Jump to content
iNow

Military is an excellent example of socialism. Why or Why Not?

Recommended Posts

20 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

One of my parameters for socialistic practices is that they're a bottom-up approach to the economy. The exact opposite of Reagan's Trickle-down theory, which we've basically been doing since right after the Eisenhower administration. Instead of giving public support and aid to the folks who already have all the money, a bottom-up approach would beef up the economy based on the people who actually spend their money instead of sitting on it.

Indeed:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, swansont said:

As opposed to what other systems?

Compare North Korea and USA. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, DimaMazin said:

Compare North Korea and USA. 

Which one is the example of socialism?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2020 at 2:49 AM, MigL said:

 I'm not even sure it's possible to have 'pure' Socialism or Capitalism.

History seems to indicate that it isn't.  The United States tried "pure capitalism".   The result was robber barons, child labor, indentured servitude, shanty towns, and for centuries, outright slavery.  The only part of the country not ruled by mafias was the anarchic wild west. 

The Soviet Union tried "pure socialism". The result was 100 years of an oppressive totalitarian regime that condemned tens of millions of innocent people to die in gulags, inflicted the intentional starvation on entire nations, and otherwise suffocated the human potential of its citizens without a shred of remorse.

History seems to show that the more we move to one extreme or another, the more wretched society will be.  Thus, the alternative seems to be that the more finely balanced these two systems are in practice, i.e. the more they work in unison, protecting both the individuals rights and also guaranteeing a robust public sector that protects everyone, then the more functional society will be.  

The problem is that calibrating these two systems in a way that actually works takes careful reflection on the part of politicians, a system that is fair and uncorrupted from special interests, and a populace with some semblance of sociological imagination (to see beyond their own meagre lot).  So in other words, the United States is going to have some trouble.

Edited by Alex_Krycek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

The problem is that calibrating these two systems in a way that actually works takes careful reflection on the part of politicians, a system that is fair and uncorrupted from special interests, and a populace with some semblance of sociological imagination (to see beyond their own meagre lot).  So in other words, the United States is going to have some trouble.

Personally, I don't think it's that hard to use both tools in the same economy, but we need to stay away from the idea of mixing them together in the same approach. I like your use of "calibrating", rather than the "blending" strategy we use in the US. I think we've made the mistake of "blending" capitalistic goals with socialistic ones, instead of using both but keeping them separate. We used to use public road crews, paid for by state and local governments, to build and maintain our roads. Then we chose to blend some capitalistic opportunities in, supposedly as a cost-cutting measure, and hired private companies to help out. It definitely didn't end up cutting costs to the taxpayers, quite the opposite, but it made the .gov look smaller, and that appeases the right (or "conservatives" as they're known, the ones who don't like overspending and praise common sense values).

We should build and maintain roads for everyone, using ONLY public funding every step of the way, for every bit of it (because infrastructure). And we should use ONLY private funding to build the cars the People use to drive those roads. Same thing with the oil & gas the People use, private funding ONLY (because market). 

The military though, there's the rub. Can our military make its own equipment, and remove the capitalistic stigma of the military industrial complex? With such a large budget and scope of operations, there's no way private manufacturing paid by public funding can offer savings over an operation that's run completely using public workers unconcerned with turning a profit. That may not be true with some major expenses like jets and aircraft carriers, but for munitions wouldn't it would be smarter to pay .gov workers to make .gov weapons to defend We the People? 

It's socialistic when the firefighter saves your house, and it's capitalistic when the insurance company denies your claim. Just sayin'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, DimaMazin said:

Compare North Korea and USA. 

OK, so one of them is run by a mad dictator and..

Oh never mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have to wonder, Phi.
Would a military that has equipment provided by publically funded production ( cutting out the Capitalistic greedy defense contractors ),  give us the cutting edge equipment like stealth, aircraft carriers the size of small cities, thermonuclear bombs or space shuttles and rockets that can go to the moon ?
Or do you think that it was the Capitalistic striving to make better equipment, win multi-billion dollar contracts, and make a profit ?

The capitalist system guarantees that whoever provides the best product, gets the most profit, and competition drives costs, and profits, down ( assuming the BETTER product is awarded a contract, not the CHEAPEST ).
A socialist system guarantees a mediocre product and a monopoly, so costs never diminish.

A careful analysis for each product/service would guide as to the better approach, socialistic, capitalistic, or a mix of the two.

