet Union and China more belligerent than countries with more free market economies?
    I will grant you that neither example is “perfectly socialist,” but it is certainly more socialist, so why aren’t there the peaceful benefits?
    wrong. Lenin was totally opposed to the Russian working class and peasants being forced to fight in an imperialist war right from the start, and the Bolsheviks took power because they had the support of the people, based on basic demands including land to the peasants and pulling out of the war. Their policy of peace was why they got support. Lenin was writing against the war while living in exile. He was appalled that many socialists supported the war. Voting on peace was the first thing the revolutionary government did, literally on the day of the revolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Socialism is internationalist, so wars wouldn't be on the agenda.
    Except of course with capitalist countries right? Even Marx admitted this much.
    They would have to defend themselves if attacked. Which is precisely why socialism wouldn't survive in one country.

    Let me ask you this key point. If socialism is so rubbish, why don't the capitalists give it a chance, let it prove how rubbish it is, why do they have to try to smash it every time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Contending was the word. My point was to point out that along the continuum of free market to socialist, Stalin’s Russia was much closer to socialist than the United States. Unless of course you can contest that.
    Of course I can contest that. There is no continuum from free market to socialist, and there is no continuum from Stalinism to socialism.

    This is where dialectical methods come in handy, basic Marxist philosophy. You need to look for more than just continuums, you need to look for points where radical change occurs, the Russian revolution, the political counter-revolution carried out by Stalin. Stalinism was closer to socialism, but not in any continuum-like sense. It was half socialism. Its a bit like saying a one legged man should be able to run half as fast as a two legged one. It had a planned economy so it was half. Its like saying Oxygen is half water. In terms of the market it was more or less a fully planned economy. But it was missing the vital ingredient - democratic workers control (plus internationalism).








    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    ... to replicate a simple economy would take hundreds of thousands of planners...
    Do you have any evidence for that? Why could computers not do most of it? What exactly is the problem you think will happen? That we not be able to cope with a decrease in the demand for butter?

    Of course computers will be used differently by a socialist society. The production will be determined by need instead of demand (ie people who have money) and computers can easily keep track of changing tastes or whatever. The working week can be reduced by efficiencies only available in socialism, and elimination of unemployment, so there will be plenty of spare manpower to plan. This is what socialism is, everyone would get involved, as the working week was reduced, everyone would be a planner to some extent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    There are literally billions of connections that they would have to model into the computer and those connections change in a free market daily, sometimes hourly. To maintain that we can simply put some numbers into a magical box and it will make everything right in the world is a gross simplification.

    Well it woudln't be done overnight. But we didn't even have computers and the internet a generation ago. In 30 years time this 'problem' might seem like child's play.

    Take public transport for example. I'll tell you whats a nightmare. Not planning one big company, planning when everything is broken up. Every month I have to get a number 43 bus to the hospital. There are 2 companies that operate the same route! Not only can you not use a return ticket on all the 43 buses because of that, but we have the insane timetable where literally you wait 20 minutes and the 2 come a minute apart. Amusingly they are often seen racing each other, sometimes so fiercely they forget to stop at a bus stop! I kid you not. You couldn't make it up. And dont get me started on the trains since they were privatised . There never used to be these problems. In fact most people in Britain want these utilities re-nationalised, phase 1 of a socialist plan.


    It's not rocket science. The first nationalisation in the UK was in 1868 when the telegraph was taken into public ownership.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The problem with your system (which I would argue hints at the problem with all collectivized societies, third order effects), is that it ignores the specialization of labor. You are in effect arguing that a bloke in Manchester is as good as our African at growing beans and in contrast the man in Africa is as good at whatever the man in Manchester does.
    I'm sure we could learn to grow beans in Manchester.



    Challenge to support a claim. Explain why a man in Africa is incapable of learning the sorts of skills people have in Manchester.






    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Even if you were to argue that they can be trained to do each others' jobs this ignores the increased production that comes from specialization. There is a reason that in a capitalist society the beans are grown in Africa while textiles are made in Manchester.
    Yes, and the reason is not what you think it is. Its not because thats what is most efficient. It is because the rich countries dominate the poor ones. It is because there is little profit in raw materials and a lot of profit in finished goods. It is because British colonialism dismantled the textiles industry in India.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If it were more efficient to grow the beans in Manchester they would be grown there. Are you maintaining that there is absolutely no difference between workers no matter their location or culture?
    I think we are getting too obsessed with beans. It is a fact that Kenya has a good climate, fertile land, cheap labour, and can produce 2 seasons a year.

    It it total rubbish to suggest that a Kenyan cannot learn any job a Mancunian can.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    How do you account for resources? You can't produce even simple objects like pencils locally, how would you maintain that "most" objects can be?
    I said most food, not most objects. But we would try to get as much of production as possible to be local, to avoid the waste of resources which transport can mean.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    As regards growing beans in Britain or America, maybe it wouldnt be quite as easy as Kenya, but at least you wouldnt need planes flying around carrying them. I'm sure we could develop better ways.



    Challenge to support a claim. Then support that belief with a compelling business case. Why is it more effective to do so? What are the savings, what are the costs (financial, resource, culturally, environmentally, etc)?
    Well one reason we shouldnt grow our beans in Kenya is that we are effectively importing water they desperately need. And of course there is all the cost of flying them in, and the global warming that goes with it.

    How do we grow beans in Manchester? The same way people already do, but on a bigger scale, using the latest research in permaculture and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Yeah, I know that hungry people need food. It's pretty obvious.


    Ah, but that isn’t the question is it? What food, from where, whose are you taking, how will you get it there? Will it be beans or rice? You are still assuming that you, Manc, can make a better decision about how these people live their lives than they can.
    Is this a rhetorical question? Do you want me to explain how socialism will feed the billion who are hungry under capitalism?







    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    In 1987 at the end of the experiment Liverpool was on the verge of bankruptcy.
    We all know that. I doubt you know why though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Government owned housing’s rates skyrocketed, eventually requiring national governmental intervention
    ********. Support or retract.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Quality of the housing deteriorated dramatically until national relief funds kicked in
    Property values dropped significantly.
    ********. Support or retract.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The reasons for all of these problems was because they council believed it knew more than the market about market desires.
    You know what I'm gonna say. right?

    You are gonna get way out of your depth if you wanna argue about Liverpool.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Well there is enough food in the world, but the market cannot and will not feed the billion who are hungry.


    Strawman Manc, no one has claimed that a free market is perfect, we are claiming that it is better. I showed in my last post (which you ignored) that the free market has a lower starvation rate than communist countries.
    As for lifting out of poverty, I would agree that the majority of people lifted out of poverty were in China. In fact it was I who brought it up. This is because China adopted free-market reforms, China is the perfect example of the power of the free market to destroy poverty.
    See the missing section of my post. China is still under CP rule in case you hadn't noticed. Its a weird mix of Stalinism and capitalism.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    There are a lot of claims here without support Manc. There is further a timing issue. As I showed in the last post, Taiwan does not start economic growth until AFTER Shek leaves power. So your claims that it was just some American plot are unsupported.
    Further, your attempt at an explanation does not fit with the timeline. Why was Taiwan so poor for so long if the government was the one that ended the poverty? Why was it only after free-market reforms were enacted that the growth rate sky rocketed?
    as far as I'm concerned I have explained this reasonably well. I included four sources. The KMT oversaw all this 'miracle'. It is state-led capitalism. Again I am hamstrung by lack of space. You said they had the lowest poverty rate in the world in you previous post. Well their benchmark for poverty is $457 a month, and in August their poverty reached a record high.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Wikipedia is not a valid citation manc, the ability to change the page at will is exactly why it isn’t a good source to use. For example, you cite it several times, you claim it supports that the business elite fled with the KMT (wiki points out “citation needed”).
    ********. 'citation needed applies the the last point of a paragraph irrelevant to my point. My point does have a citation,
    Some 2 million people, consisting mainly of soldiers, Kuomintang party (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) members and most importantly the intellectual and business elites, were evacuated from mainland China and arrived in Taiwan around that time. In addition, as part of its escape from Communists in mainland China, the ROC government relocated to Taipei with many national treasures including gold reserves and foreign currency reserves.[33]
    link

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post




    Your quote about most of the development being backed by the government, offers no citation nor logical support. I offered verifiable sources, your counter is an opinion document on an open source website. You’ll have to do better.
    Growth rates went up after liberalization of foreign trade apparently vindicating free trade theory. However, Amsden stresses three points: (1) Liberalization was not the restoration of a pure “market economy”; (2) Growth rates were quite high before liberalization, and the cumulative effects of developments in agriculture under import substitution under heavy protection cannot be minimized; (3) Taiwan’s export boom coincided with a favourable international situation. (pp. 363-367) Public enterprise also played a crucial role, initially to consolidate the power of the mainlander bureaucracy, and more recently to allow the state leverage against foreign capital. (pp. 367-371)
    http://markweatherall.wordpress.com/...nomic_history/
    Alice H. Amsden is Barton T. Weller Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    here she gets the thumbs up from the former Chief Economist at the World Bank, and Nobel Prize winner for Economics, Joseph Stiglitz



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Yes there is massive capitalist development in China,
    I would like the judges to acknowledge this as a concession. While he attempts to say that the free market is somehow due to the Stalinistic events in the past, he offers no support for this seemingly odd comparison.
    I am desperately trying to answer a thousand questions in one post and there is a word limit on these posts. Put it like this. You think capitalism just sprang up in a one-party Stalinist dictatorship, and the state had nothing to do with it? Come on. I cannot 'support' stuff like this in a sentence, but surely it stands to reason anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post




    Until Manc can support this with a valid third party source, I would like to propose to the judges that his claim be dropped. I showed extensively that India followed a command style economic system until 1991, he has offered no support otherwise.
    ********. You linked to a wiki article. I showed for example that there were $ multi - billion private companies. The biggest company in India is private and was formed in 1966. Whats that if its not capitalism? Yes we know India went more market orientated around 1990.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Further, the “evidence” that he later offers only supports my position. He makes no objection to the following facts. 1) Since 1991 India has had a largely free-market economy. 2) Since 1991, India has had continued growth.
    Well, 20 years of this so-called miracle and India still has some of the worst poverty and hunger in the world. In fact a third of all the poor people in the world live in India. Hunger is at its highest level for decades. Yes they have reduced the poverty rate compared with the 1970s. Can I just remind you that British colonialism destroyed the industry of India.

    In a nutshell, India was a capitalist country with a lot of state influence, like Taiwan, but the state influence in India was obviously not as beneficial, in fact it was largely crony capitalism.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    manc
    Well, it depends how you define it. Put it this way, it helped precipitate the economic crash didn't it.
    No, a lack of risk brought on by government assurances brought on the crises.
    Welcome to the real world. The capitalists, the big ones, know their chums in govt will look after them. Thats how it works. Anyway, they let Lehmans go down, and then panic ripped through the capitalist world.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It is irrelevant if economists in a free market system fully understand the system because its effectiveness is not predicated on our understanding, but rather on each person understanding their own desires.
    Really. So when one of the billion hungry desires food, that somehow ensures the success of global capitalism?








    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That is not generally what is meant by risk.
    A socialism system CAN take some risks capitalists might not do, as in dabble in some experiments. If you run multiple systems, no worries. For example we might try different agriculture or production, but not on a big enough scale to cause major damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    in fact there is risk in the socialist system too
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    What risk is there in a socialist system?
    Yes, I am confused. In the capitalist world, yes there was risk taking, and there was also a fairly reliable cushion for some. It was the traders who took the gambles. the community reinvestment act had little to do with the crisis. This was a law passed in 1977. most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA
    http://www.businessweek.com/investin...me_crisis.html



    With regards your statement that there is no risk in a socialist system, as i say, we could take caculated risks. in fact risk is the wrong word, experimentation. Trial and error. No, we probably wouldnt take risks as such. So what? You get the same reward whether you suceed or fail. Exactly. So we can try things that capitalists might not dare to.







    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Again, let us return to our closest example, the Soviet Union. Productivity in the Soviet Union (especially agriculture) lagged far, far behind the west, even when indexed to control for environmental factors. See the graph on page 3 of this analysis, http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes...510410.web.pdf Too head off one obvious objection, the decline in the productivity post-empire was largely due to the industry being unsustainable via subsidies.
    I know productivity in Russia was poor. So?








    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Are you suggesting then that some form of pressure is necessary? What happens if someone in your system decides they don’t really care about what people think of them, they don’t want to work? Question to opponent.
    I think that would be just a few weirdos. They would be looked down on by most people. Unless they had real mental health problems. Most people dont like to stand out too much, especially stand out in a bad way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Which do you make more of cheeseburgers or tacos? ..... How many tacos is one cheeseburger worth? How many pencils is it worth?
    This might seem like a pressing question to you, and maybe Marx wrote about in in Capital, but to most socialists, these are just minor details. We produce as many pencils as people need, and hopefully as many tacos as they want (if not they will have to have cheeseburgers - tough). This kinda thing was a problem in the USSR under Stalinism, because it was a bureaucracy making wrong decisions.

    What you are asking me explains perfectly why socialism needs workers democracy - mass participation, to iron out these details on the ground.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Come now, are you claiming that no one in the entire country would be unwilling to work?
    Of course not. But I am not going to lose sleep over it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Good, then we agree. My point was that on the continuum from free market to command economy, the USSR was much closer to your example of socialism than to the United States. In fact it is the best historical example we have for how socialism might actually develop (regardless of whether or not you feel it is bastardized). If you can suggest a better historical example, let’s have it.
    There is no continuum. See above. The history of the USSR has many lessons, good and bad. It is not a model for socialism, it wouldn't necessarily be even if it had succeeded. Every case has unique features. Its an example of how accurate Marxism was. Marxism predicted that socialism wouldnt happen in a backward country in isolation. Russia proved the theory correct. After the revolution Russia leapt forward from a backward country to the second superpower. The planned economy was an advantage, the bureaucracy was a fetter which inevitably developed from a relative one to an absolute one.







    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Challenge to support a claim. Please support where I said that. I pointed out that there is in fact a profit motive for companies to protect the environment. You haven’t explained how you can reconcile the massive, massive ecological disasters of the communist world with your claim that they would better protect the environment than the free market.
    I thought you said that. There is no communist world. There was a Stalinist world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You are aware that that is a 26% increase and that your source fails to separate out any contribution by nature. So you can at best support that manmade CO2 is less than 26% of total atmospheric CO2.
    Your maths is terrible. I blame it on a capitalist education. 280 to 380 is 35% increase. Of course the source separates out contribution from nature. all the increase is man made. I explained it in my post. There is multiple evidence. The main one is the isotopes of man made C02 being different.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I didn’t ask which they preferred, I asked what you preferred. Further, given the scarcity of resources in the world, everyone making more than the average now is not only unsupported, but to be frank a fantasy world.

