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Libertarian Socialism is an Oxymoron?

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DarthMetalliCube said:

The ideals of Libertarianism and Socialism are not mutally exclusive. You could be libertarian in certain aspects but Socialist in others. You might, for instance, be opposed to Authoritarian governments when it comes to policy but feel they have an obligation to grant/enable everyone equal rights. You may beleive in the importance of the free market and self ownership, as many Libertarians do, but still feel capitalism needs to be regulated so as not to allow monopolies, etc.. I consider myself very Libertarian but was also a supporter of Bernie Sanders (social democrat). 

What these ideals primarily share in common is an anti-authoritarianism, a skeptisism towards crony capitalism, neoliberalism, and the striving towards equal opportunity and liberty for all.

To look for a key example of both - Noam Chomsky is a good example of a Libertarian Socialist/social democrat. Dennis Kuscinich also somewhat embodies both these ideals as a politician. 

While there are similarities between social democracy and pretty much all other mainstream ideologies, libertarian socialism is not the same thing as social democracy. Libertarian socialists believe that a true socialist society can be achieved organically by the elimination or decentralization of government. They don't think welfare capitalism is the utopia its proponents make it out to be. Social democrats believe in capitalism tempered by the welfare state. They believe that welfare capitalism is successful, and push for state action to achieve these ends. 

Noam Chomsky is peculiar in that he thinks the state has a role in changing society before a libertarian one can be achieved. This is similar to Marx's premise, but the means by which society should be changed are different between the two. Most libertarian-socialists criticize Chomsky for not wanting to outright abolish or decentralize the state. 

The only similarities are that they contest mainstream liberalism, but that is like saying liberalism and state-communism are similar because they contest fascism. Social democrats are quite authoritarian when it comes to certain economic issues, and a lot of crony capitalism can be traced to social democratic policies (for example, farm subsidies for big agriculture were meant to decrease food prices for the poor.) 



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sc94597 said:
DarthMetalliCube said:

The ideals of Libertarianism and Socialism are not mutally exclusive. You could be libertarian in certain aspects but Socialist in others. You might, for instance, be opposed to Authoritarian governments when it comes to policy but feel they have an obligation to grant/enable everyone equal rights. You may beleive in the importance of the free market and self ownership, as many Libertarians do, but still feel capitalism needs to be regulated so as not to allow monopolies, etc.. I consider myself very Libertarian but was also a supporter of Bernie Sanders (social democrat). 

What these ideals primarily share in common is an anti-authoritarianism, a skeptisism towards crony capitalism, neoliberalism, and the striving towards equal opportunity and liberty for all.

To look for a key example of both - Noam Chomsky is a good example of a Libertarian Socialist/social democrat. Dennis Kuscinich also somewhat embodies both these ideals as a politician. 

While there are similarities between social democracy and pretty much all other mainstream ideologies, libertarian socialism is not the same thing as social democracy. Libertarian socialists believe that a true socialist society can be achieved organically by the elimination or decentralization of government. They don't think welfare capitalism is the utopia its proponents make it out to be. Social democrats believe in capitalism tempered by the welfare state. They believe that welfare capitalism is successful, and push for state action to achieve these ends. 

Noam Chomsky is peculiar in that he thinks the state has a role in changing society before a libertarian one can be achieved. This is similar to Marx's premise, but the means by which society should be changed are different between the two. Most libertarian-socialists criticize Chomsky for not wanting to outright abolish or decentralize the state. 

The only similarities are that they contest mainstream liberalism, but that is like saying liberalism and state-communism are similar because they contest fascism. Social democrats are quite authoritarian when it comes to certain economic issues, and a lot of crony capitalism can be traced to social democratic policies (for example, farm subsidies for big agriculture were meant to decrease food prices for the poor.) 

 

" Libertarian socialists believe that a true socialist society can be achieved organically by the elimination or decentralization of government."

 

but that doesn't make sense... maybe if humans were like ants or bees or locusts

 

what stops the individual in such a situation from pursusing their own interests at the expense of the group?



o_O.Q said:
sc94597 said:

 

" Libertarian socialists believe that a true socialist society can be achieved organically by the elimination or decentralization of government."

 

but that doesn't make sense... maybe if humans were like ants or bees or locusts

 

what stops the individual in such a situation from pursusing their own interests at the expense of the group?

Socialism is defined as "workers or social ownership of the means of production." If individual workers own the means of production then a firm is socialist. If workers collectively own the means of production then it is also socialist. If a combination of the two occur it is also socialist. All socialism is -- is the elimination of wage-labor as the predominate contractual relationship in the workplace. 

