"Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

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"Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:07 am UTC

Title is clickbait and I don't literally mean it, but here's a related thought for your consideration:

The key insight of foundational "capitalist" theory like Wealth of Nations, though they wouldn't put it this way, is that the distribution of resources is a factor in wealth, not just quantity of resources. E.g. if I have two pens and you have two stacks of paper, trading you a pen for some paper makes us both wealthier (because our resources are more useful to us both) without actually creating more resources. That's why "capitalism" (trade) is a non-zero-sum game.

But if I have two pens and two stacks of paper, and you have nothing, and I give you a pen and a stack of paper, I have increased your wealth a lot more than I have decreased my own wealth, because marginal utility (granted the marginal utility of pens drops a lot faster than the marginal utility of paper). More abstractly, if a rich person gives a dollar to a poor person, he helps the poor person much more than he harms himself, because each additional dollar you have is worth less to you than the previous.

So "socialism" (distributive justice) operates according to the exact same key principle as "capitalism" (trade).
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:39 am UTC

I don't think you understand what capitalism and socialism really are.

What socialism really means, not what the Right-Wing says it means, is where industries are collectively owned in some fashion. This can be through worker co-ops, or it can be state run. The post office? That's a state run business and technically socialism in practice, and it works relatively well. The Tennessee Electric Power Board runs the internet in Chattanooga, and it is run extremely well, at least in comparison to the Telecoms in general, but Telecoms represent the worst excesses of Capitalism and corruption so it's not exactly a high bar. Redistribution of wealth is not necessarily part of it, at least not beyond distribution to the workers. While Scandinavian countries are often touted as socialist, in reality they aren't because the industries are all privately run even though there are quite a few worker protections.

Capitalism means that the industries are privately owned, and that people or groups of people can own industries that have other people doing the work for them. This has existed in various forms throughout history, especially in farming and mining, but only in the past few centuries did secondary sector industries owned by a few people become the norm. Capitalism does not preclude a welfare state, something which modern economists such as Maynard Keynes realized was necessary to prevent Capitalism from destroying itself.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:45 am UTC

You get that that's why I put those terms in scare-quotes and followed them up with the more precise term I actually meant, right? I was evoking a popular misconception of the terms, not using them in that misconceived way myself.

Anyway, your stated definitions of them aren't quite accurate either but the purpose of this thread isn't to debate that.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby ucim » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:13 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:But if I have two pens and two stacks of paper, and you have nothing, and I give you a pen and a stack of paper, I have increased your wealth a lot more than I have decreased my own wealth...
Yes, but not (just) for the reason you gave. I'd posit that both people increased their wealth, because now they have something to write about, and somebody to write to. It's the network effect, and the Henry Ford effect (pay workers enough so that they can afford to buy what they are making). It's why global trade is a Good Thing; it's why building nations up after winning a war with them is a Good Thing, and why Trump's moves in Korea are (probably) a Good Thing. It's also why the trade wars he's starting with Canada are a Bad Thing.

But to the OP, you are talking about how wealth is generated, in a universal sense. The labels used (socialism, communism, capitalism, and all the other -isms) are ultimately about who gets to decide how to approach the issue of wealth generation, in any specific case.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:13 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Title is clickbait and I don't literally mean it, but here's a related thought for your consideration:


Sonuva...well, it worked.

Anyways, defining capitalism as "trade" and socialism as "redistribution" is sort of right, in that both systems contain those things, generally, but both are a wee bit more than those elements. Capitalism is very heavy on private ownership which traces to the individual, and socialism, not so much. Their attitudes towards private property rights are probably more definitive than say "trade", which really both will always have.

To get at your point, in game theory terms, the two scenarios you outline are very different. A mutual benefit, being advantageous to both parties, is commonly sought out and easy to arrange and repeat. An event that is a net benefit, but which disadvantages one of the participants, still results in an adversarial relationship.

Therefore, while both can result in a net increase in utility*, they are not identical events at all.