    Well this is my point. Capitalism is already unsustainable and yes, a lot of people in India and China are becoming better off, so its becoming even more unsustainable.

    IT CAN'T GO ON

    So, how would socialism achieve a solution? Because in socialism we can do things differently. Point 4 on my list, the social aspects. There is the ability to plan, and there is not the profit motive. For example I have described massive programmes to swap to green energy and public transport. All this could be integrated. Capitalism has done the reverse- privatising, fragmenting utilities, and still concentrates on trying to entice you to buy a nice new shiny car. Millions of Chinese are buying their first car. There are now more new cars sold in China than in the USA. This is capitalism, and it is unsustainable. Global warming is the biggest challenge, but there are many others. We have to have green energy. In a socialist society we could also hugely improve recycling, by bringing more consistency, eg reducing the amount and range of packaging. I mentioned the community restaurants and local organic food growing. My friend has travelled the world looking at examples of growing food in cities. There are a few examples here and there. Cuba of course is the most famous. Soon, half the world's population will live in cities.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If by least you mean not at all. The figures showed that the vast bulk of gainfully employed Americans over the last decade have seen real (in the economic sense) wage improvement.
    Americans have the highest inequality of the rich countries, and it has been increasing. The people at the bottom have seen little or no improvement in real terms, and a big drop in their share of the cake. (see table 3)





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Paul Krugman has become increasingly a pariah in the economic community. He championed the stimulus (which failed) and has only this week argued that the only reason it failed was because it was too small! He ignores the fact that there was exactly zero uptick in real spending in GDP despite hundreds of billions of dollars being poured into the economy. Krugman, despite his nobel prize is to be frank a joke. Ok, /soapbox.

    Economists agree: Stimulus created nearly 3 million jobs


    incidentally, most economists also favour wealth redistribution.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Yep, and look at those sources.
    Housing-massive governmental subsidies
    Healthcare- Increased regulation and governmental subsidies
    Universities- Massive governmental spending

    Do you see the common thread here? Subsidies have in every situation led to raised prices over time via over consumption.
    Care to explain this?
    Last edited by manc; October 30th, 2010 at 12:54 AM.

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    EXTRA POST

    Re Oxfam report. Its a major charity. I dont know how good their economics analysis is. It was just a quick example. Marxism is not based on what Oxfam says. Their main problem is that they accept capitalism.

    I could expand at length on how rich countries keep the poor ones poor in capitalism for the most part, if I had space. You only have to look at the capitalist world - half the people live on less than $3 per day.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I would like to point out to the judges that none of this is supported either by links here or elsewhere. Since I will not have a chance to respond to it due to debate restrictions I ask that it be stricken. The events he cites simply did not happen, there is no evidence provided here or elsewhere for the concepts he cites.
    Are you disputing that there was a civil war, that America, Japan and Britain etc joined in, and that there was an economic blockade?

    On Saturday 4 May 1996 The Guardian (a well known UK newspaper) celebrated 175 of years of publication. In the course of this celebration, it reprinted a full page from its October 21 1919 issue (when it operated under its former name The Manchester Guardian), including the following interview with Lenin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The capitalists become capitalists by being proletariat. Likewise, our proletariat earns money for their work that they turn around and invest in the market or retirement plans or even in banks (which turn around and loan to businesses) and become capitalists.
    Strange then, if the capitalists and the workers are just the same people, that just 3% of the population have half the wealth. So granny has $500 shares in the company her husband worked for. Big deal. She probably got enticed to sell them by the actual capitalists anyway!

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    A note to the judges, sections that I would like to draw your attention to, almost always because they are notes to you are in this color.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    By warfare (or other force, eg sponsoring a coup), or economic sabotage.
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Support that these happened to Lenin's Russia as you claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I dont just mean consuming. I mean deciding how the economy is run. Actually running it. I mean the people being involved in the day to day decisions being made.
    That is by definition capitalism. In capitalism consumers decide what is made and how it is made. The profit motive induces producers to follow the whims of the people, whether it is to be green or not, plastic or wood, cars or toothbrushes, Cleveland or Paris. Decisions made by individuals on a daily basis are how the economy is run.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Capitalists do not factor in the hungry. They plan to sell the food to people with money.
    Are you implying that they have absolutely no money? Or just very little?
    This is of course setting aside the fact that "capitalists" are not somehow forbidden
    from charity. Rather, recent studies have shown the the more free market oriented the economy the more money donated to charity.
    It is also ignoring the fact, as I pointed out already, that there is more starvation in socialist countries than in free market ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well, they may do a bit in some way. But they don't GET FED.
    Two points here. First, I'll note the retraction. Second, I'll again point out that habitual starvation is higher under collectivist economies than free market economies, as I pointed out earlier in the debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Mercantilism may well still existed to some extent in the 1700s, I just said it waned after the English revolution. It existed in the feudal system and it existed in the capitalist system. The main thing here is that the English civil war was basically capitalism overthrowing feudalism because feudalism was no longer progressive.
    Yet you offer no support for that. I provided evidence that Mercantilism was the dominant economic system well after the English Revolution. No evidence has been provided to counter that.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Marx and Engels used the word 'mercantile' (the word which was used most in those days) 132 times and mercantilism 19 times.
    Strawman, I didn't argue that they were unaware of the system, I argued that it wasn't included in their historical analysis. You haven't provided any counter to that position.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    And these are all in Latin America, which didnt have much to do with world war 1. see below
    Irrelevant, you claimed that colonialism increased until WWI, I countered that position. I Challenge to support a claim. you to support the claim that you made or officially retract it here.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Included in what? Germany fought to increase its territory and colonies, in alliance with Italy and Japan, against their weaker neighbours and at the expense of the main colonial powers - Britain, France and Holland. These latter had all the best strategic and economic territories. The background was a clash in the Balkans. Germany aimed to move through the Balkans and on to the Middle East, rich in oil and strategically important. For instance they were building a railway from Berlin to Baghdad. Doing this was seriously pissing the Russians and British off, and also the French. The British of course controlled the vital Suez Canal which would be threatened. When war started Italy defected, bribed by the Allies. In the end of course Britain captured Iraq in 1917.
    I will here note for the judges that this is a pretty big strawman.
    Manc began by arguing that the "race" towards colonialism was the spark that caused WWI. He cited the increase in African colonial area. I countered this by showing that colonialism as a whole was on the decline and was playing a less prominent role in every major country involved except Germany where it was perceived largely as a matter of pride rather than economically important.
    Manc offers no support that Germany was eager to start a conflict to gain colonial interests, nor that the Allies were particularly worried about defending theirs. Rather he posts two wiki opinion articles and an unsourced page concerning the "new imperialism" that discusses primarily the expansion of British and French interests economically rather than colonially and doesn't discuss Germany or Austria-Hungary to any real extent.
    Further, he ignores generally accepted historical (and I would argue logical) theory that the causes of the war were an increased German nationalism and a breakdown of the Metternich system of alliances which had become overly complicated and secret. That is why an obscure assassination in a backwater country led to a massive European war.


    Taylor, A. J. P. (1954). The Struggle For Mastery In Europe 1848-1918. Oxford University Press. p. 524.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    In a socialist society they might have invented more.
    That seems unlikely. First, socialist societies contain no incentives for inventors so there will be less invention at the margin. Second, historical evidence does not support that concept. Free market societies like Europe and the United States have produced the vast, vast bulk of technological innovation. Collectivist societies like China and the Soviet Union produced very few.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Capitalism did manage a massive expansion of world trade from the end of WW2 to the late 1960s. Im not sure you could call the thirties and WW2 a remarkable success. After 1973, things started going all pear-shaped again, with the oil crisis and recession. After that, there were various recessions and in the 80s in came the butcher Thatcher, groomed by capitalism to smash the workers and scrap keynesianism in favour of deregulation (the banks etc), privatisation (give away the family jewels to your chums) and neo-liberalism generally.
    And yet, given all that if we go with your time frame (the English Revolution until present) we see a dramatic surge in the standard of living in Free Market countries.
    You, like Marx portray the world in an inevitable slide away from Capitalism towards Socialism. Yet neither Marx, nor any contemporary Marxist economist has explained the failure of the collectivist countries adequately. You have pointed to some kind of mysterious economic foul play, but no evidence exists of that. Nor have they adequately explained what seems to be the inevitable slide in collectivism towards totalitarianism and then economic liberalization.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I explained one bit to you - the fact that workers arent paid enough to buy back what they produce.
    Challenge to support a claim. Support this with some kind of data at least. Your original explanation does not account for all sources of income. You again are arbitrarily labeling someone as a "producer" or a "capitalist" when in actual fact virtually everyone is both. Profit does not disappear into a magical capitalist black hole.

    None of this actually supports your claim that crises are inherent to a free market economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Profit is what the capitalist extracts.
    No, profit represents two things. The work added between the resource inputs and the production output and the utility difference between the producer and the consumer. GM values the car they produce less than I do if I buy one. I want that specific car more than the company does because they have many. Farmers value a bushel of wheat less than the baker who needs them for bread.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I pay you £10 for a days work. You make goods I can sell for £12. I put them in the shops for £12. I pocket £2. You cant afford to buy them.
    Again you have ignored the specialization of labor, risk and investment. In your example not even the evil capitalist can buy the goods. In fact he is even less able to purchase the good than the laborer.

    It is important to remember that the laborer in this story agreed to work for the capitalist. He valued his labor (his ability to produce that good) less than he values that $10 dollars.
    To expand on the example a bit. What happens is that our laborer has no money on day 1. Our capitalist has 11 dollars. The capitalist buys the inputs for a dollar and pays our laborer 10 dollars for his labor. When he sells the good he gets 12 dollars, making him better off. The laborer gets 10 dollars for future investment. In our system the laborer can now become a capitalist.

    In reality our laborer takes his 10 dollars and purchases some set of goods which then values more than 10 dollars. So we see two utility increases. He sells his labor for more than he personally values it for and then buys goods for more than he values that money.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    To keep things simple, bear in mind that over the last 30 year the capitalists have increased their slice of the nation cake a lot, and the workers share has DECREASED. Look at the overview. They could only afford to buy stuff over recent years because of all the cheap credit.

    I dont care whether Bill Gates or the Waltons did anything useful in their lives, their companies can be taken over and they wont be missed. They do not deserve $ tens of billions.
    Again, this ignores the economic reality of what is happening. Bill Gates created Microsoft, he put his time, talent and skill into creating a company that would not have existed without him. The PC revolution would not have happened, at least not to that extent without him. Further, we certainly wouldn't have a product we value if he had not created the company that developed it.
    Manc again is showing the totalitarian impulse inherent to Socialism. He, Manc, doesn't feel they deserve the fruits of their labor, so it should be taken from them. He doesn't feel that the individuals who were willing pay X dollars for a copy of Windows were justified in doing so, he, Manc, knows better.

    His response ignores mine, he ignores the process of value addition, he ignores the risk that individuals take to fund a company and ignores the value of managers that facilitate sales and organization.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n...epression.html
    website recommended by Encyclopedia Britannica.
    You'll notice the the term "real" meaning adjusted for inflation. That inflation was driven directly by central bank policies. Their loss of disposable income was not because of capitalism or markets, it was because well meaning central bankers inflated the money supply to fund Government operations.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    OMG, what are you trying to prove, that it all went down the pan because of government? The capitalist system went into a massive meltdown in 1929.
    Again, this isn't exactly the historical reality. The economy did go through a correction in 1929, but unemployment never went above 3% and the market recovered more than 90% of its value within three months.
    In July however, the Government passed the Smoot-Hawley tariff act to help plan an economic recovery. They passed it despite a letter signed by over a 1000 prominent economists. Within 12 months, employment had shot passed 10%, the market returned to its lowest levels, private investment froze and the first soup kitchens opened. Which to you seems the more likely culprit?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc

    There are plenty of figures.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distrib..._United_States

    From 1967 to 2007 the top 10% in America saw their share of the cake double to 50%. Obviously the others lost out. http://www.slate.com/id/2266025/entry/2266026 (see the yellow graph for a visual depiction).
    Two points here to the judges.

    The first is that as I have pointed out in an earlier post, Manc is confusing statistical categories with actual people. He is saying that the lowest and greatest earners in the country were the same people 40 years later!
    Obviously this isn't true, the individuals in the lowest quintile of earners in 1967 were mostly teenagers at their first job, as they got older they got better jobs, moved up the quintile list and finally retired, moving back down to the lowest. To argue that they were somehow getting poorer is absurd. My opponent would I image be bemused to find that Bill Gates is in the lowest quintile of earners too (he has no income in the way they measure it).

    The second major point is what is largely known as the zero sum game fallacy. Socialist economics is largely based on this fallacy. That if one group of people are doing well the other groups are doing accordingly poorly. That of course is not shown by historical fact either. The change in the standard of living in the United States for example was not met with a corresponding decrease in the standard of living in the rest of the world. If that were true, there would have to be some societies that have a lower than stone-age standard of living since all humans were there at some point. Rather, his data only shows that some groups are doing better, not that some groups are doing more poorly.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Neither. A third would elected workers, a third from the government, and a third elected direct from the public and or consumers (eg rail passengers.) Also, your German example is still within a capitalist system.
    First, the German system is definitely less of a free market system than for example the United States. You can't simply label any country as purely socialist or purely free market, we've discussed this already.

    Regardless, let us look at your proposed system. You have failed to propose anything substantively different than the German system. German boards (as pointed out earlier) are made up exactly as you suggest and suffer the same agency costs (which is a type of utility loss) I pointed out.

    The only difference that I can infer is that I imagine you would elect this group via the workers rather than the owners (there would likely be no owners in your system). I see two problems with this.
    If you propose just a company worker election you will of course suffer agency costs associated with the election of pro-worker managers. These managers, whose jobs and positions depend on the good graces of the employees will not be free to maximize production. The workers will elect people who maximize the workers' utility, not the consumers.