If an individual is fine with being an employee working for wages then it is their right to pursue that, and libertarian socialists would not interfere. Libertarian socialists argue that without the state supporting them, these institutions would not be as successful as socialist ones, and people would much rather work in a socialist firm where they can get the full fruits of their labor AND have access to a means of production, than work in a capitalist insitution. Capitalism would not be abolished, but rather outcompeted to where it becomes a very small part of the entire economy. 

I personally am not a socialist. I think that the wage-relationship provides certain benefits to the workers that many socialist ones cannot, and there would be a sizable portion of the population which chooses wage-contracts over socialism, but I do think socialist and capitalist firms would temper eachother in a free-market without the state, and even the capitalist firms would be less hierarchical/authoritarian in their organization structure. 

It seems to me as if the modern state-corporate economy looks more like bees, ants, etc with its hierarchical structure. 



sc94597 said:
More stuff

I had thought that by "vertical firm" you meant "vertically integrated firm".  There was a disconnect in vocabulary that you have now disillusioned me of.  Thank you. 



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sc94597 said:
Nirvana_Nut85 said:

Now you're being borderline rude.

How so? For clarifying where you are merely making assertions? This is the standard way discourse works. If somebody makes a claim, and does not justify it, you ask them to justify it. If they refuse to justify it again, you tell them that they are merely making assumptions and assertions, not arguments. 

You may want to observe the statements you have provided and realize that they are merely opinions like mine.

I think it is more interesting to think in terms of normative and positive claims than opinion or fact. Certain statements we make are facts (or misfacts) while others pertain to values. It is important to segment them. I was trying to highlight those things which you declare as facts, like "it is a centrally planned economy" or "this contradicts the definition of socialism" rather than your value judgments (which are normative and subjective.) Just saying "they are merely opinions" is not useful, because we are making a mix of testable factual claims and normative (value-based) ones. 

Fancyful claims and pipe dream scenarios as to how your view of a Libertarian Socialist society would operate. I brushed it off when you'd provide a quote or made a statemnt that digressed and did not directly address the argument that I had put forth. Please read your previous comments before critiquing mine. Thank you.

"Fancyful claims and pipe dream scenarios" which you have not addressed. Please point out an argument you've made where you had supporting statements and allusions to economic or social phenomena, rather than mere assertions like "it is a pipe dream." 

What is defined as modern day Libertarianism would not necessarily cancel Mises out  as a founding father of the ideals just because he did not share all the exact same thought as Rothbard or Paul. That would be like making a claim that Basat was not a Liberal due to the different ideology of modern day Liberals. For one who tries to imply that socialist institutions would be applicable in a libertarian society, which detracts from mainline Libertarian thought but would not classify Mises as a founder of ideals is sort of contradictory in my opinion.

I never said it was because Mises didn't believe in things that modern libertarians believe in. In fact, I would count people older than Mises as libertarians, like including Bastiat, because they appealed to the axiom of self-ownership. Mises did not. This does not mean Mises' work isn't valuable to libertarians, but rather than his fundamentals diverge from that of libertarians, and therefore his conclusions do as well.

You can stand by it but it still puts you into the offshoot of anarcho-socialist. For me, Minachists Libertarians like Ron Paul are the form of ideology that defines my view of Libertarianism. Not complete anarchy but still allowing the rights of the individual and less bureacracy in the framework of government, self ownership etc, while maintaining a minimal form of government to protect those rights.

1. I am not a socialist. 2. Can you provide an argument for how one can believe in full self-ownership and also simultaneously believe that the collective in the form of the state can steal from individuals in order to sustain itself. 3. Ron Paul does not disregard anarchism as with no foundation, but rather says that it is too far off. If the choices were between a Nozickian night watchman state and a society where there were no institutional coercion and no monopoly on the use of force, I have no doubt Ron Paul would choose the latter, because he is an voluntaryist. 

Using our current economy is not a weak argument when giving the examples that I have provided. You've never observed a society as one you are trying to argue for and do not have the slightest inclination as to what it would look like without the state. You have claimed that these forms of employment can exist and therefor would eventually be drawn into the "ectasy" that is all forms of mutualism. You are speculating yourself and one giant word of advice is when debating theoretical situations that have not been observed; one should try and not act as if their opinion is superior and denounce another. Just a thought :)

Newsflash: none of us have observed a libertarian society  any form. Not even the United States under the articles of confederation was libertarian (mass  chattel- slavery, property abridgements, etc.) My speculation on what society would look like without the state was based on economic arguments. Whether they are observable or not is irrelevant, because economics (as Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and pretty much any other austrian economist have argued) is not a positive science. It is a deductive one. 