Edited by MigL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, MigL said:

The capitalist system guarantees that whoever provides the best product, gets the most profit, and competition drives costs, and profits, down.

Well, that's the goal anyway. Given that many Defense programs are wildly over budget I wouldn't call it a "guarantee".

11 minutes ago, MigL said:

A socialist system guarantees a mediocre product and a monopoly, so costs never diminish.

So you would say that the military training of most First World countries results in a "mediocre product?"

Edited by zapatos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, MigL said:

The capitalist system guarantees that whoever provides the best product, gets the most profit, and competition drives costs, and profits, down ( assuming the BETTER product is awarded a contract, not the CHEAPEST ).
A socialist system guarantees a mediocre product and a monopoly, so costs never diminish.

Counterpoint: The best atomic clocks are made by government people. Not the private sector.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, MigL said:

I have to wonder, Phi.
Would a military that has equipment provided by publically funded production ( cutting out the Capitalistic greedy defense contractors ),  give us the cutting edge equipment like stealth, aircraft carriers the size of small cities, thermonuclear bombs or space shuttles and rockets that can go to the moon ?
Or do you think that it was the Capitalistic striving to make better equipment, win multi-billion dollar contracts, and make a profit ?

 

7 hours ago, MigL said:

The capitalist system guarantees that whoever provides the best product, gets the most profit, and competition drives costs, and profits, down.

Ideally, yes, but the Military Industrial Complex isn't a free market.  There is little to no competition.  Those who award the contracts either worked in the defense industry before taking office, or they will work there again once they leave (or both).  The few players that dominate the market (Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing)  all have their niche and don't step on each other's toes.  The Pentagon is never audited.    

This is what "capitalism" looks like in the military:  https://newstarget.com/2017-07-03-f-35-fighter-jet-project-a-total-bust-planes-dont-work-nearly-a-trillion-dollars-flushed-down-a-dark-hole.html

The F-35 fighter jet project is the most expensive weapons system ever designed, but apparently no one is sure that it works or that it will meet expectations.

About 10 years behind schedule and as yet not living up to all of its design requirements, American taxpayers will have to cough up about $1.5 trillion to pay the tab before all is said and done. Approximately $100 billion-plus has already been spent on the program in sunk costs for planes that have a price tag of about $100 million each, apparently double what was originally promised.

Quote

Would a military that has equipment provided by publically funded production ( cutting out the Capitalistic greedy defense contractors ),  give us the cutting edge equipment like stealth, aircraft carriers the size of small cities, thermonuclear bombs or space shuttles and rockets that can go to the moon ?

Why do we even need all of these things?  We're stuck in a vicious circle.  The Military Industrial Complex demands hundred of billions per year to essentially line the pockets of shareholders.  Politicians give it to them and then get cushy jobs once they leave office, or they take "campaign contributions".  Meanwhile demand has to be created for all this advanced weaponry.  In this case DEMAND = CONFLICT.  So the defense industry is always looking for the next conflict that the US can get involved in (or start) to maintain their raison d'etre in the eyes of the taxpayers.  Or they sell off last year's technology to some developing country, so now they're armed to the teeth.  

Imagine if there was an industry of similar magnitude devoted to fighting climate change and protecting the environment?  And every year taxpayers spent 600 billion dollars on it....

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I gave some examples of the products and equipment American defense contractors have come up with...

China, for all its economic prowess has yet to develop jet engines comparable to 1960s engines from PnW and GE ( or RR ) despite all research being subsidized by the state.
Russian and Chinese stealth isn't remotely comparable to what the Americans have achieved, and TsAGi, the Russian aeronautical research center is funded by the state.
And neither can compete with American/European civil aircraft either ( I'd fly on a B 737 Max8 before I fly anything Aeroflot ).

America's defense budget may be huge, but don't forget that it single-handedly defeated the USSR, because, even though the defense budget of Russia is a tenth of America's, it economy is the size of the Benelux countries, and a large percentage of its GDP.

You'll have to elaborate on 'training of most First World countries results in a mediocre product', as I'm not sure what you mean, Zap.
 

Is there a market for atomic clocks and a profit to be made, Swansont ?

If there was, I guarantee you'd be working in private industry, making a LOT more money, and a better product.

Edited by MigL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, MigL said:

The capitalist system guarantees that whoever provides the best product, gets the most profit, and competition drives costs, and profits, down ( assuming the BETTER product is awarded a contract, not the CHEAPEST ).
A socialist system guarantees a mediocre product and a monopoly, so costs never diminish.

