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

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8 hours ago, Phi for All said:

'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.

I have seen these studies, usually at work, just before time for raises.
But let's b honest, nobody would be at work if they weren't going to get paid.
Other motivators, like recognition of good work, application of other skills/abilities to the job at hand, etc., are simply perks that make work bearable.

Making someone rich is a great motivator for innovation. You may get acceptable programs, but not programs that lead the world.

3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

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

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

No, I call myself human...
And George Orwell disagrees with your first statement.

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9 minutes ago, MigL said:

No, I call myself human...
And George Orwell disagrees with your first statement.

I only need to provide one example to prove you both wrong, right? 

Will Mahatma Gandhi do?

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7 hours ago, Sensei said:

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

 

I was actually unable to find any study that showed money to be the primary motivator.

Quote

The fact that there is little evidence to show that money motivates us, and a great deal of evidence to suggest that it actually demotivates us, supports the idea that that there may be hidden costs associated with rewards. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should work for free. We all need to pay our bills and provide for our families — but once these basic needs are covered the psychological benefits of money are questionable.

https://hbr.org/2013/04/does-money-really-affect-motiv

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Money is shiny bits of metal and pretty pictures on paper (or plastic film). It's not much of a motivator.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, MigL said:

Wealth discrimination, virtue signaling or just guilt ?

My view is it's just human nature.  If there is a choice between starving or committing a crime to make money, and there are no other viable opportunities, then it's only logical to choose the latter. Many economic systems are apathetic if you're poor: society couldn't care less if you go hungry or die.  Poor people feel they have no choice and are justified in their actions.

7 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Money is shiny bits of metal and pretty pictures on paper (or plastic film). It's not much of a motivator.

Yet it's the difference between having a hot meal and a roof over your head, or being hungry, cold, and homeless.  

Edited by Alex_Krycek

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12 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

 

Yet it's the difference between having a hot meal and a roof over your head, or being hungry, cold, and homeless.  

Except people had hot meals and a roof before they had money.

And most children don't have money but...
And the world has plenty of food and enough buildings, yet some people are left cold and hungry because people think money is important.

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7 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

And the world has plenty of food and enough buildings, yet some people are left cold and hungry because people think money is important.

I'll have to try that line the next time I want to stay in The Plaza in NYC.  😅

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6 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

I'll have to try that line the next time I want to stay in The Plaza in NYC.  😅

Of course, you could always try joining an army.
In some countries the pay is poor, but that does not matter because you are housed + fed.

It's as if they are a bit... socialist.

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is thread has given me an opportunity to focus/confirm my thoughts on Socialism ( thanks INow ).
And why B Sanders should not be considered the 'boogey man' by Republicans and Democrats alike

Both Socialism and Capitalism have a use and, if not corrupted ( big IF ), can be beneficial for society.
Capitalism gives everyone the opportunity to care for themselves.
Socialism gives society the opportunity to take care of everyone equally.

It would seem that a mix of the two allows for people to better themselves, while ensuring that no-one is left behind

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19 minutes ago, MigL said:

It would seem that a mix of the two allows for people to better themselves, while ensuring that no-one is left behind

QFT

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

thanks INow

The pleasure’s been mine. Thanks for contributing to the interesting dialog. 

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7 hours ago, MigL said:

Making someone rich is a great motivator for innovation. 

Don't most private companies hold the patents their employees "innovate" for them? I think in most cases, the innovator is motivated more by making the C suite and the shareholders rich. Iirc, the guy who invented Teflon for the DuPonts worked for them for 40 years. He got promotions and such, but his discovery made others rich.

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There is some 'pride in your work' effect going on, Phi, but I don't think it is the only one, or even the overriding one.

The engineers who worked on what became the SR-71 Blackbird, at Lockheed's 'Skunk Works' in Burbank, were certainly an elite group of engineers led by 'Kelly' Johnson. And they were paid very well compared to the 'grunt' engineers who worked for the main facility ( in Palmdale, I believe ). They worked 100 hr work weeks, and solved problems in the late 50s which are insurmountable for most countries ( even today ). None of them held any patents, but a lot of them eventually moved into senior positions in the company. Ben Rich, a bright young engineer, who worked for Johnson, went on to head the Skunk Works after Johnson, and under his direction the 'stealth' concept was developed. Over 40 yrs later, Lockheed-Martin ( and Northrop-Grumman ) still have the best stealth knowhow in the world.

If a public institution could have done the same, I'm sure NACA ( until 1958 ), and later, NASA, would have.

Of course you could throw the Manhattan Project, in Los Alamos, right back at me. But I would counter that people do strange things in times of war, and they give for society/nation as opposed to petty personal benefit.

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14 minutes ago, MigL said:

There is some 'pride in your work' effect going on, Phi, but I don't think it is the only one, or even the overriding one.

