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Thesh
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Going to need a big ol' cite on that. I mean, if you are going to claim that we don't invest enough in poor communities in the form of education, etc, I'm going to respond that that's a governance failure, not a failure of capitalism itself. Capitalists have virtually never invested in infrastructure and the like, which is why everyone but the most thickskulled libertarian understands the importance of things like the DoT, DoE, HHS, etc.


We don't give poor people a good education, and it's not just a matter of school spending. Rich people could go in right now, today, if they wanted to, start providing people in poor communities with tutoring, child care, and economic opportunities so that their environment would be conducive to learning. They don't, because the rich people do not see it as being in their interest. That is, the things that would actually end poverty and lead to a more productive economy are simply not in the interest of the wealthy. The reason we haven't been able to solve this problem is simply because we cannot get the resources allocated to solve the problem - this is a capitalism problem, and a large part of that is because the economic resources of the community are controlled by people outside the community.

This has been the case throughout history - the rich have never seen it in their interest to educate the poor, and in fact have sabotaged education when they saw it a threat to their power. Capitalists in the US are sabotaging education today, for the same reasons.

elasto wrote:You'll have to explain what you mean by 'free market socialism' then.


This started with a discussion of worker cooperatives vs for-profit corporations. An economy that is just like this one, except every business is ran as a worker cooperative would be a free market socialist economy. It's simply a matter of how the resources are owned, and the incentives that ownership model leads to. Worker economies incentivize workers to maximize hourly wages - which is basically the same as saying it's incentivized to maximize productivity, whereas net profits tend to represent negative aspects of our economy.

For more information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_socialism

For the record, I don't support authoritarian socialism, and don't consider China or the Soviet Union to be socialist. The Zapatistas are a good example of a real group of socialists.

elasto wrote:You can't on the one hand complain that capitalism is bad because it isn't creating enough jobs and also complain it's creating too many...


It's not creating too many - it's that we are replacing more productive jobs with less productive jobs that pay much lower wages, and we are doing so in a way that is less beneficial to that country than if they were working for themselves. The problem is that the people living there are impoverished, so there is no investment that will benefit them until they have money to spend. Ultimately, capitalism results on the economy focusing on investing in things for people with disposable income. So the people in those countries are basically being put in the same position that impoverished people in the US are in - their economic growth is limited purely by their ability to serve others. Basically, it's wage slavery, and it has the economic effects of slavery: the slave owners make money due to the limited opportunity of the slaves, but the slaves are less productive than if they were free and educated and had equal opportunity.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby pogrmman » Thu May 03, 2018 1:08 am UTC

Thesh wrote:But the economies aren't being structured efficiently, they are being structured as low-wage economies that are entirely dependent on exports from Western countries for survival, and they are being limited to jobs with low decision making power that primarily serve to undercut Western labor.

Not to mention turning them into raw-material production economies — lots of the places we think of as developing economies have/have had economies based around the cheap production of raw materials. Various banana republics, the Middle East and oil, central Africa and minerals, Carribean islands and sugarcane, to name a few. Frankly, the level of manipulation and sabotage done to some places to keep them producing cheap raw materials/labor disgusts me.

elasto wrote:You can't on the one hand complain that capitalism is bad because it isn't creating enough jobs and also complain it's creating too many...

It’s not just the jobs that are bad about outsourcing, but the fact that it creates low-wage, exploitative jobs and helps further our destruction of the environment. The fact that big, developed economies work to keep these terrible working conditions in place (eg. the US in Haiti) makes it clear that profit trumps morality.

While I don’t really know where to fall in terms of economics (I just don’t know enough about any system to make an informed choice), to me, morally speaking, capitalism has some major issues.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 1:10 am UTC

Thesh wrote:This has been the case throughout history - the rich have never seen it in their interest to educate the poor, and in fact have sabotaged education when they saw it a threat to their power.


CITATION NEEDED.

Do rich people avoid taxes and defund the public schools? Of course. Do rich religious assholes sabotage science education? No friggin doy. But beyond "I DUN WANNA PAY TAXES, WAAAA!" and "JAYSUS COMMANDERED ME TO BAN EVILUTION", going to need an actual cite for that claim that the rich, due to capitalism, actively sabotage education.

Especially considering that in terms of dollars paid educated people are far more exploited than the uneducated. Consider Walmart. Walmart has 2 million employees, and $10b profit. That's a mere $5k per employee. To those minimum wage grunts, yeah that's a big chunk of change, but do you honestly believe any high tech company makes just $5k per employee? Microsoft is raking in $160k profit per employee, Apple is raking in $400,000 per employee, Intel pulls in a paltry $100k per employee, Nvidia makes $300k per employee, and you can bet your ass they do so while paying their employees a fuckton more than Walmart does.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Thu May 03, 2018 1:25 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 1:16 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Do rich people avoid taxes and defund the public schools? Of course. But beyond "I DUN WANNA PAY TAXES, WAAAA!", going to need an actual cite for that claim.


I mean, that's citation enough - THEY DEFUND BECAUSE IT'S NOT IN THEIR INTEREST. That is, their money isn't dependent on the productivity of the United States, but the bargaining power difference between the rich and the poor. The greater the bargaining power difference, the less productive the investments that are made.

CorruptUser wrote:Especially considering that educated people are far more exploited than the uneducated...


