Free Access: I want ten Ferraris!

April 2024 Forums General discussion Free Access: I want ten Ferraris!

Viewing 11 posts - 16 through 26 (of 26 total)
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  • #131998
    LBird
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    On re-reading my last post, it may seem that i envisage a socialism that is merely capitalism – but only better.In a sense that is correct. Capitalism has already organised production socially – but it is not socially owned or controlled, remaining in the hands of a few individuals and acting in their interests of them and not society's.

    But surely by 'socially' we mean 'democratically', alan?So, Capitalism hasn't 'organised production socially' – but for a social elite.Your view here, that 'socialism' is 'merely a better capitalism', is fundamentally wrong, not 'correct' in any sense.Though… I suppose if one thinks that an elite will be in control of academic production, then it's a small step to think the same of all 'social' production.If 'academic production' remains 'not socially owned or controlled, remaining in the hands of a few individuals', why shouldn't it, too, be 'acting in their interests of them and not society's'?Since your views of science are non-democratic, it brings into focus what you might actually mean by 'scientific socialism'.'A science that is merely bourgeois science – but only better'?

    #131999
    Charlie wrote:
    The labourer is the owner of his labour-power until he has done bargaining for its sale with the capitalist; and he can sell no more than what he has i.e., his individual, isolated labour-power. This state of things is in no way altered by the fact that the capitalist, instead of buying the labour-power of one man, buys that of 100, and enters into separate contracts with 100 unconnected men instead of with one. He is at liberty to set the 100 men to work, without letting them co-operate. He pays them the value of 100 independent labour-powers, but he does not pay for the combined labour-power of the hundred. Being independent of each other, the labourers are isolated persons, who enter into relations with the capitalist, but not with one another. This co-operation begins only with the labour-process, but they have then ceased to belong to themselves. On entering that process, they become incorporated with capital. As co-operators, as members of a working organism, they are but special modes of existence of capital. Hence, the productive power developed by the labourer when working in co-operation, is the productive power of capital. This power is developed gratuitously, whenever the workmen are placed under given conditions, and it is capital that places them under such conditions. Because this power costs capital nothing, and because, on the other hand, the labourer himself does not develop it before his labour belongs to capital, it appears as a power with which capital is endowed by Nature – a productive power that is immanent in capital.[…]Just as the social productive power of labour that is developed by co-operation, appears to be the productive power of capital, so co-operation itself, contrasted with the process of production carried on by isolated independent labourers, or even by small employers, appears to be a specific form of the capitalist process of production. It is the first change experienced by the actual labour-process, when subjected to capital. This change takes place spontaneously. The simultaneous employment of a large number of wage-labourers, in one and the same process, which is a necessary condition of this change, also forms the starting-point of capitalist production. This point coincides with the birth of capital itself. If then, on the one hand, the capitalist mode of production presents itself to us historically, as a necessary condition to the transformation of the labour-process into a social process, so, on the other hand, this social form of the labour-process presents itself, as a method employed by capital for the more profitable exploitation of labour, by increasing that labour’s productiveness.

    Or something like that.

    #132000
    robbo203
    Participant

    I think we should be clear on one point  – there is no way whatsoever  in which the magnitudes of literally millions of different types of items can be decided collectively or democratically in an apriori sense by the global population of a socialist society.  Everything is interconnected and to produce 658 million four-inch screws as agreed by a democratic vote would require a democratic vote also on the requsiite magnitudes of materials and inputs required to produce 658 millon four-inch screws.   That is assuming it is even possible to organise a meaningful vote among 7 billion plus individuals! So I wish people would be clearer when they talk vaguely of "society" determining in a socialist society what is to be produced.  There is absolutely no way in which the overall pattern of production can be consciously predeterimined in this sense.  No way at all.  That pattern can ONLY arise spontaneously as the outcome of countless decisions made right across society by individuals, communities and production/distribution units themselves.   There is no other way of organising large scale prpduction without some form of feedback mechanism which is precisely what the idea of conscious society-wide apriori planning rules out.. Of course "society" influences what individuals consume.  Society is not the mere sum of its parts; it is more than that.  But we should be ore precise in our language as how this influence might express itself.  I can certainly envisage social decisions being taken on what would be the priorities of production in socialism and I cannot imagine the manufacture of prestige cars would count amongst these priorities.  In that sense you could certainly say society is shaping its pattern of consumption.  But that is a very different from the proposition of society-wide apriori central planning which is a complete non starter