The engineers who worked on what became the SR-71 Blackbird, at Lockheed's 'Skunk Works' in Burbank, were certainly an elite group of engineers led by 'Kelly' Johnson. And they were paid very well compared to the 'grunt' engineers who worked for the main facility ( in Palmdale, I believe ). They worked 100 hr work weeks, and solved problems in the late 50s which are insurmountable for most countries ( even today ). None of them held any patents, but a lot of them eventually moved into senior positions in the company. Ben Rich, a bright young engineer, who worked for Johnson, went on to head the Skunk Works after Johnson, and under his direction the 'stealth' concept was developed. Over 40 yrs later, Lockheed-Martin ( and Northrop-Grumman ) still have the best stealth knowhow in the world.

If a public institution could have done the same, I'm sure NACA ( until 1958 ), and later, NASA, would have.

Of course you could throw the Manhattan Project, in Los Alamos, right back at me. But I would counter that people do strange things in times of war, and they give for society/nation as opposed to petty personal benefit.

This effect would be equally true for those working in the private sector on contracts for the military. This would have included the times during the Cold War to a substantial degree; would it not?

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Sure JC, but maybe Phi is on to something...
Some purposes, or objectives, may be more important than monetary rewards.

In the case of war, freedom from oppression is the reward.
In the case of exercise, good health is the reward.
In the case of raising your kids, strong familial bonds are the reward.

That's what I like about this forum, we all have blinders to some degree, but other members can help you see where you may not have looked previously.

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Dopamine. We ALL do things for the dopamine. That is all. 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, iNow said:

Dopamine. We ALL do things for the dopamine. That is all. 

Only a means to an end, in my view. 

14 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Don't most private companies hold the patents their employees "innovate" for them? I think in most cases, the innovator is motivated more by making the C suite and the shareholders rich. Iirc, the guy who invented Teflon for the DuPonts worked for them for 40 years. He got promotions and such, but his discovery made others rich.

Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, the pioneers of micro-processors, had pretty cushy jobs at Fairchild Semiconductor before they left to found Intel.  Fairchild was doing quite well financially, but the problem, according to Moore and Noyce, was that there was little to no R+D money.  Because of this they weren't allowed to innovate or experiment like they wanted to, so they left and founded Intel, which has dominated the market ever since.  It's an interesting example of two brilliant people caring more about the capacity to innovate and push technology forward rather than receiving a comfortable salary.  

Edited by Alex_Krycek

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On 3/7/2020 at 2:42 PM, 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.

Quote

 

Sure JC, but maybe Phi is on to something...
Some purposes, or objectives, may be more important than monetary rewards.

In the case of war, freedom from oppression is the reward.
In the case of exercise, good health is the reward.
In the case of raising your kids, strong familial bonds are the reward.

That's what I like about this forum, we all have blinders to some degree, but other members can help you see where you may not have looked previously.

 

To use myself as an example - yes I could probably make more money in the private sector, even in my field. I know people who have worked in the private sector who have then gone on to work for the government for less money. There are lots of other motivations, including the challenge of the job, the people you work with, physical location of the job, how you are treated at work, (and for where I work) a desire to serve your country and also the pride of being part a world-leading organization. 

Some people will do work they don't particularly like because they get paid a crap-ton of money, but it would be a mistake to think that everyone would.

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11 hours ago, MigL said:

Sure JC, but maybe Phi is on to something...

Some purposes, or objectives, may be more important than monetary rewards.

The thing is, money isn't really a thing, as previosly alluded to by JC (John). It's counter-intuitive because we can hold it and count it; it's just easier to use than a dead pig. 

Money only motivates when one needs a dead pig; that's the time to be afraid Sensie...

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12 hours ago, MigL said:

Sure JC, but maybe Phi is on to something...
Some purposes, or objectives, may be more important than monetary rewards.

In the case of war, freedom from oppression is the reward.
In the case of exercise, good health is the reward.
In the case of raising your kids, strong familial bonds are the reward.

That's what I like about this forum, we all have blinders to some degree, but other members can help you see where you may not have looked previously.

I agree. Our goal here is understanding rather than winning anything, and I prefer this style of social media.

So far, I think everyone involved can agree that a thoughtful calibration of private and public/state ownership is the best way to ensure that all are properly motivated and compensated in our society. The right tool for the right job is practically a universal human tenet. 

And it sounds like the concept that money isn't always the prime motivator is getting some footing here as well. If that's true, I'd like to continue to explore how the military can be maintained as a socialistic institution while removing/re-calibrating the most toxic influences of the private military industrial establishment. Is there a way to have a defense force that does its job first, where the profits for the private contractor happen but aren't the priority?

Military enlistees are obviously not money-motivated, except the ones who're just using the free training as a stepping stone to private soldiering. Most serve for honor, tradition, liberty, or another of our highest ideals. And for every combat-capable person who joins for those ideals instead of money, I would expect to see ten more people who'd be willing to do something other than hold a rifle to uphold those same ideals. Can't people like that be paid to serve in defense without working for a private contractor who needs to make folks rich first, then make weapons? 

