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Bluenami

The defamation of socialism

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FWD to 57:28 if it's not already cued.

 

Transcript:

 

We should recognize what I think is true, I've written about it plenty myself, that the Bolshevik Revolution, was really a coup, was really a counter-revolution, which placed state power in the hands of a highly authoritarian anti-socialist group which within a couple of months had destroyed the factory councils, had destroyed the Soviets, had dismissed the Constituent Assembly (because they knew they were gonna lose) and have eliminated every popular movement; and had done exactly what Trotsky said: turned the country into a labor army under the control of the maximal leader. That was mid 1918. And since then there hasn't been a shred of socialism in the Soviet Union!

Now of course they called it "socialism", but they also called it "democracy", you know, they were "people's democracies", "the purest form of democracy", they were "socialism". The West, the big propaganda system in the world, of course, just laughed at the "democracy" part, but it loved the "socialism" part because that's a way to defame socialism. So if you think that the fall of the Soviet Union is a blow to socialism, you ought to also think, on the same grounds, that it's a blow to democracy. After all, they call themselves democracies too, so why isn't it a blow to democracy? Makes as much sense. It's only when it gets filtered through the Western propaganda system that it's not a blow to democracy, but it is a blow to socialism. 

But, you know, there's actually no reason to play that game. Whether you play it in Dissent [the magazine] or in the Nation [the magazine] or on the Right or anywhere else, expose it for the fraud that it is. 

[Someone asks question]

What ideology? The ideology of totalitarianism? Yeah it's deeply flawed. I mean, they were the initial modern totalitarians. 

[Asks another question]

It doesn't have anything to do with socialism. They destroyed socialism within weeks! You know. They didn't wait. By 1918 it was finished. And they knew it. You know. Like, it's not a secret; they knew it. I mean, in fact, Lenin as soon as, you know, as soon as he sort of got grips of things, he moved to what he called "state capitalism". Which is what it was. It had nothing to do with socialism. 

Socialism... I mean we can argue about... there's no point arguing about what the word means, but what it always meant at the core was that producers take control of production, working people take control of production: what's sometimes called industrial democracy, that was the absolute core of it. Well, you know, there was more socialism in Germany, in Western Europe, than there was in Russia. 

No, Russia's about the most anti-socialist place you can imagine, since 1918. It had wage-labor, had super-exploitation, had no element of worker's control or involvement or participation. What's that got to do with socialism? It's the exact opposite on every point. 

As I say, the West liked to call that "socialism" while laughing at the fact that they called themselves "Democrats", but that's for purely propaganda reasons. I mean, unless you're committed to being part of the Western propaganda system, there's nothing to say about that issue, except to laugh.

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I think the reason flawed examples of socialism have tarnished the name (while flawed examples of democracy do not) is that there are so few 'good' examples of pure (or even semi-pure) socialism to counter the bad.  Part of the defamation logic goes something like this:  Socialism gives more power to the state and a more powerful state is more easily corrupted by the leaders, therefore too much socialism leads to a totalitarian regime.  Then, they point to all the bad examples I'm sure you're familiar with.  Lenin may and his contemporaries may have destroyed socialism in Russia as you say, but that's no defense against the arguments of those who are against it...it's too easily corrupted.

 

For me, the critical point is:  how much is too much?  We just need to find the sweet spot, which I believe is a moving target depending on a nation's culture, economic development, education, morals, and other circumstances.   It looks to me like its time for the USA to add to its social welfare programs.

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Well said     ^     ^     ^    

 

I think Marx understood capitalism.  But his solution, communism, has proven to be completely unrealistic.  Basic human nature is incompatible with eg, the elimination of private property.  And wherever tried, communism has been easily preempted by totalitarian demagogues.

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On 3/13/2019 at 6:12 AM, Renegade said:

 

 

For me, the critical point is:  how much is too much?  We just need to find the sweet spot, which I believe is a moving target depending on a nation's culture, economic development, education, morals, and other circumstances.   It looks to me like its time for the USA to add to its social welfare programs.

 

 

I think that's exactly correct about both socialism and capitalism. We also have corporate welfare programs which these days don't seem to be suffering much.

 

Peace!

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On 3/13/2019 at 1:57 PM, bludog said:

Well said     ^     ^     ^    

 

I think Marx understood capitalism.  But his solution, communism, has proven to be completely unrealistic.  Basic human nature is incompatible with eg, the elimination of private property.  And wherever tried, communism has been easily preempted by totalitarian demagogues.

 

Marx didn't believe communism was a solution, but an inevitable outcome of a natural evolution of society as a function of technological and social progression.  Communism was never anything meant to be implemented or enforced, but simply a beginning and ending state of society with an absence of scarcity and absence of government.

 

The-six-stages-of-Marxs-theory-of-histor

 

There has never been an example of Marxist communism because there is no such thing, at least not until technology has eliminated all scarcity such that a government is not required.  Even then, it still wouldn't be a "system".

 

All attempts at communism were attempts to force it before technology could support it.

 

Capitalism gave us technology that is now being used increasingly to relieve people of burdens which begins the gradual and lumbering transition into socialism.  That will progress until machines do all work with free solar energy resulting in such abundance that no governmental body is required to regulate who has what; money is antiquated.  Communism = anarchy.  We'll never live to see what the genius of Marx could clearly see 150 yrs ago.

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A hundred and fifty years of reality later, Marx's entire line of reasoning about the future of technology, appears to be a construct of the imagination, bearing little connection to observable reality since then.  Marx's "inevitable outcome of a natural evolution of society as a function of technological and social progression", is not validated by any evidence to back it up, and likely never will be.  What Marx "could clearly see 150 years ago", has proven, so far, to be the illusion of a nonexistent future. 

 

The rapacious tendencies of human nature probably guarantee that any abundance bestowed by technology, will never support communism in the foreseeable future ...  At least not until biological evolution alters the functioning of the human brain, enabling a larger percentage of the population to identify with all humanity. 

 

From actual observation of human progress, up to now, social democracy has been the closest we have been able to come.  And that is why I support Bernie Sanders for president.