What in the fuck?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 1:25 am UTC

Edited my post, but answer above.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 1:39 am UTC

Especially considering that in terms of dollars paid educated people are far more exploited than the uneducated. Consider Walmart. Walmart has 2 million employees, and $10b profit. That's a mere $5k per employee. To those minimum wage grunts, yeah that's a big chunk of change, but do you honestly believe any high tech company makes just $5k per employee? Microsoft is raking in $160k profit per employee, Apple is raking in $400,000 per employee, Intel pulls in a paltry $100k per employee, Nvidia makes $300k per employee, and you can bet your ass they do so while paying their employees a fuckton more than Walmart does.


Those walmarts are taking $5,000 per employee per community, and they are in impoverished communities, both limiting the opportunities of the people there and in a position to raise prices in order to extract any extra disposable income from the community. When it comes to Apple, Intel, and Nvidia, a lot of their money is made off of poor people in third world countries, and Microsoft is unique in that it made its money by using monopoly tactics and make most of their money by overcharging people for software that was mostly developed and paid for long ago (which is exploiting everyone, not just the educated). The problem with Microsoft is largely a problem with copyrights.

And none of this is evidence that uneducated people are exploited less, especially if educated employees are making more.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 1:56 am UTC

I think you are willfully ignoring the obvious. Microsoft and the like make a fuckton more off of their well-paid, educated workforce than Walmart does off of its low paid uneducated workforce. In terms of total amount of exploitation, the tech companies exploit their workers more. In terms of the ratio of profit to wages+profit, again, it's still more.

If I hire a high school flunkout that only makes a total of $20k for the company and pay them $15k, versus hiring an MIT PhD that makes $1m for the company and I pay them $250k, who is being exploited more? In terms of raw amounts, I'm making a fuckton more from the PhD, and even in terms of percentages I'm still making a fuckton more.

This idea that keeping the public at large uneducated is somehow of benefit to the capitalists is so counter to reality that it'd be laughable if people weren't so brainwashed they believed it.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:11 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I think you are willfully ignoring the obvious. Microsoft and the like make a fuckton more off of their well-paid, educated workforce than Walmart does off of its low paid uneducated workforce. In terms of total amount of exploitation, the tech companies exploit their workers more. In terms of the ratio of profit to wages+profit, again, it's still more.


You're arguing that they exploited the workers, I can argue that the workers made a fair wage for their labor but it was the customers who were exploited. Your argument relies on defining and measuring exploitation in a very specific way.

CorruptUser wrote:If I hire a high school flunkout that only makes a total of $20k for the company and pay them $15k, versus hiring an MIT PhD that makes $1m for the company and I pay them $250k, who is being exploited more? In terms of raw amounts, I'm making a fuckton more from the PhD, and even in terms of percentages I'm still making a fuckton more.


The one who has the least opportunity and who is unable to save for retirement is being exploited more.

CorruptUser wrote:This idea that keeping the public at large uneducated is somehow of benefit to the capitalists is so counter to reality that it'd be laughable if people weren't so brainwashed they believed it.


It actually is. Their money comes from having a bargaining power advantage over labor and consumers. If you create a system in which you make the best use of everyone's unique abilities, then by definition you have maximized productivity and will also have an economy where no employee can be replaced without reducing revenue. This means that the labor has all of the bargaining power, and profit margins go to zero. By limiting opportunity to jobs that many people can do (i.e. those that don't require experience or education) you can make more money by paying people less, even if they are less productive, and thus there is no economic benefit to the capitalist for educating the entire population, and if there is no economic benefit to them, then the cost is purely a negative, and so it's in their best interest to leave a portion of the population uneducated.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 2:15 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:If I hire a high school flunkout that only makes a total of $20k for the company and pay them $15k, versus hiring an MIT PhD that makes $1m for the company and I pay them $250k, who is being exploited more? In terms of raw amounts, I'm making a fuckton more from the PhD, and even in terms of percentages I'm still making a fuckton more.


The one who has the least opportunity and who is unable to save for retirement is being exploited more.


No, that schlub simply isn't worth that much to the company. People aren't equally valuable. If the company makes literally no profit off a person, no matter how little the person is paid, there is no exploitation.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:20 am UTC

You are ignoring the conditions that give rise to that, notably that the worker getting paid $15k has less opportunity than the worker who makes $250k.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 2:33 am UTC

You have it upside down. Part of my point is that the capitalist would be making a fuckton more money if that poor schlub had access to better education.

The issue isn't that capitalism "sabotages" education, but rather, that government doesn't fund education enough. Virtually every capitalist economist on Earth thinks government programs such as public education are a good thing. The issue regarding negative and positive externalities is so basic that it's taught in introductory macro economics. It's such a basic that even the asinine "10 principles of economics" talks about it.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:39 am UTC

Based on what? A few cherry picked examples of monopolistic tech companies?

CorruptUser wrote:The issue isn't that capitalism "sabotages" education, but rather, that government doesn't fund education enough. Virtually every capitalist economist on Earth thinks government programs such as public education are a good thing. The issue regarding negative and positive externalities is so basic that it's taught in introductory macro economics. It's such a basic that even the asinine "10 principles of economics" talks about it.


Capitalist economist, sure, but a capitalist makes their money through net profits, and net profits represent the difference in bargaining power between the capitalist and workers as well as the capitalist and consumers, and that bargaining power difference is something that goes up when opportunity is limited for the workers and choice is limited for consumers. No education is not good for the capitalist, but neither is full opportunity. If it was in their interest, then they would be working on improving education.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 2:49 am UTC

Err, how is listing the biggest names in tech without skipping over any inconvenient contradictions "cherry picking"?

