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  1. #11  
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    K's Shoe can work on ad-hominem distraction techniques all he wants, the fact remains, the worst shitholes of human poverty exist where representative government does not. Where warlords and anarchy reigns, people suffer miserably. The second worst shitholes on this planet are those that live under some flavor of Marxism. North Korea to China to the former Soviet Union, human suffering, poverty and practical slavery are rampant. The only societies in which the common man has been able to elevate himself above such levels of poverty and subjugation, have been societies where free markets and individual freedom are valued. This has a gold record in history, and you aren't going to be able to come up with a historical record to refute it. You do realize that the poor and homeless in Santa Barbara are better off and better cared for than the laborers in Rawanda, or the peons in North Korea don't you? The historical evidence is irrefutable, central planning of the life and death of people has only ended in disaster, and you can't refute that, because it's historical fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wee Wee Wee
    If the failures of Really Existing Communism are a result of the inherent nature of Marxist thought, then why are all of your arguments against nations, rather than the principles or arguments of Marxist thought themselves?
    I think this is the third or fourth thread I've presented this argument in, but you haven't ever been able to successfully refute it. Actually, you've never even acknowledged it, so I suppose it hurts your brain pan. This is an argument that stabs at the heart of Marxist thought, is backed by science and mathematics, and breaks any theory which requires a centrally planned economy in two.

    The nail in the coffin of Marxist theory is mathematical in nature, and since Ludwig Von Misses postulated the scenario in the 1920's , and F.A. Hayek expanded upon this hypothesis in the 50's through the 70's, no one in the world of economic science has been able to refute it or counter this argument. This argument is the Economic Calculation Problem, a problem the free market evolved to conquer, and centrally planned economies cannot work around because they didn't evolve specifically to deal with this problem.

    Now if you want to understand the problem, you have to understand the reason an economy of some sort exists in the first place. Furthermore, you have to understand human nature. An economy exists to bring the resources of nature, in a usable form, to the people who have use for those resources in the most efficient, meaning lowest cost, manner possible. When a lioness stalks a herd of gazelle on the plains of Africa, she doesn't choose the biggest, strongest, alpha male in the herd to be her meal. The lioness balances efficiency on calories expended versus calories earned, and that is how lowest cost is determined, and highest profit is calculated.

    However, economics isn't about profit and loss, that's business. Economics is about the distribution of resources. After all, when you go to work, if you worked, you wouldn't work for the dollar, it's just a means of exchange. You work for what that means of exchange can provide for you. In other words, you aren't working a week for $600, you are working for that new T.V. or down payment on that car the $600 can provide. From the T.V. to the dinner table your dollars represent usable, material goods, and nothing more.


    From the raw ore, petroleum, organics and geology required to make one T.V., a group of people free to make their own decisions based on the prices of these raw materials decide which glass and plastics and components enter the plant and leave the plant in the form of a T.V. You have hundred of thousands of independent actors deciding how to make the best product for the lowest labor cost in order to compete. The decisions are made based on price signals. When the price of ore, or glass, or labor increases, these hundreds of thousands of market actors, from Samsung to Visio make decisions all the way from switching purchases from a different glass wholesaler, to moving plants to a more labor friendly environment all in the name of bringing a competitive product at a competitive price to store shelves. It takes literally thousands of people making decisions based on price signals to bring a single 52" Flat Screen T.V. to market for the competitive price of $650. This design of individual actors creates a fault tolerant, neural network of buyers and sellers that can deal with most resource shortages locally, and supplement consumer value with import goods when scarcity demands price increases. Under this system, maximum production is utilized based on net purchase of raw materials. This is how we employ fully, and consume what we earn.

    Contrast that to a centrally planned economy, which is a requirement of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". After all, there must exist some sort of planning agency able to assess needs and abilities in order for this scheme to work. Think about that single T.V. which is manufactured. From the raw materials required for copper, and plastics and glass, to the intermediate components, not manufactured for retail sale, but manufactured to be used as components in T.V.'s. Now imagine a congressional committee debating, once every few months which resources, from those mined and welled, to the transport required to bring them to manufacturing, to the intermediate plants pressing out silicon chips. How much debate and decision would that sort of planning require in committee, and more importantly, how many experts from each field (i.e. manufacturing, mining, geological survey, chemical engineering, smelting, etc) would be required in this committee?