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12 hours ago, bludog said:

A hundred and fifty years of reality later, Marx's entire line of reasoning about the future of technology, appears to be a construct of the imagination, bearing little connection to observable reality since then.  Marx's "inevitable outcome of a natural evolution of society as a function of technological and social progression", is not validated by any evidence to back it up, and likely never will be.  What Marx "could clearly see 150 years ago", has proven, so far, to be the illusion of a nonexistent future. 

 

The rapacious tendencies of human nature probably guarantee that any abundance bestowed by technology, will never support communism in the foreseeable future ...  At least not until biological evolution alters the functioning of the human brain, enabling a larger percentage of the population to identify with all humanity. 

 

From actual observation of human progress, up to now, social democracy has been the closest we have been able to come.  And that is why I support Bernie Sanders for president.

The biggest problem with "social democracy",

is its name, and the fact that most "conservatives" have never been beyond the limits of the county that they were born in.

 

Hannity, and all the right wing liars will continue to equate the name to communism,

and the fiercely gullible "conservatives" will valiantly continue to vote against themselves.

 

It may be much too late to establish a different name for "social democracy",

maybe something like "European capitalism".

But since the white supremacists probably trace their roots to Europe,

maybe the dummies would fall for it?

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1 hour ago, peter45 said:

The biggest problem with "social democracy",

is its name, and the fact that most "conservatives" have never been beyond the limits of the county that they were born in.

 

And yet, irrespective of the name of his ideology, many conservatives find Bernie Sanders ideals appealing.  .  While at the same time, these same conservative spurred by the Right Wing Noise Machine, equate the name social democracy with communism.  But it would appear that, in the 2016 race, Bernie was surprisingly successful in expanding the number of voters, on both sides, who actually understand what social democracy actually is.  And now, he's busy campaigning again.

 

1 hour ago, peter45 said:

It may be much too late to establish a different name for "social democracy",

maybe something like "European capitalism". 

 

Yes.  Because of their heritage, and racism, that title might appeal many conservatives.  A truly descriptive title might be "Democratic Welfare Capitalism"  But that might not go over too big with the Limbaugh-indoctrinated set:).  It does seem too late to replace the title "Social Democracy" with something more politically viable.  It appears too often in the media and publications. 

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14 hours ago, bludog said:

A hundred and fifty years of reality later, Marx's entire line of reasoning about the future of technology, appears to be a construct of the imagination, bearing little connection to observable reality since then.  Marx's "inevitable outcome of a natural evolution of society as a function of technological and social progression", is not validated by any evidence to back it up, and likely never will be.  What Marx "could clearly see 150 years ago", has proven, so far, to be the illusion of a nonexistent future. 

 

The rapacious tendencies of human nature probably guarantee that any abundance bestowed by technology, will never support communism in the foreseeable future ...  At least not until biological evolution alters the functioning of the human brain, enabling a larger percentage of the population to identify with all humanity. 

 

From actual observation of human progress, up to now, social democracy has been the closest we have been able to come.  And that is why I support Bernie Sanders for president.

 

How do you figure?  Technology has freed us from all sorts of burdens and, really, the only reason people are conscripted into the workforce is for the profit of another.  Most of the work done in the world is a triviality justifying a paycheck and we may as well dig holes for 2nd shift to fill them back in.

 

Do we need the IRS and a huge complicated tax code or is that just busywork to justify a handout?

 

Do we need to update google all the time or can it simply be left alone?

 

Do we need starbucks coffee?  Why should people be conscripted into serving luxuries?  If someone wants coffee, they can fend for themselves.  One can't ethically call that work that needs to be done such that people must be forced to do it or go starve.

 

Most of the work is not anything required and the remaining that is, can be streamlined to increase efficiency while reducing the necessary workforce to a relative handful of people.  We could do this right now, today.

 

The only problem is the whole generation of people simply cannot stomach the idea that someone might get something for nothing, even if a machine is doing the work.

 

In the 1800s, they would have figured by 2019 that people would be sitting around all day doing nothing since clothes no longer need to be washed in streams and horses no longer need to pull plows and wood no longer needs to be chopped or animals tended, the cow milked and so on, but we're busier than ever, without even so much as time to raise our own kids, all because people insist people must suffer for money.

 

We're technologically in the 21st century and psychologically in the 18th.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Bluenami said:

How do you figure?  Technology has freed us from all sorts of burdens and, really, the only reason people are conscripted into the workforce is for the profit of another.  Most of the work done in the world is a triviality justifying a paycheck and we may as well dig holes for 2nd shift to fill them back in.

 

People today are laboring at all kinds of goods and services that didn't even exist 150 years ago.  The list is nearly endless:  From SUVs to smart phones.   Much of that technological progress has made life more convenient and interesting than a potentate could have dreamed of before the industrial revolution.   Very few were aware of the downsides until about the 60 years ago ...  Probably dating from the publication of Rachael Carson's "The Silent Spring" in 1962.

 

And the downside of all this dazzling technological bling is so enormous, it might have brought us to the brink of extinction, as a species:  Advancing technology has brought us the looming threat of WMD's and nuclear armegeddon to global warming, to chemical pollution and the sixth great extinction on earth.

 

So Marx's predictions were a double-edged sword of which he foresaw only one edge.  Furthermore;  Nowhere has the state withered away, or private property been abandoned.  Communism never came to fruition and, given it's dismal track record, is not likely to.

 

42 minutes ago, Bluenami said:

In the 1800s, they would have figured by 2019 that people would be sitting around all day doing nothing since clothes no longer need to be washed in streams and horses no longer need to pull plows and wood no longer needs to be chopped or animals tended, the cow milked and so on, but we're busier than ever, without even so much as time to raise our own kids, all because people insist people must suffer for money.

 

Most people in the 1800s had no idea of a technology dominated future.  They called such new ideas things like "Fulton's Folly".  In 1899, the US patent office commissioner Charles H. Duell purportedly said "everything that can be invented has been invented".  And even if he didn't say it, it is indicative of the attitude of the times.

 

52 minutes ago, Bluenami said:

We're technologically in the 21st century and psychologically in the 18th.

