Economics Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

S'task

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True, but state ownership is technically social ownership, which is one of the core principles of Socialism. It just doesn't look like Socialism because it's such a tiny part of it in isolation; like taking a single Lego brick from someone else's project, and using it in your own.
This is one of the greatest tricks socialist have every played, and anti-socialists have played into. The idea that any form of government action or ownership is "socialism" and thus originated with and represents them.

In reality, that isn't the case in the least. Most functions of government, even the idea of governments owning the means of production, predate Marx. Hell, that core one, the idea that government owns the means of production, actually predates Marx by thousands of years, as it's a core component of the primary Bronze Age economic system known as the "Palace Economy". Writing as we know it literally developed in response to the demands of maintaining such an insane centralized system, and the Bronze Age collapse was, in part, amplified and caused by the failure of those centrally planned economies.

As for his ideal communist utopia? It's really just a repackaging of the Christian view of heaven. No wants, everyone free from labor, etc. Yeah, it's just the Christian ideal of heaven stripped of God and religion and claimed to be makeable on Earth.

No, the reason for the continual appeal of Communism is much more simple. It's not because it has "good ideas". Heck, I'm not even convinced Marxist histography is that useful, as it appears to reject what people say about their own actions and instead replace their motives with "Class Struggle" propaganda. Seriously, take a look at the massive and stark difference between the traditional historical understanding of the American Revolution and the Marxist understanding of it. Looking at economics and their role in history is hardly unique to Marxist histography, that's ALWAYS been a core part of looking at history; however, the emphasis on class struggle is quite ahistorical, as most people did not, and do not, see themselves primarily as members of an economic class, nor do all their actions conform to pursuing class interests.

Going back before I got distracted rejecting marxist history crap, the core appeal of Socialism is quite simple: it plays to people's Envy. Throughout history, and for the foreseeable future, there are people who have more than others, and there are numerous people who resent the rich for that. This envy, that resentment that others have more than you, is a core indicator of support for socialism and while compassion for the poor also does play a role, it is the combination of resentment and compassion that serves as the highest indicator.

Envy isn't going away, thus, the appeal of Socialism will never truly go away either.
 

CarlManvers2019

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Envy isn't going away, thus, the appeal of Socialism will never truly go away either.
I think there’s also the appeal of getting to be egotistic about being “righteous/compassionate” and submitting to some “Philosopher King” or even thinking yourself as one

In a world that acknowledges strength, intelligence, experience, wisdom & merit for when it is proven. Even by frankly horrible people, these guys may not get so far ahead.

I’m pretty sure guys like Zoe Quinn & Anita Sarkeesian are sorta just preying on people’s en masse weakness and desire to follow a cult, they’re not master manipulators, they just have a following of dumb crazy people
 

Hlaalu Agent

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I think there’s also the appeal of getting to be egotistic about being “righteous/compassionate” and submitting to some “Philosopher King” or even thinking yourself as one

In a world that acknowledges strength, intelligence, experience, wisdom & merit for when it is proven. Even by frankly horrible people, these guys may not get so far ahead.

I’m pretty sure guys like Zoe Quinn & Anita Sarkeesian are sorta just preying on people’s en masse weakness and desire to follow a cult, they’re not master manipulators, they just have a following of dumb crazy people
I you want a proper philosopher King, you'd probably have to drag them out of their department and compel them to rule for the common good. Sort of like how Plato theorized.
 

Hlaalu Agent

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A guy who does NOT want the job at all?
More or less how things work, though there are better ways of compulsion such as duty. Think of the man having to enter the cave. Also, think of it this way, are the people who actually seek power fit to rule? Or is it the people who do not seek it?

I take it you haven't read "The Republic"?
 

CarlManvers2019

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More or less how things work, though there are better ways of compulsion such as duty. Think of the man having to enter the cave. Also, think of it this way, are the people who actually seek power fit to rule? Or is it the people who do not seek it?

I take it you haven't read "The Republic"?
Nope.

