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Capitalism vs communism (sustainable living, etc)


Jay
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It's easier for everybody to have publicly owned roads. I also believe in having some spaces in the cities which are publicly owned (due to the fact that both extreme rights and lefts should be able to express there views in public).

 

I agree

 

Schools should be private, but we should have school tax for everybody so that everybody can get a good start in life.

 

I agree

 

The police should have violence monopoly. Prisons should be financed by taxes.

 

I agree

 

I think I stand basically where social liberalism where meant to be from the beginning. Today social liberals (at least in Europe) are trying to regulate everything. To me that only means more borders and I want to rid the borders.

 

Open citizenship? Or open trade? Or both?

 

The world today looks alot different than it did 30 years ago. In this forum for example people from all over the world are engaging in conversations even though there are economic and political borders between us. I buy fruit and DHA from USA and other vegan stuff from other places in the world. Being a vegan (a healthy one, that is) in Sweden would not be possible without globalization.

Whats keeping us from each other are fictious borders (through protectionism). Both me and Jay agree on that, I'm sure. I believe that if we could get rid of capital then these issues would resolve, but I don't believe in that since I believe that every individual on this planet will try to maximize profit for labour invested.

Both Jay and I have the same goals we just belive in different ways to get there and we have different views on what this mysterious "capital" is. I believe that it is an important part of us, good or bad, while (I think) Jay believes that it is a forced social structure that can be dissolved.

Don't bang on me too hard if I'm wrong Jay

 

You lost me on this part...

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Offense74 basically I agree with you about communism. I don't think it was ever meant to be. Most people don't want a proletariat revolution and when you try to force people into it you get some pretty nasty results.

This is a common misconception. Will you are free to ask questions instead of assuming the worst of people. A communist "revolution" would be democratic revolution. The only forcing is based on rule of law which is agreed upon democratically. In the rhetoric/lingo they unfortunately use words like "revolution" and talk in great detail about the viollent counter revolution that is sure to come. I think it is important to talk about how the owning class will (and does) resort to violence but a lot of the century old lingo we could probably do without. There is nice old school socialism that doesn't use such talk. Like Robert Tressel's book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists but such stuff just isn't as realistic.

 

Anyway first lets talk about this letter to Mr. Stiglitz.

 

Dear Joe:

 

Like you, I came to my position in Washington from the cloisters of a tenured position at a top-ranking American University. Like you, I came because I care. Unlike you, I am humbled by the World Bank and IMF staff I meet each day. I meet people who are deeply committed to bringing growth to the developing world and to alleviating poverty. I meet superb professionals who regularly work 80-hour weeks, who endure long separations from their families. Fund staff have been shot at in Bosnia, slaved for weeks without heat in the brutal Tajikistan winter, and have contracted deadly tropical diseases in Africa. These people are bright, energetic, and imaginative. Their dedication humbles me, but in your speeches, in your book, you feel free to carelessly slander them.2

Now, if you go to the reference, "slander" is not the correct word to use at all. Using it just smears Stiglitz.

 

Joe, you may not remember this, but in the late 1980s, I once enjoyed the privilege of being in the office next to yours for a semester. We young economists all looked up to you in awe. One of my favorite stories from that era is a lunch with you and our former colleague, Carl Shapiro, at which the two of you started discussing whether Paul Volcker merited your vote for a tenured appointment at Princeton. At one point, you turned to me and said, "Ken, you used to work for Volcker at the Fed. Tell me, is he really smart?" I responded something to the effect of "Well, he was arguably the greatest Federal Reserve Chairman of the twentieth century" To which you replied, "But is he smart like us?" I wasn't sure how to take it, since you were looking across at Carl, not me, when you said it.

Never in Stiglitz's writing does he stoop to gossip crap like this. This reads more like the usual lacking in substance smear stuff that comes from the right. Anyway the comment (and it's silly that this guy is even talking about such useless crap and I feel silly responding to it, hopefully Stiglitz didn't stoop to defending it) can be taken as humor/a compliment to the people gathered in the room.

 

My reason for telling this story is two-fold. First, perhaps the Fund staff who you once blanket-labeled as "third rate"—and I guess you meant to include World Bank staff in this judgment also—will feel better if they know they are in the same company as the great Paul Volcker.

So he takes an innocent comment and turns it into proof that Stiglitz is some arrogant elitist.

 

Also Stiglitz avoids talking about the WB as he used to work there I think he feels it wouldn't be proper. He also never goes on about conversations he had with people he worked with and ways to negatively miscontrue their statements.