My point is that the companies staffed predominantly with highly educated workers are making more money per worker than the ones staffed predominantly by flunkouts.

You know, here, I just googled the list of companies by profit per employee, this was the first thing I found Notice anything in common about those companies? They tend to be companies that have extremely high educated workers.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 2:57 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Err, how is listing the biggest names in tech without skipping over any inconvenient contradictions "cherry picking"?


Well, picking the biggest names in tech (aka most profitable tech companies) to prove that tech extracts more money per worker is cherry picking.

CorruptUser wrote:My point is that the companies staffed predominantly with highly educated workers are making more money per worker than the ones staffed predominantly by flunkouts.


But you looked for companies that make most of their money off of copyrights, patents, and monopolistic/oligopolistic market positions to say that they are more exploitative of workers, when the source of their profits is a bargaining power difference over consumers.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 3:01 am UTC

Thesh, thesh THESH.

Stop trying to be right only for the sake of being right.

Just ask yourself honestly:

Does a company make money from a job requiring a high education, or a low education?




Now to actually get back to the other news...

Any Canadians missing a car?
French PM Macron apparently a cannibal
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 3:08 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Does a company make money from a job requiring a high education, or a low education?


Depends on how many people you have to hire. You can get away with a handful of high education jobs, but only if they are centralized. For the rest of your business, you can grow a lot faster if you don't need educated/well-trained employees. That ability to grow means that while you might have lower profit margins, you can make a lot more profits overall, and you can get into a better bargaining position due to purchasing larger quantities of identical products, while having the capital to leverage in order to purchase your competitors. So, Applebees definitely makes a lot more money by not requiring that they hire a proper chef.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 3:24 am UTC

Really dude, Applebee's? They make less money per employee than Walmart, only $3k per employee. You should've gone with Taco Bell, which apparently makes $20k/employee thanks to marijuana legalization (THERE is your exploitation of uneducated schlubs!)

Once again dude, does the company make more money from a job that requires a high education or a job that requires no education?

Not from 100 jobs. From one job. ONE.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 4:14 am UTC

You are obsessing over those figures and missing the point. The fact is that Applebees is not giving employees the opportunity to make the best use of their personal abilities and grow their education, because it's more profitable for Applebees to not do so. Hence, capitalists are not incentivized to give everyone an education, and they would be better off if their tax dollars didn't go to an education for those Applebees employees since they don't make use of it. This is not unique to Applebees; all national chains are designed to increase growth by limiting opportunities for employees.

CorruptUser wrote:Once again dude, does the company make more money from a job that requires a high education or a job that requires no education?

Not from 100 jobs. From one job. ONE.


It depends on the market. Generally speaking, jobs where you are actually developing copyrighted/patented products in a central location has opportunities for more educated workers, but the potential for profits are not because of the education itself, but the monopoly power patents and copyrights grant - and there is a limit to the size of the market for creating new patented and copyrighted products. Most of our business is not in developing new copyrighted/patented products, it's in the production, distribution, and sale of existing products, and those businesses can grow a lot faster and thus become more profitable (relative to the investment made, not number of employees) by having limited opportunity jobs that don't require significant education and are easier to hire people for, and since they don't make full use of the education people get there is no economic benefit to the education of those workers in those jobs.

Generally speaking the higher the ratio of demand for labor to supply of labor the lower profits those companies will make; if every job requires highly educated employees, then it is harder to profit off of educated employees.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 5:27 am UTC

Is your argument seriously that Applebee's controls the department of education? Seriously? Applebee's?!

Let's look at the biggest corporations in the world by market cap, 2015 (first list I saw when googled)

1) Apple
2) ExxonMobil
3) Berkshire
4) Google
5) Microsoft

These corporations are basically welfare queens when it comes to education; THEY are the ones who benefit most from public education! Why in the ever loving fuck would these corporations ever try to make public education disappear? Other than Exxon, who might want atmospheric sciences to go away, but they certainly want people to learn earth science. Do you think Microsoft wants to pay for training all of its programmers out of its own pockets? What about Google and Apple? Do you think Berkshire Hathaway hates the publicly funded universities that produce its rank and file office drones? Do you think Exxon doesn't rely upon university trained geologists and chemical engineers?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 5:50 am UTC

No, my argument is that the incentives of capitalism do not lead to efficient allocation of resources. Applebees is simply one example of a company that is optimized to limit opportunity. Capitalists fail to invest in ways that actually benefit members of the communities that they, themselves, don't live in, and instead prefer to exploit low wages, which comes at the expense of productivity. We really, really, could fix all of our poverty problems and give everyone around the world a good education, but it is private property ownership in and of itself that has prevented us from doing so, by giving most power to people who have a conflict of interest - i.e. there is no way for them to solve the problem without sacrificing their wealth.

The argument you are responding to is the argument I didn't make about how education is never beneficial to capitalists. However, I will argue that for every single one of those jobs, they are still structured in a way that limits the opportunity of the workers, and there is a lack of investment in other jobs that would benefit from their talents.

Rich people also directly sabotage scientific research when it is in their business or political interest; that is, the education of the general public is often in direct conflict with their interests, so they seek to make sure the public is poorly educated. They seek to privatize education so they can indoctrinate people with right-wing propaganda, because it is better for them politically to have a population that has a poor understanding of scientific, socioeconomic and geopolitical issues, and they really do have more political power the less educated the population is in general - to the point that they really can extract more money from the economy if people have a worse education.