    You could conceivably fix this by including the consumers, suppliers, etc in the election. However, to follow this more "stakeholder" type of election you would quickly become burdensome. The time and resources wasted running the election would result in utility losses when compared to the free market system. Imagine having to elect the board of the company you get your milk from, the one you get your bread from, the cattle ranch, the pants maker, the shirt maker, the car maker, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well, real unemployment in America is about 22%.
    22% =/= 50% You further argue that the rest (which you provide no numbers for) are employed in "useless" industries. Again I will submit to the judges that this is the totalitarian temptation. Manc is arguing that they are useless, ie valueless, because he, manc derives no personal value from them. He is arguing that his particular utility curve is more important than the rest of ours.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    In other words, admin costs in the USA are about 6 times as much as in the NHS.
    wiki
    Sure, but we also have a higher life expectancy

    Nor has our healthcare system been described as "Cruel and neglectful"

    Judges: You'll notice the difference between what I am focused on and what manc is focused on. Here he is arguing about cost, I am arguing about patient care. That is the beauty of the free market system. The incentives of the consumer and the producer are aligned, unlike in the collectivist system.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well the USSR and China are not socialist.
    We've already discussed this, they are the best examples we have, unless you can provide historical examples which apply.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Anyway China has overtaken the USA in renewables
    Investing does not equal improving the environment. Free Market oriented economies have better natural environments within them, you have failed to show anything other than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    my emphasis
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality#Negative

    same link

    External costs are things like congestion, pollution etc.
    Judges: I will point out to the judges that a wiki link about externalities does not support his claim. Manc claimed as you can see that capitalists "do not factor the environment" into their business operations. I provided several counter examples, including Weyerhauser. His response is a wiki link containing the "needs citation" example. I would submit to you that he has failed to support his claim and that I have won the sub point that free market economies do a better job of supporting the natural environment than more collectivist societies.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    wrong. Lenin was totally opposed to the Russian working class and peasants being forced to fight in an imperialist war right from the start, and the Bolsheviks took power because they had the support of the people, based on basic demands including land to the peasants and pulling out of the war. Their policy of peace was why they got support. Lenin was writing against the war while living in exile. He was appalled that many socialists supported the war. Voting on peace was the first thing the revolutionary government did, literally on the day of the revolution.
    This response has almost nothing to do with what I wrote, so I will again ask the question;

    1) How did Russia pulling out of WWI shorten the war since it only allowed the Germans to focus on the western front?

    2) Why historically have collectivist societies like the USSR and China been more aggressive than free market societies?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Let me ask you this key point. If socialism is so rubbish, why don't the capitalists give it a chance, let it prove how rubbish it is, why do they have to try to smash it every time?
    Interesting question, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaps...2%80%931991%29, I guess 70 years and over 50 million dead wasn't enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Of course I can contest that. There is no continuum from free market to socialist, and there is no continuum from Stalinism to socialism.

    Judges: I would like to highlight the above statement. I would argue that it represents a fundamental lack of understanding about basic economics. My opponent is arguing the frankly absurd position that there is not economic continuum between the free market and socialism. You are either totally one or totally the other. Or apparently you are totally a third thing. This is in direct contradiction to earlier statements he has made noting the fact that the United States has implemented a more collectivist set of principles than it originally had.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    This is where dialectical methods come in handy, basic Marxist philosophy.
    Yes it is, which is why it has been totally rejected Manc. Are you seriously maintaining that you are either 100% free market or 100% socialist? That is what you mean when you say there is no continuum. If you hold that position it is certainly incumbent on your to demonstrate some support for it. Challenge to support a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Do you have any evidence for that?
    Please note that I provided a detailed explanation in my last post. For a further example I will cite this.

    The famous economics essay by Leonard E. Reed; "I Pencil" http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/i-pencil/

    I will bold sections that require at least one, if not more planners. Each of these inputs requires planning, both logistical, production, distribution, etc. This is solely for pencils, imagine the legions of workers needed for all the products we see daily. That is done in the Free Market by individual manager, employers and largely through the price system and its transmitting of usage information. In your system that would all have to be modeled by thousands of planners, and that is even assuming you are able to replicate a way to model utility, a claim you haven't shown.

    My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

    The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

    Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

    Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation...

    My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.

    The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder—cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

    My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involves the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

    Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

    My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

    Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape- seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium sulfide.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    That we not be able to cope with a decrease in the demand for butter?
    I have explained this part to you twice. Collectivist societies have never created an adequate replacement for the information transmitted by prices. Utility, want, indifference between products, these are all basic economic and psychological concepts that are transmitted by price which have no substitute under your system.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I'm sure we could learn to grow beans in Manchester.



    Challenge to support a claim. Explain why a man in Africa is incapable of learning the sorts of skills people have in Manchester.
    No, because I did not make that claim. I argued that there are many factors that allow him to do it better in Africa than in Manchester and vice versa.
    Factors such as weather, education, cultural preferences, resource location, etc all influence where theses activities are done. Under your proposal we ignore all of that and simply force people to do what you think is a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yes, and the reason is not what you think it is. Its not because thats what is most efficient. It is because the rich countries dominate the poor ones.
    Challenge to support a claim. Support this absurd conspiracy theory. Support it not with a long paragraph or a random wiki article about colonialism, but with facts supporting that under developed countries are perfectly capable of doing all the activities of developed ones exactly as efficiently, but that developed countries suppress them.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I think we are getting too obsessed with beans. It is a fact that Kenya has a good climate, fertile land, cheap labour, and can produce 2 seasons a year.

    Judges: Please note that this is a concession to my position.



    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well one reason we shouldnt grow our beans in Kenya is that we are effectively importing water they desperately need. And of course there is all the cost of flying them in, and the global warming that goes with it.

    How do we grow beans in Manchester? The same way people already do, but on a bigger scale, using the latest research in permaculture and so on.
    Judges: Please note that I challenged Manc to show a business case as to how better ways could be developed than the current system of economic specialization when it comes to bean production. He provides no figures of comparison, no economic, cultural or social cost/benefit analysis. In fact, he doesn't even propose a solution, he only criticizes the current one. I put forward that he has not supported that claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Is this a rhetorical question? Do you want me to explain how socialism will feed the billion who are hungry under capitalism?
    It isn't rhetorical at all, that is the actual question dealt with every single day. Your hand waving claim that they will be fed is unconvincing, especially given the evidence earlier in the debate showing that collectivist countries regularly starve more people than their free market counter parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    We all know that. I doubt you know why though.
    I know what your party's claim was. That evil Margaret Thatcher didn't allow the national government to bail them out.
    Do you understand how hypocritical that sounds? You have argued for local sustainability during this whole debate and then you excuse a massive failure by socialists with "the rest of the country didn't help."

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Bullsh*t. Support or retract.
    Bullsh*t. Support or retract.
    Your own link cited all of those facts Manc. No one disagrees on the facts (except apparently you), only on the causes. They argue government underfunding, I argue that it was clearly an unsupportable model.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    See the missing section of my post. China is still under CP rule in case you hadn't noticed. Its a weird mix of Stalinism and capitalism.
    Strawman, no one has claimed otherwise. But it was only with the economic reforms that allowed free market (or at least freer market) systems to develop that China saw economic progress. Tell is the fact that central China which has not seen these reforms has lagged behind the southeast.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    as far as I'm concerned I have explained this reasonably well.
    But you have been countered by the facts manc, the judges can decide who has explained it better.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    http://markweatherall.wordpress.com/...nomic_history/
    Alice H. Amsden is Barton T. Weller Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    See, much better. Now lets dissect your post a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc's source
    Growth rates went up after liberalization of foreign trade apparently vindicating free trade theory.
    Hmm, looks like I'm doing fine. Then;
    Quote Originally Posted by manc's source
    Liberalization was not the restoration of a pure “market economy”;
    Strawman, no one has claimed that was, only that it was closer, which she notes.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc's source
    Growth rates were quite high before liberalization, and the cumulative effects of developments in agriculture under import substitution under heavy protection cannot be minimized;
    As noted in the article, the initial growth was in low paying, low standard of living small owner farms. The growth after liberalization was in higher standard of living and higher income manufacturing jobs. The standard of living change is noted by the author and has not been refuted.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc's source
    (3) Taiwan’s export boom coincided with a favourable international situation. (pp. 363-367) Public enterprise also played a crucial role, initially to consolidate the power of the mainlander bureaucracy, and more recently to allow the state leverage against foreign capital. (pp. 367-371)
    The final part of your statement is conveniently out of context.

    Manc, your article is largely about the growth of Taiwanese agriculture not about the economy in general.

    Now lets provide a little more light on the situation.

    Following the war, Taiwan began to adopt protectionist measures to stave off international competition in agricultural products as well as protect international currency reserves that were dwindling due to a lack of domestic production of complex goods.
    Thus, Taiwan had an agriculture-based economy up to 1962. Since the country was suffering from a lack of goods, and foreign exchange reserves were low, government economic measures before then came in the form of prohibitions and restrictions. For instance, stringent restrictions were imposed on the import and export of selected commodities. As the private sector lacked economic power, the government commanded great influence in the national economy. The protectionist measures adopted include the following:

    * Placing restrictions on the establishment of factories, which safeguarded workers' safety and health, promoted industrial growth, avoided the waste of resources through blind investment, and optimized the utilization of precious resources;
    * Regulating the local production of goods to minimize the use of foreign exchange reserves, and to encourage the growth of factories which could manufacture needed components;
    * Putting up trade restrictions to protect domestic industrial growth and achieve a balance in international revenues and expenditures; and
    * Imposing protective tariffs to raise tax revenues and protect the development of newly emerging industries.
    ...
    Beginning in the 1980s, drastic economic, social, and political changes took place in the ROC. Relations with the Chinese mainland also developed rapidly. The economy became increasingly open and free from earlier restrictive and protectionist tendencies.

    First, in 1984, the ROC government announced plans for the liberalization and globalization of the economy as well as the privatization of government-run enterprises. In addition, interest-rate controls were abolished, tariff rates were slashed, and the central exchange rate was abandoned....Between 1952 and 1995, the ROC set economic performance records in comparison to other countries around the world by attaining an average annual economic growth rate of 8.63 percent.
    http://www.taiwan.com.au/Polieco/His.../report04.html

    The undeniable shift from agriculture to industry was not because of government action, but in spite of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I am desperately trying to answer a thousand questions in one post and there is a word limit on these posts. Put it like this. You think capitalism just sprang up in a one-party Stalinist dictatorship, and the state had nothing to do with it? Come on. I cannot 'support' stuff like this in a sentence, but surely it stands to reason anyway.
    Strawman, no one is arguing that. The reforms were certainly due to the government. The growth (which is the relevant factor here) came from the resulting market.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Bullsh*t. You linked to a wiki article. I showed for example that there were $ multi - billion private companies. The biggest company in India is private and was formed in 1966. Whats that if its not capitalism? Yes we know India went more market orientated around 1990.
    It became more market oriented. Manc, you cannot label these things in simple black and white terms. The companies you listed were all tiny, tiny companies, as was the economy (as pointed out) until after the 1990 reforms.
    You admit that there were reforms in the 90s. I have shown that economic growth occurred after that period. Your own links shown that those companies grew dramatically in the past two decades. I think the point is pretty conclusively shown.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Welcome to the real world. The capitalists, the big ones, know their chums in govt will look after them.
    Yet magically you claim that it will all disappear when government owns the business. Welcome to the real world manc, every collectivist society that has existed in the past 200 years has had been racked with corruption and elitism. You point to the income disparities in the west? I'll point you to the living standard disparities in both China and the Soviet Union.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    A socialism system CAN take some risks capitalists might not do, as in dabble in some experiments. If you run multiple systems, no worries. For example we might try different agriculture or production, but not on a big enough scale to cause major damage.
    That is exactly my point manc, in your system there is no cost to taking those risk. Sure i'll try another farming technique if it fails it doesn't affect me at all. The fact that there are no consequences leads to more risk being taken and proportionally more failures!

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yes, I am confused. In the capitalist world, yes there was risk taking, and there was also a fairly reliable cushion for some. It was the traders who took the gambles. the community reinvestment act had little to do with the crisis. This was a law passed in 1977. most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA
    http://www.businessweek.com/investin...me_crisis.html
    That article (if you had bothered to read the comments) is thoroughly refuted by academics and columnists alike. He is more or less accurate that most banks that made sub-prime loans were not subject to CRA inspections, what he does not point out that while not bound to follow CRA specifically, they were prohibitive from taking federal day loans (including inter-bank loans from banks that have access to the fed or direct access to the fed itself) unless they were in compliance. He also miraculously fails to mention that they still sold those loans to Fannie/Freddie, which was my primary point.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    With regards your statement that there is no risk in a socialist system, as i say, we could take caculated risks. in fact risk is the wrong word, experimentation. Trial and error. No, we probably wouldnt take risks as such. So what? You get the same reward whether you suceed or fail. Exactly. So we can try things that capitalists might not dare to.
    Exactly! Because they are risky, a portion of those projects will fail, thats why they are risky, and resources will be lost. Taken in aggregate more resources will be lost in your system than in mine, thats the point of risk.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I know productivity in Russia was poor.

    Judges: Given that Russia was clearly a more collectivist society than the US for example, I would like to put this forward as a concession that historical example of socialist countries have failed.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I think that would be just a few weirdos. They would be looked down on by most people. Unless they had real mental health problems. Most people dont like to stand out too much, especially stand out in a bad way.
    You are dodging the question. There are only two possible answers to these people, either someone else has to work more to support them (in which case you have stolen utility from that person) or you would force them to work (in which case you have stolen their utility).


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    This might seem like a pressing question to you, and maybe Marx wrote about in in Capital, but to most socialists, these are just minor details.
    Are you kidding?!? This is the economy, if you think the economy is a minor detail and you are advocating planning the economy what does that say about your system?



    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    What you are asking me explains perfectly why socialism needs workers democracy - mass participation, to iron out these details on the ground.
    Judges: I would like to posit that what Manc is in practice suggesting is a free market. Individuals making decisions about resource and production allocation.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I thought you said that. There is no communist world. There was a Stalinist world.
    Judges: Please note that this is a retraction and supports my above position that this is not a defendable economic view.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Your maths is terrible.
    No more than your english :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I blame it on a capitalist education.
    FYI, I went to public schools. So if my math is poor, blame it on collectivization.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    280 to 380 is 35% increase.
    This is a shoddy logic. A percentage increase and percentage of a total are two different things. You are arguing that the entire 35% increase in CO2 was man made. A percentage unsupported by your link. The increase itself (100) is 26% of the total atmospheric CO2 out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Well this is my point. Capitalism is already unsustainable and yes, a lot of people in India and China are becoming better off, so its becoming even more unsustainable.
    That is not at all the point of that example manc. Please answer the Question to opponent., which do you prefer personally. That one person makes 4 and another 10 or that both make 3?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Americans have the highest inequality of the rich countries, and it has been increasing. The people at the bottom have seen little or no improvement in real terms, and a big drop in their share of the cake. (see table 3)
    Which is the point of the question above. I'm not debating that point at all, I have no problem with it because the "cake" is getting bigger.
    If the lowest quintile is making more in real terms than they were 5 years ago. The argument that the highest quintile is making even more is a non sequitor.
    To use are example above;

    Five years ago the lower income person was making 2, the upper income person was making 5
    Now the lower income person is making 4 and the upper income person 10. You argue the difference is horrible, rather than focusing on the improvement. Envy is not a reason to destroy the only economic system to lift people out of poverty.