    The sum and substance is this: In order to accommodate the demand for T.V.'s these resources, under centrally planned Marxist ideology, must be divvied up, by committee, amongst the manufactures of T.V.'s, cars, trains, planes, paper plates, automobiles, laptops, and every single other industry in the correct amounts. In order to accomplish this feat, this committee must include as many experts as required to accomplish this feat under a free market. However, since this committee will be a competition for resources amongst several industries, the debate won't end and there will be too many people within the committee to reach a quorum.


    So, there you have it, the economic calculation problem, which free market actors have been solving for centuries, brings the Marxist theory of labor and production to its knees, and insures that a planned economy of any sort is doomed to failure. No economist since the 20's has been able to work around this problem with a government or centrally planned theory, ever.
    "In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."
    —Thomas Paine, Common Sense
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  2. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    K's Shoe can work on ad-hominem distraction techniques all he wants, the fact remains, the worst shitholes of human poverty exist where representative government does not. Where warlords and anarchy reigns, people suffer miserably. The second worst shitholes on this planet are those that live under some flavor of Marxism. North Korea to China to the former Soviet Union, human suffering, poverty and practical slavery are rampant. The only societies in which the common man has been able to elevate himself above such levels of poverty and subjugation, have been societies where free markets and individual freedom are valued. This has a gold record in history, and you aren't going to be able to come up with a historical record to refute it. You do realize that the poor and homeless in Santa Barbara are better off and better cared for than the laborers in Rawanda, or the peons in North Korea don't you? The historical evidence is irrefutable, central planning of the life and death of people has only ended in disaster, and you can't refute that, because it's historical fact.
    I could just as easily say that states that were involved in colonizing have fared much better in the postwar environment than those who were (non-Anglo) colonized. Only Brazil is the one who is really shaking that reality of 20th century so far in the 21st century.
    I think this is the third or fourth thread I've presented this argument in, but you haven't ever been able to successfully refute it. Actually, you've never even acknowledged it, so I suppose it hurts your brain pan. This is an argument that stabs at the heart of Marxist thought, is backed by science and mathematics, and breaks any theory which requires a centrally planned economy in two.
    Usually when I see the claim that a theory is backed principally by science and economics I'm an immediate skeptic. Its those assumptions about human nature and social behavior.
    The nail in the coffin of Marxist theory is mathematical in nature, and since Ludwig Von Misses postulated the scenario in the 1920's , and F.A. Hayek expanded upon this hypothesis in the 50's through the 70's, no one in the world of economic science has been able to refute it or counter this argument. This argument is the Economic Calculation Problem, a problem the free market evolved to conquer, and centrally planned economies cannot work around because they didn't evolve specifically to deal with this problem.
    The 20's, 50's and 70's were three of the peaks in communist paranoia in the USA. Dont leave out that context.
    Now if you want to understand the problem, you have to understand the reason an economy of some sort exists in the first place. Furthermore, you have to understand human nature. An economy exists to bring the resources of nature, in a usable form, to the people who have use for those resources in the most efficient, meaning lowest cost, manner possible. When a lioness stalks a herd of gazelle on the plains of Africa, she doesn't choose the biggest, strongest, alpha male in the herd to be her meal. The lioness balances efficiency on calories expended versus calories earned, and that is how lowest cost is determined, and highest profit is calculated.
    What you described as human nature is not human nature. It is Lion nature. This is by your own admission, you're citing the deliberations of a giant cat as evidence of human behavior. Many humans will go for the big, strong alpha male because we have egos. Lions are more concerned with eating than recognition, there are reams of psychological evidence that suggest humans are not so pragmatic.
    However, economics isn't about profit and loss, that's business. Economics is about the distribution of resources. After all, when you go to work, if you worked, you wouldn't work for the dollar, it's just a means of exchange. You work for what that means of exchange can provide for you. In other words, you aren't working a week for $600, you are working for that new T.V. or down payment on that car the $600 can provide. From the T.V. to the dinner table your dollars represent usable, material goods, and nothing more.
    Or to invest in what is marketed as something safe and long term. Differing immediate fruits of your labor for the guarantee of a greater payoff down the road. Bigger TV, faster car, etc. etc. Americans love to save and invest money.
