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Sean
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08 Dec 2005, 5:10 pm

RobertN wrote:
At least I have the imagination to come up with a better system.

Your system was imagined more than 100 years ago and has been tried and failed about a couple dozen times.



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08 Dec 2005, 5:18 pm

Sean wrote:
RobertN wrote:
At least I have the imagination to come up with a better system.

Your system was imagined more than 100 years ago and has been tried and failed about a couple dozen times.


If your talking about communism, thats cos its never been done rite. Now im not saying the economics involved wood CERTENLY work better when we keep the democratic political system, but so longas we DO keep democracy, theres allways the opportunity to turn back if it dosent work out.


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08 Dec 2005, 6:13 pm

The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth—that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.. ~ H. L. Mencken


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08 Dec 2005, 6:23 pm

stellacotton wrote:
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth—that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.. ~ H. L. Mencken


Where do you get all these quotes from, Stella? :wink:



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08 Dec 2005, 6:32 pm

toddjh wrote:
Assassin wrote:
life... AND FREEDOM are more important than money and material gains.

If anything, Id put freedom above life.


The problem is that socialism is about restricting freedom. It abridges the right to free association, the right to privacy, and the right to self-determination, to varying degrees.

Now, you could make a case that all of those need to be abridged to a certain extent in order to ensure that society remains stable. But saying that socialism is about preserving freedom is like saying that low-fat cookies are health food.

Also, don't underestimate the importance of money. You need money to eat. Money can save lives. Socialism may appear to be an ideal solution -- everybody has their needs taken care of for free! Yay! -- but it retards economic growth. Over time, it makes everybody poorer than they would've been otherwise. We're seeing this in France, Germany, and across Europe right now.

Jeremy


It sounds to me like you are describing communism, not socialism. Communism rejects the concept of currency, socialism says it is important to encourage competition.

I agree that communism is unworkable because of that.
I also maintain that the USA is currently socialist, although with all the massive deregulation thats been going on lately that does seem to be changing. :/

My issue with capitalism is that it seems to treat the acquisition of wealth as a zero sum game. Since new wealth can be created (and old wealth destroyed), this is not true.



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08 Dec 2005, 6:34 pm

stellacotton wrote:
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth—that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.. ~ H. L. Mencken


Except that, in this case, it's not just a bunch of guesswork. There is now centuries of evidence that capitalism, modestly restrained where necessary by the government, promotes economic growth, increases quality of life for the general population, and fosters an atmosphere conducive to innovation and technological progress.

"From each according to his ability; to each according to his need" has a certain populist appeal, but is a highly unethical position when you think about it. It's the antithesis of personal responsibility. Industriousness is not rewarded and laziness is not punished. There is no incentive to work harder and every reason to take advantage of the few that do. It's not hard to figure out why it simply doesn't work in the real world.

Jeremy



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08 Dec 2005, 6:36 pm

toddjh wrote:
In a directly democratic political system, what's to stop the people from creating a state religion, or voting to reinstate slavery? Or making Jews wear yellow stars? Or banning free speech?


The will of the people. The minority being suppressed will have an easier job of convincing people about how bad these things are, and thus less support will be garnered for them.

Not saying that it is impossible, just that it is far less likely.

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Direct democracy is just as problematic as communism (and doubly so when they overlap), and just as likely to lead to tyranny. Representative democracy with an independent judiciary is the way to go.

Jeremy


No, Representative democracy has had all those things you stated happen under it. It is not inherently better. Direct democracy is less likely to lead to tryanny because it is harder for one person to get control of the reins (though it is also difficult in a representattive democracy).



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08 Dec 2005, 6:44 pm

Larval wrote:
It sounds to me like you are describing communism, not socialism. Communism rejects the concept of currency, socialism says it is important to encourage competition.


Yes, we need to define our terms. I was talking about communism because I was under the impression that RobertN was using the terms interchangeably. He calls it "socialism," but uses terms like "comrade" and talks about moneyless utopias.

So I'll try be more clear about which one I'm referring to in the future.

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I also maintain that the USA is currently socialist, although with all the massive deregulation thats been going on lately that does seem to be changing. :/


It's funny; each side thinks things are moving in the other direction.

Some degree of socialism is required for stability. Pure laissez-faire capitalism leads to child labor and the robber barons of 19th century America. At the very least, we need government protection for unions. When I call something "socialist," I mean it has a greater than average amount of government regulation and taxation.