    Did you actually read the article manc?
    The White House says the multiyear $814 billion stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009 boosted employment by 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs and raised the nation's annual economic output by almost $400 billion
    You'll forgive us if we don't take the White House's word for it. Nor the study funded by a liberal think tank, which if you read the methodology states that it took the government numbers at face value. Also relevant is that they used Keynes' model (which was refuted by our good friend Friedman, part of which was how he won the Nobel prize), an outdated and unverified model.

    On a side note, that is still $271,000 per job, not exactly a very efficient stimulus now is it? Further, as even the CEA (Council of Economic Advisors) admits, the few confirmed jobs created by the stimulus are ones that historically did not exist and evidence of their sustainability post stimulus is in question.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    incidentally, most economists also favour wealth redistribution.
    No it doesn't, incidentally this is why Wiki is not a valid source Manc.

    In a 2004 poll of 1,000 economists (from the AEA), a majority of polled economists do not favor "redistribution".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_..._United_States

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Care to explain this?
    You noted several areas where massive increases in prices were "hurting" people.
    All of the sources you cited have massive governmental interference into the market.
    Housing has governmental subsidies for those who can't afford mortgages, subsidies drive up prices.
    Ditto healthcare and universities.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by manc View Post
    EXTRA POST

    Re Oxfam report. Its a major charity. I dont know how good their economics analysis is. It was just a quick example. Marxism is not based on what Oxfam says. Their main problem is that they accept capitalism.

    Judges: My critique was not based on Oxfam, but a detailed analysis of their position. I offered specific critiques of their methods and position. That critique is not debated and I can only assume excepted.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Are you disputing that there was a civil war, that America, Japan and Britain etc joined in, and that there was an economic blockade?
    That's what you were talking about?!?
    Manc, you portrayed these actions as capitalist intervention in the socialist revolution. They were nothing of the sort. Allied forces clashed with Bolshevik forces only once, when the Red Army tried to reconquer the Trans-Caspian area which had elected a separate government. The primary goal (outside of Japanese interference) was to protect allied material, cut off German forces and if possible reopen the eastern front by directly attacking Germany. To paint this as materially affecting the civil war is a bit intellectually dishonest.
    As is your discussion and link about the economic blockade of the Soviet Union, which was primarily a banning of war materials.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Strange then, if the capitalists and the workers are just the same people, that just 3% of the population have half the wealth. So granny has $500 shares in the company her husband worked for. Big deal. She probably got enticed to sell them by the actual capitalists anyway!
    Ah so wealth makes someone a capitalist then? You are shifting the goalposts manc, that is not what you claimed in your last post.

    So our CEO can be part of the proletariat as well as long as his stock isn't worth very much? Your definition is a very different one that Marx's.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  16. #16
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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Challenge to support a claim.
    Support that these happened to Lenin's Russia as you claim.
    Well I already gave you two sources. Spartacus Educational, a site referred to by the BBC, says "By December, 1918, there were 200,000 foreign soldiers supporting the anti-Bolshevik forces."
    By August 1919 Britain had already spent £47.9 million helping the Whites0--rising to £100 million by the end of the year, a figure equivalent to approximately £2.5 billion today. The French contribution was only slightly less, while the US allowed 'considerable sums' it had granted Kerensky's government to be diverted to the White cause by the ambassador of the Provisional Government.36
    socialist sourcequoting mainstream history book.
    This is just one example, we can see throughout history how capitalist countries tried to smash even a hint of socialist revolution, in Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Indonesia and so on. In Indonesia the dictator killed a million socialists. The British and Americans helped him. Even gave him a list of people to kill! And supplied a gunship! As for embargoes, you only have to look at Cuba.
    More evidence of the Allied embargo of Russia "in 1920 the Supreme Allied Council lifted the economic blockade against the RSFSR"
    http://www.blacksacademy.net/content/3759.html


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That is by definition capitalism.
    I don't know why you think that a democratic planned socialist economy has any resemblance to a capitalist one based on private ownership of the means of production. Do you elect your boss? The consumers in capitalism might get to choose what they buy, but only if they can afford it. The hungry don't choose hunger. Distribution isn't planned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Are you implying that they have absolutely no money? Or just very little?
    This is of course setting aside the fact that "capitalists" are not somehow forbidden
    from charity. Rather, recent studies have shown the the more free market oriented the economy the more money donated to charity.
    It is also ignoring the fact, as I pointed out already, that there is more starvation in socialist countries than in free market ones.
    The hungry might have a bit of money, but not enough. Many will be trying to grow their own food, but not able to grow enough. Charity is a drop in the ocean. It's not a solution. There are no socialist countries. There is hunger in China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, DRC and many other African countries. Of these, China was a Stalinist one and India was a capitalist one with a bit of state intervention. The highest poverty rates are in Africa, a legacy of colonialism by capitalist countries.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Two points here. First, I'll note the retraction. Second, I'll again point out that habitual starvation is higher under collectivist economies than free market economies, as I pointed out earlier in the debate.
    I don't know about any retraction. I don't recognise the word collectivist, its not one socialists use. It sounds vague.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Yet you offer no support for that. I provided evidence that Mercantilism was the dominant economic system well after the English Revolution. No evidence has been provided to counter that.
    The link you gave says "mercantilism provided the favourable climate for the early development of capitalism, with its promises of profit." I did say it peaked in 1660. Fact is the bourgeois played an important role in the civil war, the civil war cleared away the old feudal order and allowed the capitalist class to move to become the dominant class. The regime after the civil war was dominated by capitalists.

    Strawman, I didn't argue that they were unaware of the system, I argued that it wasn't included in their historical analysis. You haven't provided any counter to that position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Irrelevant, you claimed that colonialism increased until WWI, I countered that position. I Challenge to support a claim. you to support the claim that you made or officially retract it here.
    Latin America had nothing to do with WW1. And it was colonised much earlier by Spanish and Portugese during feudal times. The capitalists in Europe were interested in colonising Africa and the middle east, where the oil is, as I explained.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Further, he ignores generally accepted historical (and I would argue logical) theory that the causes of the war were an increased German nationalism and a breakdown of the Metternich system of alliances which had become overly complicated and secret. That is why an obscure assassination in a backwater country led to a massive European war.
    There were other factors as well, yeah. When I quote wiki you keep calling it an 'opinion article', but my link simply documented Europe's takeover of Africa just before WW1. Also, Latin America went from colonialism to neo-colonialism. America took over Latin America. They had a few troops here and there, but mainly it was puppet governments, coups, and economic domination, eg buying land and companies off the Spanish and so on. My 'opinion piece' paste on Europe's fear that Germany would bid for world gegemony included a numbered reference quotes historian William Lois, a renown expert on the subject.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    That seems unlikely. First, socialist societies contain no incentives for inventors so there will be less invention at the margin. Second, historical evidence does not support that concept. Free market societies like Europe and the United States have produced the vast, vast bulk of technological innovation. Collectivist societies like China and the Soviet Union produced very few.
    In the 1960s Scientific American wrote that the USSR was producing more scientists than the rest of the world put together. The Guardian reviews Red Plenty also, saying that was weakened the USSR was the arms race. It also points out "Stalin's dogmatic destruction of scientific creativity – and of the creators themselves". Anyway, enough of Stalinism. How would socialism promote innovation? Well the internet was invented and given to the world for nothing. Many people get a lot of enjoyment out of science and research. Economic growth in the USSR in the 1950s by the way was three times greater than in the USA, according to the CIA. Scientists are not particularly well paid in the west anyway, many people study hard and do demanding jobs for not very high wages. Plenty of studies show that salary is not the prime motivator in job choice. RELATIVE pay is actually more important to people. What people don't want is to be RELATIVELY POOR (see figure 2). This is a fundamental point to this whole debate and needs to be understood. happiness depends on relative incomes and wealth. This is backed up by tons of research, pulled together in particular by Richard Layard.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    And yet, given all that if we go with your time frame (the English Revolution until present) we see a dramatic surge in the standard of living in Free Market countries.
    You, like Marx portray the world in an inevitable slide away from Capitalism towards Socialism. Yet neither Marx, nor any contemporary Marxist economist has explained the failure of the collectivist countries adequately. You have pointed to some kind of mysterious economic foul play, but no evidence exists of that. Nor have they adequately explained what seems to be the inevitable slide in collectivism towards totalitarianism and then economic liberalization.
    Yes, and Marx explained that capitalism was progressive initially. No socialism is not inevitable. Russia did not fail purely because of foul play. It failed because socialism is impossible in a backward country. Russia was mostly illiterate peasants, plus a couple of cities. Feudalism had not long been formally abolished. All the Marxists knew that Russia on its own would fail. I don't really have space in this post to go into a lot of detail. Socialism needs to be made by an urban working class, and they were a minority in Russia (and China etc). Engels explains here why socialism was not an option in a more backward society
    "Was not the abolition of private property possible at an earlier time?

    No." "So long as it is not possible to produce so much that there is enough for all, with more left over for expanding the social capital and extending the forces of production – so long as this is not possible, there must always be a ruling class directing the use of society’s productive forces, and a poor, oppressed class. How these classes are constituted depends on the stage of development."
    Well Russia was effectively in an earlier time in terms of how far it was (not ) advanced compared to Britain, Germany etc. It was too backward for socialism ON ITS OWN. The Bolsheviks were counting on Germany, and then spreading further. You cant expect people to stick behind a revolution if it cant offer a good living standard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Challenge to support a claim. Support this with some kind of data at least. Your original explanation does not account for all sources of income. You again are arbitrarily labeling someone as a "producer" or a "capitalist" when in actual fact virtually everyone is both. Profit does not disappear into a magical capitalist black hole.
    The workers cannot afford to buy back what they produce because of the profits extracted by the capitalists. I have given loads of figures to show that the workers are getting a smaller share of the cake, with more and more going to the top few %. Even the more astute capitalist commentators worry about this, as clearly it means markets will shrink. This was why credit was made so cheap in the early 2000s, to try to get people to spend. I have explained that most of the wealth is in a tiny number of hands, the capitalist class. You can't rely on the 2-3% with half the money to buy all the normal products the workers produce.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    None of this actually supports your claim that crises are inherent to a free market economy.
    Recessions happen every few years. It's plain to see. If there was no government intervention they would be even worse. We saw that in 1929. This current recession came when workers were getting a smaller slice of the pie. They only spent between 2001 and 2008 because credit was so cheap!



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    In your example not even the evil capitalist can buy the goods. In fact he is even less able to purchase the good than the laborer.
    Yeah, 2% of the country cant buy all the consumer products can they? They might buy some luxury goods.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It is important to remember that the laborer in this story agreed to work for the capitalist.
    Yeah, he doesnt have much choice does he!


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Again, this ignores the economic reality of what is happening. Bill Gates created Microsoft, he put his time, talent and skill into creating a company that would not have existed without him. The PC revolution would not have happened, at least not to that extent without him.
    Rubbish! He just bought an idea, developed it, and crushed most of the competition. Anyway, get a mac, you'll never look back!

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    His response ignores mine, he ignores the process of value addition, he ignores the risk that individuals take to fund a company and ignores the value of managers that facilitate sales and organization.
    As I say, we do have top economists in our ranks, but I unfortunately am not one of them. Anyway, I dont doubt that managers add value. I just want them elected. And I discussed risk.





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    The economy did go through a correction in 1929, but unemployment never went above 3% and the market recovered more than 90% of its value within three months.
    In July however, the Government passed the Smoot-Hawley tariff act to help plan an economic recovery. They passed it despite a letter signed by over a 1000 prominent economists. Within 12 months, employment had shot passed 10%, the market returned to its lowest levels, private investment froze and the first soup kitchens opened. Which to you seems the more likely culprit?
    I have discussed this already. Trade was a tiny part of the economy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post


    ...Manc is confusing statistical categories with actual people. He is saying that the lowest and greatest earners in the country were the same people 40 years later!
    Obviously this isn't true, the individuals in the lowest quintile of earners in 1967 were mostly teenagers at their first job, as they got older they got better jobs, moved up the quintile list and finally retired, moving back down to the lowest.

    What?! Of course I am not suggesting that everyone stays in the same quintile! I am saying that the people in the bottom ones get a smaller share than the ones who were in them earlier got. And whoever is in the top one gets a lot more than those who were in it. Half of them are dead, and half weren't born!


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    The second major point is what is largely known as the zero sum game fallacy. Socialist economics is largely based on this fallacy. That if one group of people are doing well the other groups are doing accordingly poorly. That of course is not shown by historical fact either. The change in the standard of living in the United States for example was not met with a corresponding decrease in the standard of living in the rest of the world. If that were true, there would have to be some societies that have a lower than stone-age standard of living since all humans were there at some point. Rather, his data only shows that some groups are doing better, not that some groups are doing more poorly.
    No its not a zero sum and there is some truth in that, but
    1. RELATIVE poverty bothers people more that absolute, as I have shown
    2. The relative poverty of the workers means the capitalists can only sell their products with loads of credit / debt involved as I have shown.
    3. The rich countries got rich partly on the backs of the poor countries as I have shown.
    4. New technology is bound to bring improvements.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    First, the German system is definitely less of a free market system than for example the United States. You can't simply label any country as purely socialist or purely free market, we've discussed this already.
    I dont dispute that some capitalist countries have more state intervention than others, at different times, but I dont really consider it as a continuum to socialism. For socialism you need a revolution. (Political AND social).
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Regardless, let us look at your proposed system. You have failed to propose anything substantively different than the German system. German boards (as pointed out earlier) are made up exactly as you suggest and suffer the same agency costs (which is a type of utility loss) I pointed out.
    PUBLIC OWNERSHIP and DEMOCRATIC WORKERS CONTROL

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The only difference that I can infer is that I imagine you would elect this group via the workers rather than the owners (there would likely be no owners in your system). I see two problems with this.
    If you propose just a company worker election you will of course suffer agency costs associated with the election of pro-worker managers. These managers, whose jobs and positions depend on the good graces of the employees will not be free to maximize production. The workers will elect people who maximize the workers' utility, not the consumers.
    You think the workers will elect people who will give them an easier time? Maybe, and their factory will do badly and people will want the managers replaced.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You could conceivably fix this by including the consumers, suppliers, etc in the election. However, to follow this more "stakeholder" type of election you would quickly become burdensome. The time and resources wasted running the election would result in utility losses when compared to the free market system. Imagine having to elect the board of the company you get your milk from, the one you get your bread from, the cattle ranch, the pants maker, the shirt maker, the car maker, etc.
    I already said the boards of the big industries would include consumers. This isnt such a big deal as you thing. Heres how
    1. Give everyone a job
    2. Reduce the working week
    3. People have a bit of spare time to participate like this, voting, debating etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    22% =/= 50% You further argue that the rest (which you provide no numbers for) are employed in "useless" industries.
    What need would we have for people selling and marketing in a socialist economy?!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Sure, but we also have a higher life expectancy
    Hmm. these figures are 10 years old and cobbled together by God knows who. It says university of Iowa, but the link takes to the American Enterprise Institute! A right wing think tank. The CIA says USA is ranked 50th not first.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Nor has our healthcare system been described as "Cruel and neglectful"
    You got to be kiddin, right?
    According to the Institute of Medicine of the United States National Academies, the United States is the "only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage" (i.e. some kind of insurance).[22][23]
    source I think most people would call your system cruel. One survey found that 13% of people who applied for insurance in 2004 were denied cover.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Investing does not equal improving the environment. Free Market oriented economies have better natural environments within them, you have failed to show anything other than that.
    I have shown that Americans use 5 times more global resources than the planet could sustain for everyone.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Judges: I will point out to the judges that a wiki link about externalities does not support his claim. Manc claimed as you can see that capitalists "do not factor the environment" into their business operations. I provided several counter examples, including Weyerhauser. His response is a wiki link containing the "needs citation" example. I would submit to you that he has failed to support his claim and that I have won the sub point that free market economies do a better job of supporting the natural environment than more collectivist societies.
    So, let me see, a car manufacturer pays for global warming does he? Monsanto are gonna pay if they trash the environment?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    1) How did Russia pulling out of WWI shorten the war since it only allowed the Germans to focus on the western front?

