"Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

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Thesh
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:34 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:Given that you've also said that everything that defines capitalism is inherently negative, am I correct in understanding that in your view, socialism is *by definition* beneficial to the people? That is, suppose an economy doesn't have private ownership, and the means of production are *ostensibly* run to the benefit of the people, but the system attempting to do so happens to be incompetent. Would that system fail be to be considered socialist, because it's not *actually* run to the benefit of the people?


Mismanaged socialism is still socialism. It's about the objective itself. The Soviet Union I would not consider to be socialist, because the Soviet Union was focused on growing the wealth and power of the state, making it state capitalism. I don't see how you can have socialism without something resembling a democracy.

I personally support market socialism in which the businesses are ran as co-ops. Technically, you can run them exactly the same as a capitalist corporation, and get the exact same results. However, the goals of workers, consumers, and capitalists are different and different incentives lead to different decisions. All three groups are in conflict, but there are bigger conflicts between both the capitalist and consumer and the capitalist and worker than there are between the worker and consumer, which is especially bad when there is high inequality and absentee ownership.

The best economy is the one that is, by my definition best for the consumers. In an efficient market what's best for the workers is best for the consumers, but this is never true for the capitalist.

EDIT: Also, relevant details from another thread:

Spoiler:
Thesh wrote:Productivity: A matter of perspective

What does it mean to have a productive economy? What productivity is intended to measure is whether we get more benefit for our scarce resources. The measure we use to judge productivity is dollars produced per hour worked; it is assumed that if we spend more money on something, it's more beneficial. However, we need to ask "to whom is this more beneficial"? In general, every dollar you spend gives you less benefit than the last. People at the bottom of the economy have vastly different priorities than people at the top - a wealthy person might spend $500,000 on a car for pure novelty, while a poor person might use just one percent of that money to buy a car.

What if the distribution of income was different? Would not our prices themselves be different? Imagine you had two groups of ten people with a transportation budget; the first has a distribution of spending similar to the wealth inequality in our economy, and the second has an equal distribution of spending. In the first group, you might see that the spending on transportation is five bicycles, five economy cars, a bus, speed boat, and a small single engine plane distributed among the first nine people, and a luxury sedan, sports car, private jet, and yacht for the last person. In the second group you might find ten bicycles, five mid-priced vehicles, two luxury sedans, three sports cars, a passenger rail network, and a commercial passenger jet.

Assume that these collections of goods were sold at auction. Assume that the members of each group bids 100% of their budget on their own preferences, with some individuals profiting off of vehicles shared by others in the group. Now imagine each group had to bid on the goods from the other group's preferences; you should expect some people to pocket some of the money rather than spend on transport - at equal pay, no one will feel the yacht or private jet is worth it at the price it costs to make. Thus, change the distribution of income, you change how productive our current economy is viewed to be.

So productivity, as we measure it, is not actually a measure of the efficiency of our economy, per se, it's a measure of the ability to get money from people who have money. As inequality grows, the usefulness of productivity as a measure of our economic efficiency goes down, and as the actual relationship between spending and benefit becomes weaker. After a point, wealth doesn't add to your quality of life at all. We may literally have spent the last thirty or forty years, and on net gaining nothing as there are no gains in real income for the average worker. We may even be less productive than we were, from the perspective of the average person.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:43 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:No, it's not gish gallop, you are simply failing to understand the core concept that I am trying to explain: That correlation does not prove causation, that there are many many variables involved, and you can't just pick one and run with it. The only thing I have ever asked you to do is actually consider the details themselves. Showing a correlation is meaningless unless you can explain the mechanism by which it works. So explain how private property ownership is a net benefit, show me actual evidence that the positives outweigh the negatives.


Please see the previous source.

If you want high-level statistical analysis to prove capitalism is better, then you need to figure out what all of the potential major variables affecting a country's relative quality of life are, and then figure out how each aspect correlates. Since this includes "history", this is not easy; hence, any measure you are trying to come up with is completely meaningless, with absolutely nothing to add to the debate at all.