    From the raw ore, petroleum, organics and geology required to make one T.V., a group of people free to make their own decisions based on the prices of these raw materials decide which glass and plastics and components enter the plant and leave the plant in the form of a T.V. You have hundred of thousands of independent actors deciding how to make the best product for the lowest labor cost in order to compete. The decisions are made based on price signals. When the price of ore, or glass, or labor increases, these hundreds of thousands of market actors, from Samsung to Visio make decisions all the way from switching purchases from a different glass wholesaler, to moving plants to a more labor friendly environment all in the name of bringing a competitive product at a competitive price to store shelves. It takes literally thousands of people making decisions based on price signals to bring a single 52" Flat Screen T.V. to market for the competitive price of $650. This design of individual actors creates a fault tolerant, neural network of buyers and sellers that can deal with most resource shortages locally, and supplement consumer value with import goods when scarcity demands price increases. Under this system, maximum production is utilized based on net purchase of raw materials. This is how we employ fully, and consume what we earn.
    This assumes the point is to make your TV as frugally as possible so you can sell it for the lowest price. Unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. Oftentimes goods that have no outstanding amounts of demand are artificially priced at a considerable markup. Large companies like Samsung know they can get away with this because making TV's is not a cheap business to get into. Besides, you have lots of brand loyalty that people will pay extra for. Competitors are locked out, either you've been making TV's for decades or you're not making TV's at all.
    Consumers dont always behave rationally out of laziness or loyalty and producers are often ruthless and unethical in their pursuit to minimize input while maximizing output.
    Contrast that to a centrally planned economy, which is a requirement of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". After all, there must exist some sort of planning agency able to assess needs and abilities in order for this scheme to work. Think about that single T.V. which is manufactured. From the raw materials required for copper, and plastics and glass, to the intermediate components, not manufactured for retail sale, but manufactured to be used as components in T.V.'s. Now imagine a congressional committee debating, once every few months which resources, from those mined and welled, to the transport required to bring them to manufacturing, to the intermediate plants pressing out silicon chips. How much debate and decision would that sort of planning require in committee, and more importantly, how many experts from each field (i.e. manufacturing, mining, geological survey, chemical engineering, smelting, etc) would be required in this committee?
    The sum and substance is this: In order to accommodate the demand for T.V.'s these resources, under centrally planned Marxist ideology, must be divvied up, by committee, amongst the manufactures of T.V.'s, cars, trains, planes, paper plates, automobiles, laptops, and every single other industry in the correct amounts. In order to accomplish this feat, this committee must include as many experts as required to accomplish this feat under a free market. However, since this committee will be a competition for resources amongst several industries, the debate won't end and there will be too many people within the committee to reach a quorum.
    Not exactly how it worked. In the USSR a factory manager would go through a regional bureaucracy in a republic (example: Estonia) to negotiate a quota and receive vouchers for the primary goods required to make whatever he was making. These vouchers were handed down to the republics from Moscow, because Estonia needed its Iron from Siberia and its oil from the Caucasus. So the central government would assign those resources to Estonia. Still, it was the request by the regional government in Estonia operating off a request by a factory manager that dictated what was going where. It was a very bottoms-up approach, not top-down.
    Note: I have to reiterate again that the Soviet system was broken from the beginning and was very instrumental in the fall. Still, there was a way things worked there and you cant just make shit up.
    So, there you have it, the economic calculation problem, which free market actors have been solving for centuries, brings the Marxist theory of labor and production to its knees, and insures that a planned economy of any sort is doomed to failure. No economist since the 20's has been able to work around this problem with a government or centrally planned theory, ever.
    Really, all you have here is over-simplification of human behavior with no regards to cultural or political realities that are very diverse from state to state. It assumes all people behave identically and our motivations are uniform through both space and time. You know that isn't true, I know that isn't true.
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  3. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    Sorry it took me so long to respond to you Ody, but my work gets in the way of things. I'll try to recall our conversation a little bit here.
    Actually, it was Wei who demanded that I delve into Marx's theories, on the supposed idea that the repeated failure of the application of those theories didn't necessarily reflect on them, but on the implementers. But, it's okay. You can be my scratching post until Wei deigns to respond.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    You cited the dictionary as a viable source for defining communism. I had an issue with that then and I still do now. Case in point: the word liberal.