    #132001

    What society can decide is that each person should have access tohttps://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/reference-intakes-RI-guideline-daily-amounts-GDA.aspxEnergy: 8,400 kJ/2,000kcalTotal fat: less than 70gSaturates: less than 20gCarbohydrate: at least 260gTotal sugars: 90gProtein: 50gSalt: less than 6gSomewhere between 2 and 3.5 litres of clean water per day for drinking (Somewhere around 150 litres per day need for sanitation and hygene).About 18 cubic metres of personal space (a room 3x3x2) as a bare minimum, with appropriate environmental controls and electricity, suyitable to keep it to about 22 degrees C all year round.Environmentally and culturally appropriate clothes (including socialist burkhas, ba-doom tish), which translates into yay much cotton, wool, nylon, etc.etc.This is off the back of a fag packet, and would be the global standard, that specific communes might want to alkter into greater specificity, taking into account food miles, seasonality, etc.The substantive point is any system has to be consumer demand driven.

    #132002
    robbo203
    Participant
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    What society can decide is that each person should have access tohttps://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/reference-intakes-RI-guideline-daily-amounts-GDA.aspxEnergy: 8,400 kJ/2,000kcalTotal fat: less than 70gSaturates: less than 20gCarbohydrate: at least 260gTotal sugars: 90gProtein: 50gSalt: less than 6gSomewhere between 2 and 3.5 litres of clean water per day for drinking (Somewhere around 150 litres per day need for sanitation and hygene).About 18 cubic metres of personal space (a room 3x3x2) as a bare minimum, with appropriate environmental controls and electricity, suyitable to keep it to about 22 degrees C all year round.Environmentally and culturally appropriate clothes (including socialist burkhas, ba-doom tish), which translates into yay much cotton, wool, nylon, etc.etc.This is off the back of a fag packet, and would be the global standard, that specific communes might want to alkter into greater specificity, taking into account food miles, seasonality, etc.The substantive point is any system has to be consumer demand driven.

     Yes that is a good point YMS.  Its  an example of "social influence" in action – the presentation of a norm of what constitutes reasonable consumption and the expectation that people will adapt to this norm out of a sense of empathetic concern for the interests and wellbeing of others upon whom they are dependent. Taking too much for yourself jeopardises their interests and harms your own in the long run    But again this cannot be a top down process  where something called "society" (which will inevitably mean a technical elite given the impossibility of 7 billion people meanfingfully deciding that everyone should be allocated 3.2 litres of water per day – a ludicrous scenario) what you can consume.   That would amount to a rationing society and with that will almost inevitably come a system of compulsory labour and hence the eventual  re=emergence of class society. A  socialist society can proactively take steps to "mould" consumer behaviour but cannot dicate it.  As you corectly say "any system has to be consumer demand driven."  That is the bottom line.   Cooperation has to emerge organically from the bottom up, not be imposed from the top down by an elite purporting to derive their authority form "society" which is what will inevitably happen if you let "society" call all the shots. It has to be a two way thing.

    #132003
    Mike Foster
    Participant

    I'm assuming that bar codes already regulate supply and demand (among those who can afford to buy the goods) within corporations. So, when someone buys some cornflakes from a supermarket, the bar code not only registers the price, but also logs that one box has gone so that it can be checked if enough are still in stock. Something similar on a wider scale in socialism could also map supply and demand so that production can keep up. The technology's already there for this way of 'socially determining' production. Have the Zeitgeist Movement worked on models of how production could be managed post-capitalism?By the way, there's a short story by Frederick Pohl called 'The Midas Plague' (1954), adapted for TV in the mid-60s, set in a future where automation has led to over-production of commodities. In this world of over-abundance, someone is considered poor if they have a lot of commodities, and people aim for jobs and status which mean they can consume less. The idea is presented in quite a jokey way, and I'm not sure if the satire quite hits the mark, but it's worth a look.  

    #132004
    robbo203 wrote:
    But again this cannot be a top down process  where something called "society" (which will inevitably mean a technical elite given the impossibility of 7 billion people meanfingfully deciding that everyone should be allocated 3.2 litres of water per day – a ludicrous scenario) what you can consume.   That would amount to a rationing society and with that will almost inevitably come a system of compulsory labour and hence the eventual  re=emergence of class society.

