# Policies based on Socialism a strain on the economy ?

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1 minute ago, StringJunky said:

Where you want nationalisation is in infrastructure because there's no opportunities for real revenue growth and competition, and the only way for investors to see 'growth' is by artificial means for prices to rise.

Exactly. Just like we're seeing with solar electric right now, the profits aren't high enough to attract investors to cheap electricity. Our main choices are either nationalize the effort and keep it super cheap and available to everyone, or be willing to subsidize whatever profits and restrictions private investors feel is best for them. And remember that they're going to push back when it comes to servicing remote areas that cut into their profit. The folks who need access to cheap energy most get screwed when profit is first and foremost.

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4 hours ago, MigL said:

I like to think of Communism as Socialism with an added dose of Fascism,

I think you might mean authoritarianism. Facism has a set of additional characteristics. Crucially in this context is that the latter typically has a form of corporatism rather than exert total economical control.

Quote

That is why J Stalin could starve 8-12 million Ukranians to death, in an effort to modernize the USSR ( 5 year plan ) and , ostensibly, improve society.
That is why Mao Ze Deong could starve 60 million Chinese in the 60s ( Cultural Revolution ), to make life better for the remaining population.

I do not think that follows. Throughout history there have been man-made starvations that were not created by communist (or even authoritarian) regimes. For a counterexample take Churchill's policies, which contributed to the starvation of about 3 million folks. As whole, it is true that in authoritarian regimes (regardless whether they are following free market ideals or not) are more likely to accept loss of human lives to further their goals. However, I think that is a bit of a different argument.

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1 hour ago, CharonY said:

I think you might mean authoritarianism. Facism has a set of additional characteristics. Crucially in this context is that the latter typically has a form of corporatism rather than exert total economical control.

I do not think that follows. Throughout history there have been man-made starvations that were not created by communist (or even authoritarian) regimes. For a counterexample take Churchill's policies, which contributed to the starvation of about 3 million folks. As whole, it is true that in authoritarian regimes (regardless whether they are following free market ideals or not) are more likely to accept loss of human lives to further their goals. However, I think that is a bit of a different argument.

I didn't know that and just read up on it. A big black mark on Mr Churchill.

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We are heading off topic CharonY, but I think it is a stretch to consider the Bengal famine of 1943 a direct result of W Churchill's policy.

It has been geologically proven not to be due to a drought, but I would suggest the famine was due to policy failings rather than a deliberate policy of withholding grain supplies. It was, after all, wartime, which brought malaria, malnutrition and starvation to the area. And it was exacerbated by refugees from Burma ( now Myanmar ). There is no doubt, however, that wartime grain import restrictions, imposed by the British Government ( for obvious reasons ), were a significant factor in the famine. But let's not forget how many people died, or came close to starvation during WW2, in many countries, that had similar wartime restrictions.

Compare to J Stalin's deliberate policies of seizing Ukrainian grain, to be sold abroad, in his efforts to modernize industry in Russia.
The 'Holodomor' ( man made and intentional ) occurred in the years 1932-33, and up to 12 million people starved ( mostly ethnic Ukrainians ) during peacetime.

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And even more died under Mao due to policy failures rather than deliberate starvation. So I am not quite sure what specifically your argument is here.

In all systems policy failures can result in tragedies, though form and likelihood are going to be different. With regard to op, social democracy in many ways is based on the historic realization that a full on capitalist system, even if democratic, does not meet the needs of the citizens. In the modern iteration it is essentially a mixed market model. As noted by MigL and other posters, it allows a cost evaluation of essential needs as well as addressing inequalities (which, was identified by Marx as a consequence of unfettered capitalism).

There is an argument that increase in productivity in capitalist systems can reduce unrest by providing cheap goods and thereby a higher standard of living. However even ignoring infrastructure there are essential needs that do not see productivity increases and therefore price reduction.  These include (you probably guessed it) education and healthcare (but include most services).