*Ignoring resulting second order effects, which are problematic for redistribution. Those only differentiate the two events further, though, so we don't need to even refer to them to make this case.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:37 pm UTC

Capitalism is just animal instinct reified through the mechanism of money for the most part.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:49 pm UTC

Nah, it's about preventing our animal instinct from taking over. In nature, the individual human was always dependent on the group, and thus they had to cooperate if they wanted to survive. If the individual acts against the group, the group will instinctually abandon the individual and leave them to fend for themselves. Capitalism is the realization that if the structure of society is such that an individual controls an army, then the group will be dependent on that individual and the individual can act against the group without the group being able to abandon them.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Ranbot » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:05 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:But if I have two pens and two stacks of paper, and you have nothing, and I give you a pen and a stack of paper, I have increased your wealth a lot more than I have decreased my own wealth...
Yes, but not (just) for the reason you gave. I'd posit that both people increased their wealth, because now they have something to write about, and somebody to write to. It's the network effect...

Good point and agreed. The more people who can add to the network effect, the better society is overall. Which gets back to Pfhorrest's original point... Socialism and capitalism are different theoretical frameworks with the same goal of distributing wealth such that everyone in society has the opportunity to contribute to the greater social and economic network. Disagreement is in the means, not the ends.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:07 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:Good point and agreed. The more people who can add to the network effect, the better society is overall. Which gets back to Pfhorrest's original point... Socialism and capitalism are different theoretical frameworks with the same goal of distributing wealth such that everyone in society has the opportunity to contribute to the greater social and economic network. Disagreement is in the means, not the ends.


I mean, in theory, everyone wants a society that is good and prosperous, sure. But things break down really quickly beyond that point. Capitalism and socialism may both be advocated for improving society, but the proponents of each may not envision the same thing as an idealized society. As a concrete example, I dare say that Capitalists are generally rather less concerned with income equality and the like than Socialists are.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Ranbot » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Ranbot wrote:Good point and agreed. The more people who can add to the network effect, the better society is overall. Which gets back to Pfhorrest's original point... Socialism and capitalism are different theoretical frameworks with the same goal of distributing wealth such that everyone in society has the opportunity to contribute to the greater social and economic network. Disagreement is in the means, not the ends.


I mean, in theory, everyone wants a society that is good and prosperous, sure. But things break down really quickly beyond that point...


No argument. Compromise works better when sides remind each other of a common goal though. Pure capitalism and pure socialism are theoretical constructs and neither framework can operate in the real world without compromising to the other in some manner.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Leovan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:28 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:But if I have two pens and two stacks of paper, and you have nothing, and I give you a pen and a stack of paper, I have increased your wealth a lot more than I have decreased my own wealth, because marginal utility (granted the marginal utility of pens drops a lot faster than the marginal utility of paper).

I feel like capitalism will still find a good trade in this scenario. It may just be "I'll give you some pen and paper but you have to write me some letters in addition to the ones you'd write to your own friends." Which is essentially what banks do, redistribute the extra wealth to those who need it in exchange for some of the wealth generated going back to the original owner. Socialism simply implies that you should be redistributing the wealth without the extra benefit of interest, and that the incentive should be ethical instead. With the extra idea that wealth being distributed will make people happier and more productive overall.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:42 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:No argument. Compromise works better when sides remind each other of a common goal though. Pure capitalism and pure socialism are theoretical constructs and neither framework can operate in the real world without compromising to the other in some manner.


I'm not sure it is a common goal, though. Sure, both sides can agree that they want the world to be a better place, but if they don't mean the same thing when they say "better place", it's not really the same goal, is it?

Leovan wrote:Socialism simply implies that you should be redistributing the wealth without the extra benefit of interest, and that the incentive should be ethical instead. With the extra idea that wealth being distributed will make people happier and more productive overall.


Eh, in practice, Socialism usually cannot rely merely on spreading the idea that one should do something, because it is ethical. Hell, most religions are more persuasive than Socialism at getting folks to voluntarily change their habits.

