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Question: The Better System?
Deregulated Capitalist Economy   -12 (21.4%)
Regulated Capitalist Economy   -14 (25%)
Mixed Economy   -22 (39.3%)
Socialist Economy   -8 (14.3%)
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Total Voters: 56

Author Topic: Socialism vs. Capitalism  (Read 17048 times)
Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2009, 07:42:36 pm »
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Sneering aside, let's try to take this semi-seriously... but that's impossible as it's hard to tell what's meant by any of the terms.

Deregulated Capitalist Economy: this could mean several different things; from laissez faire to the system of advanced-capitalism-with-minimal-regulation seen currently in the U.S.
Regulated Capitalist Economy: this could mean, literally, almost anything. A meaningless term.
Mixed Economy: again, what's meant here? The basic economic structure of most of Western Europe during the Golden Age of Capitalism? The economic structure of the U.S during the same period? (very different!). Any system that incorporates a proper sized Welfare State?
Socialist Economy: again... I mean, does this mean the economic structure of the future (?) Socialist Commonwealth? The sort of economic structure that might have emerged in Britain had Labour won the 1951 election or of certain Northern European countries around the same time? The basic economic structures of Western Europe during the Golden Age of Capitalism? The economic structure of the Soviet Union?
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« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2009, 07:43:38 pm »
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neither one nor four have ever existed and 2/3 are the same thing.

No, one has certainly existed in the past (and does exist in parts of the Third World). Not much fun if you're a prole, though.
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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2009, 07:55:41 pm »
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     I guess the way I try to think of it is in terms of Smithian economics versus Marxist economics. So:

option 1 -- 100% Smithian
option 2 -- 75/25 Smithian
option 3 -- 50/50
option 4 -- 75/25 Marxist

     Of course, that's not really any less vague than it would be otherwise.
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« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2009, 12:35:27 am »
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Deregulated capitalist.
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« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2009, 05:07:14 am »
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I think a useful distinction between 'regulated capitalist economy' and 'mixed economy' can be made:

Regulated capitalist economy could be thought of as one in which there is virtually no State ownership of industry, even utilites and transport, but in which there is meticulous well-enforced regulation in place for the stability of markets, and the protection of workers and consumers.  I do not think that anything in the title 'regulated capitalist economy' implies a social saftey net, but I suppose it would be reasonable to guess that any society which was so careful in its embrace of the brute suitor 'capitalism' would also try to ensure some very minimal safety net.  However, this net would be a reluctant and parsimonious one, due to the generally 'pro-capital' mindset evidenced by the overall system.

To contrast 'Mixed Economy' I think one would envision it this way - the State not only regulates the activities and limits the powers of the capitalist class in the above way, but also engages in fairly large scale ownership and operation of industries which would be considered almost by definition 'private' in the above system.  Of course most utilities and transport would be directly State operated in a 'mixed economy', but also many 'vital industries' such as heavy industry or minerals exploitation.  Lastly one could assume that 'troubled' industries - for example large companies like GM - would inevitably be nationalized, at least for a time, under such a system, regardless of their field.  Finally I think we can assume that such a pragmatic system would have adopted a somewhat Benthamite outlook and would probably see the 'Welfare State' as not so much a humanitarian necessity, but a sort of reasonable demand or right of the toiling classes.  So we could infer a somewhat more generous and less tenuous social safety net than in the above sytem (regulated capitalism).