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The Chinese experience is virtually identical.
Mao initiated his second 5 year plan in 1959 ( I believe ) as part of his Great Leap Forward, in an effort to turn an agrarian economy into an industrial economy. The policy was to reduce farming but increase yields. When the increased yields didn't materialize, subordinates were too afraid to tell Mao, and at least 30 million starved. to death
Chairman Mao, in 1966 decided to 'fix' this with his ( little red book ) Cultural Revolution, and ensure his ( and Communism ) retention of power, and recover from the failure and famine of the Great Leap Forward. This resulted, through deliberate policy, in more damage to the Chinese economy, tens of millions persecuted and many more millions dead. It finally came to an end in 1976, with the death of Mao and the subsequent arrest of the gang of four.

These, as well as the Russian example, which has been classified as genocide, are all deliberate policies, in peacetime.
Not failures of well-intentioned policies that went badly during a world war.
( which is the case for Churchill, so cut him some slack, Stringy )

Edited by MigL

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On 2/22/2020 at 4:14 PM, dimreepr said:

Insurance is anti-socialism, it profits from and consumes the needy...

You have mistaken the idea of insurance (which is fairly Left wing) for the activities of  insurance companies (which are very Right wing).

On 2/22/2020 at 4:24 PM, dimreepr said:

It's not insurance, it's a tythe; the difference is, the payment has nothing to do with the benifit.

If everyone pays and everyone benefits and everyone has a say in what they pay (and what benefits accrue) then it's insurance.

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4 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

everyone has a say in what they pay (and what benefits accrue) then it's insurance.

But that's not true of national insurance in England, which is the context of my post.

4 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

You have mistaken the idea of insurance (which is fairly Left wing) for the activities of  insurance companies (which are very Right wing).

I dialled it back...

On 2/23/2020 at 12:29 PM, dimreepr said:

Maybe anti-socialism is a little strong, but most important insurance is, or almost, mandatory and that means we're in the grip of the invisible hand which is fundamentally in the private sector. As I said earlier (I think in this thread) a tythe is, I think, the ideal in terms of public ownership of insurances as there's a disconect between the money paid and the potential benefit received; one is in need and there's no one argueing "you can't be payed because it was an act of god, or...".

21 hours ago, MigL said:

Explain why not; using more than one line, please.
Socialism is the collective pooling of resources ( taxes ) to make social services ( Soc Security, Medicare ) more affordable and available, than if single sourced.

See above...

My point is, Insurance is only really socialist when it's in the public sector, because when it's in the private sector it's automatically biased. It's like privatising the utilities; it can't be safe to monitise water.

Edited by dimreepr

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In the US, the extremist capitalists use all kinds of emotional ambushes to avoid paying taxes while making sure public funds are available only for their "investment opportunities". They'll court the racists who don't think people of color are worthy of social support, they'll court the evangelicals who don't think anyone but Christians are worthy of anything, they'll court the conservatives who think anything liberal is drug-related, and they'll court any fringe group as long as their arguments can be turned into less taxes/more exploitation for themselves. The Koch Brothers takeover of the Tea Party Movement is a classic example.

What really puts a strain on an economy are those who put personal, private enrichment above all else. An economy isn't one person and their wealth. This focus on private prosperity is what causes most of our problems when you think about it. Traffic is caused by those looking to beat everyone else to the destination. Corruption involving misuse of public funding come mostly from private contractors scamming the system rather than recipients. Most of our laws revolve around treating everyone equitably and avoiding selfishness, and the biggest problems stem from those who consider themselves above that. The world is a colder place when nations put themselves above the interests of the global community. Yet the extremist capitalists are able to convince the half of the Republican party that isn't rich to support measures that only support the rich. What puts a strain on an economy is when there is so much disparity between the wealthy and poor parts of it.

I think Socialism puts a strain on a billionaire's perspective on personal enrichment. If they could let that go, they might find an economy that's energized from the bottom up could be even more lucrative for them.

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47 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

But that's not true of national insurance in England, which is the context of my post.

Yes they do.

Did you not notice the general election in December?

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3 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

Yes they do.

Did you not notice the general election in December?

I knew this was coming and I largely agree, except for what Phi just said...

+1 BTW.

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MigL, when it comes to the starvation, both Mao and Churchill enacted deliberate policies unintentionally resulting in the death of millions. If you count the leap forward you have to count Churchill, as well as the various other famines deliberately mismanaged by the British. There are also famines created or resulted in excess deaths due to foreign policy decisions. In other words, if your point was that only communist systems cause man-made famines, I still disagree (but agree on the point that it is going off-topic so perhaps we should discuss it elsewhere, if at all).