Studies of things over time are pretty common, and are not inherently meaningless.

When people are advocating for libertarian socialism, well, it turns out that there isn't a major libertarian socialist economy, just a bunch of mixed economies, in which the "socialist" countries are ran as a for-profit companies. So how are you even going to begin to compare that?


Then such a proposition has a relative lack of historical evidence for it's superiority, and must rely on secondary inferences. Nearly everyone wants some changes to government. Usually it is considered fine to provide evidence for how a specific change will work by studying similar real world examples, even if the entire government is not exactly as you would wish yours to be.

You need to actually study socialism before you can debate it. You do not want to do this; you just want to defend capitalism, and that means the only thing you do is prevent good debate on socialism. I have a feeling this is your objective.


What is your particular standard for someone to be worthy of debating you? I'll grant that my major was CS, but I qualified for a minor in sociology. Is that enough, or must someone have majored in it? Or must they have a doctorate? What level of elitism are we talking here?

Thesh wrote:Mismanaged socialism is still socialism. It's about the objective itself. The Soviet Union I would not consider to be socialist, because the Soviet Union was focused on growing the wealth and power of the state, making it state capitalism. I don't see how you can have socialism without something resembling a democracy.


Ah, so you would define the USSR as "more capitalist than socialist". This seems to be an unusual definition.

Perhaps you can provide some examples of which real world countries, either now or in the past, have been socialist.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:51 pm UTC

Tyndmyr, the only thing you need to do to debate me is actually respond to my arguments. My arguments concern the specifics of capitalism; you are simply insisting that we must score them and pick a winner.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:01 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Tyndmyr, the only thing you need to do to debate me is actually respond to my arguments. My arguments concern the specifics of capitalism; you are simply insisting that we must score them and pick a winner.


I still have yet to determine what you consider to be actual socialism. Before we can get around to scoring them, we need to know what the categories are, and what qualifies, yes? Name some socialist nations.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:03 pm UTC

Okay, either you are the stupidest person I've ever met on the internet, or you are a troll. I'm assuming the latter.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:06 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Okay, either you are the stupidest person I've ever met on the internet, or you are a troll. I'm assuming the latter.


This isn't a troll. Do any countries meet your definition of "socialist"? Is this another variation of "TRUE socialism has never been tried"?

Are you defining authoritarian regimes out for socialism, but not for capitalism? I have no idea what actual definitions you're working with here, but they do not appear to match the rest of the world.


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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:15 pm UTC

Look, wikipedia defines the USSR as socialist. This is unsurprising, given that socialist is literally in the name.

You do not.

Therefore, you are using a different definition than them.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:16 pm UTC

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:19 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I personally support market socialism in which the businesses are ran as co-ops.


So it's not that private ownership is eliminated (people not in a particular business have no share of ownership of that business's assets), just that the users of a piece of property and the owners of that property are one and the same.

But if every worker has a share in the ownership of the business, doesn't that mean every worker has a share in the risk of the business? It seems to me that being able to trade one's stake of ownership in exchange for insulation from the risk is a useful transaction in many cases, and requiring all businesses to be co-ops would remove that option. It essentially says that every worker must also be a capitalist.

There may be some workable method to require that the option be available for any given employee to approach it as a co-op. Essentially a regulation saying that employees should always have the right to decide to what extent they're paid in cash and to what extent they're paid in stock, with some pre-negotiated exchange rate. That would accomplish your goal of making it impossible to unilaterally maintain absentee ownership, without killing the traditional notion of employment and its benefits.

Of course, since employees are already free to buy stock from the company where they work, the only difference from the status-quo would be some sort of requirement for non-employee stockholders to sell at a certain price under certain conditions. Again, that might be a workable way to approach it. It should certainly help stabilize stock prices relative to the actual value of the companies, and thus prevent bubbles from forming as often as they do.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:23 pm UTC

Look, I've read wikipedia. Link-dropping is not a conversation.

Are you implying that the word "socialism", to you, does not mean "socialism" in the sense of socialist countries, but actually means "state capitalism"? There's a million different variations on socialism out there, if you're undertaking one of the more dramatic redefinitions, it will be more clear if you specify.