    a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

    I have seen liberals described in a lot of ways on this site, and I dont think any of them have been anywhere near the dictionary definition. That's because the word liberal doesn't necessarily mean what it says in the dictionary. Communism is the exact same way. If an alien from a far off galaxy asked you what a liberal is and what a communist is, its pretty clear you wouldn't use a consistent source for both your answers. In a world where sanity was valued this would be the end of this part of our argument, but CU is definitely not that world so I anticipate having to repeat this same paragraph with different wording for the next week or so.
    The reason that the dictionary definition of liberal doesn't match the current mode of liberals is because of the actions of Marxists. During the 1930s, when Stalin was imposing his "economic reforms" (i.e., famine)
    on the Soviet Union, Americans begand to wise up to the nature of Marxism, and the various terms for it, from communism, socialism, progressivism, etc., had become toxic in public debate, so the leftists began referring to themselves as "liberals in a hurry." By the 1960s, they dropped the "in a hurry" part and just co-opted the term. It was an Orwellian debasement of the language, and as a result, the term has acquired additional meanings, which is why a good dictionary provides more than one. Also, the use of liberal as a perjorative synonym for leftists is a uniquely American definition. In other countries, the liberals are what you've presented.

    However, your issue is noted. What is also noted is that you didn't take issue with the actual defintion, just the source. Nice sleight of hand there, but you haven't disproved my point.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    I'm so glad you said this. It didn't work when they tried it, so it wont work when anybody tries it. Then ISI, consociationalism and interventionalist wars to POUND OUR ENEMIES INTO SUBMISSION shouldn't be happening anymore then, right?
    Wrong. First, Marxism didn't just fail once, it has failed every time it has been applied, which means that in every laboratory condition, every experiment, every attempt by every group, no matter how high or low minded, no matter how educated or ignorant, the result has been the same: Famine, poverty, economic collapse, tyranny and erosion of social order. Not once, not twice, but every time. OTOH, pounding enemies into submission works. Don't believe me? Ask the Japanese. Ask the Germans. Ask the Moro tribesmen in the Philippines. Ask the Barbary Pirates. What doesn't work is PC restraint, political posturing and saber rattling that doesn't produce results on the battlefied. As Napoleon said, if you move to take Vienna, take Vienna. Pretending that we are waging a war, when all we are really doing is playing terrorist whack-a-mole doesn't validate your theory, it just demonstrates that you can't produce an effective counter argumment.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    I'm not speaking for anyone here, but the way I've always read the "From each, according to his ability" was referring more to aggregate production by a firm. Not how Walter the riveter performed last Monday.
    Okay, so let's assume that it refers to aggregate production by a firm. Who works for the firm? Why, it's Walter the riveter, and a whole bunch of other riveters. So, how do we measure the aggregate output of the People's Riveting Collective? We add Walter's output to Hamilton's, Joe's, Frank's and Reynolds' (who also had a hit with "Don't Pull Your Love Out" but I digress). The aggregate is a quota, and the quota is a collection of individual quotas, so Walter, Hamilton, Joe, Frank and Reynolds better get their act together, because they each have one fifth of the aggregate output to generate.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    That's a pretty big assumption there big shot (bolded). Humans are more complicated than fucking dogs.
    Then perhaps Communists should stop treating people like dogs.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    Some people like doing a good job without a profit motive. A friend of mine from school owns a business and does pretty well because he's good at it. But you ask him if its the profit that drives him and he'll say no. There's more to it than being John Galt. Also there has been no state-socialist country that has ever directly told people what they could eat, the USSR even allowed private farms. You're right, it is impossible for any government to micromanage people like that. Nobody is arguing for that other than your phantom left-wing boogeyman you've concocted for yourself.
    Actually, the Soviets did just that in the gulags. Every prisoner got so many kilos of meat (rancid, maggoty meat, mind you), so many kilos of bread (including the sawdust) and so many kilos of every other commodity, as determined by the bureaucracy. And they didn't allow individual farms until they had ruined the economy, and even then, the farms were under constraints that made the ownership all but notional. For example, the "owner" couldn't sell the farm, buy equipment or set his own price for his output. In short, it was the perfect Marxist farming system, but Marx, never having been a farmer, wouldn't have known how screwed up his theory was when applied to farming.