Besides, name one area in which net profits are inherently beneficial and not only potentially beneficial because of the hypothetical advantages of the ability it grants people to grow their wealth. There is just no reason to believe that capitalism will result in efficient allocation of resources, simply because the primary objective of the people with power is to increase a number that represents the power imbalance caused by inefficient market conditions.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Quercus » Thu May 03, 2018 7:38 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Really dude, Applebee's? They make less money per employee than Walmart, only $3k per employee. You should've gone with Taco Bell, which apparently makes $20k/employee thanks to marijuana legalization (THERE is your exploitation of uneducated schlubs!)

Once again dude, does the company make more money from a job that requires a high education or a job that requires no education?

Not from 100 jobs. From one job. ONE.


You're begging the question by using an inherently capitalistic model of exploitation. You're saying that the exploitation of workers is linked to their inability to realise the capital gains of their labour in an entirely linear fashion. I would argue that money does not have linear worth. In particular money required to achieve a decent standard of living (which I have defined previously) has a value that is many orders of magnitude greater than money on top of that. The worker exploitation that matters is not that which takes away their wealth (I would argue that no-one has a particular right to achieve great wealth), it's that which prevents them achieving a decent standard of living.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 10:23 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Besides, name one area in which net profits are inherently beneficial and not only potentially beneficial because of the hypothetical advantages of the ability it grants people to grow their wealth.

I can't believe you really mean this.

Net profits are inherently beneficial on a personal level because if you have more money in your pocket you have more freedom. Net profits are inherently beneficial for businesses for just the same reason.

Yes, you can reinvest your profit from this year to make more profits in future years, but you're talking like that's a bad thing! It's noble when a family scrimps and saves and sacrifices to give their children the best start in life; It's wise when you set aside a portion of your income into a pension fund to provide for your old age; It doesn't suddenly become a bad thing when companies do it!

Investment is literally the lifeblood of our economies - without which we'd all still be peasants farming the land!

The failures of capitalism you discuss are actually the failures of politics! And, yes, politicians become bought and paid for by the rich, but that's a failure of the institutions of accountability like the media, and a failure of the voters to genuinely care.

Politicians should be investing their portion of the fruits of capitalism in things like Universal Healthcare, Universal Education, Universal Legal Aid, Universal Income and so on. Yes, the numbers don't add up to do all of that right now but we might only be a century or two away from the equivalent of the Star Trek universe with virtually free replicators (3D printing or nano-assembly) and so on.

In a century or two, today's lifestyle might be sustainable on only a tenth or a hundredth of an average wage today. That's what advancement driven by capitalist investment might bring.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby eran_rathan » Thu May 03, 2018 12:42 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Politicians should be investing their portion of the fruits of capitalism in things like Universal Healthcare, Universal Education, Universal Legal Aid, Universal Income and so on. Yes, the numbers don't add up to do all of that right now but we might only be a century or two away from the equivalent of the Star Trek universe with virtually free replicators (3D printing or nano-assembly) and so on.


this assumes, of course, that politicians care/have the attention span longer than the next election.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 12:49 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
elasto wrote:Politicians should be investing their portion of the fruits of capitalism in things like Universal Healthcare, Universal Education, Universal Legal Aid, Universal Income and so on. Yes, the numbers don't add up to do all of that right now but we might only be a century or two away from the equivalent of the Star Trek universe with virtually free replicators (3D printing or nano-assembly) and so on.


this assumes, of course, that politicians care/have the attention span longer than the next election.

Rather, it assumes that voters will care about such things.

By and large we get the politicians we deserve.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby natraj » Thu May 03, 2018 12:57 pm UTC

it's tbh hilarious watching corruptuser rabidly defend the merits of capitalism using capitalistic metrics of value/productivity/exploitation as the completely unquestioned and unjustified standard to judge by.

like, yes, if our model of how good a company is doing etc is judged by how much profit it's generating to the capitalists than obviously capitalism is a better system.

some of us would like to scrap that metric and try a system that actually gives any fucks about the people who are having to live and work under it.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 1:42 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Thesh wrote:Besides, name one area in which net profits are inherently beneficial and not only potentially beneficial because of the hypothetical advantages of the ability it grants people to grow their wealth.

I can't believe you really mean this.

Net profits are inherently beneficial on a personal level because if you have more money in your pocket you have more freedom. Net profits are inherently beneficial for businesses for just the same reason.


The point is to ask where net profits are better for anyone but the person those profits are going to. My argument is that making decisions that lead to an increase in profits leads to less efficient allocation of resources because every single aspect of profits are negative to the economy itself (i.e. harmful to workers and consumers). If allowing private property ownership is not beneficial, on net, to non-property owners, then it is not justifiable in any way.

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Ugh... Democracy fails because of the imbalance of power and conflict of interest caused by the property ownership and profit motive (and our democracy isn't really democratic because of the influence the wealthy have, and the disproportionate power we give to the largest political parties due to the undemocratic structure of our system). Market socialism eliminates that problem, while still retaining all the benefits of the market, and cooperative ownership has been shown to be more productive. Capitalism is a deeply flawed system that would lead to the complete collapse of society without constant intervention from the government. It just doesn't work, and the reason it doesn't work can be traced to private property ownership and the profit motive leading to inefficient market conditions.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Dauric » Thu May 03, 2018 4:08 pm UTC

The problems from any social system do not stem from the system itself. The problems in a social system stem from the people in that system.

