Piketty’s data

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  • #101973

    LBird
    Participant
    gnome wrote:
    Although this particular individual claims to be a communist he insists that the class struggle alone will be the basis for the change without the need for education by an external 'elite', by which he means, in this instance, the SPGB.What would your response to this person be?

    My response would be: "Communist workers are not an 'external elite' ".The resolution of whether they are 'external' or not, is a vote.For the 'materialists' (which in effect means Leninists), they cannot accept a position where workers can outvote the 'cadre' (ie. those who know what the 'material conditions' are 'saying').Communists can accept this position: we as workers argue that the 'material conditions' should be interpreted thus; if other non-Communist workers argue that the 'material conditions' should be interpreted differently, then the 'material conditions' are as they argue, even though we disagree.We must hold to the position that our interpretation of 'material conditions' is the better one; but we have to pursuade non-Communist workers it is so. If they disagree, after a vote, their interpretation is the 'true' one. And so, capitalism continues.Any other stance must be of necessity an elitist stance. We must argue that 'the truth' depends upon a vote. The fact that we disagree with that 'truth', and will continue to argue against that 'truth', is neither here nor there.We have to win the battle of ideas, and the test of the winning is a vote.The 'material circumstances' do not talk to us alone. That would be an elitist position. And Leninism.

    #101974

    ALB
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    gnome wrote:
    Although this particular individual claims to be a communist he insists that the class struggle alone will be the basis for the change without the need for education by an external 'elite', by which he means, in this instance, the SPGB.What would your response to this person be?

    My response would be: "Communist workers are not an 'external elite' ".

    Exactly. Those of us who have become socialists/communists are just members of the working class arguing the case for socialism with our fellow workers. We are not an elite from outside the working class, not even those of us who have got together in a separate organisation to do this more effectively.What in fact we are doing is trying to ensure that hearing the argument for socialism is part of the "experience" of the working class since (as all of us here know) there is no such thing as experience without thought. So the Trotskyists (and others) are wrong to argue that the working class can learn to be against capitalism through mere struggle or by the experience of failure to achieve some reform without them also hearing the case for socialism argued. Which they reject as casting pearls before swine.

    #101975

    LBird
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    Exactly. Those of us who have become socialists/communists are just members of the working class arguing the case for socialism with our fellow workers. We are not an elite from outside the working class, not even those of us who have got together in a separate organisation to do this more effectively.What in fact we are doing is trying to ensure that hearing the argument for socialism is part of the "experience" of the working class since (as all of us here know) there is no such thing as experience without thought.

    [my bold]Yeah, Communists are no more than workers who argue for Communism/Socialism. They cannot be an 'elite' who 'know' better, but simply a group of workers who hold another opinion out, for the consideration of the wider class. If the wider class say they prefer capitalism, the wider class are 'correct'. There is no route allowing the 'knowing elite' to compel the class to 'understand the truth'. The class always 'knows best' what its interests are. If we can't persuade the class otherwise about their interests, then we are wrong. Simple. We are not an external elite, but a group of workers who have 'got it wrong' in the opinion of the majority of workers.On the bolded part, this is the 19th century myth of 'positivist science', that 'untheorised experience' leads to 'knowledge', that 'induction' from 'facts' is the method to produce 'theory'.The only humans who experience 'untheorised', are those ignorant of their theory. Social theory always comes before social experience, and as scientists we must expose our theory prior to our practice. That is the scientific method, not pretending to be 'objective' and having neutral access to 'The Truth', as physicists erroneously thought they had prior to Einstein. That was the bourgeois myth unfortunately followed by Engels, and then propagated by the Second International, including Kautsky and Lenin. It is simply elitism.

    ALB wrote:
    So the Trotskyists (and others) are wrong to argue that the working class can learn to be against capitalism through mere struggle or by the experience of failure to achieve some reform without them also hearing the case for socialism argued. Which they reject as casting pearls before swine.