    Quite, it's an iterative process, globally we set out the vision, regionally we set the targets and strategy, locally we engage in tactics and implementation – that's the 'firm' level of the local stores and service providers.It's not a 3.7 litre ration, but the notion that everyone should be able to access at least 3.7 litres of clean drinking water daily, and if not, we will need to do something about it (as will they).The biophysical boundaries I discussed in another thread may well be other suich useful indicators:https://goodlife.leeds.ac.uk/About/

    #132005
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Part of the point of my post is that socialism and how it operates isn't starting from a blank sheet.We are going to inherit a system that we will need to mold and shape into something different but there will be plenty of similarities with the old that we will probably maintain. We are going to build upon the social organisation that capitalism has bequeathed us and as LBird reminds us, one of the most important elements will be new democratic ways of how we control production and distribution and as Robbo tells us, that will not involve us all voting on decisions.Collaborative Filtering is one means that the Standard raised as a possibility. But in theory that there will be an issue that we all wish to voice our opinion and offer or deny our approval. It isn't as impossible as some would make out. I simply don't think there will be many questions requiring a planetary vote. At least none that cannot be answered by delegatory decision-making. See CFhttp://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2005/no-1210-june-2005/pathfindersBut by now i am sure there are even more and better communication systems. Trial and error will inform us on what is fit for purpose. And there will be also plenty of differences around the world as i also tried to indicate. Village democracy will not be the exact same as city democracy, just as factory democracy will vary with the type of manufacturing process.   

    #132006
    moderator1
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    On re-reading my last post, it may seem that i envisage a socialism that is merely capitalism – but only better.In a sense that is correct. Capitalism has already organised production socially – but it is not socially owned or controlled, remaining in the hands of a few individuals and acting in their interests of them and not society's.

    But surely by 'socially' we mean 'democratically', alan?So, Capitalism hasn't 'organised production socially' – but for a social elite.Your view here, that 'socialism' is 'merely a better capitalism', is fundamentally wrong, not 'correct' in any sense.Though… I suppose if one thinks that an elite will be in control of academic production, then it's a small step to think the same of all 'social' production.If 'academic production' remains 'not socially owned or controlled, remaining in the hands of a few individuals', why shouldn't it, too, be 'acting in their interests of them and not society's'?Since your views of science are non-democratic, it brings into focus what you might actually mean by 'scientific socialism'.'A science that is merely bourgeois science – but only better'?

    This user is on indefinite suspension for breaching Rule 1. The general topic of each forum is given by the posted forum description. Do not start a thread in a forum unless it matches the given topic, and do not derail existing threads with off-topic posts.

    #132007
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    No doubt even on suspension, LBIRD will have an eye on the posts so he will be interested in the latest from Cde O'Neills blog, an article by the late Pieter Lawrence on the subject of democracyhttp://socialiststandardmyspace.blogspot.com/2018/02/democratic-organisation_13.html

    Quote:
    The point is to get democratic organisation and voluntary co-operation into where it matters most, that is, into the work of production and administration.  This is the prospect of a fully democratic society in which all people would be empowered in the self determination of their lives.

    Also interesting is Pieter's view on law and crime http://socialiststandardmyspace.blogspot.com/2018/02/socialism-and-law.html

    #132008
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    Mike Foster wrote:
    Further to Vin's other post, another argument we often hear against a world of free access is that it would enourage greed. Would everyone rush out 'the day after the revolution' to grab as many sports cars, jacuzzis, gold-plated toilets etc as they wanted? Here, we've argued that greed is a capitalist construct, and comes from a culture of enforced scarcity. But 'greed' is quite close to 'wanting more', and surely a big motivator for a revolution is to want more. I think production would have to increase a lot in the early stages of socialism to satisfy demand, even taking into account that a lot of work and resources used up in capitalism would no longer be needed.   This leads on to considering whether or not there would be enough resources for everyone worldwide to have access to enough goods, services etc to have a comfortable lifestyle. How would this be environmentally sustainable? How would socialism cope with distributing goods which are inherently scarce (as oil might be by then?). 

    Again, I must be fair to the socialist case and point out that the above objection simply makes no sense once socialism is properly understood.  The real difficulty here – at least, with this isolated point – isn't socialism itself, but a deficient understanding of something that is outside most people's ken and requires imaginative ability.If we have common ownership – the democratic communalisation of resources – and if that works, then why would anybody have a need for a sports car or a mansion?  The 'need' disappears.  I have to respectfully disagree with Alan Johnstone and others: it won't be socially-defined needs, it will simply be that people will have no desire and no rational basis for greed in the sense defined within the scope of the objection.  Yes, greed will still exist in socialism, but it will have a different hermeneutic.  'Greed' will mean something else, just like other politicaly-infused works such as 'democracy' will mean something else.The challenge is not to defend socialism against a bogus objection, but to find a language that communciates the necessary comprehension.

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