The people who seek power, even those who may say or think they're doing good, may not want to relinquish hold of it

Those who don't seek it, but have the ability to do so, may just treat it as a job and not some ultimate goal

Both will probably be "tested" when it comes to how they feel when under power, if they feel they have to be responsible for so many things and actually take things seriously and as if the failures of others are theirs as well, then MAYBE you got a decent leader
 

Hlaalu Agent

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Nope.

The people who seek power, even those who may say or think they're doing good, may not want to relinquish hold of it

Those who don't seek it, but have the ability to do so, may just treat it as a job and not some ultimate goal

Both will probably be "tested" when it comes to how they feel when under power, if they feel they have to be responsible for so many things and actually take things seriously and as if the failures of others are theirs as well, then MAYBE you got a decent leader
You are taking a Plato joke far too seriously.

You should really read "The Republic" since though you'd probably disagree with Plato it is still food for thought. I 90% don't agree with him, but it still got me to think.
 

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The thing about Socialism is that it does work. Just not at the national level. Most nuclear families essentially operate on the "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" principle and work just fine. Small villages can work collectively and have many times. By the time you get to county levels the cracks start showing and nations just plain don't work without causing disaster after disaster. Notably the most successful communist nations tend to be tiny (see: Cuba, which is also advantaged in having a release valve to get rid of dissenters to the US). Larger countries that succeed invariably turn out to be "Communism except also very Capitalist under the hood."

A hefty chunk of people not understanding how various governments work comes from them imagining that the government and it's budget is basically like their house and pocketbook, except bigger. It's not of course, at the level of governments even fundamental rules change. This is why, for instance, people may panic about how we're going to pay back the national debt, not realizing that the debt isn't actually significant because the US is never going to grow old. Consequently the rules of a normal human who needs to get their debt down and savings up to retire don't apply. A moderate but perpetual debt is no big deal, barring complete collapse* the US will still be there to pay whatever bits are due this year in 2050, and 2150, and 2500.

Similarly individuals who basically live according to a reasonable "I share my belongings with my spouse and pay for my kid's food, clothing, shelter, and toys" system doesn't always realize that at the scale of two hundred million people, that easy, simple system quits working.

*And in the event of complete collapse nobody's paying that debt anyway so it's moot.


 

Lord Invictus

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I'd also say you need post scarcity. Basically creating matter out of zero point energy or something.

If you become that advanced-without scarcity, then capitalist economics which functions on the basis of the relationship between demand and supply no longer applies. If you have infinite supply(or practically infinite anyway), demand no matter how large-will never match it. Thus an abundance of resources can be distributed to everyone.
 

CarlManvers2019

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I’ve said it before, I think the Amish would do socialism better than them due to living relatively small and caring for each other due to knowing each other

Ironically, I think guys like the Amish would be put into Gulags or made to do forced labor or give away their stuff to complete strangers in large quantities
 

The Name of Love

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Building on the "socialism is based on envy/resentment" line of reasoning, I bring in what may be one of the Dissident Right's jewels: the analysis of Leninism as a democratic tactic. According to this analysis, Leninism is the tactic of using the desire for status among people who are the lowest in society to create permanently loyal party members.

Here's how it works: when capitalism comes into a previously non-capitalistic society, there will be winners and losers. The losers are usually going to be rural peasants and ex-peasants urban laborers who are used to a simple, highly religious life on the land (think the Russian peasants under the tsar). The Party comes in and offers these people higher status in the regime in exchange for higher status in the new regime.

Once the new Party regime takes power, Lenin emerges as the leader and starts purging people until he and his supporters are the ones in charge. Once their place in the hierarchy is ensured, the rhetoric of that society becomes frozen and the society does not become more radical. It doesn't need to. The peasants are now dependent on the Party for their newfound status. If they ever stop being loyal, then, as Lenin will remind them, the regime will collapse and they'll be back to where they were pre-revolution.

