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Thread: Inauguration Day, Inauguration Hooooooraaay!

  1. #11961
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Because of the principal-agent problem. Even orthodox (liberal) economists acknowledge it is a problem that is unsolvable under capitalism.
    I mean, isn't this still a problem with collectively making executive decisions? Doesn't it still lend itself to tyranny of the majority issues? If I disagree with what the majority decides to do with respect to any given decision, what difference does it make if a majority of my peers have made it, than if some manager who gets paid more than I do made it?

  2. #11962
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I mean, isn't this still a problem with collectively making executive decisions?
    No, because under cooperatives (and democratic socialism writ large) the agent and the principal become the same person.

    The finer points of this depend on the exact structure of democratic socialism you choose. For example, I generally believe in worker cooperatives under representative democracy. In that case the collective does not make executive decisions, but instead chooses who does. This doesnít fully resolve the principal-agent problem, since itís always possible that the elected representatives (agents) could rob their coworkers (principals) blind. However, that simply means the worst case for cooperatives is the norm for capitalism.

    Doesn't it still lend itself to tyranny of the majority issues?
    No.

    For starters, shareholders today already have voting power to direct the companies they own. Under current law, majority rule does not absolve a company of its responsibilities to minority shareholders. The board and executives are legally responsible to act in the interests of all shareholders, not just major ones, and even small stakes have allowed some fairly surprising shareholder activism in recent history. This is enforced partly through state law, and partly through articles of incorporation (the companyís constitution).

    The transition to a workers cooperative isnít as radical as you seem to think. The key differences are who owns the shares (capitalists vs employees) and how many shares they get (radically unequal vs one each). The mechanisms that prevent tyranny of the majority today would continue to function under a workers cooperative, and, indeed, as such a structure became legally mandated those mechanisms would need to be strengthened (both by state law and corporate bylaw).

    If I disagree with what the majority decides to do with respect to any given decision, what difference does it make if a majority of my peers have made it, than if some manager who gets paid more than I do made it?
    What difference does it make if you live in a democracy but the people you vote for never win?

    Living in a democracy doesnít just mean picking winners and losers. It means discussing issues, persuading others, having bona fide ownership of your country and engaging with it to make it better. Even if Ďyour guyí doesnít win, you can still participate in the process.

    Your example - complete civic disengagement and also Ďlosingí the vote - just means your worst case is the norm under capitalism.

  3. #11963
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    "But what about tyranny of the majority" say the handwringers, living under a tyranny of the minority.

  4. #11964
    The grass is always greener under socialism.

  5. #11965
    Your best buys are ALways at Fry's... guaranteed.

  6. #11966
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    The grass is always greener under socialism.
    Well, you probably wonít be able to afford a yacht or a private jet under socialism. So it does have some disadvantages.

  7. #11967
    Aren't socialist politicians just as prone to corruption as business leaders / capitalists are, in practice? Anybody is capable of squandering funds. I am sure a well thought out version of socialism is better than capitalism on average, but sometimes I get the impression around here that it's some kind of theorem that nothing could possibly go wrong.

  8. #11968
    That said, I'm not sure you can get much worse than a system where the status quo is legally sanctioned corruption. For a trivial example look no further than the Orwellian language we have for bribing politicians ("lobbying").

  9. #11969
    Or even more extreme, but honestly not terribly far from the truth per Citizens United: "Corruption is protected as free speech under the First Amendment."

  10. #11970
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Well, you probably won’t be able to afford a yacht or a private jet under socialism. So it does have some disadvantages.
    The yacht or private jet won't be necessary; I'm happy to settle for millennial blood.

  11. #11971
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Aren't socialist politicians just as prone to corruption as business leaders / capitalists are, in practice? Anybody is capable of squandering funds. I am sure a well thought out version of socialism is better than capitalism on average, but sometimes I get the impression around here that it's some kind of theorem that nothing could possibly go wrong.
    Stalinism is bad. Iím not going to defend it.

    You need to have some form of participatory economics. Ideally, the system should also be complete and self regulating. Market socialism is such a system, and if you want mathematical proofs of that youíre in luck, because they exist.