Not all the people, most people are content to live their lives with their share without fucking up everyone else. Most people will abide by the rules they live under. The problem is the minority of people that live to find the flaw in the system, and the minority of people who will use any angle to further their personal gain (and in many cases those individuals of both camps).

I don't give a pair of fetid dingo's kidney's how perfect you think your personal pet social/economic system is. it -has- flaws, and they -will- be exploited to give a minority an advantage over the majority that will comply.

It doesn't matter if you scrap a system for a different system, or make patches to the existing system to close the loopholes, whether you've built a new system or patching an old system there's always new flaws to exploit. Big companies don't like closing loopholes they exploit not because it means they'll be forced to operate in accordance with the spirit of the system, but because it takes effort to find the new loopholes. They will find the new loopholes though, because they're incentivised to do so, whether they're free market capitalist, or planned economy communist.

You want to convince me that your new social order is better than the status quo, start poking holes in your own system and come up with ways to deal with that. Poke a few more holes it it once you've done that and patch those holes. Figure out how to deal with the underlying motivations of greed and jealousy (which exist independent of larger social systems), and how you're going to dynamically patch loopholes as they are discovered and before those exploiting them gain enough influence through exploiting them to be outside the control of your social system.

And it would be nice if you could manage that without mind control or a police state (both of which include their own loopholes like be in charge of the mind control devices or join the police in the police state).
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 4:21 pm UTC

Your argument is basically the same as saying that dictatorships and democracies are both going to have corruption, and since we know dictatorships work then democracy is just a fantasy. In other words, it is complete nonsense. Plus, then there's the "some people are terrible, so therefore we should allow people to gain unlimited economic power over others."
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 4:27 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The point is to ask where net profits are better for anyone but the person those profits are going to.

Net profits are good for anyone the person who gets net profits spends them with. This is why society encourages investing and spending rather than hoarding. The same unit of money makes a lot of people better off.

My argument is that making decisions that lead to an increase in profits leads to less efficient allocation of resources because every single aspect of profits are negative to the economy itself (i.e. harmful to workers and consumers).

No they are not! If company A provides a better service at a cheaper price than company B, company A makes profits and can grow, which benefits society because it can service more people. This benefits the workers of A and the consumers of their products - who previously had to make do with an inferior product from B.

Without a profit reward, which one of A and B grows depends on which of them has better connections to members of the power elite - who exist in every possible system.

Market socialism eliminates that problem, while still retaining all the benefits of the market

Please explain what you mean by 'market socialism', because if capital is not privately owned, there is effectively only one buyer and seller of everything, and a free market cannot occur.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 03, 2018 4:33 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Worker cooperatives still use market-based pricing, it's just that they are directly incentivized to maximize gross profits over net profits. I don't know why there is a question of whether they work or could function; they exist today, they function, and they have been shown to be more productive than similar for-profit corporations.


They work just fine, up until a certain scale. I've known a lot of local co-ops for various purposes, often food related for whatever reason, that worked well enough. Maybe not perfectly, but not overly differently from businesses, neither stamps the other out. But the truly large entities come in two flavors, corporate and government. I suspect that the co-op model has difficulty as it approaches Dunbar's number for social networking reasons. In short, the larger the group, the tougher it is to know everyone, vote sensibly as a result, and otherwise participate in a mutually beneficial fashion. Corporations and governments pretty much abandon that as a goal, but it's kind of intrinsic to a co-op.

It's a limit, but it's not altogether a bad one. With increasing automation available, plenty of markets are available that do not require an entity become vast to compete. Probably won't work for *everything*...but many small entities is a viable solution for many markets. It may become viable for more as automation reduces the number of people necessary to handle functions.

Quercus wrote:One question that concerns me - is it possible that the functioning of worker cooperatives depends on their operation in the context of a market dominated by capitalist corporations? That is, what evidence (presumably theoretical or simulation based) do we have that worker cooperatives would still function well if every large business was a worker cooperative?


If each co-op deals with other co-ops using a capitalist framework, then you fundamentally still have market economics at play. So, ought to work. I don't think every large business will naturally become a co-op(and indeed, we do not see this in real life), but I think that's an intrinsic part of co-op internal limitations, not that too many co-ops is inherently toxic to the market or something.

ucim wrote:Should designing, building, owning, and using a machine that makes {whatever} much more efficient, but as a consequence puts people out of work (or lowers their demand) be encouraged, discouraged, tolerated, banned, or what? This is (one) question that underlies the particular -isms that are being discussed, and absent agreement on that score, agreement on -isms is just (uh...) tribalism.


If a system is to outperform another system, the answer to this question is that efficiency gains must be encouraged.

How that happens, precisely, is sort of open. If you have a capitalist environment of many co-ops, well, then the co-ops are competing with one another in a fashion much like businesses. The more efficient will prosper. The market doesn't really give a crap if you're a co-op or a corporation.

Thesh wrote:It's a matter of structure. Most of our businesses are designed to concentrate decision making power in the hands of people at the top. This has some advantages to the owners, and is necessary to coordinate the organization into focusing on a single goal (such as the growth and profits of the business). However, this isn't actually more productive in terms of structure; in general, the management is overhead, and it's only more profitable because by limiting the decision making power they can pay employees less/


There's a lotta truth here. I often wondered about a more individualistic approach to things even before the gig economy took off as a thing. Still could be expanded to a lot more areas, but essentially, it's about localizing decision making, and keeping costs more tightly coupled to decisions.