 

We in the US, are living under a plutocracy in which nearly the entire system is being run for the further enrichment of a handful of corporate elites;  At the expense of the bulk of the people.  This is not so everywhere.  Especially in the Democratic Socialist countries of the world, where there is far more economic equality.  And where citizen's necessities are taken care of while most have far more free time.

 

59 minutes ago, Bluenami said:

The only problem is the whole generation of people simply cannot stomach the idea that someone might get something for nothing, even if a machine is doing the work.

 

This is a problem being constantly perpetuated and institutionalized with propaganda 24/7/365, paid for by the right wing media.  The victims of this propaganda constantly vote for right wing, plutocratic dominated government.  Thus motivated, they continue to vote against their own best interests and stab themselves in the back, dragging along the rest of us.  But the US is at a demographic tipping point at which that generation is dying off. 

 

It is entirely possible that America's course may turn enough that the more socially democratic time of the 1950s, 60s and 70s originated in the policies of FDR, may return.

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6 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

People today are laboring at all kinds of goods and services that didn't even exist 150 years ago.  The list is nearly endless:  From SUVs to smart phones.   Much of that technological progress has made life more convenient and interesting than a potentate could have dreamed of before the industrial revolution.   Very few were aware of the downsides until about the 60 years ago ...  Probably dating from the publication of Rachael Carson's "The Silent Spring" in 1962.

 

But how much of that is necessary?  I suppose we could argue that after machines have taken every job, there will be room for employment in the entertainment industry, so will that be considered a necessary task?  Will humans always be required to toil for the right to exist no matter how silly the drudgery is?

 

Milton Friedman visited an Asian country (China I suppose) and asked why the workers were digging with shovels.  He suggested that machinery could do the job much faster, but they assured him speed was not the issue as it was simply giving the people work to do.  So Friedman replied "Then why not give them spoons?"

 

https://willrobotstakemyjob.com/

 

There are no jobs that machines cannot do.  I've read they can even write music and paint, at least mimicking creativity.

 

6 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

And the downside of all this dazzling technological bling is so enormous, it might have brought us to the brink of extinction, as a species:  Advancing technology has brought us the looming threat of WMD's and nuclear armegeddon to global warming, to chemical pollution and the sixth great extinction on earth.

 

Well if humanity goes extinct, then there is nothing to worry about.  If they go partially extinct, then those who remain will be primitive communists with no government and Marx will still have been right ;) 

 

Marx was merely extrapolating into the future in a linear fashion and even 150 years out, I still can't see a good reason to suspect a diversion except for natural disasters and such.  It seems to me the farther along in terms of prosperity we get, the less likely we will destroy ourselves.

 

6 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

So Marx's predictions were a double-edged sword of which he foresaw only one edge.  Furthermore;  Nowhere has the state withered away, or private property been abandoned.  Communism never came to fruition and, given it's dismal track record, is not likely to.

 

You're missing the key point I'm trying to convey: communism cannot be forced.  Any communism that is forced is not an example of communism, so we can't say the track record is dismal.  Folks may have labeled it communism, but state capitalism would be a better descriptor.  Like Chomsky said, "They also called it democracy."

 

And the state will grow larger and larger like a sawtooth sinewave that suddenly plummets when scarcity is eliminated.  No one will blow a trumpet sounding the arrival of communism, it's just that people will drop government, money, and private property like rotary phones and cassettes.  It will all be a natural evolution that no one dictates or controls.  Even now our plutocratic masters are becoming more benevolent by supporting leftwing candidates.  One of Friedman's main points was that monopolies have a way of regulating themselves and it could be that the masters get so prosperous that they willing bestow power to the people.  Bezos willingly raised the wage to $15.  How prosperous does one have to be before he begins feeling sympathetic for everyone else?

 

And with the rental culture we're witnessing the shunning of private property.  People don't want to own things like they used to: they rent their homes, cars, phones, and seek to escape the maintenance required in ownership.  Why mow my lawn when I could do other things?  Why paint the house again this year?  I don't want all these chores to do.  Private property is a ball n chain that people do not want anymore.  And then you could be sued for damages if you are the owner.  There is hardly a reason to own anything.

 

6 minutes ago, bludog said:

Most people in the 1800s had no idea of a technology dominated future.  They called such new ideas things like "Fulton's Folly".  In 1899, the US patent office commissioner Charles H. Duell purportedly said "everything that can be invented has been invented".  And even if he didn't say it, it is indicative of the attitude of the times.

 

That's true, but if you were in the 1800s would you figure in the 2000s that people would still be milking the family cow?  That is especially true around the turn of the century when it appeared machines were taking over everything.  Yet here we are and we're busier than ever.  It takes two people working to support a family vs 1950 when it only required one.

 

6 minutes ago, bludog said:

We in the US, are living under a plutocracy in which nearly the entire system is being run for the further enrichment of a handful of corporate elites;  At the expense of the bulk of the people.  This is not so everywhere.  Especially in the Democratic Socialist countries of the world, where there is far more economic equality.  And where citizen's necessities are taken care of while most have far more free time.

 

Yep, so there's some empirical evidence that it's already happening.

 

Chomsky argues that being a mother is work and should be one of the most highly paid jobs there are.  What kind of advanced technological society would force a mother of children to work for survival?  That's horrible on so many levels.

 

6 minutes ago, bludog said:

This is a problem being constantly perpetuated and institutionalized with propaganda 24/7/365, paid for by the right wing media.  The victims of this propaganda constantly vote for right wing, plutocratic dominated government.  Thus motivated, they continue to vote against their own best interests and stab themselves in the back, dragging along the rest of us.  But the US is at a demographic tipping point at which that generation is dying off. 

 

Yep, and big pharma is trying their hardest to keep their customers alive, so I hope the kids get involved like never before.

 

6 minutes ago, bludog said:

It is entirely possible that America's course may turn enough that the more socially democratic time of the 1950s, 60s and 70s originated in the policies of FDR, may return.