Lastly I suppose one must try to make a distinction between Mixed Economy and Socialism - maybe not so hard.  In the mixed economy 'socialist' undertakings are not shied from, but they are utilized by the State only in part and only when it is really necessary.  'The market' and the capitalist heirarchy are still in place and utilized, but in the same way.  I think in socialism we would see a resistance to allowing more than a token amount of such brutality - the socialist would want to eliminate this inequality in principle, even if it were impractical to do so.  I think in 'mixed economy' lots of large industries would still be privately owned - i.e. controlled by a privileged class - though with some limitation on their purview of power.  By contrast 'private ownership' would only be tolerated in small business in a socialist system.
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« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2009, 03:33:31 pm »
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     I guess the way I try to think of it is in terms of Smithian economics versus Marxist economics. So:

option 1 -- 100% Smithian
option 2 -- 75/25 Smithian
option 3 -- 50/50
option 4 -- 75/25 Marxist

     Of course, that's not really any less vague than it would be otherwise.

kind of a stupid continuum considering Smith was one of Marx's main influences and they agreed on some key points - like estrangement of labour.
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« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2009, 05:29:40 pm »
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     I guess the way I try to think of it is in terms of Smithian economics versus Marxist economics. So:

option 1 -- 100% Smithian
option 2 -- 75/25 Smithian
option 3 -- 50/50
option 4 -- 75/25 Marxist

     Of course, that's not really any less vague than it would be otherwise.

kind of a stupid continuum considering Smith was one of Marx's main influences and they agreed on some key points - like estrangement of labour.

The whole the British Political Economy tradition was one of Marx's major influences in itself (not just Smith, but Ricardo and others as well; Marx was a great intellectual synthesizer of early 19th Century ideas).
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As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2009, 06:03:39 pm »
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Much more David Ricardo than Adam Smith. (Smith's theory of value was rather ambiguous. Indeed, it's not even clear to what extent he had a coherent value theory.)

And yes; Marx was a brilliant synthesizer of the worst parts of early 19th century thought.
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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2009, 08:40:04 pm »
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Much more David Ricardo than Adam Smith. (Smith's theory of value was rather ambiguous. Indeed, it's not even clear to what extent he had a coherent value theory.)

And yes; Marx was a brilliant synthesizer of the worst parts of early 19th century thought.

Not a Hegel fan then? Tongue

Of course I was being very general, my knowledge of Marxian economics is not the greatest, I know more about the materialist-Hegelian side of his thought.
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As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2009, 05:39:51 am »
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     I guess the way I try to think of it is in terms of Smithian economics versus Marxist economics. So:

option 1 -- 100% Smithian
option 2 -- 75/25 Smithian
option 3 -- 50/50
option 4 -- 75/25 Marxist

     Of course, that's not really any less vague than it would be otherwise.

kind of a stupid continuum considering Smith was one of Marx's main influences and they agreed on some key points - like estrangement of labour.

The whole the British Political Economy tradition was one of Marx's major influences in itself (not just Smith, but Ricardo and others as well; Marx was a great intellectual synthesizer of early 19th Century ideas).

     People typically are influenced by their forebears. They can deeply disagree with their influences, though. Of course, I'm rather uncomfortable with the notion of an ideological continuum in the first place.
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2009, 05:20:54 pm »
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neither one nor four have ever existed and 2/3 are the same thing.

No, one has certainly existed in the past (and does exist in parts of the Third World). Not much fun if you're a prole, though.

I dare you to give one example. I would argue not only that no 100% unregulated capitalist states have existed, but also that none (that I'm aware of anyway) come even close enough to be accurately labelled as such.
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2009, 05:29:04 pm »
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I dare you to give one example. I would argue not only that no 100% unregulated capitalist states have existed, but also that none (that I'm aware of anyway) come even close enough to be accurately labelled as such.

Oh come on - utter chaos has often ruled in many parts of the world.
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« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2009, 05:43:17 pm »
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neither one nor four have ever existed and 2/3 are the same thing.

No, one has certainly existed in the past (and does exist in parts of the Third World). Not much fun if you're a prole, though.

I dare you to give one example. I would argue not only that no 100% unregulated capitalist states have existed, but also that none (that I'm aware of anyway) come even close enough to be accurately labelled as such.

I'll give you an example that I'm very familiar with.