    2) Why historically have collectivist societies like the USSR and China been more aggressive than free market societies?
    1. I dont know if it shortened the war overall, nobody knows that. It certainly shortened the war between Russia and Germany, it stopped it!
    2. I cant speak for Stalinist countries, but I dont think they started more wars than capitalist ones. The Bolsheviks didnt start any wars, they were forced into some. Chile under Allende never started any wars. I dont think Venezuela under Chavez has, nor Nicaragua under the Sandinistas. As for Stalinist countries, well, you know, hiroshima, cold war etc? Wars like Vietnam and Korea were largely started by America.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    Let me ask you this key point. If socialism is so rubbish, why don't the capitalists give it a chance, let it prove how rubbish it is, why do they have to try to smash it every time?
    Interesting question, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaps...2%80%931991%29, I guess 70 years and over 50 million dead wasn't enough.
    And this in no way answers my question, seeing as the capitalist countries did try to bring down socialism in Russia. After Stalin took over it was a slightly different ball game, the phoney 'cold war'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Judges: I would like to highlight the above statement. I would argue that it represents a fundamental lack of understanding about basic economics. My opponent is arguing the frankly absurd position that there is not economic continuum between the free market and socialism. You are either totally one or totally the other. Or apparently you are totally a third thing. This is in direct contradiction to earlier statements he has made noting the fact that the United States has implemented a more collectivist set of principles than it originally had.
    Revolution is not quite the same as an incremental change in quantity (the amount of 'socialism'. Its a QUALITATIVE LEAP. Nor is a political counter revolution. A capitalist country might adopt some socialist policies, like the NHS, but , but to argue that there is a simple continuum between different economies and regimes is a gross oversimplification. It's a bit meaningless to say the UK is more socialist than America. It's like saying a hispanic is more black than a white person.







    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Are you seriously maintaining that you are either 100% free market or 100% socialist? That is what you mean when you say there is no continuum. If you hold that position it is certainly incumbent on your to demonstrate some support for it. Challenge to support a claim.
    see above. No I am not saying you either have 100% one or the other. But I am saying theres a lot more to it than trying to imagine some continuum in which Stalinism and Norway are both half way to socialism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Please note that I provided a detailed explanation in my last post. For a further example I will cite this.
    I dont dispute that socialism would need a lot of planners. We could train up some of the ex-sales reps and so on. A shorter week would mean everyone could get involved. Computer technology is still young! I make music on mine which 30 years ago would have needed a massive studio. So socialism need planners. Capitalism needs unemployment. Which is better?





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I will bold sections that require at least one, if not more planners. Each of these inputs requires planning, both logistical, production, distribution, etc. This is solely for pencils, imagine the legions of workers needed for all the products we see daily. That is done in the Free Market by individual manager, employers and largely through the price system and its transmitting of usage information. In your system that would all have to be modeled by thousands of planners, and that is even assuming you are able to replicate a way to model utility, a claim you haven't shown.
    Marx wrote extensively criticising utilitarianism, but it way beyond the scope of this post. Incidentally the pencils this was interesting but since I have worked in industries relating to aerospace, oil refineries, aviation, construction and so on, I do realise the world is complex and full of specialised skills. I used to have a job which was extremely specialised. And of course I know a lot of people with highly specialised skills. This is just another appeal to consequences.






    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I have explained this part to you twice. Collectivist societies have never created an adequate replacement for the information transmitted by prices. Utility, want, indifference between products, these are all basic economic and psychological concepts that are transmitted by price which have no substitute under your system.
    Its a myth. In the real world, many industries are close to monopolies, and capitalists fix prices by withholding supply etc. For capitalists, its often more profitable to keep prices up and sales lower than they could be if prices were lowered. Therefore profit creates shortages. What you forget also is that perhaps half the cost of many goods is advertising, so in a socialist economy they would cost half as much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    No, because I did not make that claim. I argued that there are many factors that allow him to do it better in Africa than in Manchester and vice versa.
    Factors such as weather, education, cultural preferences, resource location, etc all influence where theses activities are done. Under your proposal we ignore all of that and simply force people to do what you think is a good idea.
    I never said we would force people to do anything, and I never said everthing would be produced locally. I studied geology at university. I am well aware that certain resources are found in certain places. Food on the other hand can mostly be grown locally. I do like my coffee though! Beans can be and are grown in Manchester.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Challenge to support a claim. Support this absurd conspiracy theory. Support it not with a long paragraph or a random wiki article about colonialism, but with facts supporting that under developed countries are perfectly capable of doing all the activities of developed ones exactly as efficiently, but that developed countries suppress them.
    Again you imply that Africans are incapable.
    I did give a brief outline from Oxfam. I doubt I have the space. I could write thousands of words. Poor countries are poor because of lack of education, lack of infrastructure, poor leadership quite often, debt, IMF policies, subsidised goods from rich countries penetrating, lots of things. I gave an example of how the British de-industrialised India. After colonialism you had corrupt elites, puppet governments looking after themselves and multinationals. Divisions largely created by colonialism like in Rwanda. Setting a country up for raw materials and / or cheap labour. I mentioned Indonesia. In the Congo war, 7 countries were fighting, the US supplied arms to 6 of them. Its fact not conspiracy theory. Some call it dependency theory. "Dependency theory or dependencia theory is a body of social science theories predicated on the notion that resources flow from a "periphery" of poor and underdeveloped states to a "core" of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of the former. It is a central contention of dependency theory that poor states are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor states are integrated into the "world system.""



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It isn't rhetorical at all, that is the actual question dealt with every single day. Your hand waving claim that they will be fed is unconvincing, especially given the evidence earlier in the debate showing that collectivist countries regularly starve more people than their free market counter parts.
    There is already enough food in the world, so there is no good reason a billion people should be hungry. Clinton admitted his policies (dumping) destroyed the agriculture in Haiti. The hungry in Africa and India etc need help and resources. They dont need Monsanto sniffing around for profits, they dont need the proxy wars they fought for the United States. They dont need disastrous IMF policies

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I know what your party's claim was. That evil Margaret Thatcher didn't allow the national government to bail them out.
    Do you understand how hypocritical that sounds? You have argued for local sustainability during this whole debate and then you excuse a massive failure by socialists with "the rest of the country didn't help."
    You have no idea. In a nutshell Liverpool was a very poor city and the Tories and Liberals took away £ millions. There were riots. The council that took over (about 50% Marxist) had 3 choices - raise rents and local taxes (they were called rates), cut jobs and services, or go into deficit and force the government to had back some of the cash the had robbed. They were elected to do the latter and this they did. BTW council house rents prior to Militant were the highest in the country prior to Militant getting in. In addition they created jobs by building nice houses for people who had previously lived in slums. The alternative was the dole queue. Liverpool had huge unemployment before the Militant got in.








    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    First, in 1984, the ROC government announced plans for the liberalization and globalization of the economy as well as the privatization of government-run enterprises.
    etc
    I dont wanna get bogged down in Taiwan. The main economic growth was actually 1972 to 1988."Economic growth has become much more modest since the late 1990s"







    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The companies you listed were all tiny, tiny companies, as was the economy (as pointed out) until after the 1990 reforms.
    You admit that there were reforms in the 90s. I have shown that economic growth occurred after that period. Your own links shown that those companies grew dramatically in the past two decades. I think the point is pretty conclusively shown.
    Tiny companies? Reliance has a turnover of $45 billion. Their website describes the founder "He is credited to have brought about the equity cult in India in the late seventies and is regarded as an icon for enterprise in India. He epitomized the spirit 'dare to dream and learn to excel'." Does that sound like a socialist country? Of course India was poor and had little industry after WW2. The British as I keep saying de-industrialised India during colonial rule. By the way, this reminds me, going back to your point about colonial expansion and WW1, the reason capitalism kept going after WW2 without colonialism is because of NEO-COLONIALISM. Same thing, without the mither. You need to bear in mind that for example in 1925 the American economy was 10 times bigger than India's.






    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Yet magically you claim that it will all disappear when government owns the business. Welcome to the real world manc, every collectivist society that has existed in the past 200 years has had been racked with corruption and elitism. You point to the income disparities in the west? I'll point you to the living standard disparities in both China and the Soviet Union.

    Of course we all know Stalinism was corrupt and needed overthrowing. However while there was massive poverty among the peasantry in China, there was not the inequality in the USSR that you have in America. Thus you see after capitalism started in the USSR in 1990, a massive decline for many people, with life expectancy plummeting etc. In the 1950s the USSR had a higher life expectancy than the USA, but after 1990 it plummeted (it has crept up a bit in the last few years


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That is exactly my point manc, in your system there is no cost to taking those risk. Sure i'll try another farming technique if it fails it doesn't affect me at all. The fact that there are no consequences leads to more risk being taken and proportionally more failures!
    You are very cynical. I said we would be able to experiment, not to be totally rash and stupid.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That article (if you had bothered to read the comments) is thoroughly refuted by academics and columnists alike. He is more or less accurate that most banks that made sub-prime loans were not subject to CRA inspections, what he does not point out that while not bound to follow CRA specifically, they were prohibitive from taking federal day loans (including inter-bank loans from banks that have access to the fed or direct access to the fed itself) unless they were in compliance. He also miraculously fails to mention that they still sold those loans to Fannie/Freddie, which was my primary point.
    I'm not really interested in the petty squabbles between the Democrats and Republicans, they are both capitalist parties representing the rich.
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Exactly! Because they are risky, a portion of those projects will fail, thats why they are risky, and resources will be lost. Taken in aggregate more resources will be lost in your system than in mine, thats the point of risk.
    Rubbish. You never get anywhere by just keeping doing the same thing. You complain there will be no innovation in socialism, then you complain when I say we can experiment!




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Judges: Given that Russia was clearly a more collectivist society than the US for example, I would like to put this forward as a concession that historical example of socialist countries have failed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You are dodging the question. There are only two possible answers to these people, either someone else has to work more to support them (in which case you have stolen utility from that person) or you would force them to work (in which case you have stolen their utility).
    No there are not two possible answers. There is also mine. Skiving is sometimes acceptable in a capitalist company where you are all getting shafted by the boss anyway, but in a socialist world it would be seen as negative on society. In Russia they had no ruling class but they had a ruling elite which had the same negative effect to some extent. You need to think of a team. Everyone pulls together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Are you kidding?!? This is the economy, if you think the economy is a minor detail and you are advocating planning the economy what does that say about your system?
    Relatively minor. Obviously pricing and planning production would be something to tackle. You need to bear in mind that a huge chunk of he world economy is controlled by a few massive companies, and they do all sorts of planning an calculating. Problem for them is there are loads of unknowns and uncertainties. They can only react to things. We would take all those problems out of the equation. We CAN calculate how many pencils a cheeseburger is worth. It's not rocket science.
    By the way, in Britain we nationalised the health service, the post, oil, rail, telecoms, aviation, coal, electricity, water, education, buses, prisons, police, fire services, etc, its all been done before. Only not in a way that you could call it socialism. The capitalists still had the power and the wealth. Everything still worked. Most were nationalised because the capitalists were failing. Thatcher of course wanted a complete reversal for purely ideological reasons, it was a way of looting the country's assets by the ruling class. Eg rail was sold dirt cheap and after privatisation got four times MORE government subsidy than before!!



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Judges: I would like to posit that what Manc is in practice suggesting is a free market. Individuals making decisions about resource and production allocation.
    What??! What the heck are you on about? People will get together to plan production. We would be gradually getting rid of the free market. A free market (something which is largely a myth anyway) is PRIVATELY owned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Judges: Please note that this is a retraction and supports my above position that this is not a defendable economic view.
    I have no idea what I'm supposed to have retracted. I never retract anything. I'm never wrong. There is very little profit incentive for capitalists to protect the environment, which is why it is being trashed on a scale I suspect you have virtually no understanding of.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This is a shoddy logic. A percentage increase and percentage of a total are two different things. You are arguing that the entire 35% increase in CO2 was man made. A percentage unsupported by your link. The increase itself (100) is 26% of the total atmospheric CO2 out there.
    WRONG!





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That is not at all the point of that example manc. Please answer the Question to opponent., which do you prefer personally. That one person makes 4 and another 10 or that both make 3?
    Its not a relevant question. What most people want research shows is the latter. What socialist want is that both make 6.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Which is the point of the question above. I'm not debating that point at all, I have no problem with it because the "cake" is getting bigger.
    If the lowest quintile is making more in real terms than they were 5 years ago. The argument that the highest quintile is making even more is a non sequitor.
    To use are example above;

    Five years ago the lower income person was making 2, the upper income person was making 5
    Now the lower income person is making 4 and the upper income person 10. You argue the difference is horrible, rather than focusing on the improvement. Envy is not a reason to destroy the only economic system to lift people out of poverty.
    see above







    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    In a 2004 poll of 1,000 economists (from the AEA), a majority of polled economists do not favor "redistribution".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_..._United_States
    In a 2004 poll of 1,000 economists (from the AEA), a majority of polled economists favor "redistribution".[7] A study by the Southern Economic Journal found that "71 percent of American economists believe the distribution of income in the US should be more equal, and 81 percent feel that the redistribution of income is a legitimate role for government."[8]
    same link, you seem to have misread it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You noted several areas where massive increases in prices were "hurting" people.
    All of the sources you cited have massive governmental interference into the market.
    Housing has governmental subsidies for those who can't afford mortgages, subsidies drive up prices.
    Ditto healthcare and universities.
    Government subsidies keep prices down not up, besides which there is not that much government subsidy of these things.