What is it precisely that you want? You've mentioned co-ops. Cool. Just about every economy that exists permits co-ops to exist, and they do fine at a modest economic scale. They haven't displaced any other form of business though, and as it seems you're advocating for some sort of change, it seems as if you want more than this. If you wanted to convert the US to your brand of socialism on the 'morrow, what would change?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:35 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:
Thesh wrote:I personally support market socialism in which the businesses are ran as co-ops.


So it's not that private ownership is eliminated (people not in a particular business have no share of ownership of that business's assets), just that the users of a piece of property and the owners of that property are one and the same.


Private property ownership implies some sort of personal ownership. Co-ops are owned by its members, and membership is non-transferable. The land itself, the buildings, etc. might still be publicly owned while only the equipment is cooperatively owned.

arbiteroftruth wrote:But if every worker has a share in the ownership of the business, doesn't that mean every worker has a share in the risk of the business? It seems to me that being able to trade one's stake of ownership in exchange for insulation from the risk is a useful transaction in many cases, and requiring all businesses to be co-ops would remove that option. It essentially says that every worker must also be a capitalist.


That's a matter of structure. Some models of cooperative ownership, usually worker cooperatives, have equity sharing (I'm not a fan of this). My personal preference is to simply use insurance and loans, and place the financial risk on the communities. The communities would then need to pool their resources, and work together to invest in their community to create the businesses and infrastructure that will be best for them.

My general preference is to have all workers compensated only for their labor, with the property itself be equally owned by everyone and not for-profit. Property income only takes away from other workers, and doesn't pay market rates for your work, leading to less efficient outcomes (I can elaborate on this if you want).
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:01 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Private property ownership implies some sort of personal ownership. Co-ops are owned by its members, and membership is non-transferable. The land itself, the buildings, etc. might still be publicly owned while only the equipment is cooperatively owned.


If the membership is non-transferable, it's not really ownership, it's just membership, similar to a club. The US has a lot of co-ops of various kinds and structures, but this delineation is pretty strong. A non-equity membership is generally treated as a lease, for housing cooperatives, or as a simple membership for food co-ops.

Some ownership ones have somewhat restricted transference(such as voting requirements in order to be permitted to sell out), but they are generally superseded by other law, such as inheritance.

Ultimately, what is the point of the worker owning the means of production(or other things)? At some point, all land you utilize will pass to someone else. Are all such transfers to be a matter of voting? What if someone dies? What if someone merely wishes to change lifestyle? Is the approval of the community required for this, and what happens when they do not wish to allow someone to leave, or to stop paying bills from an increasingly costly project*?

*for one such example, consider the flint water bill. It's very expensive, because well, the Flint water system is kinda fucked up. However, you are not allowed to simply not get water service. If you do, child protective services will be called. So, homeowners are stuck both buying bottled water AND paying for a system that is both inefficient and lacking in quality. Any time a person is not permitted to cease using a system, problems become more critical.

My general preference is to have all workers compensated only for their labor, with the property itself be equally owned by everyone and not for-profit. Property income only takes away from other workers, and doesn't pay market rates for your work, leading to less efficient outcomes (I can elaborate on this if you want).


How is property remediation accounted for? Everything needs to be fixed, and what prevents a person from taking shortcuts that are personally advantageous, but incur costs for the community? Standard tragedy of the commons scenarios.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:02 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
arbiteroftruth wrote:But if every worker has a share in the ownership of the business, doesn't that mean every worker has a share in the risk of the business? It seems to me that being able to trade one's stake of ownership in exchange for insulation from the risk is a useful transaction in many cases, and requiring all businesses to be co-ops would remove that option. It essentially says that every worker must also be a capitalist.


That's a matter of structure. Some models of cooperative ownership, usually worker cooperatives, have equity sharing (I'm not a fan of this). My personal preference is to simply use insurance and loans, and place the financial risk on the communities. The communities would then need to pool their resources, and work together to invest in their community to create the businesses and infrastructure that will be best for them.