 

Yes but I wonder if the coming FDR-ish prosperity will once again usher in another RedCoat invasion like what happened with Reagan.  I know it's unrealistic, but I'd like to see constitutional protection preventing trickle-down nonsense from ever returning once the dems take control.  They would have the overwhelming majority to do it too; make it unconstitutional to be conservative lol

 

Noam Chomsky: Republican Party is the most dangerous organisation in human history  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/noam-chomsky-republican-party-most-dangerous-organisation-human-history-us-politics-mit-linguist-a7706026.html

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There are still many jobs which can't yet be done by robots;  Especially service jobs.  That will gradually change toward more automation.  The only way all human labor will be replaced is if self-servicing, self-replicating AIs are given complete control.  If AIs become self-replicating, they fall under the laws of evolution, except that, freed from biological complexity and generations, they will be able to evolve much faster, and by their own design.  The staggering implications of this are a separate subject which has not been lost on scientists or sci fi authors.

 

That said, the main reasons for unwanted or unpleasant, human toil are political.  The value of work, as a moral virtue, is rapidly becoming obsolete in the age of increasing automation.  Time for a Universal Basic Wage.

 

So-called "primitives" did not practice communism.  They did not take over the means of production.  In hunter-gatherer clans and tribes, the means of production were, by default, in the hands of the individual.  And, unlike complex technological gadgets of today, the products of their work did not require anything but intellect and manual dexterity to make.  Unlike with today's tech, one individual usually made the entire product from start to finish.

 

Moreover, anthropological observation of remaining hunter-gatherer societies reveals that private property is universal.  Nowhere do people, of any kind, share everything in common.  The idea that primitives practiced communism is a mistake, countered by the the facts.

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:42 PM, Bluenami said:

You're missing the key point I'm trying to convey: communism cannot be forced.  Any communism that is forced is not an example of communism, so we can't say the track record is dismal.  Folks may have labeled it communism, but state capitalism would be a better descriptor.  Like Chomsky said, "They also called it democracy."

 

And the state will grow larger and larger like a sawtooth sinewave that suddenly plummets when scarcity is eliminated.  No one will blow a trumpet sounding the arrival of communism, it's just that people will drop government, money, and private property like rotary phones and cassettes.  It will all be a natural evolution that no one dictates or controls.  Even now our plutocratic masters are becoming more benevolent by supporting leftwing candidates.  One of Friedman's main points was that monopolies have a way of regulating themselves and it could be that the masters get so prosperous that they willing bestow power to the people.  Bezos willingly raised the wage to $15.  How prosperous does one have to be before he begins feeling sympathetic for everyone else?

 

Sorry if I'm still missing the point.  But to me most of this is nothing but wishful thinking.  As things stand now in the US, we may have made a few, faltering steps toward progress, but most of the momentum is regressive.  And even if Warren or Sanders were to win the presidency the status quo wouldn't change by much considering the prevalence of republicans and corporate democrats in Congress.  Not that a president Warren or Sanders wouldn't be a big step forward.

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:42 PM, Bluenami said:

And with the rental culture we're witnessing the shunning of private property.

 

Rented stuff still belongs to the lessee for any agreed-on period.  Rented goods or services cannot be legally shared except by the permission of the lessee.  The same principle as private property. 

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:42 PM, Bluenami said:

so I hope the kids get involved like never before.

 

This new trend of activist kids is a really hopeful sign.  Especially in the area of climate change.

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:42 PM, Bluenami said:

Yes but I wonder if the coming FDR-ish prosperity will once again usher in another RedCoat invasion like what happened with Reagan.  I know it's unrealistic, but I'd like to see constitutional protection preventing trickle-down nonsense from ever returning once the dems take control.  They would have the overwhelming majority to do it too; make it unconstitutional to be conservative lol

 

If and when progressives take real, substantive control of government, it will probably be necessary to do this.  Otherwise, backlash and regression are likely.  For 30 years, we've been hearing that demographic change will allow the progressive cause prevail but it always seems to fall short.  Maybe the tipping point will come soon enough that drastic constitutional changes won't need to be made.:)

 

Other legislation might include changing the nature of corporate charters to emphasize commitment to the public good and care of the environment.  And play down profit for shareholder.  Corporate charters to come up for renewal every two years.

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:42 PM, Bluenami said:

 

No truer words were ever spoken.  In the name of money and power, the GOP has morphed into the enemy of life on Earth.  

 

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1 minute ago, guilluamezenz said:

there really is no such thing as socialism or capitalism they are concepts ideas not real things reality is that all economic systems are combinations of the two all of them i ma an ethical socialist who realizes the only way to attain socialist goals is through market based systems

Ethical socialism is a political philosophy that appeals to socialism on ethical and moral grounds as opposed to economic, egoistic and consumeristic grounds.[1] It emphasizes the need for a morally conscious economy based upon the principles of service, cooperation and social justice while opposing possessive individualism.[2] In contrast to socialism inspired by rationalism, historical materialism, neoclassical economics and Marxist theory which base their appeals for socialism on grounds of economic efficiency, rationality, or historical inevitability, ethical socialism focuses on the moral and ethical reasons for advocating socialism.

Ethical socialism had a profound impact on the social democratic movement and reformism during the later half of the 20th century, particularly in Great Britain.[3][1] Ethical socialism is distinct in its focus on criticism of the ethics of capitalism and not merely criticism of the economic, systemic and material issues of capitalism.[1]

The term ethical socialism initially originated as a pejorative by the Marxist economist Rosa Luxemburg against reformist revisionist Marxist Eduard Bernstein and his supporters, who evoked Kantian liberal ideals and ethical arguments in favor of socialism.[4] Self-recognized ethical socialists soon arose in Britain such as Christian socialist R. H. Tawney and its ideals were connected to Christian socialist, Fabian and guild socialist ideals.[5] Ethical socialism was an important ideology within the British Labour Party.[6] Ethical socialism has been publicly supported by British Prime Ministers Ramsay MacDonald,[7] Clement Attlee[8] and Tony Blair.[6]

When the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) renounced Marxism during the Godesberg Program in the 1950s, ethical socialism became the official philosophy within the SPD.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_socialism

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On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

There are still many jobs which can't yet be done by robots;  Especially service jobs.  That will gradually change toward more automation.  The only way all human labor will be replaced is if self-servicing, self-replicating AIs are given complete control.  If AIs become self-replicating, they fall under the laws of evolution, except that, freed from biological complexity and generations, they will be able to evolve much faster, and by their own design.  The staggering implications of this are a separate subject which has not been lost on scientists or sci fi authors.