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My issue with capitalism is that it seems to treat the acquisition of wealth as a zero sum game. Since new wealth can be created (and old wealth destroyed), this is not true.


Oh, I disagree. Capitalism recognizes that wealth can be created; that's why there's so much emphasis placed on economic growth. High growth rates mean that everyone profits, and vice versa. I picture it in my head like a human body, and the economy is the bloodstream. In a healthy economy, the heart is pumping steadily and blood is free to circulate, getting everywhere it needs to be on its own.

Socialism is more like a person with heart disease or blocked arteries. High taxation limits disposable income and leads to lower productivity and stifles the economy, which is equivalent to blood pumping slower. In order to make sure it reaches all parts of the body, doctors have to install shunts and perform regular angioplasties. Through their efforts, they make sure that blood still gets where it needs to go, but it's not a healthy situation. Better to make sure the body is healthy to begin with and let it run on its own.

Jeremy



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08 Dec 2005, 6:46 pm

toddjh wrote:
Except that, in this case, it's not just a bunch of guesswork. There is now centuries of evidence that capitalism, modestly restrained where necessary by the government, promotes economic growth, increases quality of life for the general population, and fosters an atmosphere conducive to innovation and technological progress.


Agreed. But only when properly restrained. It was FDR's New Deal laws that helped pull America off the ground during the Great Depression, and allows the country to take advantage of WWII in order to make a complete economic recovery. (WWII probably wasn't necessary - the country would have just recovered more slowly without it.)

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"From each according to his ability; to each according to his need" has a certain populist appeal, but is a highly unethical position when you think about it. It's the antithesis of personal responsibility. Industriousness is not rewarded and laziness is not punished. There is no incentive to work harder and every reason to take advantage of the few that do. It's not hard to figure out why it simply doesn't work in the real world.

Jeremy


Agreed. The system of trade can not be completely done away with, and it shouldn't be.



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08 Dec 2005, 6:57 pm

toddjh wrote:
Larval wrote:
It sounds to me like you are describing communism, not socialism. Communism rejects the concept of currency, socialism says it is important to encourage competition.


Yes, we need to define our terms. I was talking about communism because I was under the impression that RobertN was using the terms interchangeably. He calls it "socialism," but uses terms like "comrade" and talks about moneyless utopias.

So I'll try be more clear about which one I'm referring to in the future.


Agreed. I'll define my terms as well.

And yes, RobertN does seem to be talking about communism, not socialism.

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Quote:
I also maintain that the USA is currently socialist, although with all the massive deregulation thats been going on lately that does seem to be changing. :/


It's funny; each side thinks things are moving in the other direction.


Indeed. It's darn hilarious.

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Some degree of socialism is required for stability. Pure laissez-faire capitalism leads to child labor and the robber barons of 19th century America. At the very least, we need government protection for unions. When I call something "socialist," I mean it has a greater than average amount of government regulation and taxation.


Ok, fair enough.

I use very technical meanings for capitalism, communism, and socialism. Basically, capitalism is laissez-faire, communism is money-free, and socialism covers the broad range of possibilites between the two.

I do agree that too much government regulation can do just as much hard as too little.

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Quote:
My issue with capitalism is that it seems to treat the acquisition of wealth as a zero sum game. Since new wealth can be created (and old wealth destroyed), this is not true.


Oh, I disagree. Capitalism recognizes that wealth can be created; that's why there's so much emphasis placed on economic growth. High growth rates mean that everyone profits, and vice versa. I picture it in my head like a human body, and the economy is the bloodstream. In a healthy economy, the heart is pumping steadily and blood is free to circulate, getting everywhere it needs to be on its own.


But not all players care about this. Most are happy to make profits at someone else's expense. A few are even willing to make profits at the expense of the global economy, something that is clearly immoral.

Capitalism often rewards this, even in (by my definition) socialist economies. Sure there are laws and regulations, but at this point we're not talking about 'just money' or 'just profit'.

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Socialism is more like a person with heart disease or blocked arteries. High taxation limits disposable income and leads to lower productivity and stifles the economy, which is equivalent to blood pumping slower. In order to make sure it reaches all parts of the body, doctors have to install shunts and perform regular angioplasties. Through their efforts, they make sure that blood still gets where it needs to go, but it's not a healthy situation. Better to make sure the body is healthy to begin with and let it run on its own.

Jeremy


By your definition of socialism, I can see how this is true, and I would be inclined to agree.