    Now, let's talk about your friend, the entrepreneur. He has a business that he enjoys, and he makes good money at it because he enjoys it and is good at it. That's how capitalism works. But, it isn't how Marx would treat him. Iif you take the rewards out of the equation, how long would he enjoy it? If he was constantly constrained by state planners in how he did business, how much he could charge, what tools he could use or what innovations he could employ, how long would he be able to stay in business, and if his business began to fail because of the constraints placed upon him by ignorant bureaucracies, how long would he love it?

    Let's go back to our hypothetical riveter, Walter. Let's say that, among the People's Riveting Collective, Walter is a star riveter, winner of the coveted Hero of the People's Collective Riveting and Joining" medal five times running and employee of the month for two-hundred straight months. Let's also say that Walter can rivet twenty joints in a day, but Hamilton, Joe, Frank and Reynolds can only rivet five each. Do you really think that Walter will enjoy taking home the same pittance as his slacker comrades, who spend most of their work day singing the chorus of their one hit and planning their reunion concert in the break room while Walter single-handedly fulfills half the quota? Why should Walter account for half of his section's work quota when he gets the same amount as the others? Shouldn't Walter be paid more? And if all of the means of production are owned collectively, then Walter can't go to work somewhere else for more money. Worse, Walter, being more productive and faster, will get bored and discouraged and eventually cut back. After all, he's made his quota in one quarter of the time it takes the other guys, so why should he knock himself out? Unlike your friend, whose love of his job is reinforced by the rewards that he gets, Walter's love of his job is eroded and destroyed by the perverse incentives of Marx.
    --Odysseus
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  4. #14  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    All political philosophy has this, including the work of the guys who founded the USA. Your argument is straying away from being about the specifics of Karl Marx and more towards "all political philosophy is bullshit cause I dont understand how it works." This paragraph almost implies that you agree a classless society is a good thing, just unrealistic.
    I don't see where calling Marx's classless society a "utopian fantasy" "in which people who spent their lives in squalor while resenting the successes of others, i.e., people like him, would be on top" constitutes an endorsement, but I also don't see how someone could look at Marx's theories and miss the glaring contradictions. As for you comparison with the founders, you could not be more wrong. First, the political philosophy of the American founding was based in historical precedent in addition to theory, rather than theory alone. The separation and definition of powers was derived from Roman republican law, the limits on federal power versus state and local powers were derived from the Greek polises and the definitions of individual rights came from English common law, all of which were modified to suit the specific circumstances of the founding. Second, the founders did not specify an endstate. They weren't utopians who saw an end to human progress, but a constant tug of war between interests, in which a just government would act as referee. Their model was meant to provide stable government so that people could pursue their own interests, rather than a state that would define their interests and channel them accordingly. Finally, because the founders didn't have an endstate in mind for society, they left it open-ended. The Constitution can be amended as times change and laws need to be adjusted to reflect those changes, but the fundamental principles of limited government that is responsible to the people, rather than expansive government that takes responsibility for the people (and thus takes responsibility away from them) remains valid. Marx, OTOH, visualized a specific endstate which had never existed before, and because of this, his plans for achieving it were, at best, vague, and at worst, catastrophic. Millions upon millions of lives have been wasted in attempting to implement this absurd fantasy, and Marxist dictatorships of the proletariat (Marx's term, not Lenin's) have no amendment process beyond the whim of the thug-in-chief to change failing policies. Thus, they fail, fail and fail again, and every time, a new generation comes along and says, "what if we only kill the kulaks if they actually rebel?" or "What if we have ten-year plans instead of five-year plans?" But ultimately, they are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and the iceberg, the laws of economics, loom ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    All due respect to your six year old daughter, I'm sure she's a sweetheart, but you cannot analogize what she thinks to what Marx wrote. They're saying these things in completely different contexts.
    On the contrary. Both my daughter and Marx created fantasy endstates. The difference is that my daughter is six years old and can be expected to believe that she can someday marry a prince, or that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Dialectical Materialism or some other improbable entity or philosophy will fullfill all of her wants until she grows out of it. What's your excuse?

    Quote Originally Posted by KhrushchevsShoe View Post
    This is complete and total bullshit.