I agree, and those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Remember as I've stated above that we are both simply asuuming and that there is nothing to support our actual arguments besides opinion. I respect your opinion and the effort you've put it but while I don't find it very compelling and more along the lines of a pipe dream, I still treat it with respect.

There is a huge difference between asserting things and arguing your point. I have argued my point sufficiently for a first pass. If you want me to justify any of my premises, do ask, and I will. Again, with the "pipe dream" language. That is distorted, loaded terminology, and really shouldn't be present in a neutral argument. 

I was going to pursue a Masters in financial economics, until I realized that I could create more capital for myself in a shorter period of time by becoming joining the Union (We have fitters who've made upwards of $180,000 in a year). I digress so back to the discussion. Taking an Economics course does not mean that you have any idea as to how it would work, the difficulties and so forth when being applied to real lifeI started If you believe that then you are either giving yourself far to much credit or are naive. I don't mean this offensively but economics gives you the structure of how it works, not the social and personal aspects as well as the relations to employees and how such individuals think. 

We are discussing economics here. We are discussing the potential viability of firms and how they work. There is a large, expansive backlog of literature and knowledge to pull from. Your claim is that "libertarian socialism" is a pipe-dream or unfeasible. That is a question of economics and only answered by economics. Real-world experience is helpful in contextualizing the information, I don't contest that, but we can't do it on real-world experience alone. We must appeal to the rigorous study that has existed in the past. This is what Mises did. This is what Bastiat did. This is what Bohm-Bahwerk did. This is what Friedrich Hayek did. This is what Murray Rothbard did. This is what pretty much every liberal and libertarian has done. 

The question was never about whether libertarian socialism is moral and just. It was always about whether or not it works, and that is the realm of economics. That is why I made an economics-based argument, involve scale factors. 

Yes, you've provided what would be considered a pipe dream of how it would all interact together but without actual observation of the system being applied in reality, at the end of the day it would would be theory. I've given you example of what real life situations would cause the system you are describing how to work. Your implications assume that everyone will willfully work for each other and set aside their own self interests and wants. That is neither rational and lacks common sense. You seem to be much more intelligent than that line of thought so I can't understand why you keep trying to argue it while ignoring reality.

Again, austrian economists don't rely on positive information, but rather on deductive claims. If we are going to go off of what has existed to determine what can work, then we might as well give up on the idea of a free-market, because there never has been one. I never made any assumption or formed any premise that people were not egoistic. In fact, if you cared to inquire further, you'd discover that my arguments were primarily dependent on ethical and psychological egoism, that people tend to look for their own self-interet. Desiring the full products of your labor is quite in line with psychological egoism and self-interest. If I am treated better and I get more product by working in a cooperative firm than a capitalist one, then I am going to choose the cooperative. If the alternative is true, then I will choose the capitalist one. That is pure egoism there. 

The only way to get everyone on board is through coercion. 

How can you make this claim and call yourself a libertarian? Seriously, the only way to get people do things with you is through coercion? Do you stand by this statement after thinking about it?  

I'm assuming some sort of vote amongst the people or planned economic route would have to be put in place for this to happen, therefore applying a form of central planning among the populace. 

Okay, you are assuming this. I made an eleven point argument contesting this assumption. Can you address that argument? Or are you just going to ignore it again? 


At the end of the day, Libertarian Socialism would need to be applied by force as previously explained.

Can you point me in the direction where you "previously explained" this. You made the assumption that it requires central planning, and therefore it requires force. I contested your assumption that it requires central planning. You have not addressed my argument against the assumption. 

The reality is socialistic instituitions are not all that functional and not cost effective in comparison to a Swiss style of healthcare where their is minimal subsidies and the individual pays the insurance.

Don't forget the massive amount of regulations on profits and price ceilings. The Swiss system is not a free-market healthcare system, but I will agree that it is better than single payer. 

Although state run, we already see healthcare instituions like those in Canada being far inferior to the likes of the United States (Ask any Canadian who had health insurance coverage and had something happen to them in the states).

I actually agree with this. How is it relevant to libertarian socialism where health-care would be a good provided on the market and/or in benefit societies? 

The individual is still being forced into the collective as it is nonsensical to believe that all people would just see these instituitons and the way business' ran and decide "lets all jump in".

Nobody made the argument you just strawmanned. My argument assumed self-interest and egoism, not altruism. 

In my opinion as well, especially in terms of the market it would be disasterous. With everyone in each company having a controlling vote as there would be no heirarchy, it creates a scenario that can lead to chaos.