My general preference is to have all workers compensated only for their labor, with the property itself be equally owned by everyone and not for-profit.


If the business as an institution doesn't keep any profits, and investments in business in general are decided by the community at large, then how is this a market economy (since you called it 'market socialism')? There's no natural, direct mechanism for competition to occur, so the usual market forces go out the window. Competition would only arise if the democratic decision of the community intentionally decides to invest in multiple competing businesses, and then modifies their investments to deliberately reward the more productive and efficient businesses. I suppose that could happen if the community at large has a particular set of civic principles, but there's nothing in the structure of the system that would tend toward this outcome.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:09 pm UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:
If the business as an institution doesn't keep any profits, and investments in business in general are decided by the community at large, then how is this a market economy (since you called it 'market socialism')


Anyone can start a co-op, fund raise, rent property, etc. Putting the risk on the community just means it's insured by an insurance company within the community, it borrows from within the community, it raises funds from and serves members of the community, etc. If one person wants to run a sex shop as a worker cooperative and get a loan from a bank then they can do it themselves; it's just that if they hire two other employees, the two employees can fire them.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:12 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:If one person wants to run a sex shop as a worker cooperative and get a loan from a bank then they can do it themselves; it's just that if they hire two other employees, the two employees can fire them.


So, one individual can take out a loan and put a lot of effort into starting a business, then be kicked out by their employees? Would the employees be responsible for compensating the individual for any of this?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:14 pm UTC

Yes, just like in capitalism where a small business owner can sell shares to investors and then get kicked out by the investors.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:15 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Yes, just like in capitalism.


Well, in capitalism, the price is determined by mutual agreement as a result of the owner's ability to veto a sale. In here, it looks as if the starter of the business's agreement is not required to make the sale happen. How is the price determined under this system?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:16 pm UTC

See my edit.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:21 pm UTC

Ah. So, they must agree on the price of the shares at time of bringing on the employee, then?

Essentially, every employee is like allowing a full partner to buy into your business.

That said, forcing someone out doesn't work like that with corporations. If I start a company and sell two thirds of the shares off, and those shareholders decide to take control of the company, I still retain ownership of my remaining third. My ownership cannot generally be reduced by the others.

How does this work for young folks entering the job market without significant capital to buy in?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:25 pm UTC

They got paid the same way as everyone else, for their labor, not the product of their labor. If there was demand for a sex shop, then someone else would have started it had they not done it; why should they be compensated more for their labor than everyone else who is involved? If it's more productive to run the sex shop without them, then they should do something else.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:31 pm UTC

Oh, I'm not challenging that it might be possible for someone other than the founder to best run a business, that makes sense.

What I'm curious is how the money works in conjunction with it. It's particularly common for a shop to not make a great deal of money right off, and to operate at a loss. Even if we ignore all material property as provided by the community, popularity and reputation are things that take time to build. Without some sort of subsidy, the founder will have put in a lot more work into this enterprise than his two newly hired employees, and is unlikely to have been well compensated.

If, as you propose, he needs to take out a loan to do all that, and he's been working to pay this off, starting a business does not appear to be a very good proposition at all, unless there is some form of compensation taking place.

It also seems as if anyone who wants to retain control of anything would be well advised to not take on employees.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:35 pm UTC

Well, I mean, for starters you actually structure your economy to minimize barriers to entry; it takes much longer because our economy is optimized to maximize barriers to entry (i.e. it's much more expensive to start a business).
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:41 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Well, I mean, for starters you actually structure your economy to minimize barriers to entry; it takes much longer because our economy is optimized to maximize barriers to entry (i.e. it's much more expensive to start a business).


Sure. I'm willing to accept that you've made your pitch to whatever community meeting you have, and the community has agreed to lend you the money to start. Presumably at very low interest or what not. The community has some quantity of land, with some number of buildings on it to be used as shops, and they're willing to organize the loan, and they're not charging you rent for the shop, yes?