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Reply to extra post
    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    Judges: My critique was not based on Oxfam, but a detailed analysis of their position. I offered specific critiques of their methods and position. That critique is not debated and I can only assume excepted.
    The question is how do rich countries keep poor ones poor. I have briefly mentioned the legacy of colonialism. This on its own is huge.

    COLONIAL LEGACY

    Examples

    India was systematically and deliberately de-industrialised by Britain.

    Divide and rule and badly drawn national boundaries led to all sorts of conflicts both within and between countries. Do you know the French government even took part in the Rwanda genocide?

    Puppet regimes were left in place to enable neo-colonial rule, economic domination.

    Wars of independence led to military style governments or dictatorships.

    Proxy wars fought - the list is long. Example - US funding mujahideen.

    remember - the British KNIGHTED Mugabe!


    NEO-COLONIALISM

    Poor countries are exploited by rich ones and / or by the capitalist class internationally.

    Examples.

    After decolonisation of the Belgian Congo, Belgium continued to control 70% of their economy.

    I gave an example of how America destroyed the agriculture in Haiti.

    The IMF has had disastrous effects on poor countries. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner for economics and former Chief Economist at the World Bank wrote a book on this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globali...ts_Discontents "Stiglitz argues that the policies pursued by the IMF are based on neoliberal assumptions that are fundamentally unsound"

    Contents of the Book

    The theories which guide the IMF's policies are empirically flawed. Free market, neoclassical, and neoliberal are all essentially euphemisms for the disastrous laissez-faire economics of the late 19th century. This approach seeks to minimize the role of government -- arguing that lower wages solve problems of unemployment, and relying upon trickle-down economics to address poverty [the belief that growth and wealth will trickle down to all segments of society]. Stiglitz finds no evidence to support this belief, and considers the 'Washington Consensus' policy of free markets to be a blend of ideology and bad science.
    another example

    Free Trade Enslaving Poor Countries
    The new free trade agreements being signed up between rich and poor countries are proving far more damaging to the poor than anything envisaged within WTO talks, Oxfam said in a report Tuesday.

    "Poor countries are being forced into very deep tariff cuts," Emily Jones, author of the Oxfam report 'Signing Away the Future' told IPS. "These are often being reduced to zero under reciprocal so-called free trade agreements they are being forced to sign with rich countries."

    That means poor countries are having to open up their markets to subsidised agricultural products from places like the EU, she said.
    http://ipsnews.org/news.asp?idnews=37008

    Structural Adjustment

    Debt is a tool used to force poor countries to do the bidding of rich ones.

    the IMF and World Bank have demanded that poor nations lower the standard of living of their people.

    SAP's
    Privatisation
    Cuts in government spending
    Imposition of user fees
    Promotion of exports - eg growing crops for export instead of food for hungry people in that country, and often taking up vital water etc.
    Trade Liberalisation - forcing countries to take the exports of rich ones, eg I mentioned the rice in Haiti.

    For decades, poor countries have been encouraged / forced to export raw materials. Often the land is owned by foreigners. The rich countries then manufacture and sell goods to poor countries, who cant afford them, especially if the price of raw materials falls. Even oil does not ensure prosperity if all the profit is taken out of the country.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That's what you were talking about?!?
    Manc, you portrayed these actions as capitalist intervention in the socialist revolution. They were nothing of the sort. Allied forces clashed with Bolshevik forces only once, when the Red Army tried to reconquer the Trans-Caspian area which had elected a separate government. The primary goal (outside of Japanese interference) was to protect allied material, cut off German forces and if possible reopen the eastern front by directly attacking Germany. To paint this as materially affecting the civil war is a bit intellectually dishonest.
    As is your discussion and link about the economic blockade of the Soviet Union, which was primarily a banning of war materials.
    I have no idea where you get that idea from. Here in her letter Hellen Keller says

    We cannot remain silent while the government for which we are partly responsible assists in starving women, children and old people because, forsooth, our political rulers and perhaps a majority of the American public do not approve the ideas which underlie Russia's experiment in a new type of society.
    link

    As I say, the Allies had 200,000 soldiers in Russia assisting the Whites, providing weapons and so on.

    If you want a couple of examples

    North Russia campaign.

    1918-1919

    A British Royal Navy Flotilla of over 20 ships - including 2 Seaplane Carriers, HMS Pegasus and HMS Nairana
    Approximately 5,000 United States Army soldiers [1]
    14 Battalions of British Commonwealth troops – Canadian Brigade and Australian Infantry,
    2,000 French, Colonial & Engineers,
    1,000 British-Serbian and Polish Rifles were assigned to assist Admiral Kolchak’s White Guard forces in the north and make a junction with his Siberian forces (Czechoslovak Legion) near Kotlas.
    A British Royal Air Force contingent comprising Airco DH.4 bombers, Fairey Campania and Sopwith Baby seaplanes along with a single Sopwith Camel fighter.[3][4]
    link


    An international policy to support the White Russians and, in Churchill's words, "to strangle at birth the Bolshevik State" became increasingly unpopular in Britain. In January 1919 the Daily Express was echoing public opinion when it exclaimed, "the frozen plains of Eastern Europe are not worth the bones of a single grenadier".
    The other campaigns included

    Southern Russia and Ukraine

    Siberian Intervention

    The Baltic

    etc etc





    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Ah so wealth makes someone a capitalist then? You are shifting the goalposts manc, that is not what you claimed in your last post.

    So our CEO can be part of the proletariat as well as long as his stock isn't worth very much? Your definition is a very different one that Marx's.
    I never said granny was a capitalist. I said the CEO will be thinking on behalf of the capitalists, even if he isn't technically one himself.

    Of course a CEO can be working class if his company is tiny, eg if someone is self employed. If they employ a few people you would probably call them middle class.

    Footnote:




    30 June 2010

    Police in Bangladesh have used clubs, tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of textile workers protesting low wages in capital city Dhaka.

    PS the Oxfam report was written by various people but mainly Kevin Watkins who is senior research fellow at Oxford University's global governance programme. The director there is Ngaire Woods. Various people in that department seem to be involved in writing stuff for Oxfam. Ngaire Woods is Professor of International Political Economy. She spoke at Oxfam's 21 century event. Dr Arunabha Ghosh from the department also writes for Oxfam. Emily Jones is another.
    Last edited by manc; November 6th, 2010 at 08:22 AM.

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I don't know why you think that a democratic planned socialist economy has any resemblance to a capitalist one based on private ownership of the means of production. Do you elect your boss? The consumers in capitalism might get to choose what they buy, but only if they can afford it. The hungry don't choose hunger. Distribution isn't planned.
    You have said that in your perfect society everyone would come together and determine production and distribution. This is the market system. I determine that more milk is produced because I spend my money to do so. I help determine the price, along with everyone else by how much I buy. If we all don’t buy very much of it because it is too expensive, someone will lower the price in an attempt to capture more of our money. I do elect my boss by determining who I work for. If I don’t like him I’ll work somewhere else.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    The hungry might have a bit of money, but not enough. Many will be trying to grow their own food, but not able to grow enough.
    A point with virtually no evidence. Everything you have pointed out ignores the massive starvation in communist countries that has far, far outweighed the starvation in free market societies. All of the countries you mentioned have largely command economies except India and Thailand (I’m assuming of course you meant N. Korea). Thank you for proving my point for me.



    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Scientists are not particularly well paid in the west anyway, many people study hard and do demanding jobs for not very high wages. Plenty of studies show that salary is not the prime motivator in job choice. RELATIVE pay is actually more important to people. What people don't want is to be RELATIVELY POOR (see figure 2). This is a fundamental point to this whole debate and needs to be understood. happiness depends on relative incomes and wealth. This is backed up by tons of research, pulled together in particular by Richard Layard.
    Are we seriously proposing that we base our economic and social structure on envy? You’ll notice that I never said that incentives=pay. That is a socialist fallacy. Factors such as benefits, time off, and prestige are included in the economic term “incentive.” That’s the difference between the free market and the collectivist society. In the free market we are free to make our own contracts, individuals can contract with companies or other individuals to receive what they personally value, not what a bureaucrat values for them.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    The workers cannot afford to buy back what they produce because of the profits extracted by the capitalists.
    Those profits don’t just disappear. Your logic only works if the profits extracted by the “capitalists” somehow is completely removed from the economic system. That doesn’t happen though. Those profits are reinvested into the system or spent. The fact that economic growth has continued even in times when personal and national debt were decreasing should be a tell tale sign that your economic theory is incorrect.



    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Recessions happen every few years. It's plain to see. If there was no government intervention they would be even worse. We saw that in 1929. This current recession came when workers were getting a smaller slice of the pie. They only spent between 2001 and 2008 because credit was so cheap!
    This does not support that economic recession is inherent to the free market. Without actual evidence or logic this is an unsupported claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yeah, 2% of the country cant buy all the consumer products can they? They might buy some luxury goods.
    Huh? Did you actually read the example? In your example the evil capitalist is less likely to buy his own goods than the laborer. That should turn on the BS light in your head somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Yeah, he doesnt have much choice does he!
    He absolutely does. Unlike in your system in a free market you are free to choose who you work for and what you do.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    As I say, we do have top economists in our ranks, but I unfortunately am not one of them. Anyway, I dont doubt that managers add value. I just want them elected. And I discussed risk.
    Again, I would point this back and forth to the judges. Manc offers absolutely no evidence, no names, nothing. He simply relies on a few obscure sections from a Marxist website.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    You think the workers will elect people who will give them an easier time? Maybe, and their factory will do badly and people will want the managers replaced.
    If managers are incapable of looking beyond the short term, what makes you think the workers will? Further, why do the workers care how well the plant does? They care about getting what they can and not having to work too hard for it. To ignore this reality is beyond foolish.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    I dont dispute that socialism would need a lot of planners.
    Judges: Aside from his asinine assessment that capitalism needs unemployment (without any support), this fact taken alone proves my initial OP. This concession by itself should be enough to show that the socialist system is inherently less efficient than the free market one.

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Marx wrote extensively criticising utilitarianism, but it way beyond the scope of this post. Incidentally the pencils this was interesting but since I have worked in industries relating to aerospace, oil refineries, aviation, construction and so on, I do realise the world is complex and full of specialised skills. I used to have a job which was extremely specialised. And of course I know a lot of people with highly specialised skills. This is just another appeal to consequences.
    Again, to the judges. Please note that I never argued utilitarianism in the slightest. Manc’s use of the term betrays that he fundamentally doesn’t understand the debate at hand. Please also note that the rest of this does not debate my point in the slightest, it is if anything a concession.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Its a myth. In the real world, many industries are close to monopolies, and capitalists fix prices by withholding supply etc. For capitalists, its often more profitable to keep prices up and sales lower than they could be if prices were lowered. Therefore profit creates shortages. What you forget also is that perhaps half the cost of many goods is advertising, so in a socialist economy they would cost half as much.
    Manc, you provide no evidence that “many industries are close to monopolies,” when in fact in the free market competition is often fierce. I am only aware of a few examples of oligopolies or monopolies and those are in situations where the government has made competition illegal (utilities, rating agencies, etc). Even in oligopolies, the value of undercutting a competitor’s price is substantial. What Manc is referring to rather is a misinterpretation of economic data. What happens in industries with fierce competition is occasionally a price increase as smaller competitors leave the market. This is because the prices for any given product are pretty close to the cost of goods sold (hence why the smaller ones leave). A strategic response to that kind of price war is to offer additional features, a luxury type product, to distinguish yourself. Think of a candy coating on an aspirin or two for one sales, new apps on a phone, etc. These extras do allow the companies to charge more since value has been added to the product.
    What manc describes rarely if ever happens within a free market system. You’ll note that he gave no detailed examples.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    You are very cynical. I said we would be able to experiment, not to be totally rash and stupid.
    Of course I’m cynical about socialism Manc, its killed well over 200 million people in the last 100 years. How could any sane person be anything but cynical?

    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Rubbish. You never get anywhere by just keeping doing the same thing. You complain there will be no innovation in socialism, then you complain when I say we can experiment!
    Strawman, no one argued against taking risks, they argued against taking excess risk, which is something that socialist economies cannot prevent because risk information is not transmitted as shown earlier.


    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    No there are not two possible answers. There is also mine. Skiving is sometimes acceptable in a capitalist company where you are all getting shafted by the boss anyway, but in a socialist world it would be seen as negative on society. In Russia they had no ruling class but they had a ruling elite which had the same negative effect to some extent. You need to think of a team. Everyone pulls together.
    Magically? They would just put their own desires away because now we live in a land of magical unicorns? You cannot think of even one person that would be unwilling to work?
    A side note to the judges, if this is world that Manc is proposing, I would argue that those same magical workers would be even more efficient under a free market system where no planning costs would wasted, and the workers would be free to allocate their work more efficiently than under a strict plan.





    Summary

    I think this debate must have been somewhat jarring to read. It often seemed at times that two entirely separate debates were going on at the same time and others that we were arguing the same point. My opponent’s inability to offer substantive definitions and explanations for his economic system betrays what I believe is a fundamental lack of understanding as to what it is.

    The following is a list of individual issues I brought up in the OP and a summary of how they were dealt with in the course of the debate.

    Information Transmittal
    I put forward the relatively basic economic theory that information about goods is transmitted through prices. IE, my personal preference for hamburgers over hot dogs is transmitted by my willingness to pay more for the former than the latter. I noted that there is no equivalent source of information transmittal in the collectivist system.
    Manc responded that information could be transmitted via computers, or individual votes (to which I snidely replied that those votes should be done with small pieces of paper with presidents on them).
    The problem with Manc’s suggestion is that it does not take into account utility curves. The idea that person A would rather have a hot dog than a hamburger, but would rather have two hamburgers than a hot dog. IE that there are tradeoffs in life and that we make decisions about those tradeoffs based on our personal preferences and desires. Manc offered no suggestion as to how we would track every single person’s likes and dislikes for every single good (and its relationship to every other good) in a way that was more efficient than a free market. The free market uses a universal exchange (money), there is no such medium under the socialist system.
    Further, Manc’s inability to discuss even this basic problem does not take into account how we would account for need rather than want under his system. Remember, socialism isn’t about giving everyone everything they want (such a thing is physically impossible in any system), but to allocate everyone what they need. Manc offered no practical solution for discovering what individuals actually need rather than want.
    I would argue then that prices are still the only available means for information transmittal in a way that allows for maximum utility. Prices allow people to allocate the resources they have (the objection here is dealt with below) into a package of goods that maximizes their own utility and satisfaction.

