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Forums - Politics Discussion - What is "socialism"? - An attempt to clear up myths/misconceptions

Let me tell you, I live in a socialist country and it's an unstable mess here. I'm basically wondering every day why I even go to work when the state would just easily steal money from hard workers and give it to my lazy ass. I think I may be doing socialism wrong.



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vivster said:

Let me tell you, I live in a socialist country and it's an unstable mess here. I'm basically wondering every day why I even go to work when the state would just easily steal money from hard workers and give it to my lazy ass. I think I may be doing socialism wrong.

Germany is not a socialist country. It's more like socio-political ordoliberalism with a strong focus on welfare capitalism. A socialist country likely wouldn't have billionaires while the average salary is 47000 USD. 

Here are some easy means to tell if a country is organized according to socialist principles: 

1. Are most associated workplaces managed democratically? If so, are profits shared among the workforce or do they disproportionately go to stock-holders or proprietors? If either of these are no, then the country is not socialist. 

2. Are markets more tailored toward circulation and use or are they more tailored toward accumulating enough personal wealth as possible? If the first, then it might be a market socialist economy. If the latter, then it is a variety of capitalism. 

3. Are there absentee landlords who can evict people whom are occupying a piece of land or a home? If so, then the country is not socialist. 

4. Are financial institutions centralized by a either 1. the bourgeois state or 2. private-public partnerships? If so, then the country is not socialist. 

5. Can people easily exit the wage labor-force and still produce income or join a community which would supplement them? If not, then the country is not socialist. 

Welfare capitalism =|= socialism

That you think it is okay that the state (through taxes) and capitalists (through usury) exploit workers strongly implies that you're not a socialist, merely a welfare capitalist. 



Socialism is...

I'm right, aren't I?



Socialism is a tool to take the money from others to do what you think should be done but that you wouldn't do with your own money.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

Azzanation: "PS5 wouldn't sold out at launch without scalpers."

sc94597 said:
vivster said:

Let me tell you, I live in a socialist country and it's an unstable mess here. I'm basically wondering every day why I even go to work when the state would just easily steal money from hard workers and give it to my lazy ass. I think I may be doing socialism wrong.

Germany is not a socialist country. It's more like socio-political ordoliberalism with a strong focus on welfare capitalism. A socialist country likely wouldn't have billionaires while the average salary is 47000 USD. 

Here are some easy means to tell if a country is organized according to socialist principles: 

1. Are most associated workplaces managed democratically? If so, are profits shared among the workforce or do they disproportionately go to stock-holders or proprietors? If either of these are no, then the country is not socialist. 

2. Are markets more tailored toward circulation and use or are they more tailored toward accumulating enough personal wealth as possible? If the first, then it might be a market socialist economy. If the latter, then it is a variety of capitalism. 

3. Are there absentee landlords who can evict people whom are occupying a piece of land or a home? If so, then the country is not socialist. 

4. Are financial institutions centralized by a either 1. the bourgeois state or 2. private-public partnerships? If so, then the country is not socialist. 

5. Can people easily exit the wage labor-force and still produce income or join a community which would supplement them? If not, then the country is not socialist. 

Welfare capitalism =|= socialism

That you think it is okay that the state (through taxes) and capitalists (through usury) exploit workers strongly implies that you're not a socialist, merely a welfare capitalist. 

Semantics. Why can't this be considered modern socialism? It's social enough to care for the poorest and capitalist enough to be stable and competitive. Seems like an awesome system to me, considering how it works so well for so many people.

Sorry, but I do not feel exploited in the least and I'm sure none of my countrymen do unless they're hardcore neoliberals. I'm absolutely fine with the tax system, though they could actually raise them some more, especially on the wealthy. And capitalists exploiting workers in Germany? Where did you get that crazy idea from? Germany has some of the if not the strongest laws of worker protection in the world. Our minimum wages, paid leaves and legal power over employers are the envy of most nations. If you add to that the extreme consumer protection and privacy laws I fail to see how you could talk about exploitation here.