Guarantee is far too strong though, wouldn't you agree? Otherwise, you're saying there's something inherent in profit that drives innovation, and I really don't think you can defend that. What stops a publicly-funded and operated program from being just as clever as the private contractors? Point of fact, a munitions designer who doesn't have to worry about making his shareholders rich could actually come up with something equally effective and ridiculously cheap. In the capitalistic approach, something like that would have to be subsidized to make it interesting for the private contractors.

Don't you think there's a way for a .gov program to stay competitive technology-wise without concerns over making anyone rich? In the US, there's so much pushback against attempts to block private interests from public works that folks make the assumption that only money can motivate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You're right about the consolidation of the defense industry Alex.

I'm most familiar with the aerospace industry...
In the 50s and 60 there were dozens of defense contractors, healthy competition, and world leading products.
Now Boeing has acquired McDonnell and Douglas.
Lockeed joined Martin, and acquired Hughes aircraft, and Convair from General Dynamics.
Northrop joined Grumman.
LTV ( Vought ) was acquired by the Carlyle group and hasn't been heard from since.
Fairchild joined Republic and proceeded to go bankrupt.

We now have Boeing, LM and Northrop-Grumman providing the new trainers and the KC-46 with huge cost overruns, the F-35 with huge cost overruns, and the B-21 with huge cost overruns respectively.

 

You are right Phi, guarantee is too strongly worded.
But it does seem to turn out that way quite often.
Probably because greed is a great motivator.

 

Edited by MigL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, MigL said:

You're right about the consolidation of the defense industry Alex.

I'm most familiar with the aerospace industry...
In the 50s and 60 there were dozens of defense contractors, healthy competition, and world leading products.
Now Boeing has acquired McDonnell and Douglas.
Lockeed joined Martin, and acquired Hughes aircraft, and Convair from General Dynamics.
Northrop joined Grumman.
LTV ( Vought ) was acquired by the Carlyle group and hasn't been heard from since.
Fairchild joined Republic and proceeded to go bankrupt.

We now have Boeing, LM and Northrop-Grumman providing the new trainers and the KC-46 with huge cost overruns, the F-35 with huge cost overruns, and the B-21 with huge cost overruns respectively.

So perhaps a .gov defense industry could find a way to compete with itself to generate innovation without requiring a profit? These big mergers are a different headache (and a different topic, for sure).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, MigL said:

Is there a market for atomic clocks and a profit to be made, Swansont ?

If there was, I guarantee you'd be working in private industry, making a LOT more money, and a better product.

For clocks, yes. For the best ones, no. 
Thanks for emphasizing my point. Capitalism won’t work where there’s no hope of profit. The government does research, or hires/funds people to do it (or advance it).

A lot of e.g. pharmaceutical research would never happen without the basic research having been done on the government dime. It happens quite a bit. In other cases, they subsidize it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MigL said:

You'll have to elaborate on 'training of most First World countries results in a mediocre product', as I'm not sure what you mean, Zap.

Sorry, I was referring to the military of most First World Countries. As I am speaking of training military personnel and not about equipment, this portion of the military would be considered more socialistic (funded by us, run by the government) as opposed to capitalistic (a weapon created by private industry). My point was that the government does a very good job of training our military personnel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, zapatos said:

My point was that the government does a very good job of training our military personnel.

And conversely, if you want shady dealings and questionable moral responsibility, you go to a private mercenary group like Blackwater/Xe Services/Academi. It's assumed they have superior training simply because they aren't part of the government, and I guess they must be worth the $700-800 per day average pay. I wonder what a US soldier costs per day when you factor in training?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could agree with the training of troops/personnel, but I'm not convinced that equipment manufacture and innovation is suited to Socialistic practices.
And that was my original assertion...

7 hours ago, MigL said:

I have to wonder, Phi.
Would a military that has equipment provided by publically funded production ( cutting out the Capitalistic greedy defense contractors ),  give us the cutting edge equipment...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MigL said:

I could agree with the training of troops/personnel, but I'm not convinced that equipment manufacture and innovation is suited to Socialistic practices.
And that was my original assertion...

 

I'll ask again then. Don't you think there's a way for a.gov program to stay competitive without focusing on making anyone rich? Many studies have shown money is rarely the #1 motivator of people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Many studies have shown money is rarely the #1 motivator of people.

Oh, really? The all jails (streets?) of this world are full of people who would kill you for 20 dollars...