    For everything you say the government can prevent people from doing business can in the same way. What if your own efforts are put in a supposedly safe stock market that is in reality a high stakes poker game between poker elites? Bahhh shouldn't have squandered your inheritance to those thieves. Elites are elites whether they are in the USSR, USA or anywhere in between. They will screw from government and from outside of government because that's what they do. You just act like there's a difference between the two.
    There are many differences between the two. First, in a free market, the failure of thieves is more obvious, and more limited. True, you get an Enron of a Bernie Madoff periodically, but they do fail, and when they do, the bad guys usually end up in jail, or at least out of business and discredited. Compare that with the USSR (which, BTW, you said we shouldn't reference, because we're only talking theory, or at least we shouldn't talk about it unless the discussion point favors your argument, but since you brought it up...), in which state-run agencies failed for decades without consequence, except to those who depended on them for goods and services. A Bernie Madoff who cooked the books in the USSR would have been kept in power as long as he continued to keep the party elite in the money. A Soviet Diamond mine might not be making a profit, but they could always find one big stone to cut, polish and mount in a gold setting so that Mrs. Brezhnev got a lovely gift when Leonid came back from his inspection tour. And, since the government maintains a monopoly (remember, the workers, through the dictatorship of the proletariat, own all of the means of production), failure in one company equals failure in an entire industry. Even during the worst period of the dustbowl, American food production never reached the point of collapse, while during perfectly normal times, the Soviets couldn't feed themselves, even though they had some of the most fertile arable land in the world.

    Second, you cite the worst excesses of capitalism as if they are the norm, and cite the norms of communism as if they are comparable. It's a lovely bait and switch, but the fact is that for every Enron, there's an Exxon; For every Bernie Madoff, there's a Warrne Buffett; For every Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there's a Chase, a Bank of America or a host of other lenders that are solvent. Even when Chrysler and GM were taking government handouts and submitting to Obamaism, Ford bit the bullet and restructured and is now in better shape, and Toyota, Honda, Porsce-Audi and other car-makers are still making good, dependable cars that people want to buy, and they are making money and returns on investments. Meanwhile, when Gazprom was the only state-controlled energy company, the Soviets couldn't even produce enough lightbulbs to light their own homes, there was no private investment (and no incentive to divest of unproductive investments or back productive ones) and the various auto manufacturers in the eastern bloc managed to produce only one car that met western standards (if barely), and that was the Yugo.

    Finally, you claim that investment is a poker game between plutocrats. It's not. Unless the investment is a complete sham (as it was with Enron and Madoff), investment creates assets. Those assets don't disappear, even during the most hostile takeovers, they are either sold off or reapportioned under new management. If you hold stock in company A, and company B takes over, your stock doesn't disappear, it becomes part of the stock of company B. Thus, if you bought stock in, say, National Periodical Publications in 1960 (otherwise known as DC Comics), and kept the stock, today you own stock in AOL-Time-Warner.

    I'd call this game, set and match, but I'd really like to see Wei stick his nose in.
    --Odysseus
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  5. #15  
    Senior Member Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    I don't see where calling Marx's classless society a "utopian fantasy" "in which people who spent their lives in squalor while resenting the successes of others, i.e., people like him, would be on top" constitutes an endorsement, but I also don't see how someone could look at Marx's theories and miss the glaring contradictions. As for you comparison with the founders, you could not be more wrong. First, the political philosophy of the American founding was based in historical precedent in addition to theory, rather than theory alone. The separation and definition of powers was derived from Roman republican law, the limits on federal power versus state and local powers were derived from the Greek polises and the definitions of individual rights came from English common law, all of which were modified to suit the specific circumstances of the founding. Second, the founders did not specify an endstate. They weren't utopians who saw an end to human progress, but a constant tug of war between interests, in which a just government would act as referee. Their model was meant to provide stable government so that people could pursue their own interests, rather than a state that would define their interests and channel them accordingly. Finally, because the founders didn't have an endstate in mind for society, they left it open-ended. The Constitution can be amended as times change and laws need to be adjusted to reflect those changes, but the fundamental principles of limited government that is responsible to the people, rather than expansive government that takes responsibility for the people (and thus takes responsibility away from them) remains valid. Marx, OTOH, visualized a specific endstate which had never existed before, and because of this, his plans for achieving it were, at best, vague, and at worst, catastrophic. Millions upon millions of lives have been wasted in attempting to implement this absurd fantasy, and Marxist dictatorships of the proletariat (Marx's term, not Lenin's) have no amendment process beyond the whim of the thug-in-chief to change failing policies. Thus, they fail, fail and fail again, and every time, a new generation comes along and says, "what if we only kill the kulaks if they actually rebel?" or "What if we have ten-year plans instead of five-year plans?" But ultimately, they are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and the iceberg, the laws of economics, loom ahead.