    Emergence
    Initially I brought up the fact that markets are inherently more efficient than command economies because in a free market everyone makes hundreds of decisions a day about resource allocation and distribution. I argued that this is an emergent system in which the total is more than the sum of its parts. I also brought up that because a command economy removes those choices from the individual and places them in the state (the objection to which was completely overcome) that there is an inherent removal of capacity from the system. I showed by example that if you remove a portion of the producers from the economy to “plan” that there would be a corresponding drop in output.
    Manc proposed three objections. First, was that there were really no planners under a socialist economy. This argument relies on a vague definition of socialism that was not proposed in the OP, nor supported with adequate explanation. When I pressed him on the workings of the system, he described something very akin to a market.
    Quote Originally Posted by manc
    Distribution of products and services would be done by the people, in an organised way. That is not a 'state', that is people co-operating to get a job done.
    Individuals that self organize for the purpose of resource allocation sounds a lot like a market I think.
    When challenged on this, my opponent simply asserted that he felt it didn’t sound like a market and that planners wouldn’t be needed (a claim he retracts in post 16), that all of this could be done again by computers. I asked him how exactly computers would account for personal whims and desires. He was unable to answer and rather simply stated that “others would figure that out.”
    When again pressed on just how this would theoretically work, Manc again reversed himself and admitted planners for the society would be necessary, but that they would be drawn from the segments of society that he (manc) views as useless. He was unable or unwilling to elaborate on that point, as to why they are patently useless, rather than it simply being his personal distaste for them.
    Regardless, I think the debate has led to a concession to me on this point. Manc has admitted that planners of some sort are necessary for his society. Since they would be drawn (regardless of manc’s claim on their uselessness) from people currently contributing to the production of goods and services in our society, there is an inevitable decrease in said goods.
    Finally, Manc never substantively dealt with my assertion that these planners would be materially unable to fully replicate the functions of a market. It is inconceivable that even something as high as 10% of our population, fully dedicated to planning could adequately replace the entirety of our population’s decisions on a daily basis. I would refer you back to the pencil example, imagine all of those decisions, and the literally millions to billions of other ones made that are necessary for the production of a pencil allocated to a planner or a group of planners. How could they possibly plan for that system without lowering someone’s utility from its present value? Since they would be required to take some shortcuts (either by arbitrarily picking something or lumping products into larger buckets) how could they but fail to maximize utility of everyone involved in the same way the market does?
    That however, is not even the totality of Manc’s claim. He goes beyond that and claims they could do so in such a way as to make up for all the production they are no longer part of! That is a monumental claim, one that he fails to support in his posts and one that I would argue has been ceded to me.

    Risk
    In the OP I mentioned that socialism has no effective method of accounting for risk. In a market economy risk is accounted for by rates of return. If I have a riskier project than you, I have to pay you a higher rate of return to get you to invest in my project. This system again allows individuals to tailor their risk to their own personal comfort. Such a system does not exist under socialism since there is no “return.” My argument is that given that a socialist system would undertake a proportionally larger number of high risk projects. IE that the total risk in the system would increase. Since probability is the same under the two systems, that means that a higher proportion of projects under the socialist system would fail, leading to a loss of the invested resources and a decrease in system utility.
    Initially manc claims that socialist planners would be able to account for that risk, but how that would be done was not explained. He later admits that riskier projects would be undertaken in post 16, seemingly arguing that it would lead to an increase in production. Though he does not explain how it isn’t being done now if it were to lead to more production.

    Agency Costs
    This was perhaps one of the most confusing back and forths. My initial argument was that a decrease in utility is inevitable in a system that disassociates labor with reward. To illustrate this I later offered the example of a worker that gets more benefit out of sleeping at his station than working (an agency cost). Socialism offers only three choices. Either someone else has to work harder to make up for that person, production as a whole is lowered, or that person is forced to work. In any of those cases someone’s utility is lowered.

    Manc could not rebut this argument, but rather said that peer pressure would force them to work. I argued that peer pressure is just an example of the last option. Manc then resorted to the “perfect man argument” ie that since socialism is implemented people would magically become better, that no one would do such a thing in the glorious workers’ future. This argument is unconvincing, and further that same type of person does not alleviate the option. Such a “perfect man” would still enjoy a higher utility under a market system than under a socialist system.

    There was a side debate as to the agency costs and make up of companies under the respective systems. Manc argued that in his socialist system workers would elect the board of companies and management. He also argued that consumers would participate in this election, which brings me to a side point. I think manc’s proposals are unrealistically taxing on society. The idea that in my free time I would sit at my computer and plan out my consumption for the next month or year to help planners and then participate (let alone helpfully participate) in board votes for all of the companies I consume products from is totally unrealistic. Manc’s response is that the work week would be shorter. He offers no explanation of how this would happen or how that would not impact production negatively. I would argue that this total system is so undeveloped and unrealistic that it would contain manifold problems that would make it a nightmare.

    Consumption
    I have already touched on consumption a bit above, but I will add one note. There has never been a situation where if you remove the costs of consumption from a group that consumption has not risen. Yet that is exactly what Manc’s system would do. How he would make up for the excess consumption is not handled in his arguments.


    Manc’s Objections

    The following is a list of Manc’s objections to the free market. Largely these were brought up by me initially and Manc disagreed.

    Hunger
    The substance of this debate came down to two arguments. The first was my contention that starvation is actually much higher in command type economies than free markets to which Manc offered the second that the markets fail because the starving don’t have a say in demand.
    The first was largely conceded to me and I would argue trumps the second. Even if Manc’s proposition were true (I will show in a second that it is not), the fact that the system in operation starves less people is proof that somehow it is feeding people better.
    Further, I believe I have argued somewhat successfully that the poor and starving do have a say in demand. Now, setting aside that the vast, vast majority of starving people are brought to that state by market interference either through civil war or state mismanagement, let’s take a one man example. Let us take a man who has no resources at all, no money and no ability to trade labor or work or anything for food. That is where charity comes in. Charity is also a market force, people derive utility from helping others. Charity exists in free market economies at much higher rates than in command economies for the simple fact of there being more disposable wealth. That is why we see starvation of the invalid and sick at far, far lower rates.

    The Commons
    This argument was likewise somewhat confusing. I offered both theoretical and practical examples of how the free market takes care of the environment. As people begin to own property they invest in its maintenance. Examples of logging companies are perfect examples of forest management and growth. Manc though argued (rather unconvincingly) that problems like Global Warming were too big for the market to handle yet he offers no reason for that conviction. When consumers in the last ten years have become more aware of the problem of carbon emissions and begun to include that in their “utility curve” we have seen companies move faster and more efficiently to “green” products than any governmental mandate could have done.
    The most damning evidence though is the world around us. The United States and Europe are paradises when compared to the socialist countries of the USSR or China (the argument as to those later countrys’ political systems, socialist or not, I will leave to the judges). That should be reason enough to trust the market more than the government when it comes to the commons.


    To wrap up my closing post, I would like the judges to take a moment and really think of my opponent’s position. Has he offered a real, workable system? Do you feel confident that he could really implement this system or rather do you feel it is at best a pipe dream? What evidence has he offered either logical or empirical?
    I would put forward that he has answered none of these questions satisfactorily, and that clear, economic thinking would indicate that I am the winner of this argument. Thank you.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You have said that in your perfect society everyone would come together and determine production and distribution. This is the market system......I do elect my boss.....
    Fair enough then, no need for socialism, we already have it! Only thing is, socialism is nothing like what we have. A starving person does not decide to get fed, and production is dictated by profit and is not democratically controlled.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    A point with virtually no evidence. Everything you have pointed out ignores the massive starvation in communist countries that has far, far outweighed the starvation in free market societies. All of the countries you mentioned have largely command economies except India and Thailand (I’m assuming of course you meant N. Korea). Thank you for proving my point for me.
    Kim Il Sung got into power first by leading a struggle against Japanese colonialism, and secondly because America flattened North Vietnam. Their hunger is a result of Stalinist policies, a military dictatorship, and the isolation of the country. The areas with most hunger are the Indian subcontinent and Africa. I'm not quite sure where 'communism' fits in. The rate of hunger in China is actually about the same as many Latin American countries. In particular the Congo has got worse, an area wracked by war (the USA supplying weapons to 6 out of 7 countries fighting). China ranks at the 47th LEAST hungry country of 118 developing countries. It has a global hunger index (2007) of 8.37. India is much worse, with an index of 25. Many African countries rank 30-40. Bangladesh is 35.
    China is less hungry than Indonesia, where Britain and America helped Suharto kill a million socialists to ensure a cheap labour haven for the multinationals. It is less hungry than many Latin America countries, most of which the USA has massively intervened in over the last 100 years or so (coups, military intervention, neo-colonialism etc etc. )



    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8306556.stm

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Are we seriously proposing that we base our economic and social structure on envy? You’ll notice that I never said that incentives=pay. That is a socialist fallacy. Factors such as benefits, time off, and prestige are included in the economic term “incentive.” That’s the difference between the free market and the collectivist society. In the free market we are free to make our own contracts, individuals can contract with companies or other individuals to receive what they personally value, not what a bureaucrat values for them.
    No, envy is what makes capitalism tick. This is what the adverts on the telly are for and so on. No, I don't want to base anything on envy, I am just stating the research, which clearly shows that people are happier if there is more equality. It also shows that Americans are no happier than they were decades ago.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    manc
    The workers cannot afford to buy back what they produce because of the profits extracted by the capitalists.
    Those profits don’t just disappear. Your logic only works if the profits extracted by the “capitalists” somehow is completely removed from the economic system. That doesn’t happen though. Those profits are reinvested into the system or spent. The fact that economic growth has continued even in times when personal and national debt were decreasing should be a tell tale sign that your economic theory is incorrect.
    2 or 3% of the worlds population roughly have as much wealth as the other 97%. And they wonder why people will only spend if credit is nearly 0%?

    The millionaires have at least $10 trillion doing nothing much. Yes the rich will buy yachts and Porsches, but that won't address the fact that 97% of the population have little money, barely enough to pay the bills, and half the world has to try to survive on $3 per day or less. The rich can't buy all the consumer products, they can't eat all the food, an economy can't survive on the spending of 3% of the population.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This does not support that economic recession is inherent to the free market. Without actual evidence or logic this is an unsupported claim.
    Well I don't have the space, time, energy or brains to try to rewrite 3 volumes of Capital and explain the business cycle in depth. But everyone knows that recessions happen in a capitalist world. I did explain some reasons, the main issue is that periodically the capitalists can't sell their stuff because the workers have no money. What Marx called a crisis of 'overproduction.' Also there is the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. In fact your guru Hayek recognised this, he was NOT part of the 'denial school' (marginalists , neo-classical, - people who denied recessions are inherent to capitalism) . He also recognised that capitalism does not always produce what people want: "Competition is only valid in so far as its results are unpredictable, and on the whole differ from those which anyone has, or could have, deliberately aimed at." "Spontaneous order produced by the market does not ensure that what general opinion regards as the most important needs are always met before the less important ones." He described capitalism as not an economic equilibrium, but ‘creative destruction’. Of course creative destruction can mean the livelihoods or even lives of millions of people. In The Death Of Economics, Paul Omerod explains how classical economics has proved totally useless. Time and again they fail to predict or prevent recessions.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If managers are incapable of looking beyond the short term, what makes you think the workers will? Further, why do the workers care how well the plant does? They care about getting what they can and not having to work too hard for it. To ignore this reality is beyond foolish.
    Because they won't be dictated to by profit. There are plenty of examples. The Lucas Plan is a good one, where workers proposed shifting from making weapons to socially useful products. This was serious. NASA has a lab now based on the ideas of one of the workers leaders. In Russia, in 1917, the people did start to run society democratically. It was the soviet system. A soviet is a democratic committee. In socialism, profit will not rule, the people will, and if they decide to waste the planet for the next generation I will be very surprised. People are not greedy, stupid and lazy. If they are, it's because capitalism has made them like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Judges: Aside from his asinine assessment that capitalism needs unemployment (without any support), this fact taken alone proves my initial OP. This concession by itself should be enough to show that the socialist system is inherently less efficient than the free market one.
    Capitalism needs unemployment. When there is little unemployment, the workers get more bold and go on strike for higher wages. Unemployment keeps them in place. Capitalism could not eradicate unemployment even if it wanted to. Capitalism never manages to operate at much more than 75% of industrial capacity. As for supporting your OP , well, what about the millions of people doing far less useful jobs such as marketing, which wouldn't be needed? No, our only problem would be deciding what to do in our ever increasing time off! I am talking about people having a better living standard, and only working a few hours a week. No sales people, no marketing people, no lazy capitalists, no weapons factories, no armies, not many police. I already showed that American health needs 6 times more admin than the NHS in Britain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Again, to the judges. Please note that I never argued utilitarianism in the slightest. Manc’s use of the term betrays that he fundamentally doesn’t understand the debate at hand. Please also note that the rest of this does not debate my point in the slightest, it is if anything a concession.
    Determining prices is not the hardest thing in the world. We have Oxford Professors etc on that one. You seem to think that we would abolish money on day one. You forget that this would take decades, generations. In Britain we have free health. It suits me fine. I could well be blind without it. We manage to work out things in a nationalised health service, and before that we managed it with rail, coal, steel, water, gas, electricity, air travel, buses etc. Most were nationalised because they failed under capitalism. Thatcher simply privatised them because they had become viable again, and it was a way to raise a bit of cash and put some in the pockets of her rich buddies. Rail, for instance, got four times MORE subsidy AFTER it was privatised!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Manc, you provide no evidence that “many industries are close to monopolies,” when in fact in the free market competition is often fierce. .....
    What manc describes rarely if ever happens within a free market system. You’ll note that he gave no detailed examples.
    Computers - Microsoft, Apple
    US media- was controlled by 50 companies, now controlled by 5.
    Look at the size of the big companies, Wal Mart in America, $400 billion revenue, Tescos in the UK. T-Mobile have just announced they’re to merge with Orange to create the UK’s largest mobile phone service provider, cornering 37% of the market. Panasonic has just bought Sanyo, giving them 38% of the rechargeable batteries market. The list goes on. The big eat the small. Pfizer has just bought Wyeth for $68 billion, making the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company even bigger. The world’s richest 50 individuals are worth over £720 billion, up 22%.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Of course I’m cynical about socialism Manc, its killed well over 200 million people in the last 100 years. How could any sane person be anything but cynical?
    Its right to question everything. Thats what I do, and what most Marxists do. Socialism did not kill 200 million people. Even the Black Book only says 85 million. Of these it says 20 million for the USSR. But it admits that in Lenin's era the figure was a few hundred thousand in the civil war (which the capitalists started) and 5 million in the famine (which was caused by drought, ww1, the civil war, the economic embargo from the west, and the fact that the Bolsheviks felt forced to collectivise prematurely during the civil war to feed the troops and the cities.)