Imagine a Walmart or other big box store that embraced a gig model. They have a pool of employees who are qualified to work, and a webapp that manages this. Schedules are available however far in advance is convenient for the company, and workers can sign up to take shifts whenever they wish. It may turn out that certain shifts are more desirable than others(people want to keep weekends free, for instance, but holy god does retail need folks there on weekends). Thus, you could easily pay whatever amount is sufficient to attract workers to a given shift. Suddenly, rather than a low level manager coercing folks into covering weekends, and folks trading excuses(the usual model at most such places), folks decide for themselves, and conflict is drastically reduced. Such a system would not necessitate making it a co-op, but it would likely be compatible with one, and would also be an improvement for corporate stores.

Thesh wrote:
elasto wrote:Capitalism is very good at allocating capital and labour into projects that make the most money.


Based on what? Most of our public debate around economics centers around how we can change the law or distribution of income in order to incentivize capitalists to create jobs because they are failing to do so.


*looks at current unemployment rates*

This is a major concern if you attempt to centrally plan an economy, yes. It is much less of a concern for Capitalism. Now, Trump isn't exactly a paragon of libertarian virtue, but he hasn't been particularly effective at driving most narratives through, leaving corporations mostly free to do whatever the hell they want(and if anything, make more profits due to a tax windfall). As a result, our employment is doing quite well, and is slated to reach the lowest point in fifty years by next year.

Thesh wrote:The problem is ultimately that capitalists seek to create artificial scarcity for the sake of increasing profits and that leaves some people without jobs, or without good jobs as large national chains buy up all the small businesses and we watch as entire towns decay due to a lack of investment and income.


How do capitalists create artificial scarcity?

How is buying local business a "lack of investment"? That is more money coming in.

Additionally, the presence of say, a Walmart, is positively correlated with indicators of economic health, such as property values.


The world is a capitalist economy. The wealth of the west comes at the expense of the poorest countries, and there is no reason to believe that the poorest countries are coming out of poverty due to capitalism. People have been coming out of poverty throughout the history of civilization, and I'd argue that it's the fact that the countries are industrializing, and not capitalism itself that is responsible.


The poorest countries would still be poor tomorrow if all western nations vanished overnight.

As for industrialization, sure, that's important. Capitalism loves industrialization, and is responsible for ridiculous amounts of it. If countries slip backwards into decay, this is generally preceded by significant amounts of socialism, totalitarianism, etc. Basically, capitalism gets prevented, and the gains go away, or are even reversed. It's quite consistent.

But the economies aren't being structured efficiently, they are being structured as low-wage economies that are entirely dependent on exports from Western countries for survival


That is what it is to be structured efficiently. Make what you can produce most efficiently, and sell it to people who have money. Comparative advantage and trade is the path to wealth. Isolationism and self-sufficiency works out very poorly. North Korea sure is trying that, though.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Dauric » Thu May 03, 2018 4:44 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Your argument is basically the same as saying that dictatorships and democracies are both going to have corruption, and since we know dictatorships work then democracy is just a fantasy. In other words, it is complete nonsense. Plus, then there's the "some people are terrible, so therefore we should allow people to gain unlimited economic power over others."


Which you've done nothing to address what I said.

Show me that you're not so enamored of your personal philosophy that you've become unwilling to cut some holes it it to see if it can be done and how. Show me that you have the mindset that you can get to those flaws before those who would exploit them. Show me that in the constant flow of "Measure -> Countermeasure -> Counter-Countermeasure" that you can stay ahead of those seeking unlimited power and do it without becoming the dictator yourself.

Your Free Market Socialism looks good in theory, but I want you to acid-test it. To do that you can't be so emotionally attached to it that you're unwilling to damage the model. You have to show a willingness to examine the faults and the weak-points in a system no matter how invested you may be in it's creation.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 4:46 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Imagine a Walmart or other big box store that embraced a gig model. They have a pool of employees who are qualified to work, and a webapp that manages this. Schedules are available however far in advance is convenient for the company, and workers can sign up to take shifts whenever they wish. It may turn out that certain shifts are more desirable than others(people want to keep weekends free, for instance, but holy god does retail need folks there on weekends). Thus, you could easily pay whatever amount is sufficient to attract workers to a given shift. Suddenly, rather than a low level manager coercing folks into covering weekends, and folks trading excuses(the usual model at most such places), folks decide for themselves, and conflict is drastically reduced.

The problem with this model - and the gig economy in general - is that it is fine for young, single folk without too many social or financial commitments.

It becomes non-viable once you need a stable income to support a family and pay the mortgage, and once your life becomes inflexible due to non-negotiable social responsibilities like looking after the kids when they're not at school. Life would be pure stress not knowing from day to day what your income will be, and not knowing if you'll have money at the end of the month to pay the rent.

(This is the big reason I am in favour of a Universal Income or equivalent. Then you absolutely could have the gig economy almost everywhere, and it would benefit workers in exactly the way you suggest.)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 5:00 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Net profits are good for anyone the person who gets net profits spends them with. This is why society encourages investing and spending rather than hoarding. The same unit of money makes a lot of people better off.


If they are coming at the expense of wages and higher prices, then it is a net benefit to the people who earn profits, and a net loss to everyone else. In a perfectly competitive economy, net profits go to zero; show me where an economy with higher profits is more efficient than one with lower profits.

elasto wrote:No they are not! If company A provides a better service at a cheaper price than company B, company A makes profits and can grow, which benefits society because it can service more people. This benefits the workers of A and the consumers of their products - who previously had to make do with an inferior product from B.