Even so, you probably don't have a lot of customers on your first day. Give it some time, and the news will spread, and everyone'll know you're there, and do a good job, but until that time happens, you're putting in a lot of work to get everything set up, and to build that reputation. You hire on a couple of folks, and they're good at it too, and decide that the two of them would be ideal. In essence, they gain all that labor invested into reputation, building processes, and otherwise creating a functioning business from a pile of goods. How do they compensate you for that time and effort, and how is the value of that compensation determined?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:43 pm UTC

They are paid every week or whatever for the work that they do, just like any other employee in a startup.

Imagine you are have money, you hire someone to start a business for you, and pay them to get it up and running. It's the same thing, only in this case, it's a loan and they pay back at inflation+risk.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:48 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:They are paid every week or whatever for the work that they do, just like any other employee in a startup.


The money being whatever customers pay? Or is there another subsidy system at work here?

If it's the former, starting a business seems like a very risky proposition. You take on loans, and if it flops, you've worked a lot for nothing. If it gets big and you hire others, they can kick you out, leaving you, again, with nothing. Potentially still with loans to pay, though perhaps those transfer over to the new pair. In any case, you've made very little money in return for a lot of work, as starting a business does not appear to be considered of value.

Why should a person wish to start a business under these circumstances? After all, similar work for an existing enterprise would be easier for any given amount of money.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:51 pm UTC

What risk? What did they lose?
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:56 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:What risk? What did they lose?


Time and effort. Labor, really. Without property, what else is there? They have put effort into improving the business as a necessary part of selling their labor. Two individuals, both engaged in the same enterprise with the same resources and level of skill will be rewarded differently if one is new and unknown, whereas the other is already well-liked.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:05 pm UTC

i really want to chime in here on thesh's side but ironically i'm too busy and exhausted from being worked to death for the profit of someone else
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:20 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:What risk? What did they lose?


Time and effort. Labor, really. Without property, what else is there? They have put effort into improving the business as a necessary part of selling their labor. Two individuals, both engaged in the same enterprise with the same resources and level of skill will be rewarded differently if one is new and unknown, whereas the other is already well-liked.


They were paid wages for their effort, like pretty much every other worker in the economy. Why do you think starting a business is so much different than other forms of labor, that it needs to be compensated a completely different way, irrespective of what others would have been willing to do the same job for?
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:23 pm UTC

Who is paying them to start this business?

Going from a pile of stuff to a functioning, popular business requires a whole lot of setup. Who pays for that, and how?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:24 pm UTC

The cooperative is paying them.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 pm UTC

Ah, gotcha. That was the disconnect.

So, everyone's paid an hourly wage by the cooperative, then? Same hourly wage for everyone, or if not, how's it determined?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:27 pm UTC

It's a market system.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:33 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:It's a market system.


What sort of market system? If he's being paid by the cooperative, how does the market value his time? Or, should I say, how does the cooperative's pricing get set by the market?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:36 pm UTC

The cooperative can set whatever prices and pay whatever wages they want.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:41 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The cooperative can set whatever prices and pay whatever wages they want.


Understood, so set by a vote or what have you. A centrally planned labor economy, not a market economy at all. I presume whatever price is set for goods and services, the money gained thereby is remitted to the cooperative for this payment(and thus their handling of price setting as well).

Basically then, the idea boils down to a centrally planned economy with no personal property ownership, correct? Would it be fair to compare historical examples of such vs those that were not?

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:42 pm UTC

Centrally planned? You realize there are co-ops all over the country, thousands in Europe, right? You are acting like this is some new concept.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:46 pm UTC

Command Economy. A singular organization or a hierarchy that sets prices and labor.

Belarus, Cuba, Iran(kind of), China from post-WW2 until 1978, USSR, North Korea and Libya. I might have missed one or two, but I think that's a decent summary of extant/recent examples.

I'm aware of the existence of tons of co-ops, as mentioned earlier. I note that they have not displaced capitalism naturally. However, the idea has been tried before on a national scale.

Edit: Vietnam, too. Forgot about Vietnam.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:47 pm UTC

So, every single business in the United States is a command economy. Gotcha.
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