 

Second, it is emblematic of the supreme self-confidence you brought with you to Washington, where you were confronted with policy problems just a little bit more difficult than anything in our mathematical models. This confidence brims over in your new 282 page book. Indeed, I failed to detect a single instance where you, Joe Stiglitz, admit to having been even slightly wrong about a major real world problem. When the U.S. economy booms in the 1990s, you take some credit. But when anything goes wrong, it is because lesser mortals like Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan or then-Treasury Secretary Rubin did not listen to your advice.

He is insinuating that Stiglitz never admits being mistaken. This doesn't address anything of actual substance and is just more character assasination. I don't recall offhand examples of Stiglitz admitting to being wrong. I'd rather not have to stoop to this game and go look for examples in the book.

 

Let me make three substantive points. First, there are many ideas and lessons in your book with which we at the Fund would generally agree, though most of it is old hat. For example, we completely agree that there is a need for a dramatic change in how we handle situations where countries go bankrupt. IMF First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger—who you paint as a villainess for her 1980s efforts to promote trade liberalization in World Bank policy—

Untrue accusation.

 

has forcefully advocated a far reaching IMF proposal. At our Davos [World Economic Forum] panel in February you sharply criticized the whole idea. Here, however, you now want to take credit as having been the one to strongly advance it first. Your book is long on innuendo and short on footnotes. Can you document this particular claim?

Claiming that Stiglitz is just trying to take all the glory for himself. More substanceless character assasination.

 

Second, you put forth a blueprint for how you believe the IMF can radically improve its advice on macroeconomic policy. Your ideas are at best highly controversial, at worst, snake oil.

Another accusation that unlike Stiglitz's work isn't supported at all.

 

This leads to my third and most important point. In your role as chief economist at the World Bank, you decided to become what you see as a heroic whistleblower, speaking out against macroeconomic policies adopted during the 1990s Asian crisis that you believed to be misguided. You were 100% sure of yourself, 100% sure that your policies were absolutely the right ones. In the middle of a global wave of speculative attacks, that you yourself labeled a crisis of confidence, you fueled the panic by undermining confidence in the very institutions you were working for. Did it ever occur to you for a moment that your actions might have hurt the poor and indigent people in Asia that you care about so deeply? Do you ever lose a night's sleep thinking that just maybe, Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, and Stan Fischer had it right—and that your impulsive actions might have deepened the downturn or delayed—even for a day—the recovery we now see in Asia?

Emotional rhetoric and an attempt smear Stiglitz just for disagreeing!

 

More later. (sigh)

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I'll finish that letter later.

There haven't been any communist states. Alot have tried, got into the dictatorship of the proletariat stage and then tried and tried in all kinds of ways to reach communism (which is a state free community). Noone even got close.

Every state is some degree of capitalist or communist/socialist. You're preferred version of capitalism is actually a mixed economy which has capitalist and socialist elements. More capitalist than socialist though. The fact that if hasn't happened perfectly yet, is not a good argument against it though. 1% of people are vegans for example.

 

Capitalist countries have faced the same pressures as the communist countries

Not that I have seen. I have not seen any good evidence at all that capitalists countries have faced the kind of pressures socialists/communists/even third world liberal have faced. There is no counter to that CIA link that I know of. People have tried to make out that the USSR/China have been just as guilty as the US, France, Britain but I have not seen any good evidence to support this.

 

(1/3 of the worlds population were under the dictatorship of the proletariat in the beginning of the 1980s). Capitalism obviously prevailed.

Greed prevailed. But then by the same logic meat eating has prevailed.

 

Corruption comes from the desparation. I have no doubt that Stalin and Pol Pot wanted the state free communist society. The question is, how do you get people to stop claiming ownership over their own body and mind?

Huh? I haven't studied Pol Pot. I wouldn't put him with Stalin. You see I too thought Stalin murdered tens of millions just to keep his people in terror. I thought that for decades as have most people. But I ran into some people who seemed decently intelligent who thought otherwise. Rather than just assume the absolute worst of them I started reading into it more. And it appears the stuff about Stalin was just lies, propaganda. Not surprising considering so much else that the US has done.

 

Ownership over their own body and mind? That has nothing to do with communism. Nothing at all. It sounds like more capitalist propaganda about communism. In marxist literature they talk about ownership of the means of production. So the factory workers own the factory. The farmer owns his land. That is the original marxist ideal anyway.

 

The USSR was a deformed workers state. Which is to say it had some of the good ideas of marxism but then some bad stuff also. By the 50's the bureacracy in charge was hopelessly corrupt. But not quite the total waste that people dismiss it as.