    For the record, you can also find mathematical proofs that capitalism is not complete or self regulating. Market socialism is possible with a small government. Capitalism is impossible without a massive, all powerful one.

    None of that means life under socialism would be perfect. The goal - at least, my goal - isnít fully automated luxury communism. Itís to give people control over their own work.

  12. #11972
    That's quite interesting that market socialism is self-regulating.

    In the American case, though, I can see a couple reasons why we'll never get the chance to test it out. The zeroth reason is that nobody even knows what socialism is here (and what they do know is worse than knowing nothing).

    The first reason is that Americans believe (perhaps rightfully) that government bureaucracies are necessarily totalitarian, dehumanizing entities that suck the life out of the people they claim to serve, and are staffed with lazy, incompetent people just looking for a government paycheck, and that accepting a low paying government job is only slightly more respectable than being on welfare (exception: any public job that is potentially dangerous, e.g., military service, police, fire-fighters, etc.).

    The second reason is that, however self-regulating market socialism is, I very much doubt it can regulate against sabotage by conservative voters who are committed to a self-fulfilling prophesy that government can never work. And, of course, "socialism" meaning one of two things: government replacing the private sector (clearly not what market socialism is, so perhaps then in the USA for socialism to ever succeed, you'd first need to come up with a way to talk about it without ever saying what it is), or lazy (bonus points: black) people who don't want to work taking money from rich people who provide jobs.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 10-10-2018 at 03:49 PM.

  13. #11973
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    If you want gradual changes to impose market socialism, I might start by creating a conventional federal incorporation and require all businesses engaged in interstate commerce to reincorporate - or whatever else it takes to put Delaware in the ground.

    Then, later, change it to market socialism. Howís that for a Sophieís choice? You donít need to be a cooperative, youíll just get outcompeted by a big one if you arenít. Your pick.


    But yes, when 30% of Americans seem to believe America shouldnít exist im not sure what you can do. At this point I think continuing as capitalists is just as unreal as adopting socialism.

  14. #11974
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Your best buys are ALways at Fry's... guaranteed.
    I purchased Warcraft 3 Collector's Edition at Fry's in Sacramento.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  15. #11975
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    If you want gradual changes to impose market socialism, I might start by creating a conventional federal incorporation and require all businesses engaged in interstate commerce to reincorporate - or whatever else it takes to put Delaware in the ground.

    Then, later, change it to market socialism. How’s that for a Sophie’s choice? You don’t need to be a cooperative, you’ll just get outcompeted by a big one if you aren’t. Your pick.


    But yes, when 30% of Americans seem to believe America shouldn’t exist im not sure what you can do. At this point I think continuing as capitalists is just as unreal as adopting socialism.
    Although I am not totally clear on how such a federal corporation would stop capitalists from incorporating in Delaware, I can kind of see where you are going with that.

    Incidentally, though, another barrier to outcompeting existing corporations in any way will be facing predatory business practices... which the DoJ seems intent not to enforce, and which Americans seem to love anyway (for example, we are in love being able to get our cheap **** on Amazon).

  16. #11976
    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    I purchased Warcraft 3 Collector's Edition at Fry's in Sacramento.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Haha, nice. I actually played Warcraft 3 a bit back in the day, and even remember hating what in retrospect were probably very early versions of DotA maps.

  17. #11977
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Aren't socialist politicians just as prone to corruption as business leaders / capitalists are, in practice? Anybody is capable of squandering funds. I am sure a well thought out version of socialism is better than capitalism on average, but sometimes I get the impression around here that it's some kind of theorem that nothing could possibly go wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Stalinism is bad. I’m not going to defend it.
    Woah. That's a leap. I didn't realize that even the slightest degradation of a perfect socialist system would automatically result in Stalinism. Yikes.

  18. #11978
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Woah. That's a leap. I didn't realize that even the slightest degradation of a perfect socialist system would automatically result in Stalinism. Yikes.
    Non-participatory state ownership of capital is de facto Stalinism. If the resources to run for government are economic, and economic resources are allocated by the state, it means incumbents are effectively invincible. Donít make this out to be something it isnít.