    On the contrary. Both my daughter and Marx created fantasy endstates. The difference is that my daughter is six years old and can be expected to believe that she can someday marry a prince, or that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Dialectical Materialism or some other improbable entity or philosophy will fullfill all of her wants until she grows out of it. What's your excuse?



    There are many differences between the two. First, in a free market, the failure of thieves is more obvious, and more limited. True, you get an Enron of a Bernie Madoff periodically, but they do fail, and when they do, the bad guys usually end up in jail, or at least out of business and discredited. Compare that with the USSR (which, BTW, you said we shouldn't reference, because we're only talking theory, or at least we shouldn't talk about it unless the discussion point favors your argument, but since you brought it up...), in which state-run agencies failed for decades without consequence, except to those who depended on them for goods and services. A Bernie Madoff who cooked the books in the USSR would have been kept in power as long as he continued to keep the party elite in the money. A Soviet Diamond mine might not be making a profit, but they could always find one big stone to cut, polish and mount in a gold setting so that Mrs. Brezhnev got a lovely gift when Leonid came back from his inspection tour. And, since the government maintains a monopoly (remember, the workers, through the dictatorship of the proletariat, own all of the means of production), failure in one company equals failure in an entire industry. Even during the worst period of the dustbowl, American food production never reached the point of collapse, while during perfectly normal times, the Soviets couldn't feed themselves, even though they had some of the most fertile arable land in the world.

    Second, you cite the worst excesses of capitalism as if they are the norm, and cite the norms of communism as if they are comparable. It's a lovely bait and switch, but the fact is that for every Enron, there's an Exxon; For every Bernie Madoff, there's a Warrne Buffett; For every Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there's a Chase, a Bank of America or a host of other lenders that are solvent. Even when Chrysler and GM were taking government handouts and submitting to Obamaism, Ford bit the bullet and restructured and is now in better shape, and Toyota, Honda, Porsce-Audi and other car-makers are still making good, dependable cars that people want to buy, and they are making money and returns on investments. Meanwhile, when Gazprom was the only state-controlled energy company, the Soviets couldn't even produce enough lightbulbs to light their own homes, there was no private investment (and no incentive to divest of unproductive investments or back productive ones) and the various auto manufacturers in the eastern bloc managed to produce only one car that met western standards (if barely), and that was the Yugo.

    Finally, you claim that investment is a poker game between plutocrats. It's not. Unless the investment is a complete sham (as it was with Enron and Madoff), investment creates assets. Those assets don't disappear, even during the most hostile takeovers, they are either sold off or reapportioned under new management. If you hold stock in company A, and company B takes over, your stock doesn't disappear, it becomes part of the stock of company B. Thus, if you bought stock in, say, National Periodical Publications in 1960 (otherwise known as DC Comics), and kept the stock, today you own stock in AOL-Time-Warner.

    I'd call this game, set and match, but I'd really like to see Wei stick his nose in.

    I love to see his face rubbed in shit, it never gets old THANKS MAJOR. :D
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  6. #16  
    Power CUer NJCardFan's Avatar
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    Even when Chrysler and GM were taking government handouts and submitting to Obamaism, Ford bit the bullet and restructured and is now in better shape,
    This reminds me of the problems the airlines were having after 9/11. Even though the bailouts they received were a rare occurrence that had to be done(having 1 airline fail would have been bad enough but to have all fail would have been devastating to the economy). However, even after that, Delta, United, USAir, and Continental were all struggling and some started filing for bankruptcy while the company I worked for, American Airlines, restructured and worked with all of we employees to save the necessary $1 billion to remain solvent. After that, AA because a profitable airline again.