There was no regulation of industry (or, bluntly, of almost anything else; urban issues being especially "fun") in Britain during the first few decades of industrialisation and no effective regulation until much later even than that. This is not opinion, this is fact. Now you can point to various things (almost all meaningless things) around the margins, enough to claim that it wasn't "100%" (whatever that means) but the basic point stands. It was unregulated, unfettered, unrestrained capitalism.
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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2009, 05:55:52 pm »
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Just to throw out scenarios (as is my wont nowadays) - there is a decently reasonable scenario out there in my mind whereby the present form of European/US socialism is fundamentally destroyed/altered by the culmination of present economic events.  I actually don't think it can last *that* much longer anyways - present events are just pushing forward the event horizon, so to speak.

As to what will replace it, I have no clue.  Could be something more "capitalistic" or something more "socialistic" or something completely outside these boundaries...
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2009, 05:58:32 pm »
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Just to throw out scenarios (as is my wont nowadays) - there is a decently reasonable scenario out there in my mind whereby the present form of European/US socialism is fundamentally destroyed/altered by the culmination of present economic events.  I actually don't think it can last *that* much longer anyways - present events are just pushing forward the event horizon, so to speak.

As to what will replace it, I have no clue.  Could be something more "capitalistic" or something more "socialistic" or something completely outside these boundaries...

Wait a minute.... are you saying there is at present a form of "socialism" in the US or Europe? Where is this thing, it seems to have vanished all together?
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« Reply #40 on: March 18, 2009, 12:11:06 am »
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Mixed. Government control (or at least heavy regulation) of vital services and industries, with private control of services and products that are nonessential.
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« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2009, 03:16:09 am »
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... the present form of European/US socialism...

Wait a minute.... are you saying there is at present a form of "socialism" in the US or Europe? Where is this thing, it seems to have vanished all together?

Have you not noticed in his years of posting, Al, that Sam Spade is one of those crazy right-wingers who think that any slight window-dressing of the capitalist process is 'socialism'.  The man's a kneejerk nutter.
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« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2009, 04:45:40 am »
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neither one nor four have ever existed and 2/3 are the same thing.

No, one has certainly existed in the past (and does exist in parts of the Third World). Not much fun if you're a prole, though.

I dare you to give one example. I would argue not only that no 100% unregulated capitalist states have existed, but also that none (that I'm aware of anyway) come even close enough to be accurately labelled as such.

I'll give you an example that I'm very familiar with.

There was no regulation of industry (or, bluntly, of almost anything else; urban issues being especially "fun") in Britain during the first few decades of industrialisation and no effective regulation until much later even than that. This is not opinion, this is fact. Now you can point to various things (almost all meaningless things) around the margins, enough to claim that it wasn't "100%" (whatever that means) but the basic point stands. It was unregulated, unfettered, unrestrained capitalism.

I'm not familiar enough to argue the fine points. However, to name one thing IIRC England didn't introduce free trade until 1846. And when were the traditional rules for what we in Swedish call "skrån" abolished? (that is, privileges and the likes associated with certain crafts)

I suspect you are thinking of unregulated as in rich people being able to treat poor people however they want. I'm thinking more in terms of whether you can use your property and financial resources completely unfettered. And I think state sovereignty tends to interfere with this in several respects. Besides, I suspect there was room for a lot of behaviour from those "unregulated" capitalists that in itself would be infringements on the free market. 

19th century Britain may be your best case though, I'm willing to cede that. I don't buy there being any such cases in the world today though.

As an aside to Opebo, I'm not just ignoring you for the usual reasons but in this case because you were unusually non-cognitive in your post.

As a final note it's a little sad that topics like these tend to degenerate into "we're so far from my favourite system, because it would be so good and the world is so bad" going back and forth.
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« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2009, 06:13:21 am »
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As an aside to Opebo, I'm not just ignoring you for the usual reasons but in this case because you were unusually non-cognitive in your post.