  19. #11979
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    "But what about tyranny of the majority" say the handwringers, living under a tyranny of the minority.
    Uh, I live under an electoral democracy in which an increasing number of people on the left (although still very small, if not very loud) are saying that basic institutions lack democratic legitimacy. But that's not the same thing as living under a tyranny of the minority. Incidentally, that's the leftists calling for "fighting dirty" sound to me like they're very actively and explicitly advocating rigging the system.

  20. #11980
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Non-participatory state ownership of capital is de facto Stalinism. If the resources to run for government are economic, and economic resources are allocated by the state, it means incumbents are effectively invincible. Don’t make this out to be something it isn’t.
    Hey, I'm just pointing out that you responding "hey, I'm not advocating socialism" to RJ asking "but won't socialism have certain flaws?" is kind of... well, it made me chuckle.

  21. #11981
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Non-participatory state ownership of capital is de facto Stalinism. If the resources to run for government are economic, and economic resources are allocated by the state, it means incumbents are effectively invincible. Don’t make this out to be something it isn’t.
    Maybe to borrow terminology from dynamical systems theory, we could try to list the stable equilibrium points of political economy. If Market Socialism is one, perhaps Stalinism is a another--and, moreover, imperfectly implemented market socialism is not stable, and could perhaps be expected to degenerate to something we might call "Stalinism", or (Stalinism-lite), i.e., state ownership of the means to run for government? Or in the direction toward private ownership (say, if the voters are convinced to elect politicians that undermine a functioning system of Market Socialism), to capitalism.

  22. #11982
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Hey, I'm just pointing out that you responding "hey, I'm not advocating socialism" to RJ asking "but won't socialism have certain flaws?" is kind of... well, it made me chuckle.
    Stalinism is state capitalism.

  23. #11983
    It is fascinating that throughout most of the western political tradition going at least as far back as Plato (and most likely earlier), people were aware that all regimes collapse and degenerate into some sort of defective form (for Aristotle, for instance, for every sort of good regime, there is a correlative defective form). What does it say about us that we live at a time (or just after a time?) when people claim there is only one legitimate form of regime (i.e., democracy) and that once countries become democracies, they remain that way forever? What does it say about us that an understanding that regimes necessarily collapse isn't built into our understanding of politics?

  24. #11984
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Stalinism is state capitalism.
    well there's no arguing with that

  25. #11985
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Maybe to borrow terminology from dynamical systems theory, we could try to list the stable equilibrium points of political economy. If Market Socialism is one, perhaps Stalinism is a another--and, moreover, imperfectly implemented market socialism is not stable, and could perhaps be expected to degenerate to something we might call "Stalinism", or (Stalinism-lite), i.e., state ownership of the means to run for government? Or in the direction toward private ownership (say, if the voters are convinced to elect politicians that undermine a functioning system of Market Socialism), to capitalism.
    There has been work here. For example, models have shown that capital markets have two equilibrium points: absolute collectivism and absolute concentration, and anything between the two positions inevitably fails to the latter.

    The problem with Stalinism is the same as the problem with any sufficiently concentrated ownership of capital, and thatís some idiot rich kid living in Moscow/New York really has no idea how to provide what a farmer needs in Kiev/Great Falls. At least the US market economy provides some kind of feedback, despite how distorted that economy has become. Stalinism has no hope.

    But if your country is all mud huts and thatched roofs, Stalinism is probably the only way youíre getting a semiconductor fab. Like I said earlier, itís worked well for a lot of developing countries although the human costs have been terrible. So from the perspective that economies exist to advance the goals of the state, Stalinism is a miracle. From my perspective, that economies exist to enrich the lives of their participants, Stalinism is a terrible and dangerous thing.

    (Unfortunately most people are not educated enough to understand what Stalinism is.)

    I suspect youíre right though. Much like ultra concentrated capitalism, Stalinism is probably in a steady state. A bad one, but steady nonetheless.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 10-10-2018 at 06:11 PM.

  26. #11986
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    It is fascinating that throughout most of the western political tradition going at least as far back as Plato (and most likely earlier), people were aware that all regimes collapse and degenerate into some sort of defective form (for Aristotle, for instance, for every sort of good regime, there is a correlative defective form). What does it say about us that we live at a time (or just after a time?) when people claim there is only one legitimate form of regime (i.e., democracy) and that once countries become democracies, they remain that way forever? What does it say about us that an understanding that regimes necessarily collapse isn't built into our understanding of politics?
    Wishful thinking.