Just to have my opinion on the record:

Pure capitalism would let blood get everywhere it needed to, but it would allow cancers and viruses travel freely as well. This can lead to a potentially fatal situation.

Being slightly socialist would be the same as filtering the blood to keep these bad things out, and clearing the occasional blocked artery, but otherwise letting things play out as they normally should.



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08 Dec 2005, 7:04 pm

Larval wrote:
Pure capitalism would let blood get everywhere it needed to, but it would allow cancers and viruses travel freely as well. This can lead to a potentially fatal situation.

Being slightly socialist would be the same as filtering the blood to keep these bad things out, and clearing the occasional blocked artery, but otherwise letting things play out as they normally should.


How about this:

Capitalism is like a physically healthy specimen, a veritable Greek God of human perfection...but he never goes to the doctor, ever.

Socialism is like someone with a congenital heart condition, but who goes to the doctor for an exam every month.

The first is usually in better condition, but when things get bad, they can get very bad. Whereas the second is never in tip-top shape, but when something happens the doctor can catch it and deal with it quickly.

Sound fair? :)

Jeremy



ed
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08 Dec 2005, 8:20 pm

stellacotton wrote:
Sometimes it seems having you moderate this thread specifically when it comes to politics is akin to having an alcoholic tend to the liquor store. :lol:


I'm ok, unless Bush joins WP. Then I'd have to stop attacking him here, I guess. :lol:

We all get a lot of s**t from the NT's in our life. This community is supposed to be a refuge from that sort of thing, a place where we can come without fear of being attacked. I'm pretty touchy about that. :)

Now my question: why does Socialism have to involve loss of freedom or privacy? I envision a Socialist state where people have more freedom than we have now, not less.


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08 Dec 2005, 8:25 pm

ed wrote:
Now my question: why does Socialism have to involve loss of freedom or privacy? I envision a Socialist state where people have more freedom than we have now, not less.


Socialism generally has more taxation than other systems, and taxation is inherently a violation of privacy; specifically, our freedom to handle our own property and finances as we see fit. In an ideal world, it wouldn't be any of the government's business how much money you made or what you did with it.

Like I said, though, this isn't an ideal world and it's a tradeoff between those rights and the need for a stable society, so don't think I'm necessarily complaining. It's all about finding the proper balance.

Jeremy



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08 Dec 2005, 9:11 pm

toddjh wrote:
How about this:

The first is usually in better condition, but when things get bad, they can get very bad. Whereas the second is never in tip-top shape, but when something happens the doctor can catch it and deal with it quickly.

Sound fair? :)

Jeremy


Eh, close enough. :wink:



Last edited by Larval on 08 Dec 2005, 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stellacotton
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08 Dec 2005, 9:13 pm

toddjh wrote:
stellacotton wrote:
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth—that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.. ~ H. L. Mencken


Except that, in this case, it's not just a bunch of guesswork. There is now centuries of evidence that capitalism, modestly restrained where necessary by the government, promotes economic growth, increases quality of life for the general population, and fosters an atmosphere conducive to innovation and technological progress.

"From each according to his ability; to each according to his need" has a certain populist appeal, but is a highly unethical position when you think about it. It's the antithesis of personal responsibility. Industriousness is not rewarded and laziness is not punished. There is no incentive to work harder and every reason to take advantage of the few that do. It's not hard to figure out why it simply doesn't work in the real world.

Jeremy


Without exception-Nothing is perfect~stella


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08 Dec 2005, 9:17 pm

toddjh wrote:
ed wrote:
Now my question: why does Socialism have to involve loss of freedom or privacy? I envision a Socialist state where people have more freedom than we have now, not less.


Socialism generally has more taxation than other systems, and taxation is inherently a violation of privacy; specifically, our freedom to handle our own property and finances as we see fit. In an ideal world, it wouldn't be any of the government's business how much money you made or what you did with it.

Like I said, though, this isn't an ideal world and it's a tradeoff between those rights and the need for a stable society, so don't think I'm necessarily complaining. It's all about finding the proper balance.

Jeremy


At first I would have disagreed that taxation was a violation of privacy. But looking at this 1040 ... wow they ask so many questions.

Even purely capitalist governments would have to tax though, so this charge doesn't stick (since it applies to all economies equally). I don't see why a socialist government would have to be more invasive with its tax forms than a capitalist one.

I'd see taxation as more of a violation to right of property - but the above still applies to that as well (though, sure, socialist governments would have to take more).