Nah, Socialism is forcible redistribution every time. Not the carrot, but the stick.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:51 pm UTC

That's not what banks do, that's what employers do. That's trading goods for services. What banks (and all rentiers) do is let you borrow the pen and paper for a while to write your letters, but then you have to give the pen (with ink refilled) and (an equal amount of unused) paper back, plus you have to write a letter for the bank too.

Also to clarify the original point, it was that both trade and charity (to cut to the chase and stop euphemizing) increase wealth without even creating new resources, just by shuffling them around to a more useful distribution. It was mostly just an interesting observation, but if it had to have a moral to it, it would be that "non-zero-sum game" is not just a point in favor of "capitalism" (free trade) but also of "socialism" (wealth redistribution).

And I stand by that it's not the point of this thread, but since everyone's asserting what they think capitalism and socialism really mean, I may as well give my take: socialism is when capital is owned by those who use it, capitalism is when the owners and the workers are separate classes. "Socialism" is not synonymous with "command economy", and "capitalism" is not synonymous with "free market"; state capitalism is a thing (a very bad thing, also called corporativism or [literal] fascism), and libertarian socialism is a thing too (a very good thing that needs way more popular exposure). Individualism vs collectivism is a similarly orthogonal issue.

I've argued plenty before that that "what banks do" above, and how it differs from simple employment (trading goods for services), is what perpetuates capitalism in an otherwise free market, and that without that socialism would have no need for the state.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:17 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Nah, it's about preventing our animal instinct from taking over. In nature, the individual human was always dependent on the group, and thus they had to cooperate if they wanted to survive. If the individual acts against the group, the group will instinctually abandon the individual and leave them to fend for themselves. Capitalism is the realization that if the structure of society is such that an individual controls an army, then the group will be dependent on that individual and the individual can act against the group without the group being able to abandon them.


So your argument against it being instinct is that Alphas enjoy asymmetrical privileges disproportionate to their contributions? That doesn't seem to contradict anything I said. Rather, it seems to make Capitalism into something worse than mere animal instinct, an amplification of it in all the wrong ways.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:18 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Nah, Socialism is forcible redistribution every time. Not the carrot, but the stick.


No, redistribution implies that it was distributed, taken away, and given to others. Socialism is not redistribution, it's simply distributing the resources justly to begin with. You're talking about social democracy.

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:So your argument against it being instinct is that Alphas enjoy asymmetrical privileges disproportionate to their contributions? That doesn't seem to contradict anything I said. Rather, it seems to make Capitalism into something worse than mere animal instinct, an amplification of it in all the wrong ways.


It's because the features that make it capitalism are social structures that exist to combat our instincts.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:28 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Nah, Socialism is forcible redistribution every time. Not the carrot, but the stick.


No, redistribution implies that it was distributed, taken away, and given to others. Socialism is not redistribution, it's simply distributing the resources justly to begin with. You're talking about social democracy.


Those doing the distribution are never merely giving out things they themselves have created. There's always a step of taking, first. There's always a prior distribution that socialism seeks to change.

Pfhorrest wrote:I've argued plenty before that that "what banks do" above, and how it differs from simple employment (trading goods for services), is what perpetuates capitalism in an otherwise free market, and that without that socialism would have no need for the state.


The state generally does quite a lot, and it isn't only loan enforcement. That's a viewpoint far more extreme than the most libertarian viewpoints. National defense, legal systems for dealing with violence are pretty universally state functions, in addition to contract enforcement.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:29 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:It's because the features that make it capitalism are social structures that exist to combat our instincts.


But they don't. At all. To the point I'm not even convinced that capitalism as it's ever been expounded theoretically actually exists, and won't exist until impartial AI are capable of actually objectively applying pattern recognition to things like hiring and salary decisions.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:34 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:
Thesh wrote:It's because the features that make it capitalism are social structures that exist to combat our instincts.


But they don't. At all. To the point I'm not even convinced that capitalism as it's ever been expounded theoretically actually exists, and won't exist until impartial AI are capable of actually objectively applying pattern recognition to things like hiring and salary decisions.