    Democracy and capitalism are incompatible. The crisis that transformed the Roman Republic into a dictatorship started as a class war. Plato was right but Marx was right-er.

    Personally Iíd rather give up capitalism than democracy, since really itís the former that keeps ducking over the latter throughout history, but given some of your recent posts Iím honestly not surprised that your first instinct is to accuse democracy of being the broken thing.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 10-10-2018 at 06:52 PM.

  27. #11987
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    (Unfortunately most people are not educated enough to understand what Stalinism is.)
    I suspect you’re right though. Much like ultra concentrated capitalism, Stalinism is probably in a steady state. A bad one, but steady nonetheless.
    good thing we didn't elect Hilary Clinton then (edit: /s)
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 10-10-2018 at 06:21 PM.

  28. #11988
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    Also I’m not sure where you get the idea that the fragility of democracy isn’t understood. The founding fathers straight up said you’ll need to defend your democracy by killing bad Americans. Idk. Maybe people don’t ‘get it’ but at least I always did.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 10-10-2018 at 10:15 PM.

  29. #11989
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Haha, nice. I actually played Warcraft 3 a bit back in the day, and even remember hating what in retrospect were probably very early versions of DotA maps.
    I wasn't a huge fan of the graphics at first but they grew on me. I also missed how games used to give you a full play through for each side with presumably different endings. I guess it was Starcraft that started the sequential campaign thing which, coincidentally, I'm nearing the end of the Zerg Campaign in the Remastered version.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  30. #11990
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Also I’m not sure where you get the idea that the fragility of capitalism isn’t understood. The founding fathers straight up said you’ll need to defend your democracy by killing bad Americans. Idk. Maybe people don’t ‘get it’ but at least I always did.
    More and more I've come to believe that it's slavery that is what really poisoned American democracy. First, it got people to accept inequality as a fundamental constant of American life. Having accepted this, it's easy to conclude that the only possible alternative to capitalism is Stalinism, since you take concentration of capital as a given. Second, although guns have always been a big part of American life, slavery got Americans to point them at the wrong people. Notwithstanding all this talk about needing the Second Amendment to tear down a tyrannical government, in modern life they seem to be more about threatening private citizens (mostly black).

  31. #11991
    And actually, according to this book, slavery was important in the development of industrial (American / British) capitalism itself. This seems like a very interesting topic, because of the clear analogy between being an actual slave and an exploited worker, as well as the clear and obvious electoral strategy for uniting white and black voters / workers by focusing on economic class rather than race (which now makes better sense, seeing capitalism as a "generalized", weakened version of actual slavery, and having some of the same roots in fact, as I alluded to in the last sentence).

  32. #11992
    OTOH, we have Dinesh D'Souza to tell us that slavery was not so bad. Big surprise there I guess, since it's conservatives all along who have been saying that being an exploited worker is not so bad either.
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 10-10-2018 at 09:43 PM.

  33. #11993
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    Labor exploitation is great, there are so many parties and you never have to do anything boring.

  34. #11994
    hmm

    Pretty disturbing news from Saudi Arabia atm

  35. #11995
    https://twitter.com/DamonLinker/stat...72627176292352

    It really goes to show you that outrage is rarely in proportion to how outrageous something actually is

  36. #11996
    I can't help but think of what Jon said about al-Qaida targeting the WTC because they wanted to kill as many wealthy people they could. Maybe if more American journalists died in Yemen, there'd be a massive outburst of outrage dedicated to what Saudi Arabia is doing there too?

  37. #11997
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    https://twitter.com/DamonLinker/stat...72627176292352

    It really goes to show you that outrage is rarely in proportion to how outrageous something actually is
    Yeah, I'm in agreement with you about that one. The Saudis have been accused of war crimes in Yemen for years now, but one journalist and it's front page news?

  38. #11998
    But now maybe this will hopefully create greater discussion about both.

  39. #11999
    Edit: nm, this is a non-story since all he did was retweet some idiotic nonsense.

    oh my. SMH
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 10-13-2018 at 02:34 AM.

  40. #12000

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