 

Sure I guess, but coming full-circle we arrived here from:

 

Marx didn't believe communism was a solution, but an inevitable outcome of a natural evolution of society as a function of technological and social progression.  Communism was never anything meant to be implemented or enforced, but simply a beginning and ending state of society with an absence of scarcity and absence of government.

 

Since it's a matter of prediction far into the future, no one can point to empirical evidence to justify a position and it's all speculation anyway, but Marx believed as I do that eventually energy will be free and abundant and at that point the concept of money and scarcity are silly.  Whether it will actually comes to pass or not is beside the point of it being what he believed and was the original intention of the meaning of communism (no gov, no money, no scarcity).

 

Attempts to form communes in spite of scarcity are always doomed to failure, but they shouldn't be called communism or certainly not Marxist communism as doing so leads to confusion and fuels the propaganda.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

 

That said, the main reasons for unwanted or unpleasant, human toil are political.

 

Yes!

 

This was a talk given in the 60s:

 

 

Transcript:

 

Now what happens then when you introduce technology into production, you produce enormous quantities of goods by technological methods, but at the same time you put people out of work.  You can say "oh but it always creates more jobs; there'll always be more jobs."  Yes, but lots of them will be futile jobs.  They will be jobs making every kind of frippery and unnecessary contraption and one will also at the same time have to beguile the public into feeling that they need and want these completely unnecessary things that aren't even beautiful.  And therefore an enormous amount of nonsense employment and busy work, bureaucratic and otherwise, has to be created in order to keep people working.  Because we believe, as good Protestants, that "the devil finds work for idle hands to do", but the basic principle of the whole thing has been completely overlooked: that the purpose of the machine is to make drudgery unnecessary.  And if we don't allow it to achieve its purpose, we live in a constant state of self-frustration. 

 

So then if a given manufacturer automates his plant and dismisses his labor force, and they have to operate on a very much diminished income, say, some sort of dole, the manufacturer suddenly finds that the public does not have the wherewithal to buy his products, and therefore he has invested in this expensive automative machinery to no purpose, and therefore obviously the public has to be provided with the means of purchasing what the machines produce.

 

Then people say "that's not fair!  Where's the money going to come from?  Who's going to pay for it?"  The answer is the machine; the machine pays for it, because the machine works for the manufacturer and for the community.  This is not saying, you see, this is not the statist communist idea that you expropriate the manufacturer and say you can't own and run this factory anymore; it is owned by the government, it is only saying that the government or the people have to be responsible for issuing to themselves sufficient credit to circulate the goods they are producing and have to balance the measuring standard of money with the gross national product.

 

That means that taxation is obsolete, completely obsolete; it ought to go the other way.  Theobald points out that every individual should be assured of a minimum income.  Now you see that absolutely horrifies most people.  They say "All these wastrels?  These people who are out of job because they're really lazy... uh give them the money?"  Yeah, because otherwise the machines can't work; they come to blockage. 

 

This was the situation of the Great Depression when here we were, still, in a material sense, a very rich country with plenty of fields and farms and mines and factories and everything going, but suddenly, because of a psychological hang-up, because of a mysterious mumbo-jumbo about the economy, about the banking, we were all miserable and poor; starving in the midst of plenty; just because of a psychological hang-up, and that hang-up is that money is real and that people ought to suffer in order to get it.  But the whole point of the machine is to relieve you of that suffering.  There's an ingenuity, you see,we are psychologically back in the 17th century and technically in the 20th.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

The value of work, as a moral virtue, is rapidly becoming obsolete in the age of increasing automation.  Time for a Universal Basic Wage.

 

Milton Friedman's Negative Income Tax:

 

It can be argued that private charity is insufficient because the benefits from it accrue to people other than those who make the gifts— ... a neighborhood effect. I am distressed by the sight of poverty; I am benefited by its alleviation; but I am benefited equally whether I or someone else pays for its alleviation; the benefits of other people's charity therefore partly accrue to me. To put it differently, we might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did. We might not be willing to contribute the same amount without such assurance. In small communities, public pressure can suffice to realize the proviso even with private charity. In the large impersonal communities that are increasingly coming to dominate our society, it is much more difficult for it to do so.

 

Suppose one accepts, as I do, this line of reasoning as justifying governmental action to alleviate poverty; to set, as it were, a floor under the standard of life of every person in the community. [While there are questions of how much should be spent and how, the] arrangement that recommends itself on purely mechanical grounds is a negative income tax. ... The advantages of this arrangement are clear. It is directed specifically at the problem of poverty. It gives help in the form most useful to the individual, namely, cash. It is general and could be substituted for the host of special measures now in effect. It makes explicit the cost borne by society. It operates outside the market. Like any other measures to alleviate poverty, it reduces the incentives of those helped to help themselves, but it does not eliminate that incentive entirely, as a system of supplementing incomes up to some fixed minimum would. An extra dollar earned always means more money available for expenditure.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman#Social_security,_welfare_programs,_and_negative_income_tax

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

 

So-called "primitives" did not practice communism.  They did not take over the means of production.  In hunter-gatherer clans and tribes, the means of production were, by default, in the hands of the individual.  And, unlike complex technological gadgets of today, the products of their work did not require anything but intellect and manual dexterity to make.  Unlike with today's tech, one individual usually made the entire product from start to finish.

 

There was no means of production.  The hunters hunted and shared the bounty with the tribe while others tended to other chores that benefited the whole community.  Other than the elders, there was really no government, no money, and no scarcity.  No one was forced against his will to toil for the profit of another.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

Moreover, anthropological observation of remaining hunter-gatherer societies reveals that private property is universal.  Nowhere do people, of any kind, share everything in common.  The idea that primitives practiced communism is a mistake, countered by the the facts.