I feel very much enabled and supported by the state and I am gladly paying my high taxes for it. I have zero fear to ever end up in a position where I will not be able to live my life to the fullest because I know my state has my back at all times.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

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vivster said:
sc94597 said:

Germany is not a socialist country. It's more like socio-political ordoliberalism with a strong focus on welfare capitalism. A socialist country likely wouldn't have billionaires while the average salary is 47000 USD. 

Here are some easy means to tell if a country is organized according to socialist principles: 

1. Are most associated workplaces managed democratically? If so, are profits shared among the workforce or do they disproportionately go to stock-holders or proprietors? If either of these are no, then the country is not socialist. 

2. Are markets more tailored toward circulation and use or are they more tailored toward accumulating enough personal wealth as possible? If the first, then it might be a market socialist economy. If the latter, then it is a variety of capitalism. 

3. Are there absentee landlords who can evict people whom are occupying a piece of land or a home? If so, then the country is not socialist. 

4. Are financial institutions centralized by a either 1. the bourgeois state or 2. private-public partnerships? If so, then the country is not socialist. 

5. Can people easily exit the wage labor-force and still produce income or join a community which would supplement them? If not, then the country is not socialist. 

Welfare capitalism =|= socialism

That you think it is okay that the state (through taxes) and capitalists (through usury) exploit workers strongly implies that you're not a socialist, merely a welfare capitalist. 

Semantics. Why can't this be considered modern socialism? It's social enough to care for the poorest and capitalist enough to be stable and competitive. Seems like an awesome system to me, considering how it works so well for so many people.

Sorry, but I do not feel exploited in the least and I'm sure none of my countrymen do unless they're hardcore neoliberals. I'm absolutely fine with the tax system, though they could actually raise them some more, especially on the wealthy. And capitalists exploiting workers in Germany? Where did you get that crazy idea from? Germany has some of the if not the strongest laws of worker protection in the world. Our minimum wages, paid leaves and legal power over employers are the envy of most nations. If you add to that the extreme consumer protection and privacy laws I fail to see how you could talk about exploitation here.

I feel very much enabled and supported by the state and I am gladly paying my high taxes for it. I have zero fear to ever end up in a position where I will not be able to live my life to the fullest because I know my state has my back at all times.

If you think German legal system protects the worker come look at Brazil for the absurd of trying to kill the companies off to benefit the workers and all the vilification of the entrepreneurs.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

Azzanation: "PS5 wouldn't sold out at launch without scalpers."

DonFerrari said:
vivster said:

Semantics. Why can't this be considered modern socialism? It's social enough to care for the poorest and capitalist enough to be stable and competitive. Seems like an awesome system to me, considering how it works so well for so many people.

Sorry, but I do not feel exploited in the least and I'm sure none of my countrymen do unless they're hardcore neoliberals. I'm absolutely fine with the tax system, though they could actually raise them some more, especially on the wealthy. And capitalists exploiting workers in Germany? Where did you get that crazy idea from? Germany has some of the if not the strongest laws of worker protection in the world. Our minimum wages, paid leaves and legal power over employers are the envy of most nations. If you add to that the extreme consumer protection and privacy laws I fail to see how you could talk about exploitation here.

I feel very much enabled and supported by the state and I am gladly paying my high taxes for it. I have zero fear to ever end up in a position where I will not be able to live my life to the fullest because I know my state has my back at all times.

If you think German legal system protects the worker come look at Brazil for the absurd of trying to kill the companies off to benefit the workers and all the vilification of the entrepreneurs.

That doesn't seem to be the right way though. Oppressing companies too much will hurt the workers in the long term and that is not very social at all. It seems more like a misguided attempt at reactionary governing than actual socialist policy.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

vivster said:

Semantics. Why can't this be considered modern socialism? It's social enough to care for the poorest and capitalist enough to be stable and competitive. Seems like an awesome system to me, considering how it works so well for so many people.

Sorry, but I do not feel exploited in the least and I'm sure none of my countrymen do unless they're hardcore neoliberals. I'm absolutely fine with the tax system, though they could actually raise them some more, especially on the wealthy. And capitalists exploiting workers in Germany? Where did you get that crazy idea from? Germany has some of the if not the strongest laws of worker protection in the world. Our minimum wages, paid leaves and legal power over employers are the envy of most nations. If you add to that the extreme consumer protection and privacy laws I fail to see how you could talk about exploitation here.