Capitalism wasn't created to "combat instincts". It emerged as a result of them, and is a product of folks' desire for success. Not that it fulfills every wish or anything, but combating human instincts isn't...much of a reason for any economic system. People have whatever instincts they have, economies merely make use of instincts differently.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:
Thesh wrote:It's because the features that make it capitalism are social structures that exist to combat our instincts.


But they don't. At all. To the point I'm not even convinced that capitalism as it's ever been expounded theoretically actually exists, and won't exist until impartial AI are capable of actually objectively applying pattern recognition to things like hiring and salary decisions.


Capitalism wasn't created to "combat instincts". It emerged as a result of them, and is a product of folks' desire for success. Not that it fulfills every wish or anything, but combating human instincts isn't...much of a reason for any economic system. People have whatever instincts they have, economies merely make use of instincts differently.


I'm saying that if Capitalism really maximized utility it would look very different from how it looks now.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:42 pm UTC

To the discussion between Dreamcatcher and Thesh: I think Dreamcatcher's point is that selfishness and greed are natural human instincts, and capitalism plays into those. I think Thesh's point is that cooperation and sanction of the uncooperative are also natural human instincts, and that capitalism plays against those. I say that those are both different aspects of human instinct, and that capitalism plays up one at the expense of the other, creating something that is ultimately more "unnatural" than it is "natural" by the standards of prehistoric human social behavior, wherein there was certainly greed and selfishness and inequality to an extent, but it simply was not possible for greed to thrive unchecked on such a scale as it does now, because the greedy would be outcast and die without social support.

To the discussion between Tyndmyr and Thesh: to get from a capitalist distribution to a socialist one doesn't necessarily require taking by force (if, as I maintain, natural market forces in the absence of distorting factors like rent and interest would tend to redistribute wealth to the workers automatically); but even if it did, we can't ignore the prior history of redistribution from the poor to the rich. At the start of history there wasn't a small fraction of people who owned most of the world and everyone else subservient to them: everything was the common heritage of mankind. Over thousands of years we've gone from that to the present imbalance, and there's no way you can argue that every step of that transition was nothing but free and fair uncoerced voluntary exchanges between equal players in the market. Given that theft-laden history, a reasonable argument can be made excusing some counter-theft to set things right.

Here's a thought experiment for anyone who feels like doing some math and looking up some numbers: add up the total value of capital in the world today, divide it by the world population, and multiply that by the average annual rate of return on an index fund. That figure is more or less how much wealth is currently being transferred from the poor to the rich per capita per year on account of a nonuniform distribution of capital ownership, completely independent of any kind of earned income.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:51 pm UTC

Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I'm saying that if Capitalism really maximized utility it would look very different from how it looks now.


Maximized utility is not a reasonable expectation for any economic system in existence.

It's more of capitalism is functional. Pretty much nobody can dispute that it works. You can have different models, sure, and they work...worse, generally. But in practice, nothing else has produced the wealth that specialization and trade has. Elements like "owning the means of production" are ideological goals, not practical ones.

Capitalism happens to use, in some respect or another, pretty much all human motivations, both good and ill. Cooperation is definitely part of a capitalistic model. Competition is often overstated in comparison.

Pfhorrest wrote:At the start of history there wasn't a small fraction of people who owned most of the world and everyone else subservient to them: everything was the common heritage of mankind.


Ownership in practical terms has generally been unequal, to the best of our knowledge. Your tribe or country has the nice weapons, you get the prime pickings. History is not exceedingly fair, even with winners having generally attempted to frame themselves as such. There have indeed been many, many past thefts. Redistribution schemes are rarely any attempt to rectify past wrongs, but merely a way to justify taking from those who have a lot. No attempt is made to address individuals, or even generally families who have wronged others. It's wealth they're after, not fixing wrongs.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:53 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Those doing the distribution are never merely giving out things they themselves have created. There's always a step of taking, first. There's always a prior distribution that socialism seeks to change.