For the Holodomor it is at least possible that it had intentional elements, likewise the Cultural revolution. But so were the fascist persecutions as well as those in other authoritarian but capitalist-oriented society. So again I do not see it as a unique feature of communist countries. Rather, the authoritarian elements are what enables this issues.

And I think this distinction is crucial, as it is muddled up in the US discussions. There are authoritarian socialist countries and they do bad things. Instead of looking at the authoritarian axis, they blame the socialist element. You do sadly encounter claims by certain right-wing folks that implementing social democratic systems (such as in Canada and much of Europe) is going to lead the road all the way down to the above mentioned atrocities whilst ignoring the need for authoritarian mechanisms to enable it.

In fact, and even strangely so, they appear to be more comfortable with more authoritarianism, than with socialism, which is the entirely wrong argument if one wanted to point the mechanisms related to deliberate atrocities. And this is why I see conflating these issues as highly problematic (not to mention the fact that even the US is a mixed model, luckily).

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On 2/23/2020 at 9:20 AM, MigL said:

Explain why not; using more than one line, please.
Socialism is the collective pooling of resources ( taxes ) to make social services ( Soc Security, Medicare ) more affordable and available, than if single sourced.

Thank you.  Yes, please explain how Social Security, Medicare, insurance, taxes are NOT basically socialistic programs.

MigL has explained to you about pooling resources.

In the USA I am required to have auto insurance to drive a car.  I am forced into socialism.  Oh the horror! 😲

Edited by Airbrush

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It’s 2589 BC. The Egyptians are building the Giza Pyramids. You are immortal.

You have zero dollars ($0). You decide to save ten thousand dollars ($10,000)... Every. Single. Day... never spending even a single cent.

4,609 years later it’s 2020. You still only have one-fifth (1/5th) the average fortune of the 5 richest billionaires.

This isn’t about hard work or economic ruin.

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Yeah, that comes to just shy of 17 Billion.
Your Egyptian friend should have invested with compounding interest.

I always enjoy talking history with you, CharonY ( even when you are mistaken  )
And why we should have a History forum ( you're a mod now; hint, hint )

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We already have a history forum. It’s called: Sculptures Made of Almonds.

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On 2/24/2020 at 2:16 AM, Airbrush said:

Social Security, Medicare, and all insurance and taxes are basically socialistic programs, right?

Don't forget government guarantees for deposits (including structured products, managed funds and bonds) up to \$250,000 in banks etc (including many foreign institutions), like in Australia.

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12 hours ago, Airbrush said:

In the USA I am required to have auto insurance to drive a car.  I am forced into socialism.  Oh the horror! 😲

No no FFS no, if you're auto insurance is mandatory and provided by a private company, you're forced into unfettered capitalism.

Did you even read my explanation?

12 hours ago, Airbrush said:

MigL has explained to you about pooling resources.

And I think I explianed the difference between pooling resources and pooling profit's.

What makes you think socialism is a dirty word? And in anticipation of your return, I don't think capitalism is bad or unnecessary.

There is no utopian sunlit upland, where everything is great and no one suffers, all we can hope is that we find a ballance, where the self interest that Adam Smith envisaged can prosper, rather than the "greed is good" ethos that seems to pervade today, where socialism is considered a dirty word.

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Unscrupulous people will find a way to take advantage of others, and corrupt any social system, whether Socialism or Capitalism.
Even Communism ( Marxism ) has a noble idealist foundation.

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15 hours ago, MigL said:

Unscrupulous people will find a way to take advantage of others, and corrupt any social system, whether Socialism or Capitalism.
Even Communism ( Marxism ) has a noble idealist foundation.

Indeed, but when the balance is right everyone's a winner even the unscropulous, so let's keep trying.

Edited by dimreepr

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19 hours ago, MigL said:

Unscrupulous people will find a way to take advantage of others, and corrupt any social system, whether Socialism or Capitalism.

While this may be true, Capitalism is automatically more susceptible to corruption, given the requirement to turn a profit. I think the corruption happens when one of these tools is overused/misused, such as with the US' overfocus on private ownership.