A new entry into a market results in reduced overall profits. I'm asking for a situation in which more profits overall lead to better economic outcomes overall, and not only because of the hope that the person who gains those profits will reinvest them (and there is no evidence that higher profits overall leads to more investment - our economy is testament to that). This is the idealized profit-motive scenario that is taught to justify capitalism; it's also only a small part of our economy, and is dwarfed by capitalists buying competitors in order to increase profits without providing benefit to society.

elasto wrote:Without a profit reward, which one of A and B grows depends on which of them has better connections to members of the power elite - who exist in every possible system.


If workers are in control of the business, they invest based on what gives the most benefit to the workers. If consumers are in control of the business, they invest based on what gives the most benefit to the consumers. The only reason the profit motive is seen as necessary is because the workers and consumers don't control the resources they depend on.

elasto wrote:Please explain what you mean by 'market socialism'


I've already answered this, and linked you to wikipedia:

Thesh wrote:This started with a discussion of worker cooperatives vs for-profit corporations. An economy that is just like this one, except every business is ran as a worker cooperative would be a free market socialist economy. It's simply a matter of how the resources are owned, and the incentives that ownership model leads to. Worker economies incentivize workers to maximize hourly wages - which is basically the same as saying it's incentivized to maximize productivity, whereas net profits tend to represent negative aspects of our economy.

For more information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_socialism


Property can be democratically controlled directly by the workers or consumers that use that property.

elasto wrote:because if capital is not privately owned, there is effectively only one buyer and seller of everything, and a free market cannot occur.


This is a good example of capitalism deliberately ensuring people get a worse education.

Dauric wrote:Which you've done nothing to address what I said.


My argument is that changing the system so that you don't explicitly give people massive amounts of power over others will result in better outcomes. You are asking me to show that my system is absolutely perfect, with the assumption that unless I can prove there is no way for someone to gain power then we must resort to capitalism. You are literally just looking for a reason to dismiss my arguments, and that's not really a game I'm into.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 03, 2018 5:00 pm UTC

elasto wrote:The problem with this model - and the gig economy in general - is that it is fine for young, single folk without too many social or financial commitments.

It becomes non-viable once you need a stable income to support a family and pay the mortgage, and once your life becomes inflexible due to non-negotiable social responsibilities like looking after the kids when they're not at school. Life would be pure stress not knowing from day to day what your income will be, and not knowing if you'll have money at the end of the month to pay the rent.

(This is the big reason I am in favour of a Universal Income or equivalent. Then you absolutely could have the gig economy almost everywhere, and in a way that benefits not just business but workers.)


It's main source of inflexibility right now is it's lack of diversity. You wanna drive? You got a car that qualifies for Uber and Lyft? Cool. And it's actually pretty reliable in terms of income. My girlfriend currently drives for both, and while a given day might be good or bad, once you get up to the scale of a week, it's quite reliable indeed. On the scale of a week, it averages $20 hr in our area with fairly minor variation. She keeps a spreadsheet to keep tabs. So, on that scale, you ought not worry about a problem making rent.

However, if Uber got pissed at you for whatever reason and kicked you off it's system, you're down to only one option. That's a lot of worry about a string of bad reviews or what have you. Your car breaks down, and now you can't work at either place. Maybe you pick up a minor injury that is aggrevated by driving. Now, you can either recover or make money. So, on that level, there is stress and insecurity.

If more companies embraced the gig thing, the redundancy of opportunity would reduce stress for gig workers.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Thu May 03, 2018 5:33 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:If they are coming at the expense of wages and higher prices, then it is a net benefit to the people who earn profits, and a net loss to everyone else.

That is such short-term thinking though.

Yes, profits reinvested today mean lower wages or higher prices today, but the goal of investment (which can only come from profit) is to improve efficiency - which means that, even after accounting for profit the business of tomorrow delivers higher wages and lower prices than it otherwise would have.

In a perfectly competitive economy, net profits go to zero

That's only the case in a perfectly competitive, perfectly stagnant economy. That's not something to be encouraged.

A new entry into a market results in reduced overall profits. I'm asking for a situation in which more profits overall lead to better economic outcomes overall, and not only because of the hope that the person who gains those profits will reinvest them

Obviously if profits just go into someone's pocket, that's of little benefit to wider society. That's why a high tax regime where the taxes get redistributed as Universal Income gives the best of both worlds. And that's also why I say I prefer the Scandinavian economic model to, say, America's.

If workers are in control of the business, they invest based on what gives the most benefit to the workers. If consumers are in control of the business, they invest based on what gives the most benefit to the consumers.

Sure, but why would they be any more long-term-ist than company owners are?

The owners say 'I could invest this money in a new plant which will make us more money next year but instead I'll buy a new plane.'
The workers say 'I could invest this money in a new plant which will make us more money next year but instead I'll buy a new car.'

Union-controlled industries don't have significantly better outcomes long-term than shareholder-owned ones, frankly. Both tend to stagnate and need refreshing either by government intervention or disruptive startups.
I've already answered this, and linked you to wikipedia

Sorry, I missed that post.

This started with a discussion of worker cooperatives vs for-profit corporations. An economy that is just like this one, except every business is ran as a worker cooperative would be a free market socialist economy. It's simply a matter of how the resources are owned, and the incentives that ownership model leads to.

So you could have a 'cooperative' of one, right? So individuals could still own property and the means of production, right? And could lease it out, sell shares in it, draw down profits from the business, even if they have to dress it up etc. Don't see how that really solves anything. It's basically the same as now just obfuscated.