 

I think you're conflating different types of private property.  They had no land ownership except to the extent that the tribe currently occupied land and defended it against invaders, but no one person could claim a hunk of land or really cared to.  Herds of buffalo weren't considered private property.  A particular piece of animal hide would be considered private property, obviously, because only one person could wear it.  Lack of private property doesn't equal communism, but lack of money, government, and scarcity does.  Sentimental things are still private.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

And even if Warren or Sanders were to win the presidency the status quo wouldn't change by much considering the prevalence of republicans and corporate democrats in Congress.  Not that a president Warren or Sanders wouldn't be a big step forward.

 

Did you sleep through the bluenami in the midterms? lol

 

In 2020 the dems will have all 3 houses plus many governors.  The gop will go extinct.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

Rented stuff still belongs to the lessee for any agreed-on period.  Rented goods or services cannot be legally shared except by the permission of the lessee.  The same principle as private property. 

 

There is a difference in ownership and rental.  Ownership = ball n chain.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

If and when progressives take real, substantive control of government, it will probably be necessary to do this.  Otherwise, backlash and regression are likely.  For 30 years, we've been hearing that demographic change will allow the progressive cause prevail but it always seems to fall short.  Maybe the tipping point will come soon enough that drastic constitutional changes won't need to be made.:)

 

The problem is that comfort usually breeds risk-taking.  The boomers were coddled by FDR prosperity which caused them to want to leave the protection of the nest in search of profiteering.  Suddenly governmental regulations were no longer viewed as protection, but hindrances like a child might view an over-protective parent.  The greatest generation would think the boomers are nuts for wanting less regulation, but the boomers were coddled and didn't experience the lack of regulation that the GG did.  My grandpa says "I lived it.  You don't want it!"

 

On 3/16/2019 at 4:04 PM, bludog said:

Other legislation might include changing the nature of corporate charters to emphasize commitment to the public good and care of the environment.  And play down profit for shareholder.  Corporate charters to come up for renewal every two years.

 

 

Check out Andrew Yang.  He recommends changing the measure of economic health from GDP to human-centered capitalism  https://www.yang2020.com/policies/human-capitalism/

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1 hour ago, Bluenami said:

Did you sleep through the bluenami in the midterms? lol

 

In 2020 the dems will have all 3 houses plus many governors. 

 

The Republican/plutocrat party commands nearly unimaginable resources and have shown they will resort to any wrongdoing to retain power.  It's ill-advised to underestimate the ruthless determination and resourcefulness of evil.  In the midterms they were stung.  Expect retaliation on a massive scale.  2020 will be the fight of our lives.

 

US politics have always been cyclic.  "It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings". 

 

1 hour ago, Bluenami said:

The gop will go extinct

 

You must be a fan of St Jude, patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes:).   Well ...  There were the Whigs. 

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You guys are doing a fine job and I don't want to interrupt, but one term is not clear to me.  What is "absence of scarcity"?   I'm thinking it must have some meaning other than the literal, since the literal makes no sense.  There will always be scarcity.  

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16 hours ago, Renegade said:

You guys are doing a fine job and I don't want to interrupt, but one term is not clear to me.  What is "absence of scarcity"?   I'm thinking it must have some meaning other than the literal, since the literal makes no sense.  There will always be scarcity.  

 

I've said what I needed to say here for now.  Feel free to jump in.

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First there is not one main tenet of socialism that any American wants or has ever wanted. Democrat have allowed a nonsense definition of socialism to be the norm.That definition is created in the mind of every right winger that is out there. In fact every single one of them has a different definition, one that they adjust to have it as insulting as possible to their goofy idea that Democrats are socialist. Give up the idea that somehow it can be in degrees of socialism. That's nonsense , it has it's definition and if it can't fit in the box with any main tenet it can't be socialism. But there is one tenet without which there is no socialism, it's the number one tenet on just about every list you look at , The means of production is owned by the state and the sale of that production is in the charge of the state.  When was the last time in this country where someone came up to you and said, you know I think it would be a good idea if the government took over the ownership and the running of all business. It's never happened to me. Socialism was created as a solution for the hated capitalism.

 

 

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The idea that social democracy is communism isn't really the point . The point is that social democracy is as much socialism as the National Socialist German Workers' Party was and is.  Generally the list of things from the right that in their mind makes it socialist , Like public education , medical supplement and welfare are nonsense.  . Considering that these programs predate socialism by many years, some going back to Rome before the time of Christ.

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On 3/13/2019 at 9:12 AM, Renegade said:

 

For me, the critical point is:  how much is too much?  We just need to find the sweet spot, which I believe is a moving target depending on a nation's culture, economic development, education, morals, and other circumstances.   It looks to me like its time for the USA to add to its social welfare programs.

Absolutely...

 

On 3/15/2019 at 4:28 PM, Bluenami said:

How do you figure?  Technology has freed us from all sorts of burdens and, really, the only reason people are conscripted into the workforce is for the profit of another.  Most of the work done in the world is a triviality justifying a paycheck and we may as well dig holes for 2nd shift to fill them back in.

I agree much of the the private workforce has been reduced to performing trivial tasks for low wages.

However, there are some very important, non-trivial tasks that need to be addressed for the benefit of the public:

  • Infrastructure: Yes, roads, and bridges are falling apart, but the infrastructure(s) I am most worried about are
  1. Power Grid Infrastructure - exposure to hacking.
  2. Voting System Infrastructure - exposure to hacking (foreign)
  3. Internet (as an Infrastructor) - exposure to hacking, privacy
  • Climate Change:  There is a plethora is meaningful, research,  projects that really need to be done. The government should really be driving research, and technology, independent of the private sector's financial interests.
  • Counter Intelligence: Defense against cyber-warfare, instead of traditional warfare. The US is falling behind in this critical field.
  • Education: Teaching will always be a non-trivial task.
On 3/15/2019 at 6:42 PM, Bluenami said:

Even now our plutocratic masters are becoming more benevolent by supporting leftwing candidates.