 

 

As you know death penalty won't solve this. Death penalty won't solve anything in the long run. Sheer desperation in the hunt for communism by trying to exterminate the will to "own" one self killed somewhere between 20-80 million people. And the hunt isn't over yet.

I don't know what you are talking about. If this is related to the lies about Stalin supposedly killing tens of millions, let me know and I can talk about that with you.

 

IMF and WB sets higher demands for loan giving today than before. Loaning money to someone that is constantly spending more than they earn is a bad idea. That's why the IMF failed. If you want a system that is spending more than it takes in, I say go for it, but you shouldn't finance it with loans. You have to find another way. This goes for both countries and individuals.

Er. What? They gave loans with the stipulations that free market measures were adopted which meant very little government spending. The results were disastorous.

 

If you don't like the conditions of the organisation that loans you money then find another way to finance your lifestyle.

Luckily many nations are now realizing that the IMF is not trying to help them. A very few refused their loans and are doing comparatively better.

I feel like you aren't paying attention to what I said though. These nations did as told. They jumped to extreme free market strategies that if used where you live your medical plan would be "don't get sick" while working in your current job.

 

A country that has a sane economy doesn't need loans from the WB. People in such a country are not starving. What you're saying is that in countries where people didn't starve (or got deseases) the WB all of a sudden changed that fact and effectively killed all those people that were fine before. I don't see the logic.

No that is not what I'm saying. There is no "not starving, but now are starving" implied in what I said. They were starving before and now they are starving even worse.

 

As I said before. Liberalism is a slow process. Socialism is fast. A liberal state has goals to be self sufficient and not dependant of others. A socialist state turns this around and takes loans to finance the project that is too expensive to bare fruit. The only o the question is: Do you work out a plan for growth first or do you take a loan and then hope for growth to pop up for no particular reason? How would an individual do and what would the bank recommend him?

You seem to think the nations which have taken these loans had socialist practices. As I've said before they can only get the loan if they adopt liberalist practices.

 

You have a third world country, the IMF says, "Hey will loan you guys some money if you adopt a far right libertarian like economic system. You have to almost totally get rid of your government." As the IMF is supposedly the best economic experts in the world, the desperate country takes the loan and does as told by the economic experts with their growth plans etc. OK? Do you understand? They don't go take the money and buy a new car for everyone. They do as the right wingers in the IMF tell them to do. OK? This is not even something a person can argue. It's how it works. That is what a SAP is.

 

I'm for free markets. I'm not a republican. CIA is not capitalism.
In capitalism the CIA has apparently had the incentive to do what they've done. The same with the British, the same with the French. If the incentive is there. This is what they do.

 

Protectionism is defenately not capitalism.

This is correct. Do you buy leather offense? Do you buy products made in sweat shops?

 

Wars to secure oil for USA is not capitalism (again protectionism).

The incentive is definitely there. Capitalism causes wealth inequality, which in turn causes very uneven distributions of power. The people with the most power happen to be making quite a bit of money off oil consumption. The people with the most power are the ones that push us into wars.

 

Laws based on fundamental christian values is not capitalism.
True.
Giving animal no rights is not capitalism (to treat animals as individuals is a political standpoint, much like the treatment of human beings).
True.

 

You are trying to find a common ancestor for all the bad things in this world and you found something that you call capitalism. I say I believe in capitalism but as you and I are friends and seem to hit it off quite well I can't be a capitalist, because I'm not evil.

Well OK, you are a capitalist. Just not to the extent of the type of people who usually care enough to discuss the subject. I don't think you being a capitalist makes you an evil person.

My view of capitalism is simply the will to get more out of ones labour.

1. History shows that it doesn't necessarily do so.

2. Actually with the level of technology we have today everyone ought to be able to just work 20 hours a week and no one should suffer from lack of food or shelter. Yet no matter how much technology we invent we still work about as many hours as we can stand. And even with all those wonderful IMF/WB free market SAPs we have 2.8 Billion living on the US purchasing power equivalent of 2 dollars per day. This means some rice, beans, rain water. Live in a cardboard box. This is DESPITE decades of SAPs. Do you understand what a SAP is?

 

This shows that apparently it isn't working.

 

You seem to not realize that the third world has been following the free market ideas you like for the last few decades. They have. It's not working.

 

OK, let's slow down a bit. This took too long to post. Break things up. Try to learn from each other. Just take one thing at a time please. I don't want to feel like I need to put everything I've learned in the hundred or so books, etc I've read on the subject in one post.

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