    But capitalism has killed over 1,000 million, easily.

    Even you admitted 36 million a year die of hunger each year. You forget that millions of Russians had died in the first world war, and this the Bolsheviks ended, from day 1 of taking office. Millions upon millions in the pointless capitalist wars, WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq and countless others.






    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Magically? They would just put their own desires away because now we live in a land of magical unicorns? You cannot think of even one person that would be unwilling to work?
    A side note to the judges, if this is world that Manc is proposing, I would argue that those same magical workers would be even more efficient under a free market system where no planning costs would wasted, and the workers would be free to allocate their work more efficiently than under a strict plan.

    Seriously what you need to understand is that the way people think is very much conditioned by the society they live in. There is tons of evidence for this, it's blatantly obvious if you look around.


    Right. To be fair, I'm gonna save reading your conclusion until I have written mine.

    Summary and concluding remarks

    Russian Revolution and Stalinism


    Every Marxist knows that socialism is impossible in a backward country in isolation. However in an ironic twist of history, capitalism also tends to break at its weakest places, the semi-feudal, backward countries. In 1917 millions of Russians were dying in a pointless imperialist war which kicked off as Germany began its bid to take over global hegemony. The Bolsheviks stood on the platform of bread, peace and land, and they took a decision at the congress of soviets to take power (this was virtually peaceful with 2 lives reported lost) and immediately began handing land to the peasants and preparing a peace deal with Germany. The counter-revolutionaries not only started a civil war, but tried many times to sabotage the peace with Germany. In these conditions there were many problems and democracy gave way to a life and death struggle for survival. Most of the opposition either fought the Bolsheviks or joined them. It ended up as a one party state. They had their hopes pinned on a revolution in Germany but this was let down by the Social Democratic Party leadership. A Communist Party was formed but the leaders were murdered. In the end, the Russian revolution had no chance on its own and a bureaucracy seized power, led by Stalin. Trotsky warned of the danger and in the end there was a bloody political counter revolution.

    After Stalinism took over in the USSR it had an influence on other revolutions. First they invented 'socialism in one country', and secondly they corrupted Marx into the 'two stage' theory which meant postponing socialism in backward countries, and the Communist Parties forming alliances with the so-called 'progressive national bourgeoisie'. An excuse to sabotage revolutions. This is what happened in many countries including India where the CP gave the Gandhi dynasty an air of semi-legitimacy for a while. In Cuba this happened too, and many other places. Castro wasn't even a socialist until after the revolution. The reality is that capitalism is usually incapable of even carrying out what Marxists term the basic 'tasks of the bourgeois revolution' in these backward countries (parliamentary democracy, establishing a coherent nation state, throwing off colonial domination, eliminating feudalism, establishing modern production).

    In the USSR the advantages of a planned economy were pretty evident, with America worrying that Russia would overtake them economically, and Khrushchev bragging that they would on his trips to America. They weren't far behind and had many benefits people in America didn't. But in the long run, a bureaucracy is a hinderance to a planned economy, slows it down in many obvious ways. And finally it became an absolute fetter. The arms race also depleted the economy a great deal.

    Social Democracy

    This has tended to give socialism a bad name as well, as we see 'socialist' parties in governments in Europe etc carrying out capitalism's dirty work.

    Asian Tigers

    Yeah these 4 countries did well and most countries in the former colonial world didn't do so well. But the credit isn't all down to the free market. Taiwan is held up as the best, but its growth was mainly up to 1987 when it was a KMT dictatorship! Growth SLOWED after that (it was still quite high, but not as high as it had been in the 1970s and 80s. ) These countries had all sorts of unusual and specific features. There are 2 schools of thought on Taiwan. Assimilation and accumulation. Accumulation was basically an increase in the size of the workforce, their education, and the government-encouraged savings of capital. Assimilation is the ability to grasp new technology from overseas and change the economy quickly. In the early 80s the government built a massive science park housing 300 high tech companies for instance. The global capitalist economy doubled in size after 1990, and this created a growth spurt to capitalism similar to the post WW2 upswing of the 1950s and 60s, but this will not last forever and already we are in global recession. Comparing China with Singapore, the growth rate was higher in China from 1975-95.

    India

    India was held up as an example of a country which prospered once it adopted neo-liberalism in 1990. Actually, poverty in India declined at pretty much a steady rate from 1973 to 2000.

    Indonesia

    Britain and America helped Suharto kill a million socialists, and then the country was carved up by multinationals, literally, at a 3 day conference led by David Rockefeller. But the people there are poorer than the Chinese. What happened there then? Well what happened was that the socialists were killed to ensure a low wage economy. General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British American Tobacco, Siemens, US Steel and many others were at the conference.

    Economics

    I haven't tried to argue too much about Hayek's theories etc. Suffice to say:

    1. We have our own economics professors etc, one of them taught economics to the current Leader of the Opposition (i.e. the Labour Party), Ed Milliband. The Times described him as "one of the finest of Oxford dons, a brilliant teacher". And, "He was, by almost universal acclaim among undergraduates and graduates alike, an outstanding tutor." The Independent wrote "Andrew Glyn was one of the world's leading left-wing economists and was widely admired for his outstanding research on modern capitalist economies.". The Guardian said he was "an economist with an international reputation. He was one of the most prolific and influential of a generation of leftwing socialist scholars in the social sciences." "Many talented and progressive undergraduates and graduate students sought him out as a tutor or supervisor. What made him such an admired teacher were the clarity of his explanations, a generous allocation of time to his students and his enthusiasm." Richard B. Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University described his book Capitalism Unleashed as "by far the best economic history of how capitalism developed since the end of World War II" and that it "should be required reading for students". Martin Wolf of the Financial Times wrote "A dominant orthodoxy requires intelligent critics. Capitalism is today's dominant orthodoxy; Oxford University's Andrew Glyn is that critic."

    2. We would take generations to go to a moneyless economy. It would be a gradual process. Free healthcare first, free education obviously, maybe free public transport, later it would be more and more things. There still would be a market in some ways, for many things. Even in the final stages of socialism / communism, call it what you will, you might still keep money for luxuries.

    3. We have many things that have been nationalised and worked fine, e.g. our NHS and all the other industries I listed. Of course they would work a lot better in a capitalist -free world. For instance the NHS wastes £millions on over-priced drugs, and PFI means hospitals built by private companies cost 5 times more than the government could get them built for.

    4. The USSR's economy almost caught up with the USA's at one time, and in the 1950s managed a much higher rate of growth than the USA did. Despite the fetter of the bureaucracy.

    5. Neo-classical economics as I explained above has proved to be completely useless. Marx explained recessions, but still our economists cannot predict them. Roubini was laughed at when he said a few years ago there was going to be a massive crash, labelled Doctor Doom by the New York Times, not many people except the Marxists thought he was right.

    Workers Democracy

    I have to try to get the message over as to why it's vital to a socialist economy. It's not just to prevent a Stalinist -type dictatorship. It's prime reason is to make the planned economy run properly. Decisions need to be taken at both grass roots levels as well as coordinated on a national and international basis by elected managers. A bureaucracy like in the USSR making all the planning decisions slows things down. Or makes the wrong decisions. A bureaucrat insists on making decisions to justify his high pay (incidentally in socialism, all leaders would be on the average wage).

    The Russian revolution took place as a decision of the Second Congress of Soviets, on the first day of the Congress. Present were 649 delegates elected to the Congress of Soviets, representing 318 provincial/local soviets, 390 were Bolshevik, 160 Socialist-Revolutionaries (about 100 were Left SRs), 72 Mensheviks, 14 Menshevik Internationalists, and 13 of various groups. The congress worked all night and at 3am it was reported that the Winter Palace had been taken. Soviet literally means democratic committee. The soviets in the factories ran the factories and they sent representatives to form a government. During the summer there had been a sort of 'dual power' with the Provisional Government on the one hand, and the soviets on the other. The biggest difference was that the Provisional government was not elected, did not represent peoples views, especially on things like staying in WW1.

    There have been many other examples where workers spontaneously took over the running of society, on a democratic basis, such as Paris in 1870 - the Paris Commune. All representatives were on a skilled workers wage, and were subject to recall if the people who elected them decided to. Democracy was based not on where you live, but on the work place mainly (of course not all democracy can be based on the work place, as people like pensioners need representation). An example of how democratic Russia was - in December 1917 there were a few demonstrations in favour of the Provisional Government. At one some stupid Red Guard shot some people. The response was quick, more than 12 Bolshevik representatives on the Petrograd Soviet were replaced by Mensheviks.

    Other examples, Hungary 1956, Portugal 1974 and so on. There are many. In Portugal a dictatorship was overthrown and within months over 4,000 workers commissions were formed.



    Motivation

    You only have to look at the history of revolutions to see how people get enthusiastic. And it's well established by research that Marx was right - people think differently according to their circumstances, their environment. This is materialist philosophy, the opposite of idealism. Research shows that people would prefer to live in a society where people were more equal. And poll after poll backs this too, or at least shows high numbers wanting serious reform if not outright 'regime change'. In America, half the youth favour socialism.

    Capitalism

    War, more war, and yet more war. A third of all scientists employed to work on weapons. Half the world on less that $3 per day, one sixth roughly is hungry. Millions die every year. Population growth is associated with poverty, and there is plenty of that. Capitalism has killed at least a billion people through war and inability to distribute food. The people who died in the 1922 Russian famine died because there was not enough food. Today, 36 million a year die from hunger even though there is no shortage of food! They could be fed. They could be helped to develop. But are we doing it? Not remotely. America can't even get anywhere near the pathetic 0.7% of its GDP it's supposed to give to third world countries for development aid. Much of the aid that does happen is tied to privatisation, deals which benefit the west rather than the poor countries and so on. Some of the aid we give is nothing more than arms deals!

    Far from being anything like a free market, what happens in capitalism is that the big players get 'corporate welfare' or 'socialism for the rich' off the government. $ billions and billions. Many industries are not far off monopolies, with just a handful of big companies dominating the economy. The US government is totally infiltrated by the finance sector. The British and American ruling classes moved from production to finance over the last 30 years.

    The wealth in the west is to a large extent based on the exploitation of poor countries. Plenty of boffins at Oxford have explained how trade is geared in favour of the rich. Clinton's policy in Haiti is a typical example, and he even edits regretting it now (the cat's out of the bag).

    Never operating much above 75% capacity, with real unemployment in America at 22%, capitalism represents colossal waste. Those who are working are either under-utilised in backward economies, or in the west might be working in marketing, advertising, sales, or useless industries like arms, finance and so on. We make products which don't last, a quick profit selling junk. We think its clever to fly beans from Nigeria to a supermarket in the UK every day. In Cuba they think it makes sense to grow vegetables using permaculture (organic) in Havana.

    The average American is little if any better off that 30 years ago, but gets a much smaller slice of the cake, and works many more hours. This sort of inequality is unsustainable, and is what causes recessions.

    The inequality is incredible. In the USA, 1% have 43% of all financial wealth, and 80% have just 7%. Inequality has been increasing in America, in the UK, and on a global scale. It's a contradiction, the rich want their wealth, but it cripples the economy.

    Global Destruction
    Capitalism has increased the atmospheric CO2 by approx 35%. This is highly dangerous. The thirst for profits had led us to the brink, with environmental degradation everywhere. Americans consume 5 times more of the planet's resources than the planet could cope with for everyone to live like that. Things have to change on a massive scale. Only a socialist economy can implement change on such a scale. Capitalist economies only manage it in a war situation. We don't want to be the generation who goes down in history as the one who couldn't be bothered to save the planet. People are already suffering in poor countries from climate change, water shortage, land degradation and so on. They don't need Coca Cola out there mining the aquifers! They don't need to be exporting their water 'embedded' in produce to the west. Just to put some perspective here, there are 170 litres of embedded water in a glass of orange juice. Capitalism is not sustainable and we are already using more resources than the planet can cope with. This is getting worse by the day.

    Everything needs to change. We need to be using green energy. We need to change to sustainable agriculture. We don't have 5 planet earths (actually I spoke to a Greenpeace person on this, a scientist I know, who said it would be far more than that). So everything needs to be done differently, better, efficiently. We need a SUSTAINABLE economy. American -style capitalism has been proven by scientists to be totally unsustainable and impossible for the planet to use as a model.

    A Socialist Plan

    In America we would take into public ownership the biggest 500 companies. These would be integrated, and production would focus on green technology. They would be run democratically from the bottom to the top, with no high paid career bureaucrats. The boards of directors would include consumers. Education would be free, so would healthcare. Public transport should be very cheap and /or free. We have to get away from the car culture. Congestion alone represents colossal waste, £20 billion a year in the UK lost to businesses. Contrary to what some might think, small businesses would do better under a socialist government, at least for many years. Eventually they would merge into public ownership. There would be more stability for them. A massive house building programme would be undertaken in the UK for example, where 2 million families are on social housing waiting lists and the average age first time buyer is about 37.

    We would eliminate the waste of nearly a quarter of the working age population that is unemployment, and start eliminating the waste that is marketing, sales, making useless products or ones that don't last. The working week would be reduced. This would give people time to take part in the planning. People would be free to change careers, do more training, free from the constant worry of paying the bills, unemployment, being able to cope if sick or old. Work is the main cause of stress according to a multi-country survey in the FT. In capitalism we are just cogs in a machine, just numbers on a profit and loss sheet. Dispensable commodities. As such we cling to religion to make some sense of our lives, seeking real humanity in a fictional super-person. Socialism would enable man to become fully human, with fully human relationships, a world run by humans, not the market, for humans, and not profit.

    Footnote

    There is a lot more I would have liked to say about certain things, but didnt have the space due to the structure of the debate and limited size of posts.

    Finally I would like to thank you Squatch for an interesting debate. You have argued your case well, it's just a shame you are backing the wrong side. ;-)


    pic: Banksy
    Last edited by manc; November 18th, 2010 at 04:29 AM. Reason: sp

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    Re: Squatch and Manc: The Relative Merits of Capitalism and Socialism

    Now that all posts have been concluded I would invite the judges to post their decisions here and if possible a brief reasoning behind their vote.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 

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