You aren't ignoring me, you are insulting me, you simpering Swede.  Try to be man enough to own up to it.
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« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2009, 04:22:14 pm »
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As an aside to Opebo, I'm not just ignoring you for the usual reasons but in this case because you were unusually non-cognitive in your post.

You aren't ignoring me, you are insulting me, you simpering Swede.  Try to be man enough to own up to it.

"simpering Swede"? Whatever happened to prude?

Anyway, if you were man enough to actually argue rationally with people instead of arrogantly demeaning them I would respond in turn. Since I am a believer in communication and betterment I ignore your posts in the sense that I don't bother to respond to their "points". I usually note them and refer briefly to my reasons for not responding so as not to make anyone think that I missed it or have some other reason for my behaviour. I normally make a point out of not running away from discussions, but I make exceptions for those who fail to show respect to differing view-points and never make an effort to properly discuss an issue.

But you know what they say: don't dish it out unless you can't take it!
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2009, 03:40:11 am »
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"simpering Swede"? Whatever happened to prude?

They sometimes simper, like you.  Christ man, I've used many an insult upon this forum, not just 'prude'.
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« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2009, 08:39:37 am »
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I suspect you are thinking of unregulated as in rich people being able to treat poor people however they want.

To a point, but there's more to it than that. I mean capital, industry, etc (whatever, the name isn't important) being about to treat anyone and anything in any just about any way that it/ they/etc feels like.

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I'm thinking more in terms of whether you can use your property and financial resources completely unfettered. And I think state sovereignty tends to interfere with this in several respects. Besides, I suspect there was room for a lot of behaviour from those "unregulated" capitalists that in itself would be infringements on the free market. 

But then you aren't thinking about capitalism (as it has existed and as it does exist) so much as a sort of market-utopia.
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« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2009, 01:01:19 pm »
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I suspect you are thinking of unregulated as in rich people being able to treat poor people however they want.

To a point, but there's more to it than that. I mean capital, industry, etc (whatever, the name isn't important) being about to treat anyone and anything in any just about any way that it/ they/etc feels like.

Quote
I'm thinking more in terms of whether you can use your property and financial resources completely unfettered. And I think state sovereignty tends to interfere with this in several respects. Besides, I suspect there was room for a lot of behaviour from those "unregulated" capitalists that in itself would be infringements on the free market. 

But then you aren't thinking about capitalism (as it has existed and as it does exist) so much as a sort of market-utopia.

Eh, yes. That is exactly my point. Tongue "unregulated free market" has not existed and does not exist.
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« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2009, 06:58:36 am »
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Deregulated capitalism.
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« Reply #49 on: March 23, 2009, 07:20:25 pm »
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Just to throw out scenarios (as is my wont nowadays) - there is a decently reasonable scenario out there in my mind whereby the present form of European/US socialism is fundamentally destroyed/altered by the culmination of present economic events.  I actually don't think it can last *that* much longer anyways - present events are just pushing forward the event horizon, so to speak.

As to what will replace it, I have no clue.  Could be something more "capitalistic" or something more "socialistic" or something completely outside these boundaries...

Wait a minute.... are you saying there is at present a form of "socialism" in the US or Europe? Where is this thing, it seems to have vanished all together?

I apologize because, quite frankly, I didn't describe it properly.

There are forms of socialism both in the US and Europe right now most assuredly - you see I tend to think of these things as variable scales, so when I say socialism or capitalism, I am likely referring to some part of the system that I view as being such even though it may only be slightly more capitalistic than socialistic or vice versa.  Let's not get more complicated than that, for now.  Smiley

Anyways, the avenue of US/European socialism that I am discussing when I said the above is the vast level of "social safety nets" present in both areas.  Namely, things like SS/Medicare/Medicaid and the military in the US (yes the military is a part of a "social safety net"), alog with national health care programs, welfare payments and the like in Europe and pensions in both.

Wages also fits somewhere here, but I feel more confident about the impact on wages than I do the above, which is more of a scenario than anything else.
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