Really? Our masters are benevolent because they support 'leftwing' candidates?

Who are these plutocrats, and which leftwing candidates are they supporting?

 

On 3/15/2019 at 6:42 PM, Bluenami said:

One of Friedman's main points was that monopolies have a way of regulating themselves and it could be that the masters get so prosperous that they willing bestow power to the people.  Bezos willingly raised the wage to $15.  How prosperous does one have to be before he begins feeling sympathetic for everyone else? 

Friedman is the biggest economic charlatan of the 20th century. Monopolies regulate themselves by getting so prosperous that they develop a guilt complex, and allow great wealth to trickle down. This has never happened, and never will happen to any appreciable degree.

 

Bezos begrudgingly raised the wage to $15 after pressure from progressives like Sen. Sanders.

Apparently there is no limit to how prosperous (greedy) someone has to be to before becoming philanthropic, and altrustic (the opposite of greed).

 

On 3/15/2019 at 6:42 PM, Bluenami said:

Yes but I wonder if the coming FDR-ish prosperity will once again usher in another RedCoat invasion like what happened with Reagan.  I know it's unrealistic, but I'd like to see constitutional protection preventing trickle-down nonsense from ever returning once the dems take control.  They would have the overwhelming majority to do it too; make it unconstitutional to be conservative lol

Not so unrealistic, the tax code is the place to start. Once the tax system is adjusted to benefit middle class, and lower income workers, it is very difficult to take it back. The 1% will squeal, but once it is done, it is a fait accompli. It will be like Obamacare. Republicans tried, and tried to kill it, even with control of all 3 branches.

 

On 3/18/2019 at 2:44 PM, Bluenami said:

Friedman:" [While there are questions of how much should be spent and how, the] arrangement that recommends itself on purely mechanical grounds is a negative income tax. ... The advantages of this arrangement are clear. It is directed specifically at the problem of poverty. It gives help in the form most useful to the individual, namely, cash. It is general and could be substituted for the host of special measures now in effect. It makes explicit the cost borne by society. It operates outside the market. Like any other measures to alleviate poverty, it reduces the incentives of those helped to help themselves, but it does not eliminate that incentive entirely, as a system of supplementing incomes up to some fixed minimum would. An extra dollar earned always means more money available for expenditure

Friedman used this negative income tax concept in an attempt to defend his otherwise draconian, and unjust theory of supply side economics, which inherently creates poverty. He implies that the wealthy 'might be willing to alleviate poverty', but the wealthy have some conditions that they would like to place on their 'generosity'.

Wealthy individuals do not get set 'conditions' for alleviating poverty any more than any other individual does.

Friedman's trickle down, supply side theory has been a demonstrable failure for 90% of the population.

Having said that, this negative income tax idea is very workable idea. I looked into it before, but prefer substantial (~20K / year) tax credits, combined with a flat rate, with no loopholes. Corporations, (since they have been legally declare people  by Citizens United) should also pay the same flat tax rate with no loopholes.

 

 

20 hours ago, jbander said:

First there is not one main tenet of socialism that any American wants or has ever wanted. Democrat have allowed a nonsense definition of socialism to be the norm.That definition is created in the mind of every right winger that is out there. In fact every single one of them has a different definition, one that they adjust to have it as insulting as possible to their goofy idea that Democrats are socialist.

I try not to allow goofy ideas created in the the mind of right wingers affect me. Republicans are not the only ones with insulting definitions for basic economic reform. Centrist Democrats are also quick to pounce on any economic reforms that threaten their benefactors.

 

Chomsky: "Socialism... I mean we can argue about... there's no point arguing about what the word means,....."

 

raw capitalism is as dangerous as raw socialism.

Elements of regulation, anti-trust, and taxation need to be applied to raw capitalism for it to become palatable.

What is in the best interest of the Public is not always in the best interest of private enterprise.

 

This is why I view the real issue to be: Public Good vs Private Interests

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On 3/18/2019 at 4:10 PM, bludog said:

 

The Republican/plutocrat party commands nearly unimaginable resources and have shown they will resort to any wrongdoing to retain power.  It's ill-advised to underestimate the ruthless determination and resourcefulness of evil.  In the midterms they were stung.  Expect retaliation on a massive scale.  2020 will be the fight of our lives.

 

US politics have always been cyclic.  "It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings". 

 

 

You must be a fan of St Jude, patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes:).   Well ...  There were the Whigs. 

 

I don't lay they blame at the feet of the rich, but the feet of the stupid.

 

2_6.png

 

Even if the plutocrats wanted to be benevolent more than anything, they'd never get their candidate elected.

 

The three richest men did not support Trump

 

 

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On 3/18/2019 at 8:59 PM, Renegade said:

You guys are doing a fine job and I don't want to interrupt, but one term is not clear to me.  What is "absence of scarcity"?   I'm thinking it must have some meaning other than the literal, since the literal makes no sense.  There will always be scarcity.  

 

Why will there always be scarcity?  We have the technology right now to eliminate scarcity, but it's not good for business.

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23 hours ago, jbander said:

First there is not one main tenet of socialism that any American wants or has ever wanted. Democrat have allowed a nonsense definition of socialism to be the norm.That definition is created in the mind of every right winger that is out there. In fact every single one of them has a different definition, one that they adjust to have it as insulting as possible to their goofy idea that Democrats are socialist. Give up the idea that somehow it can be in degrees of socialism. That's nonsense , it has it's definition and if it can't fit in the box with any main tenet it can't be socialism. But there is one tenet without which there is no socialism, it's the number one tenet on just about every list you look at , The means of production is owned by the state and the sale of that production is in the charge of the state.  When was the last time in this country where someone came up to you and said, you know I think it would be a good idea if the government took over the ownership and the running of all business. It's never happened to me. Socialism was created as a solution for the hated capitalism.

 

I think that definition is a perverted definition of communism where the government owns the means of production and the people supposedly own the government (but they never do).  Socialism is where the people own the means of production, so it's a worker co-op where every employee is a co-owner of the company and paid a share of the profits.  That's it.