 

Edited by Sensei

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Sensei said:

Oh, really? The all jails (streets?) of this world are full of people who would kill you for 20 dollars...

 

There's different kinds of motivation tied to money.  There's the will to survive, which leads many poor people to commit crime.  Their back is against the wall and they feel they must steal or commit crime just to live.  This mindset of scarcity breeds a lust for money and sees material gain as the solution to all life's problems, allowing the criminal to function without any code of ethics.  He sees little beyond just the material excesses of life.

Then there's a person who is in a situation of material stability.  They have the resources for survival: food, shelter, clothing, and have been educated to an extent where they gain the most enjoyment from being creative and using their mind.  For this type of person, money is merely a tool, and not the end goal.  Their true calling is something immaterial: discovering / decoding the universe, building something valuable, helping other people, engaging in a skill that resonates with them, etc.  For these people the finite trappings of money are actually an insignificant impediment to the infinite possibilities of mental exploration.  

On a side note, understanding this difference in how money motivates people is the key to implementing UBI effectively.  

 

 

20 hours ago, MigL said:

You're right about the consolidation of the defense industry Alex.

I'm most familiar with the aerospace industry...
In the 50s and 60 there were dozens of defense contractors, healthy competition, and world leading products.

The space race did lead to some remarkable technological breakthroughs.  That was a fascinating time in American history.  Although at the end of the day it was still a "Race against the Ruskies", driven by fear and competition against a perceived existential threat.  If humanity can see that climate change is an existential threat, or that being limited to one planet is inherently dangerous, perhaps we won't need a fear of another country to mobilize the resources required to change our trajectory of self annihilation. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Sensei said:

Oh, really? The all jails (streets?) of this world are full of people who would kill you for 20 dollars...

And yet their freedom is probably their #1 motivator at this point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

There's different kinds of motivation tied to money.  There's the will to survive, which leads many poor people to commit crime.  Their back is against the wall and they feel they must steal or commit crime just to live.  This mindset of scarcity breeds a lust for money and sees material gain as the solution to all life's problems, allowing the criminal to function without any code of ethics.  He sees little beyond just the material excesses of life.

Then there's a person who is in a situation of material stability.  They have the resources for survival: food, shelter, clothing, and have been educated to an extent where they gain the most enjoyment from being creative and using their mind.  For this type of person, money is merely a tool, and not the end goal.  Their true calling is something immaterial: discovering / decoding the universe, building something valuable, helping other people, engaging in a skill that resonates with them, etc.  For these people the finite trappings of money are actually an insignificant impediment to the infinite possibilities of mental exploration.  

On a side note, understanding this difference in how money motivates people is the key to implementing UBI effectively. 

Nice post, it resonates with my formative years.

4 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

The space race did lead to some remarkable technological breakthroughs.  That was a fascinating time in American history.  Although at the end of the day it was still a "Race against the Ruskies", driven by fear and competition against a perceived existential threat.  If humanity can see that climate change is an existential threat, or that being limited to one planet is inherently dangerous, perhaps we won't need a fear of another country to mobilize the resources required to change our trajectory of self annihilation. 

You can't just decide not to be afraid of a potential threat, but it can be tempered if society percieves itself more powerful.

Which is a reasonable segue back to the OP.

6 hours ago, Sensei said:

Oh, really? The all jails (streets?) of this world are full of people who would kill you for 20 dollars...

Come on Sensie, are you afraid of everything?

Besides, the vast majority just want 20 dollars; people who would kill for 20 dollars just use it as an excuse to kill...😉 

18 hours ago, MigL said:

The capitalist system guarantees that whoever provides the best product, gets the most profit, and competition drives costs, and profits, down ( assuming the BETTER product is awarded a contract, not the CHEAPEST ).

It can't even guarantee a profit, but if we can find a balanced/impartial arbiter, maybe we can all profit...

Capitalism is essentially a bet, and sociallism is the hedge.

Edited by dimreepr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

There's different kinds of motivation tied to money.  There's the will to survive, which leads many poor people to commit crime.

Funny how the poor are always assumed to commit crimes because of basic needs, while the rich commit crimes because they are greedy and evil.
Wealth discrimination, virtue signaling or just guilt ?

Greed is greed, and ALL humans share the trait regardless of wealth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, MigL said:

Greed is greed, and ALL humans share the trait regardless of wealth.

How can you say that in the face of certain historical figures? 

Power doesn't corrupt, it just attracts the corruptible...

ALL??? And you call yourself a scientist...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.