    Yeah, they're all from the same cast of thought – Kautsky, Lenin, Trotsky – that they had access to a consciousness not available to the mass of workers, through their 'neutral scientific method', which thus gave them the right to ignore workers and their 'benighted' opinions, and thus laid the ground for Stalin.They believe that if they have the theory (which the workers don't need to be cognisant of) and push workers to have 'experiences' driven by a theory which is provided for them by this 'knowing' elite, then the unconscious workers will then develop the correct consciousness after their experiences.It's bollocks, of course. If workers 'fight for higher wages', and lose, they don't conclude that they should get rid of wages, but that since the bosses have the power to set wages, and that workers need higher wages (as the 'knowing' elite have told them, thus the need for their 'struggle'), then they need to cosy up to the all-powerful bosses, and their bosses' ideas. Thus, 'low wages are caused by immigrants'. "Everybody knows that!".Struggle without conscious theory is not only scientific nonsense, but is nothing to do with workers developing their consciousness, and realising, prior to their own struggle, that they need to destroy the wage system.Are we 'casting pearls before swine'?If one answers 'yes' to that question, how can one be a Communist/Socialist? I'm more inclined to blame us Communists, for failing to explain things like Marx's Capital and the theory of value, never mind epistemology.If workers can't grapple with theory (as the 'scientists' here argue), and make democratic decisions based upon their understanding, then workers really can't run the world.Those who argue for elite science, an activity that produces something that is outside of the democratic control of all humans, are basing their views upon outdated 19th century philosophy, which comes from Engels and ended in Stalin.Workers must vote upon the results of science. Any other theoretical position is elitism. We humans must tell ourselves what nature is. Truth must be socially controlled, not in the hands of a lying elite.And they are liars. Science tells us so!They only alternative explanation is that they are ignorant, and they don't subscribe to the view expressed by you, that I have bolded above. They probably still think that they are 'individuals', and can simply use their senses to tell them what's in front of their own eyes.The ruling ideas in any society are the ideas of the ruling class. That goes for 'socially-neutral science', 'material/physical' basis to the world, and 'we're all individuals'.

    #101976

    moderator1
    Member

    It would be appreciated if the authors of #299 to 303 would move these posts onto a new thread.Thanks.

    #101977

    ALB
    Participant

    An article on Piketty by someone in the tradition of non-market socialism which she defines as:

    Quote:
    non-market socialists are defined as advocates and activists for a money-free, market-free, wage-free, class-free and state-free society where everyone’s basic needs are met — and power, responsibility and uses of the Earth are shared in fair, i.e. just, and sustainable ways.

    Rickety Piketty: the road to non-market socialism

    #101978

    Dave Chesham
    Participant

    And here's an audio recording of a talk given at Head Office recently.http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/audio/have-you-read-piketty

    #101980

    anonymous
    Member

    James, you can join the amazon library (Prime) and get pickety and many other books free. I think it is £7 to join. You will need a  Kindle, tho  

    #101979

    james19
    Participant

    I was looking in a Waterstones bookshop window,  on Camden High Street.  I let out a few choice  expletives, after seeing Luis Suarez, (the 'biting' football player)  book there. Whatever. Thomas Piketty's book was also there, so I went in to see how much it costs. Fuck me,  you have to be a member of the capitalist class, to buy it, £29.95!  Russell Brands book, the cover price is £20, they are giving a discount of £4,  atm.

    #101981

    james19
    Participant

    Thanks Vin for the info. Sainsburys are selling Russell Brand 'Revolution', for £9.99.

    #101982

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    This action by Piketty has raised him up in my estimationhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30650097

    #101983

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    The flavour of the month appears to have been all but forgotten so i thought soe will be interested in this book review by Pikettyhttp://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/07/practical-vision-more-equal-societyI know nothing of Atkinson, some here may well know more about his ideas, but it seems that Piketty is still travelling along his fiscal reform road to resolve capitalism's bumpy path

    #101984

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Just to revive interest in last year's flavour of the month I came across this link on Libcom to Piketty, a recently published Left Com analysis.As i have often stated soon as an economic article begins to use algebric formula in explanations i simply go into a coma and disappointingly this article does make extensive use of equations. Others may actually find it of interest.http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2015-08-07/piketty-marx-and-capitalism%E2%80%99s-dynamicsI am sure we will all agree with the article's conclusion

    Quote:
    What is needed is the replacement of the capitalist system of production by a socialist one in which the means of production are made common property and all labour becomes social labour. Until this happens the system will lurch from crisis to crisis and symptoms of its internal contradictions, such as inequality, will continue to grow more extreme.
    #101985

    Young Master Smeet
    Participant

    Thomas Piketty on Thomas Piketty

    Quote:
    Also, in my book I do not pay sufficient attention to the development of other alternative forms of property arrangements and participatory governance. One central reason why progressive capital taxation is important is because it can also bring increased transparency about company assets and accounts. In turn, increased financial transparency can help to develop new forms of governance; for instance, it can facilitate more worker involvement in company boards. In other words, “social-democratic” institutions such as progressive taxation (see Miriam Ronzoni in this symposium) can foster institutions that question in a more radical manner the very functioning of private property (note that progressive capital taxation transforms large private property as a temporary attribute rather than a permanent one – already a significant change). However these other institutions – whose aim should be to redefine and regulate property rights and power relations – must also be analyzed as such – a step that I do not fully follow in this book.

    Not read the full debate, maybe a braver soul wants to dive in.

    #101986

    Anonymous

     I found this article interesting.Professor William I. Robertson at the University of California at Santa Barbara critiques Thomas Piketty's views:http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34224-reform-is-not-enough-to-stem-the-rising-tide-of-inequality-worldwide

    #101987

    robbo203
    Participant

    There is an interesting critique of Picketty here which I have just come acrosshttp://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-27/piketty-s-three-big-mistakes-in-inequality-analysisRognlie seems to think the problem of increasingly inequality lies with landlordism.  Any comments?

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