You are asking me to show that my system is absolutely perfect, with the assumption that unless I can prove there is no way for someone to gain power then we must resort to capitalism. You are literally just looking for a reason to dismiss my arguments, and that's not really a game I'm into.

I listened to a Joe Rogan podcast a while back. The guy he interviewed took a decade to write a book because he examined every line he wrote from every possible angle, and tried to find every possible argument against it.

Yes, sometimes the perfect can be the enemy of the good, but being your own fiercest critic is the way to build a robust argument. You are coming across quite defensive.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 5:55 pm UTC

elasto wrote:That is such short-term thinking though.

Yes, profits reinvested today mean lower wages or higher prices today, but the goal of investment (which can only come from profit) is to improve efficiency - which means that, even after accounting for profit the business of tomorrow delivers higher wages and lower prices than it otherwise would have.


No, the goal of investment is not to improve efficiency. The goal of investment in a for-profit business is to make profits, and profits do not represent efficiency, they represent the bargaining power difference between producers and the workers and consumers, and indicate the markets are not efficient. That is, your profits are dependent primarily on the barriers to entry for new competitors, and higher barriers to entry literally means you have to spend more money to make something - i.e. is less efficient. The goal of investment is thus to exploit the inefficiencies of the market, and in some cases they seek to create inefficiencies (e.g. through acquisitions).

elasto wrote:
In a perfectly competitive economy, net profits go to zero

That's only the case in a perfectly competitive, perfectly stagnant economy. That's not something to be encouraged.


Again, the only scenario you've given where profits are inherently beneficial is one in which, due to an inefficient market a new competitor can come in and lower prices.

elasto wrote:Obviously if profits just go into someone's pocket, that's of little benefit to wider society. That's why a high tax regime where the taxes get redistributed as Universal income gives the best of both worlds. And that's also why I say I prefer the Scandinavian economic model to, say, America's.


To which we have to democratically decide how much people deserve, and we have decided all around the world, even in Scandinavia, that some people deserve to be in poverty.

elasto wrote:Sure, but why would they be any more long-term-ist than company owners are?

Union-controlled industries don't have significantly better outcomes long-term than shareholder-owned ones, frankly. Both tend to stagnate and need refreshing either by government intervention or disruptive startups.


Unions are beneficial only because they counter the power of capitalists, but they do not lead to the same decisions that worker cooperatives do. Workers actually have more long term thinking because they are more dependent on the company than the owners are, who can sell the property off and outsource the jobs, and because they live in the community where the jobs are. The article I linked earlier explains that worker cooperatives tend to lead to better long term planning and better productivity.

elasto wrote:So you could have a 'cooperative' of one, right? So individuals could still own property and the means of production, right? And could lease it out, sell shares in it, even if they have to dress it up etc. Don't see how that really solves anything.


Your argument here rests on the assumption that a law cannot define a worker cooperative, and that absentee ownership must be legal. Hell, there are even capitalist libertarians who think absentee property ownership should be banned.

elasto wrote:Yes, sometimes the perfect can be the enemy of the good, but being your own fiercest critic is the way to build a robust argument. You are coming across quite defensive.


This is my annoyance when people come in and respond without about how capitalism is the best system that we know, when they obviously have never made any attempt to study socialism. It makes debates frustrating, because every single person on the capitalist side simply dismisses every argument made by socialists, and asserts the default capitalist position that the capitalists acting selfishly will necessarily act in the interest of society, even while accepting that massive government power is necessary to counter them.

So now you apparently want me to spend years dissecting everything about market socialism when you weren't even aware of the concept of market socialism until this debate. Why don't you read up on alternative methods of ownership that we know of before declaring capitalism to be the best system we know?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu May 03, 2018 6:05 pm UTC

Thesh, in your proposal, where does the initial investment come from when creating a new worker cooperative, and what compensation if any does said investing entity receive for the service they provide by accepting the risk inherent in starting a new venture?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Thesh » Thu May 03, 2018 6:07 pm UTC

Loans, direct investment by workers on things that increase wages, direct investment by consumers on things that benefit consumers (see kickstarter).
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 03, 2018 6:08 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:This is my annoyance when people come in and respond without about how capitalism is the best system that we know, when they obviously have never made any attempt to study socialism. It makes debates frustrating, because every single person on the capitalist side simply dismisses every argument made by socialists


In fairness, we also don't bother to study flat-earthism or mercantilism or creationism.

There are indeed some lessons to be learned from failed ideologies, but in depth study of dysfunctional systems is not a high priority for many. So, yeah, an advocate for any such ideology has a higher hill to climb in terms of evidence to be taken seriously.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Thu May 03, 2018 6:10 pm UTC

The proof is in the pudding, not in the praises. Feudalism has been proven, "proven" as in "tested", like "bullet proof" or liquor. Feudalism works, but not very well. We can actually compare it to others. Communism has been proven, at least the Soviet interpretation, and it worked for 72 years. It even put man in space. It didnt work very well in terms of personal freedoms, but we can compare it to others. Lassaiz faire capitalism has been proven. The results haven't been great, but it's proven. Social democracy has been proven as well, and so far it's been proven to work the best.

You system you propose? The only "proof" you have is a bunch of thought expirements. Thought experiments are useful, but they are not empirical evidence. You dont have a real world example of it working on a large scale. The proof is in the pudding, and you dont have pudding. You can talk all and you want about how great your recipe is, but you don't get to claim you know for certain your pudding is better.
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