I feel very much enabled and supported by the state and I am gladly paying my high taxes for it. I have zero fear to ever end up in a position where I will not be able to live my life to the fullest because I know my state has my back at all times.

Because its capitalism, and does not systematically oppose absolutist institutions in the economy. Socialism isn't merely about being "social" it's about having full compensation for all workers for the work they've completed. It's about destroying fundamental inequalities built into the norms of the system which make people dependent on welfare and the capitalist state in the first place. It's about obtaining as much autonomy, power, and control over your work-life and conditions as is possible. It's always been about these things. Capitalism =|= competition nor does it equal stability. It is a system based on monopoly, hierarchy, and power. Some forms of capitalism are more stable than others, but at the end of the day there is still tons of instability. 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/exploited

to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account:

One does not have to feel exploited to be exploited. The existence of exploitation is an objective observation, not a whim. Your employer reaps profits off your work which could've gone to you and your peers instead. The only thing your employer brings into the equation which can't be brought by you and your peers is capital, and the employer earns disproportionate profits because of it. Do you deny that capitalists make profits off their laborers? Exploitation isn't the same thing as being an asshole. Perfectly good people exploit others. 

Your trust in the finality of the state seems like a misplaced fixed idea. How spooky. States can change very rapidly as sociopolitical conditions change, and when they do, they likely won't have your "back at all times." The world isn't some static entity with fixed social dynamics, and there are strong pressures on the stability of states. For example, demographic problems are hitting Europe and Asia pretty hard, and we're only now seeing how flexible the social institutions found in these countries are to these pressures. All states eventually come to an end, and when they do who is going to foot the costs? Definitely not those at the top of the hierarchy. 

 

 

 

 



sc94597 said:
vivster said:

Semantics. Why can't this be considered modern socialism? It's social enough to care for the poorest and capitalist enough to be stable and competitive. Seems like an awesome system to me, considering how it works so well for so many people.

Sorry, but I do not feel exploited in the least and I'm sure none of my countrymen do unless they're hardcore neoliberals. I'm absolutely fine with the tax system, though they could actually raise them some more, especially on the wealthy. And capitalists exploiting workers in Germany? Where did you get that crazy idea from? Germany has some of the if not the strongest laws of worker protection in the world. Our minimum wages, paid leaves and legal power over employers are the envy of most nations. If you add to that the extreme consumer protection and privacy laws I fail to see how you could talk about exploitation here.

I feel very much enabled and supported by the state and I am gladly paying my high taxes for it. I have zero fear to ever end up in a position where I will not be able to live my life to the fullest because I know my state has my back at all times.

Because its capitalism, and does not systematically oppose absolutist institutions in the economy. Socialism isn't merely about being "social" it's about having full compensation for all workers for the work they've completed. It's about destroying fundamental inequalities built into the norms of the system which make people dependent on welfare and the capitalist state in the first place. It's about obtaining as much autonomy, power, and control over your work-life and conditions as is possible. It's always been about these things. Capitalism =|= competition nor does it equal stability. It is a system based on monopoly, hierarchy, and power. Some forms of capitalism are more stable than others, but at the end of the day there is still tons of instability. 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/exploited

to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account:

One does not have to feel exploited to be exploited. The existence of exploitation is an objective observation, not a whim. Your employer reaps profits off your work which could've gone to you and your peers instead. The only thing your employer brings into the equation which can't be brought by you and your peers is capital, and the employer earns disproportionate profits because of it. Do you deny that capitalists make profits off their laborers? Exploitation isn't the same thing as being an asshole. Perfectly good people exploit others. 

Your trust in the finality of the state seems like a misplaced fixed idea. How spooky. States can change very rapidly as sociopolitical conditions change, and when they do, they likely won't have your "back at all times." The world isn't some static entity with fixed social dynamics, and there are strong pressures on the stability of states. For example, demographic problems are hitting Europe and Asia pretty hard, and we're only now seeing how flexible the social institutions found in these countries are to these pressures. All states eventually come to an end, and when they do who is going to foot the costs? Definitely not those at the top of the hierarchy. 