The capitalist distribution itself required force to take, and requires force to maintain. Socialism is simply returning stolen property, while reducing the amount of force necessary to maintain the economy. As for taking what others have created, most workers only get paid the value of their labor; it's only the rules written by property owners that state the property owners, by default, own the product of the labor of the worker. It's only the rules of property owners that state that the property owner is due money for merely owning property.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:06 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Those doing the distribution are never merely giving out things they themselves have created. There's always a step of taking, first. There's always a prior distribution that socialism seeks to change.


The capitalist distribution itself required force to take, and requires force to maintain. Socialism is simply returning stolen property, while reducing the amount of force necessary to maintain the economy. As for taking what others have created, most workers only get paid the value of their labor; it's only the rules written by property owners that state the property owners, by default, own the product of the labor of the worker. It's only the rules of property owners that state that the property owner is due money for merely owning property.


There are many things here in need of correction.

In some cases, sure. Colonialism and the like has many nasty chapters. However, plenty of people who are well to do in the modern day trace their money to no such enterprise, having become wealthy solely through pretty straightforward trade. They're not stealing property. The modern economy may not even be reliant on traditional property at all...society is no longer primarily agrarian/industrial. And socialism is not attempting to right historical wrongs. They do not tax me because of what I have done, nor do they distribute the money based on past wrongs. That's all a smoke screen.

I also dare say that the amount of force found in governments has little or nothing to do with the amount necessary to maintain capitalism. Police departments, by and large, are not debt collectors, and very little of what they do could be considered intrinsic to capitalism. A great deal of it serves goals such as moral objectives set forth by religion, which is not essential to either system. The economy needs fairly little force to make it work.

Property owners under capitalism are not due money for merely owning property. They gain money only if another agrees to rent it. There's no default wealth given additionally just for owning a thing. Likewise, if someone else is making something with your property, the nature of the agreement determines how you benefit. If someone's paying rent, then cool, they get the bennies of whatever they do with the rented thing. If they're doing work for hire, they're trading work for money. In either case, it's just whatever is agreed upon, society is not dictated by the "default" you claim it is.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Dr34m(4+(h3r » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Dr34m(4+(h3r wrote:I'm saying that if Capitalism really maximized utility it would look very different from how it looks now.


Maximized utility is not a reasonable expectation for any economic system in existence.

It's more of capitalism is functional. Pretty much nobody can dispute that it works. You can have different models, sure, and they work...worse, generally. But in practice, nothing else has produced the wealth that specialization and trade has. Elements like "owning the means of production" are ideological goals, not practical ones.

Capitalism happens to use, in some respect or another, pretty much all human motivations, both good and ill. Cooperation is definitely part of a capitalistic model. Competition is often overstated in comparison.


I'm not talking about "owning the means of production" or any other ideological goals. I am talking about the fact that Capitalism as managed by animals leaves massive amounts of money on the table, so to speak. The problem is not too much capitalism, but too little.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:At the start of history there wasn't a small fraction of people who owned most of the world and everyone else subservient to them: everything was the common heritage of mankind.


Ownership in practical terms has generally been unequal, to the best of our knowledge. Your tribe or country has the nice weapons, you get the prime pickings.

If you're looking at a period of time where quality of weapons could be expected to differ notably between neighboring tribes, you're already looking much later than "the start of history".
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:At the start of history there wasn't a small fraction of people who owned most of the world and everyone else subservient to them: everything was the common heritage of mankind.


Ownership in practical terms has generally been unequal, to the best of our knowledge. Your tribe or country has the nice weapons, you get the prime pickings.

If you're looking at a period of time where quality of weapons could be expected to differ notably between neighboring tribes, you're already looking much later than "the start of history".


Of course quality of weapons was unequal in history. Just because you invented fire doesn't mean the neighboring tribe does as well. Weapon development has generally been at least somewhat asymmetrical. Sure, sure, they'll copy you eventually, but the earliest human history we know of is violent. There's really no point in historical time that predates humans killing each other and taking each other's stuff.

Shit, even other primates get into tribe vs tribe conflicts, all the way down to killing the infants and taking over their turf.