    As for Malloc's TV analogy, had the television industry been run by a Marxist or some other communist/socialist ideology, this would be the pinnacle of television technology today:


    Capitalism breeds innovation. I can guarantee that if you listed the pros and cons of capitalism, the pros would outweigh the cons at least 50-1. On the other hand, there are no pros to socialism.
    The Obama Administration: Deny. Deflect. Blame.
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  7. #17  
    Our widdle friend. Wei Wu Wei's Avatar
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    Alright it seems the one and only lifeline you guys are clinging onto is the "SOCIALISM HAS LITERALLY NEVER WORKED" argument.

    Let's just put that to rest shall we?

    Belarus

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belarus

    100% employment,
    fantastic architecture - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Be..._Library-1.jpg
    90% of the population has cell phones

    isn't exactly the soviet wasteland you seem to think necessarily comes from non-capitalist modes of production
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Smith - Wealth of Nations
    It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
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  8. #18  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bailey View Post
    I love to see his face rubbed in shit, it never gets old THANKS MAJOR. :D
    No prob. It's my pleasure. Now, where's Wei?
    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    This reminds me of the problems the airlines were having after 9/11. Even though the bailouts they received were a rare occurrence that had to be done(having 1 airline fail would have been bad enough but to have all fail would have been devastating to the economy). However, even after that, Delta, United, USAir, and Continental were all struggling and some started filing for bankruptcy while the company I worked for, American Airlines, restructured and worked with all of we employees to save the necessary $1 billion to remain solvent. After that, AA because a profitable airline again.

    As for Malloc's TV analogy, had the television industry been run by a Marxist or some other communist/socialist ideology, this would be the pinnacle of television technology today:


    Capitalism breeds innovation. I can guarantee that if you listed the pros and cons of capitalism, the pros would outweigh the cons at least 50-1. On the other hand, there are no pros to socialism.
    No, there are some pros to Socialism, they just aren't very significant. This, of course, leads me to list them...:D

    Top Ten Benefits of Socialism:

    • Snazzy red tee-shirts with bearded clown on them.
    • Low obesity rates among proletariat due to recurring famines
    • High-minded rhetoric allows spoiled Hollywood moguls and plutocrats to sound like they care about "the little guy."
    • Provides thesis subjects for otherwise unemployable perpetual academics seeking tenure.
    • Long waiting list for Trabants and other crappy eastern bloc cars kept highway mortality rates low.
    • Guarantees of employment without standards mean that even when you're working, you're not really working.
    • Really hot Russian mail order brides will do just about anything to get away from the legacy of socialism.
    • Cheap surplus AK-47s.
    • Chronic shortages of basic staples means that kids don't have to eat broccoli, asparagus or any other yucky vegetables.

      And the number one benefit of Socialism:
    • Economic failure is excused because "they didn't do it right" and then they get to try again. And again. And again...
    --Odysseus
    Sic Hacer Pace, Para Bellum.

    Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people!
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  9. #19  
    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    One of the problems with Marxism is that it serves well as a critique of the faults of capitalism, but it really doesn't offer any type of reasonable alternative that can work in the real world. It's an intellectual argument, not a real-world solution. Every time Marxist theory has been used to replace capitalism, it's been mostly a failure because the ideas behind it seem great until they are put into practice.

    Who doesn't want equality? Who doesn't want to see poverty reduced or even ended? We all would love to see a society where the poor can move ahead and the rich are benevolent and philanthropic. Marxism doesn't make that happen, it just makes more people poor.
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  10. #20  
    Our widdle friend. Wei Wu Wei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    Alright it seems the one and only lifeline you guys are clinging onto is the "SOCIALISM HAS LITERALLY NEVER WORKED" argument.

    Let's just put that to rest shall we?

    Belarus

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belarus

    100% employment,
    fantastic architecture - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Be..._Library-1.jpg
    90% of the population has cell phones

    isn't exactly the soviet wasteland you seem to think necessarily comes from non-capitalist modes of production
    Since the OP might have missed it.

    This is the basis of every argument "socialism never worked therefore it cannot work".

    First of all, noonwitch is sort of right that Marxism provides a perspective to critique capitalism but the solution isn't spelled out for us.

    Second, don't even try to pretend that socialist countries existed in a neutral space, the United States was actively doing everything it could short of blowing up the whole fucking Earth for the sake of preventing, at ANY COST, the spread of this ideology. So to be fair, socialism has had one or two obstacles working against it's fruition.

    Finally, BELARUS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Smith - Wealth of Nations
    It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
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