Why exactly is it a bad thing that there would be no hierarchy? Hierarchy is only useful when it is justified. If it can't be justified and people don't vote for it then who cares if it is discarded? One can always leave the company if they don't feel as if their contributions aren't being compensated enough. As for "it creates a scenario that can lead to chaos", people said the same thing when people had the idea to abolish hierarchical absolute monarchies. I hope you see the irony here. 

You would be imposing the will of the populace upon those who wanted to exceed as there will be people you will never convince. You would essentially be taking the rights and freedoms away from the individual.

I already argued that one wouldn't be. People who don't want to work in cooperatives can go start up a capitalist, hierarchical firm. If they can't find workers to work for them, how exactly is that force?

This whole argument is technically null and void based on this one statement you have made

" If that does not happen, then libertarian socialists aren't going to force it to happen. They'd be content experiencing socialism for themselves."

Then you would not have a Libertarian Socialist society. Plain and simple. Should have carefully thought that one out :)

Well yes, this whole discussion was based on the feasibility of libertarian socialism, whether or not it is possible, not whether or not libertarian socialists would force others to become libertarian socialists. I made an argument that it is possible, and you still haven't addressed it. Should I take it that you are conceding that my argument beats your assumptions and assertions, or are you going to actually address it? So far you seem to be avoiding it like the plauge, because you don't want to think about it. I'll be waiting. 

That is all you have provided, an assertion. Your original argument at the begining of this conversation was respectful and might I say enjoyed on both parts but when I pointed out the flaws in your ideology, you've resorted to long winded opinions. Please read through the entire conversation and you will find I addressed the majoity of your points. Your argument is filled with assumptions and assertions and as I pointed out, facyful thought. So, after I respond to your 11 apparent points , I do hope you actually take the time as I have to read the whole discussion

1. In our current society the state interferes with the market greatly. It benefits vertical institutions by providing them with taxpayer money, special protections (like limited liability), unhomestaded property claims (monopolies, emininent domain), and regulatory privileges and rents. 

If that was your point of view, then there would have been no argument as anyone with Libertarian leaning ideals would have agreed . This statement is also disengenuous, as in part of your argument you claimed that without this interferance, people would be willing to adopt the market aspect and employment aspect of what you are trying to define as Libertarian Socialism. I responded to this by attempting to explain to you the human psyche and why without coercion, this would not come to fruition, yet you chose to ignore and made claims that I am apparently avoiding you're points. 

2. All of this reduces the ability for horizontal and egalitarian institutions to compete with hierarchial ones. 

3. This is not a free-market and fair competition. 

That was not an argument made. I'm fine with the competition. You clamed that everyone would join these institutions and abandon the current models, while I vehemently disagreed and advised that due to human nature and self interest this would not come fully to fruition rendering a libertarian socialist society incomplete. 

3. This is not a free-market and fair competition. 

We were not arguing whether it was free market or fair competition but whether or not it would be applicable in real life terms.  I stated that in a true Libertian society , you could have all these institutions or different sects of ideologies competing against one another and advised that you could not due so under the definiotion of Libertarian Socialism as you would just have a Libertarian society if all aspects of institution and private property were not required through force or coercion to follow your ideology.

4. Libertarians argue for free-markets, which means no state interference in the market. 

You can have the Ron Paul style of limited government which would prevent government from interfering in the market, while still protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals, especially in terms of foriegn invasion.

5. In a free-market the economies of scale provided by state intervention no longer exist. 

6. Economic scale factors then more likely favor diseconomies of scale and/or constant scale. 

7. This means that small businesses and small-scale communes, coooperatives, syndicates can more feasibly compete with capitalistic wage-labor. 

I think you're over assuming this one. Even under your version of what this Utopic society would look like, if there is comptetion then Economic scale can still be prevelant as overproduction to lower costs and increase sales against mutalist companies would occur in some aspect. Mergers are still in the realm of possibility in order to consolidate markets, unless you restrict companies from doing so, which would lean more socialist than Libertarian.

8. With these alternatives people will demand better compensation from any capitalistic institution, or they will choose to work for these other institutions. 

9. The market price for labor increases, and consequently wages increase. 

10. A stable market economy where various social structures peacefully coexist. Wage-labor might not be eliminated entirely, but it will become less prominent than it is currently. Small businesses will especially flourish.

 If Capitalistic instituions are still allowed to exist under your society, output will increase to ensure a lower cost brought to the market of the product vs the coop/small scale communes product being brought to the market to ensure that the companies are not able to grow to the level of those corporation as although not all, the majority of consumers are drawn to a lower price product. This also gives companies with wage labour agreements the ability to set the level of wage with little interefernce from the instituions you advised of.

11. Therefore, a libertarian society will be more friendly and conductive of socialism than an illibertarian one, where illibertarian is defined as coercive activity.