There is no time in history that predates theft, or in which everyone had an equal share. Yeah, the nice patch of the jungle vs the less desirable patch may seem like a pretty similar state of affairs relative to our modern lifestyle, but it certainly isn't to those fighting over it.

The main difference that history gives us is that, thanks to logistics, we're able to organize war on a larger scale these days. If you want to look to the earliest history for moral standing, it doesn't offer much. The only real lessons are that power is great, and you want to be part of a large family group.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:28 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:...


You can always find a way to justify capitalism in the framework of capitalism. The problem is that the vast majority of people have no choice in who owns what property, and even those who supposedly made it on their own made it using stolen property and underpaid workers who only agreed to such low wages because people with guns tell them that they are not allowed to work without permission. They also only made so much because they were paid in a different fashion from everyone else; different rules applied to them, and so they were able to make far far more than their labor was valued.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:37 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:...


You can always find a way to justify capitalism in the framework of capitalism. The problem is that the vast majority of people have no choice in who owns what property, and even those who supposedly made it on their own made it using stolen property and underpaid workers who only agreed to such low wages because people with guns tell them that they are not allowed to work without permission. They also only made so much because they were paid in a different fashion from everyone else; different rules applied to them, and so they were able to make far far more than their labor was valued.


Of all the job interviews I've ever been to, I've required the permission of people with guns for exactly none of them. The same is true of simply working for oneself. Nobody with a gun is going to show up to put you out of business unless you go endanger someone. Or sell drugs, I guess.

Very few people have stolen property. Stealing's not actually that great of a profession these days. More likely to get you caught up in an legal system that'll disadvantage you significantly than make you rich. Sure, sure, if you steal and get away with it, you can do great, but that's a high risk option.

Those who get rich do so largely as a result of employing a bunch of people. Entirely through choice, no guns required.

Anyways, the framework of capitalism is not in any way relevant to the disproof of socialism's "justification" because of prior crimes. If socialism is not in any way interested in fixing those crimes, merely in engaging in them as well, then it enjoys no moral superiority as a result.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:56 pm UTC

Why did you have to interview; why couldn't you simply work for yourself?
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby trpmb6 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:11 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Why did you have to interview; why couldn't you simply work for yourself?


For a lot of people the answer to that question is "because it was convenient" or "easier"

I work for myself as a consultant. Working for yourself adds a layer of complexity when you have to pay your own taxes and follow government regulations and laws. That being said, I truly believe that in most cases all workers should be consultants. But that's a different topic of discussion.

The challenge is, the bigger a company is, the easier it is for them to leverage resources - making them more efficient and potentially cheaper than me. I am able to be a consultant because these bigger companies often value the experience I can provide in exchange for the higher cost. So they value what I have to offer. Which benefits both of us.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby ucim » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:00 pm UTC

trpmb6 wrote:That being said, I truly believe that in most cases all workers should be consultants.
Good god no! As a consultant, you are responsible for your own marketing, your own bookkeeping, your own {everything about running a business}, and most people are not good at that. As an employee, you can just concentrate on the thing you're good at. It's part of specialization and trade, and makes business more efficient.

That said, some people are good at all that, and do like the additional freedom it provides. For them, being a consultant rather than an employee is better. But this is hardly a universal thing.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby trpmb6 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:12 pm UTC

ucim wrote:That said, some people are good at all that, and do like the additional freedom it provides. For them, being a consultant rather than an employee is better. But this is hardly a universal thing.

Jose


I'm one of those people. I LOVE being my own boss. I have lower overhead than most companies so I can pay myself more. I dictate the billing rates. I set my hours and benefits. A bonus for me is my wife has great health care so I don't have to provide health care for myself. Which means I get to pocket an extra 10-20k in cash that a company would normally be keeping for themselves (since I would opt out of their health care plan but not see a penny of that returned to me in any form). That simple fact alone makes it 100% worth consulting for me. It means having to spend the 30 or so minutes each month filing paperwork with various government agencies (at least 3 each month, 4 every quarter) worth it. A lot of people complain about the burden of doing all that government related work. But really once you get it down, it goes pretty fast. Used to take me an hour or two each month. Now it's easy.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:13 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Why did you have to interview; why couldn't you simply work for yourself?