 

Capitalism is exploitation where one guy (or a few) own the means of production and exploit the workers based on hourly or salaried wages based on what other options the workers have in life, so it's in the best interest of the capitalist to keep people poor and hungry so they cannot demand high wages lest it cut into profits.  Capitalism is just a more innocent way of saying "exploitation".  Socialism removes the exploitation part by making workers co-owners who are paid shares of the profits they generate.

 

It should be obvious now why capitalists seek to demonize and stigmatize the word "socialism" (ie because it's profitable to do so).

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4 minutes ago, Bluenami said:

 

I think that definition is a perverted definition of communism where the government owns the means of production and the people supposedly own the government (but they never do).  Socialism is where the people own the means of production, so it's a worker co-op where every employee is a co-owner of the company and paid a share of the profits.  That's it.

 

Capitalism is exploitation where one guy (or a few) own the means of production and exploit the workers based on hourly or salaried wages based on what other options the workers have in life, so it's in the best interest of the capitalist to keep people poor and hungry so they cannot demand high wages lest it cut into profits.  Capitalism is just a more innocent way of saying "exploitation".  Socialism removes the exploitation part by making workers co-owners who are paid shares of the profits they generate.

 

It should be obvious now why capitalists seek to demonize and stigmatize the word "socialism" (ie because it's profitable to do so).

The means of production in socialism can be owned and controlled by the state, as it also can be owned by the people , Also general when they say it's owned by the people ,they are generally saying through the state. Either way it is still socialism.

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2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

I agree much of the the private workforce has been reduced to performing trivial tasks for low wages.

However, there are some very important, non-trivial tasks that need to be addressed for the benefit of the public:

  • Infrastructure: Yes, roads, and bridges are falling apart, but the infrastructure(s) I am most worried about are
  1. Power Grid Infrastructure - exposure to hacking.
  2. Voting System Infrastructure - exposure to hacking (foreign)
  3. Internet (as an Infrastructor) - exposure to hacking, privacy
  • Climate Change:  There is a plethora is meaningful, research,  projects that really need to be done. The government should really be driving research, and technology, independent of the private sector's financial interests.
  • Counter Intelligence: Defense against cyber-warfare, instead of traditional warfare. The US is falling behind in this critical field.
  • Education: Teaching will always be a non-trivial task.

 

We'll get there.  China already has AI news anchors, so why not teachers?

 

And I don't envision many enemies in the future in absence of scarcity.

 

2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

Really? Our masters are benevolent because they support 'leftwing' candidates?

Who are these plutocrats, and which leftwing candidates are they supporting?

 

If Warren Buffett were to run for president, his campaign would look very similar to the one Bernie Sanders is running  http://money.com/money/4025669/warren-buffett-bernie-sanders/

 

The 3 richest guys are dems.

 

Silicon valley, hollywood, academia are all liberal.  I'd have to search to find some rich republicans besides the kock brothers.

 

The Patriotic Millionaires

Proud “traitors to their class,” members of the Patriotic Millionaires are high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America. The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the “first principles” of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system:

  • All citizens should enjoy political power equal to that enjoyed by millionaires;
  • All citizens who work full time should be able to afford their basic needs;
  • Tax receipts from millionaires, billionaires and corporations should comprise a greater proportion of federal tax receipts.  https://patrioticmillionaires.org/about/

 

2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

Friedman is the biggest economic charlatan of the 20th century. Monopolies regulate themselves by getting so prosperous that they develop a guilt complex, and allow great wealth to trickle down. This has never happened, and never will happen to any appreciable degree.

 

Well, he predicted little bitty Kmart would buy Sears back in 1980.

 

 

"As a matter of fact, you say "can Sears buy Kmart", but the way Kmart has been growing the question is gonna be can Kmart buy Sears LOL!"

 

Donahue was concerned that the monopolistic Sears might buy Kmart, but Kmart bought Sears in 2004, and now both are on their way out due to Amazon.

 

There seems to be much truth in what Friedman said. Monopolies are still scary, but so far Friedman has been correct.

 

Friedman was a genius and I wouldn't dismiss anything he says.

 

2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

 

Bezos begrudgingly raised the wage to $15 after pressure from progressives like Sen. Sanders.

Apparently there is no limit to how prosperous (greedy) someone has to be to before becoming philanthropic, and altrustic (the opposite of greed).

 

Yes but he didn't have to raise the wage.  Prosperity breeds liberals and adversity breeds conservatives.

 

2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

 

Not so unrealistic, the tax code is the place to start. Once the tax system is adjusted to benefit middle class, and lower income workers, it is very difficult to take it back. The 1% will squeal, but once it is done, it is a fait accompli. It will be like Obamacare. Republicans tried, and tried to kill it, even with control of all 3 branches.

 

Yes it will require quite a bit of time, but I worry the redcoats will return in the distant future.  Maybe 2070 which is 50 years from 2020.  That's the same as 1930 to 1980.  Unless we count Kennedy as the beginning of the resurgence.

 

2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

 

Friedman used this negative income tax concept in an attempt to defend his otherwise draconian, and unjust theory of supply side economics, which inherently creates poverty. He implies that the wealthy 'might be willing to alleviate poverty', but the wealthy have some conditions that they would like to place on their 'generosity'.

 

Yes but proper taxation fixes that inequality and I worry that worker co-ops would stifle the greed incentive.  FDR could have gone full-blown socialism but said his greatest accomplishment was saving capitalism.  That was the genius of FDR: let them think they're stealing and we'll steal it back.

 

2 hours ago, ExPDXer said:

Wealthy individuals do not get set 'conditions' for alleviating poverty any more than any other individual does.

Friedman's trickle down, supply side theory has been a demonstrable failure for 90% of the population.

Having said that, this negative income tax idea is very workable idea. I looked into it before, but prefer substantial (~20K / year) tax credits, combined with a flat rate, with no loopholes. Corporations, (since they have been legally declare people  by Citizens United) should also pay the same flat tax rate with no loopholes.

 

Were you the one who posted the spreadsheet last year about the flat tax and credit?  I hate the flat tax, but it's a good selling point for conservatives to latch onto.

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