I still say it's a big mistake referring to these tools as systems. A democracy like ours promises the People that some things can't be taken from them, and for that you need public ownership, not total Socialism. In cases where remote locations can't attract private investment for whatever reasons, sometimes it's necessary for the State to own a business (the Tennessee Valley Authority is a State-owned corporation that provides energy and environmental services to a region hit hard by the Great Depression, where private interests couldn't meet the needs of the People). And if we let Capitalism take over, we'll end up with a king again, someone who owns it all and lets us  share in their prosperity with our hard work (private, public, or state, the outcome for us is the same if we only use one of these economic tools).

19 hours ago, MigL said:

Even Communism ( Marxism ) has a noble idealist foundation.

Bernie Sanders tries to say this exact thing about some leftist regimes, but gets crucified by the right. Even with the preface that he doesn't approve of the authoritarianism, followed with praise of education and healthcare for the masses, the right paints him as embracing these regimes rather than sympathizing with some of their highest ideals.

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3 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Bernie Sanders tries to say this exact thing about some leftist regimes, but gets crucified by the right. Even with the preface that he doesn't approve of the authoritarianism, followed with praise of education and healthcare for the masses, the right paints him as embracing these regimes rather than sympathizing with some of their highest ideals.

By the right, left of him, and centre...

Gets harder and harder to make honest factual statements these days.

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28 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

By the right, left of him, and centre...

Gets harder and harder to make honest factual statements these days.

Perhaps you thought I meant the right was objecting in a reasonable way? I didn't. I meant that the right, since it's practically required to deceive its own, strawmans Sanders' position by suggesting he likes everything about Castro or the Sandinistas, that he embraces them. The few candidates left of Sanders (no major ones) and the centrists don't need such tactics. They object for reasonable reasons, so I disagree with your false equivalency.

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2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Perhaps you thought I meant the right was objecting in a reasonable way? I didn't. I meant that the right, since it's practically required to deceive its own, strawmans Sanders' position by suggesting he likes everything about Castro or the Sandinistas, that he embraces them. The few candidates left of Sanders (no major ones) and the centrists don't need such tactics. They object for reasonable reasons, so I disagree with your false equivalency.

Never claimed it was equivalent...it isn't...in fact the large nails for his "crucifixion" come from the left...the right can only hammer away with tacks because it is expected.

Reasonable is attacking his economics and policies...attacking him for pointing to Castro's good intentions, where or when in fact they were, may be good politics but is less honest. Yes the right has done that. You know who else has done that? The left. Maybe they frame it more as "this is why he's unelectable", but they aren't pointing to any truth in what he's saying.

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Posted (edited)
On 2/25/2020 at 5:27 AM, dimreepr said:

No no FFS no, if you're auto insurance is mandatory and provided by a private company, you're forced into unfettered capitalism.

Did you even read my explanation?

And I think I explianed the difference between pooling resources and pooling profit's.

What makes you think socialism is a dirty word? And in anticipation of your return, I don't think capitalism is bad or unnecessary.

There is no utopian sunlit upland, where everything is great and no one suffers, all we can hope is that we find a ballance, where the self interest that Adam Smith envisaged can prosper, rather than the "greed is good" ethos that seems to pervade today, where socialism is considered a dirty word.

I was being sarcastic about auto insurance.  But I don't understand your point about auto insurance means "unfettered capitalism."

I was looking for your explanation but can't find it.  Could you please summarize it for me once again?  What do you mean by the difference between pooling resources and pooling profits?  I thought insurance is a means for pooling resources.  Pooling profits is what public corporations do for their shareholders.  Insurance companies charge us for the service (of pooling our resources), then I don't need to pay thousands or millions of my own dollars for causing a serious accident, or my house burning down.

I never said socialism is a dirty word, nor is capitalism.

I agree that all we need to do is find the proper balance.

"Health insurance [and all other insurances are] socialism. It simply spreads individual risk over a great number of individuals. Some of those will come out ahead and some will not. However, all will contribute to the overhead and profit of the industry. When Medicare was introduced it was, of course, touted as giving health security to people who were most likely to need it. However, what it actually did was remove the most expensive demographic from the insured rolls and guaranteed that their bills would be paid to the providers."

Edited by Airbrush

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