You definitely can work for yourself, plenty of people do.

There's a complexity issue in terms of taxation in the US, agreed, but that isn't an essential part of capitalism, and mostly, those aspects are things pro-capitalist folks would love to cut.

However, if we disregard government specific stuff, the main advantage in working for others rather than yourself is in specialization. Running a business often requires a number of skills that an individual may not have or wish to acquire before earning money. Many people dislike things like public speaking or advertising, and prefer to carve out a specific niche. Neither choice is intrinsically right or wrong, of course. Capitalism doesn't force one to be an entrepreneur, but it certainly allows it.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Ranbot » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:13 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Why did you have to interview; why couldn't you simply work for yourself?

"Simply work for yourself" works pretty well in low-tech agrarian societies. If you want to live with the benefits of any modern infrastructure and efficiencies, that doesn't happen when everyone chooses the "simply work for yourself" option. Functioning economies and social systems (capitalist or socialist) foster collaboration for the greater good, or as Ucim put it above, the network effect. Consider the computer or mobile device in front of you... if everyone in our economy/society only ever worked for themselves, do you honestly think you would be reading this post and able to respond immediately despite long distances between us? Or next time you get a drink of water, consider how thousands of generations of humans toiled to find and carry clean water to their homes/huts/caves, and now it comes out of your faucet conveniently and cheaply, so you can go do other valuable things with your time.
Spoiler:
....like arguing in online forums. :lol: Just kidding... :wink:

Thresh, despite your flamey style of making points, I think I do understand where you are coming from.... the legacy of capitalism carries a ton of ugly baggage [as does socialism too]. However, you seem to focus on relatively small details that you make you [justifiably] angry, and it clouds the larger picture of humanity, society, economies, etc., which has many positive aspects too.
Last edited by Ranbot on Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:34 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Ranbot » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:32 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:That being said, I truly believe that in most cases all workers should be consultants.
Good god no! As a consultant, you are responsible for your own marketing, your own bookkeeping, your own {everything about running a business}, and most people are not good at that. As an employee, you can just concentrate on the thing you're good at. It's part of specialization and trade, and makes business more efficient.

That said, some people are good at all that, and do like the additional freedom it provides. For them, being a consultant rather than an employee is better. But this is hardly a universal thing.

Jose

Right... I am a consultant that works for a ~1,000-employee engineering firm. The company can pool resources for me so that I can specialize in what I and my co-workers are best at doing. When my specialized knowledge doesn't suffice for a project, I can walk down the hall or call a co-worker who has the knowledge to pick-up where my knowledge ends. The company can obtain equipment and software that allows me to do my job more easily, which I couldn't get on my own. When I drive by a property that I worked on (which happens regularly) I'm still proud to have been part of that even I didn't do it all myself. And bookkeeping, I'm so happy there are others who can deal with and/or help with business expenses, invoicing, taxes, legal issues, insurance, etc. I didn't go to college for that shit... and it's not that those things aren't important things to do, they absolutely are, but it's not important to my personal mental well-being (not directly at least).

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Thesh » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:Why did you have to interview; why couldn't you simply work for yourself?


You definitely can work for yourself, plenty of people do.


Not everyone can, is the point you are deliberately missing. Statistically, some people will be forced to work for others. How much power they have to get money is largely based on their hereditary wealth. The people who "made it on their own" are suspiciously all white males who seem to have benefited from injustices throughout history. The decedents of people who enslaved and wrote laws to limit opportunity for others to have equal access to the means of production to minimize their political and economic power through whatever means possible, are the people who all "made it on their own". Look, you can always justify it to yourself, because you have literally defined right and wrong by the capitalist means of ownership, and you refuse to accept any other possibility because that would make you a dirty socialist.