Imagine a contest to make the ultimate weapon for the average soldier. A capitalistic approach is going to focus on a rifle that's easily replaceable, easy to make, has ammunition that needs to be stocked regularly, and requires the least training to use and support. A socialistic approach might actually consider a solar rechargeable laser rifle made like an old Ma Bell telephone that never dies. 

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17 hours ago, Phi for All said:

 Imagine a contest to make the ultimate weapon for the average soldier. A capitalistic approach is going to focus on a rifle that's easily replaceable, easy to make, has ammunition that needs to be stocked regularly, and requires the least training to use and support. A socialistic approach might actually consider a solar rechargeable laser rifle made like an old Ma Bell telephone that never dies. 

I don't think it's so easy to make this divide.

 

There's a quote about polio :

“If it was up to the NIH to cure polio through a centrally directed program… You’d have the best iron lung in the world but not a polio vaccine.”

Samuel Broder, Former Director, National Cancer Institute

The problem here is that he's critiquing government bureaucracy, not socialism, per se. Government management often has a different mindset than the corporate one. In government there is often too much meddling from above - managers making technical decisions based on bean-counting rather than technical ones. The quote rings true to me because there would be a focus on known paths to a solution, and not so much on risk-taking.

But the polio vaccine wasn't a capitalist solution. It was funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was a non-profit. A lot of science in the US and elsewhere is funded by the government - not driven by profits. You can only be driven by profits if you think you will have a product that you can sell, and make more money than you invested in the development. You have to make a business case for doing it. Nonprofits and government are not restricted by that. The government also funds business R&D, and helps offset the preliminary costs to develop a product the government deems worthwhile. There are companies that seem content to compete for government research dollars but don't transition to making finished products very often. None of that is capitalism.

 

Seems to me that capitalism involves people giving money to someone else in exchange for a specific product or a service. Socialism (one form of it, anyway) involves giving money to the government so that the government can provide a service (usually not a product) to a group of people, but the people giving the money don't get to pick and choose what service they get for their money. You can pay a private contractor to protect your home, but you pay taxes for police to protect everyone's home. The former is an example of capitalism, the latter of socialism.

 

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Posted (edited)

Society provides the motivation and capitalism provides the money.

We may have been better off before money, but now it's all we've got to work with; until something better comes along.

Edited by dimreepr

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6 hours ago, swansont said:

I don't think it's so easy to make this divide.

 

There's a quote about polio :

“If it was up to the NIH to cure polio through a centrally directed program… You’d have the best iron lung in the world but not a polio vaccine.”

Samuel Broder, Former Director, National Cancer Institute

The problem here is that he's critiquing government bureaucracy, not socialism, per se. Government management often has a different mindset than the corporate one. In government there is often too much meddling from above - managers making technical decisions based on bean-counting rather than technical ones. The quote rings true to me because there would be a focus on known paths to a solution, and not so much on risk-taking.

But the polio vaccine wasn't a capitalist solution. It was funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was a non-profit. A lot of science in the US and elsewhere is funded by the government - not driven by profits. You can only be driven by profits if you think you will have a product that you can sell, and make more money than you invested in the development. You have to make a business case for doing it. Nonprofits and government are not restricted by that. The government also funds business R&D, and helps offset the preliminary costs to develop a product the government deems worthwhile. There are companies that seem content to compete for government research dollars but don't transition to making finished products very often. None of that is capitalism.

 

Seems to me that capitalism involves people giving money to someone else in exchange for a specific product or a service. Socialism (one form of it, anyway) involves giving money to the government so that the government can provide a service (usually not a product) to a group of people, but the people giving the money don't get to pick and choose what service they get for their money. You can pay a private contractor to protect your home, but you pay taxes for police to protect everyone's home. The former is an example of capitalism, the latter of socialism.

I don't see it as a formal division between capitalism and socialism. I think socialistic endeavors can include capitalistic partners, as long as the requirements for profit aren't allowed to creep into or negatively affect the public benefit goals. I see it more like you just need to keep washing your hands regularly to avoid infection.

Capitalism is about competition, whereas socialism is about cooperation. I think the former is more susceptible to corruption, which I generally define as "money buying things it's not supposed to". 

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17 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Capitalism is about competition, whereas socialism is about cooperation. I think the former is more susceptible to corruption, which I generally define as "money buying things it's not supposed to". 

I don't think there's anything that inherently precludes a government from having internal competition for the best solution to some problem, but the taxpayers often see that as waste (possibly being unaware of how much it actually happens)

 

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

I don't think there's anything that inherently precludes a government from having internal competition for the best solution to some problem, but the taxpayers often see that as waste (possibly being unaware of how much it actually happens)

I don't think so either. I don't think there's anything about a public approach that inherently stifles innovation either. As you've mentioned, there are things we understand now that we'd never know if we'd left it up to private entities and the market. Things that are vital but not profitable in and of themselves.

I also think that the kind of competition fostered by a socialistic approach, being less greed-oriented, is more likely to produce positive results. Competition, like pride and patriotism, is healthy only in the right ratio and spirit. 

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