I know that capitalism is not about competition. Pure capitalism seeks to dominate everything. The competition and stability is made by the regulation of the state.

My employer does make a profit from me. For that I do get compensated in a fair enough way. You say it yourself, exploitation doesn't have to be evil and is done by good people, sometimes with the best intentions. So why are you talking about it as if it was evil? Maybe it's a necessary evil to keep things going?

I had a very similar discussion with a hardcore neoliberal who would love nothing more than pure capitalism in all sectors. The truth is, you cannot slap a perfect system onto inherently flawed individuals. It doesn't work and will become unstable very quickly. You will have to have compromises to appease the most amount of people in the most moderate way. I think Germany found a very stable compromise. A compromise not everyone will agree with, but a compromise that will keep things running with a maximum amount of stability.

Changing sociopolitical conditions are not an argument for anything. Every single social and economic system is vulnerable to changing situations. It's about to be as robust as possible. And neither full capitalism nor full socialism are as robust as the compromise we have here.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

vivster said:

I know that capitalism is not about competition. Pure capitalism seeks to dominate everything. The competition and stability is made by the regulation of the state.

My employer does make a profit from me. For that I do get compensated in a fair enough way. You say it yourself, exploitation doesn't have to be evil and is done by good people, sometimes with the best intentions. So why are you talking about it as if it was evil? Maybe it's a necessary evil to keep things going?

I had a very similar discussion with a hardcore neoliberal who would love nothing more than pure capitalism in all sectors. The truth is, you cannot slap a perfect system onto inherently flawed individuals. It doesn't work and will become unstable very quickly. You will have to have compromises to appease the most amount of people in the most moderate way. I think Germany found a very stable compromise. A compromise not everyone will agree with, but a compromise that will keep things running with a maximum amount of stability.

Changing sociopolitical conditions are not an argument for anything. Every single social and economic system is vulnerable to changing situations. It's about to be as robust as possible. And neither full capitalism nor full socialism are as robust as the compromise we have here.

I don't talk about exploitation "as if it is evil", in fact I am a moral skeptic and don't necessarily believe in a universal "good" and "evil." Something doesn't have to be evil for it to not be in your interests to accept though. It's in my interests to have full autonomy over my work-life and to reap as much of my labor-product as possible. That the employer is making profits off of my  labor and not merely his/hers implies that they have disproportionate bargaining power, that they can take what would typically be mine because they were given more economic privilege than me by the state. Why do they have that disproportionate bargaining power? Because the state protects and subsidizes them. Sure the state might also give me welfare, but is that welfare sufficient to cover my loss labor-product? Furthermore, employment agreements reduce my autonomy in how I work, how much I work, and under which conditions I work in a way without me directly being party to the deliberations. That the state might bargain for what it thinks are my interests is not the same thing as me bargaining for my interests. Additionally, many people exploit others not because they wish to, but because that is what pays in a capitalist society. In an alternative society exploitation wouldn't pay though, and people would live at their own costs. 

Something doesn't have to be evil for me to oppose it. 

Socialism isn't a perfect system. There is no such thing. But it is sure better than capitalism, in the same way capitalism was better than feudalism. Certainly you wouldn't argue in the 17th century that we need a mix of capitalism and feudalism. To say that one should compromise between socialism and capitalism is just as absurd as saying one should've compromised between capitalism and feudalism. Why not systematically eliminate the privilege and inequality? Why stop half way? 

"And neither full capitalism nor full socialism are as robust as the compromise we have here." 

1. There is no such thing as "full capitalism" and "full socialism." There is merely capitalism (which takes different characteristics) and socialism. What you are holding sacred is a variety of capitalism. It's not a "mix of capitalism and socialism." 

2. How do you know its the most robust? It has not yet been tested. Social democracy is a pretty new thing, and Europe has only been at peace for a little more than half a century. That is a very small blimp in a history of turbulence. Now I am not saying that one need empirical evidence to argue the case that their sacred system is stable, but I am suggesting that social democracy is more rigid and hierarchical than actual socialism would be, and consequently under conditions of crisis those at the bottom of the hierarchy would be the most harmed.