The question is would we democratically choose this over the alternative if we could see what they both were or couldn't see what either looked like, and we all had perfect information but no idea of our status in either system? If not, then you can't use your lame-ass fucking "mutually beneficial relationship" bullshit argument. I'm pretty sure you know your argument is bullshit, anyway, because you accept that people can be so desperate as to sign contracts that screw them over because the alternative is death i.e. indentured servitude.

I don't know why you keep this up. You know you are dishonest in your arguments, as I've stated above. I know you will never accept any other possibility than capitalism is the best system, and no matter what will believe that the inequality is made up for by wealth creation, with no evidence whatsoever, purely because that's the only way you can cling to your capitalist religion, which you do on faith alone. So why even argue this stuff? Why is it that you must get into every discussion of socialism when you know you are not open to it on any grounds whatsoever? To the point that you will be dishonest than let an argument go unchallenged?
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Leovan » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:14 pm UTC

Part of the reason employees usually make less than consultants is also that the company is buying your skills in bulk. Instead of a 200 hour contact, or just an hourly basis, they are buying the next x years of time you offer on the market, lowering your overhead costs of marketing, sales, bookkeeping, etc to a bare minimum, allowing you to give them a 40% or more discount.
But yes, more employees should see themselves as independent consultants offering their skills. It would make them feel less powerless and make them more likely to demand raises (increases in cost of material usually make companies raise their prices so increase in living expenses should make you raise yours). But most people are unskilled in the overhead tasks, or they're afraid they are, so they are willing to make less profit per hour offered, in exchange for more bulk in sales (aka keeping their jobs).

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:18 pm UTC

Statistically, a lot of things will happen. Statistically, most people will get married. That doesn't make those marriages forced.

Perfect information isn't a real thing. It doesn't exist under any system. Information, like anything else, is valuable, and takes work to create. If you insist a person must have perfect information about everything in order to be free, then by that definition, nobody is free. In socialism or otherwise. It's a meaningless distinction.

Thresh wrote:I don't know why you keep this up. You know you are dishonest in your arguments, as I've stated above


What sort of dishonesty is involved here?

You're diving headlong into accusations, but you're not really bothering to justify them. Sure, I'm not a fan of socialism, but why should that mean I can't converse about it? I'm not really a fan of Scientology, either. The only sorts of people who would try to say that you shouldn't talk about it unless you are open to it are the believers who can't abide a challenge to their worldview.

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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Perfect information isn't a real thing. It doesn't exist under any system. Information, like anything else, is valuable, and takes work to create. If you insist a person must have perfect information about everything in order to be free, then by that definition, nobody is free. In socialism or otherwise. It's a meaningless distinction.


I think you missed Thesh's allusion to the Rawlsian veil of ignorance.
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Re: "Socialism" and "capitalism" are the same

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:07 pm UTC

Ah, sure. On average, the most capitalist countries in the world are also the wealthiest, which correlates with a lot of positive outcomes. If my wealth were to be determined randomly among those possible, I'd generally want to choose the system with the highest average wealth, yeah? Not saying money can buy everything, but it certainly can buy a great deal.

Additionally, as wealth is helpful for the generation of additional wealth, such a system will enjoy further advantages throughout my expected lifetime, and anyone who intends to have kids will likely care about additional future growth. Potential for future growth is likely even more important than immediate outcome, unless the outcome is bad enough that I won't survive to see that future growth.

Now, if looking at real world countries, you do run into some definitional issues as far as what countries are capitalist, and which are socialist, as real world examples are fairly messy. One could use a ranking such as the Heritage organization's measurements of economic freedom* as a proxy for capitalism. None of them are exactly perfect, but broad strokes, they're alright. They rate countries such as Cuba, North Korea, etc poorly in economic freedom, and I don't think I'd much want to live in any such economy. I think it'd be reasonable to rank them as far less capitalist as well.

The same is apparently true in general, as immigration is definitely a good deal more popular to successful, fairly capitalist economies. If a country gets particularly authoritarian, communistic, or socialistic, they're generally not exceedingly good places to go.

*https://www.heritage.org/index/ranking


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