What the Dissident Right did with this analysis of Leninism was applied it to the modern west, particularly the "cultural Marxist" view and came up with the idea of "Bioleninism." Essentially, it's the same principle as Leninism, but it substitutes violent revolution with democratic gradualism and the peasants with "a coalition of the weird, inadequate, foreign and not-quite-fit-for-civilized-society."

Read here if you want an explanation of the idea. I find it convincing.
 

Scottty

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The idea that government control is the same thing as social control seems to be assuming something: that the government in question is representative of the population as a whole and ruling in terms of the wishes and needs of the ordinary people.

This is not historically true of most actual governments.
 

The Name of Love

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The idea that government control is the same thing as social control seems to be assuming something: that the government in question is representative of the population as a whole and ruling in terms of the wishes and needs of the ordinary people.

This is not historically true of most actual governments.
The idea that the government represents the people's will is a cornerstone of modern liberal-democratic politics. If "most actual governments" don't actually do this, then "most actual governments" aren't legitimate under the modern liberal-democratic theory.
 

Lord Invictus

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The question then becomes "who are the people", is it the whole population? The voters? Eligible voters? Upstanding citizens of good character? The whole world?

Governments may be responsive towards and thus legitimate in the eyes of certain sections of the population while being illegitimate in the eyes of other sectors of society.
 

Scottty

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The idea that the government represents the people's will is a cornerstone of modern liberal-democratic politics. If "most actual governments" don't actually do this, then "most actual governments" aren't legitimate under the modern liberal-democratic theory.
Quite. Which is why they have to go into denial about the nature of some current governments in the world.
But this "cornerstone" is for many of them one of those premises that they take so much for granted that they never think about them, even though all of their thinking is built on them.
 

The Name of Love

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Quite. Which is why they have to go into denial about the nature of some current governments in the world.
But this "cornerstone" is for many of them one of those premises that they take so much for granted that they never think about them, even though all of their thinking is built on them.
It's very easy to control someone if you trick them into thinking they are in charge. That's the reason democracy is so successful.
 

CarlManvers2019

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It's very easy to control someone if you trick them into thinking they are in charge. That's the reason democracy is so successful.


You don’t even have to hold a gun up to someone’s head to get them to obey

Hell, if the majority of people decide to unilaterally ignore you even in the most desperate of(your)times, they show they have power


Though in the end, guys like the guy with the sword, end up following whom they believe or know to be in charge or have power or decide to follow on their own choice
 

Lord Invictus

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@CarlManvers2019 The guys with the sword(or guns) ultimately are dependent on legitimacy as much as everyone else. And need to be fed, payed and supported.

In the modern era-the state has a monopoly on violence, whereas in medieval Westeros-there is no modern state and thus poles of legitimacy are split on different grounds.

The question becomes, if the voters decide, who are the voters? Do some voters have more sway than others? And it is not even always the majority.

The mechanisms and institutions of government may be controlled by a minority, not even discussing the broader institutions of society-which even now are unresponsive and even hostile to large sections of the electorate.
 

CarlManvers2019

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@Lord Invictus
I’m honestly wondering what would happen if the Lords made it so that only Knights(NOT Hedge Knights), Men-At-Arms, Nobility & acknowledged bastards could own and use weapons

Also, I think the guy with the gun, depending on the circumstances can force people to give him stuff. But yeah, recognition at the very least as a protector, gives them legitimacy in the eyes of the people until they cement their powers more
 

The Name of Love

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You don’t even have to hold a gun up to someone’s head to get them to obey

Hell, if the majority of people decide to unilaterally ignore you even in the most desperate of(your)times, they show they have power
I disagree. There's an iron law of oligarchy that, whenever a group of people gather, there will always be a small group of elites at the top deciding everything.

We must also keep in mind that the modern man is taught what to think by large apparatuses - mass media, mass education, etc. - that control many aspects of our lives. These factors, I believe, lead me to conclude that "the People" don't actually decide things.
 
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