I Disagree, your style of econmy would not be able to flourish, given the counter argument I have provided. My basis for this statement is the examples provided above and in previous responses I have provided you.

Now to adress your response, it would appear that you are not adhering to the argument but instead attempting to draw out the coversation and  waste both of our times. I've given you examples for each one of those statements.

I've provided you with scenarios as to why I described the society you believe could not be implemented, as a pipe dream that is not logical, under the circumstances you provided, without having some sort of central planning or coercion to keep it in place. Either you are chosing to ignore what I've stated because you do not have a firm argument against it but instead wishful hypotheticals or you're purposely 

They are merely opinions as they are not testable in our current state of society. Your thoughts of society transitioning into the this scenario you've discussed where peacefully everyone would look up these social institutions and decide to abandon private property and production for a mutalist market, again is while wishful thinking, an opinion. You neglect the psyche of the human mind, and focus too much on hypotheticals. 

"Fancyful claims and pipe dream scenarios" which you have not addressed. Please point out an argument you've made where you had supporting statements and allusions to economic or social phenomena, rather than mere assertions like "it is a pipfirme dream." 

I stated that""Workers ownership of the means of production" does not require central planning" and that " you don't think I can make a convincing argument. In my opinion, it's a very easy argument as private ownership in the means of production is decentralization at it's core. Socialism, in any form by definition is Centralization, there is no other way around it. You can make  claims as I do, which is an opinion you seem to be stating as fact whether it be through the state or the collective as you're trying to argue against. Centralized planning in some aspect would need to be ensured so that any other form of society such as a Libertarianism, Communism or Mixed Economy would not waltz its way back. "Workers ownership of the means of production" does not require central planning. I'm assuming some sort of vote amongst the people or planned economic route would have to be put in place for this to happen, therefore applying a form of central planning among the populace. 

"See but if you allow for example an entrepreneur to continue his wage labour agreement instead of apply the socialist aspect to the company then you do not have a true socialist society. It would just be considered Libertarian. It seems that what you are defining your viewpoint of Libertarian socialist, is more of a how a particular community could operate, moreso than a society as a whole. To transition into your definition of Libertarian Socialism, you would have companies that would require to change their aspects of how they operate business. If the society forces them to not continue their practices, force has been applied."

I never supported any argument that would allow the state to be able to "steal" from individuals. Please indicate where in this conversation I have?

I call a spade a spade. You are forgetting that you are asserting quite a bit, main point in your society being able to function is that everyone would just, happily go along, which is beyond ridiculous. You believe that there will not be any resistance and that those who own vast amounts of land and wealth are going to bend to the will of the people by allowing these institutions to rise up from the ground and compete agianst them. If you prefer me to say a society based on grandoise delusions, if that is more palateable for you then by all means, we can go down that route instead :)

No, it is more than just economics that must be factored in, especially when trying to not only visualize but determine whether a society, like the one you are describing, has even a modicum of chance of replacing or even being possible of coming to realization. The math is not sound. Very few would be willing to give up private property. Very few would let others use the resources of thier land that they purchased, regardless if the original occupation of the land was via theft or coercion and that is just a small aspect.

Yes, and I've argued that given the factors in which your society would operate, you could never truly have a Lib Soc society and would be rendered void before it started

Of course I stand by this statement . It would not be in the self interest of many busniness owners, those who have spent years and their lives working 80+ hours a week and mssiing their families in order to create their dream to suddenly allow a group of individuals who have, although been employed and helped make the business successful, be a deciding factor on what wages are paid and other directions the company must take. Then their are those in power. How is your society creating any self- interest for them? That is the major road block. 

Why is it a bad thing? As I've advised previously, we are not all created equal. Not just intelligence but some do not have the same drive as others. The owner should have the right to self determine who he/she wants to put in charge of the other employee, based on his/her needs, not the vote of other employees which could put someone who is more popular but far less effiecient at the management position required. You really just compared the ownership of a company to the Monarchy? I don't even know what to say to you at this point. 

This whole argument is based on assumptions. Once you can get past the notion then we can move forward. The reality is, this society simply is not possible. You could not have a Libertarian Socialist society but maybe a sect or group of people. I've explained this in the simplest terms possible. If you need me to ellaborate more than by all means I will but if you cannot comprehend what I am trying to get across to you then anything more complex may be difficult. Conceding? Please. I don't find your "arguments" very compelling.  As I've described, it is just not feasable when allowing all other factors of society to exist, without taking some rights and freedoms away. Especially the Libertarian socialist who argue that even though someone has purchased land, because all land is apparent theft, then it is not force to redistribute it so that all of society can use it.



" Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God"