Statisation: a possible flaw in world socialism

May 2024 Forums General discussion Statisation: a possible flaw in world socialism

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 92 total)
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  • #131435
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    A socialist says there could have been enough firedoors for everyone.  The point of socialism is we can only be as free as we help each other to be.

    The problem there is that your socialist is being rather banal and trying to pull the wool over our eyes. How do we decide if there are enough fire doors for everyone?  In a 200-seat theatre, do we have 200 fire doors?  No, that won't be architecturally-efficient, so who makes the serious decision about the ratio of fire doors to capacity?  Oh, it's that socialist again.  And who is this 'socialist'?  Who appointed or elected him to make this decision?  What if I disagree with his decision?  What if he's wrong and his negligence causes death or serious injury? By the way, it's quite fascinating to me that you, presumably a socialist of some kind, would invoke religious concepts to make your argument.  Perhaps I am being unfair, but I had not expected a socialist to call up the Devil and the forces of 'good' and 'evil' for assistance.  It's been a few years, but I seem to recall that socialism is an amoral case, and in fact a progressive stage beyond capitalism, not some sort of moral utopia.

    #131436
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Am i to understand that you do not acknowledge the strong similarity of your own views with the ideologies i have linked to and quoted from, Ike?Perhaps you could tell me what differentiates your position from theirs? What are your criticisms if any of national-anarchism?I have never claimed to be an original thinker, as you appear to do, ike. Why else do you think i call myself a Marxist because i subscribe to many but not all of the ideas Marx developed and i joined a party of like-minded socialists who i have learned a lot from. I don't claim ownership of my ideas. You do apparently.Aren't ideas social, and arise from reading and listening? Perhaps you are indeed unique in giving birth to your own particular set of beliefs without the intercourse and interaction of influences. Maybe so, but i think you have had confirmation of them as "valid" from other sources and they have become reinforced by others acceptance of them. You deny any association with those political tendencies i mentioned. You may well have no dealings with them and offer no formal allegiance towards. But the fact is, your ideas reflect theirs and it is extremely difficult in not seeing you as an advocate for them, either knowingly or unwittinglyIf the cap fits, Ike, wear it. It isn't a tangent, Ike. Nor was it name-calling. But, yes it was labeling you. If you refuse to recognise what you stand for then it is up to others to tell you.  I returned to my earlier charge because you repeated your same message in reply to Robbo, which he may not seen the importance of. I merely placed it in context – something i believe you are reluctant to do.

    #131437

    Well, at a slight risk, I'd say reality would decide how many fire doors would be needed, but the point would be that we provide sufficient so that in any conceivable emergency, the devil wouldn't force that dilemma on us: and in that way we'd know genuine freedom.  It doesn't matter who makes the decision, so long as everyone has the possibility of escape.  Practical abundance effectively removes the political question.

    #131438
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    Well, at a slight risk, I'd say reality would decide how many fire doors would be needed, but the point would be that we provide sufficient so that in any conceivable emergency, the devil wouldn't force that dilemma on us: and in that way we'd know genuine freedom.  It doesn't matter who makes the decision, so long as everyone has the possibility of escape.  Practical abundance effectively removes the political question.

    I completely understand the point that freedom requires co-operation and that socialism, understood properly, is actually based on rational self-interest (the point that I think you are really making).  In the example of the theatre, some expert (or group of experts) has to decide how to ensure that everybody has a practical possibility of escape (and surely the same decision is made under capitalism, though that's irrelevant for the moment).  We've accepted, I think, that – even in socialism – this decision will involve a compromise with other factors, such as efficiency, so the probability of escape will not be 100%.  That being the case, there is no guarantee that a tragedy could be averted.  Somebody might die or suffer serious injury, even without the profit motive.Of course, I'm straining the point with your example of the theatre.  It's obvious that certain mundane decisions should be taken by experts, and I completely understand that such decisions will probably be superior in socialism, for reasons that are, again, relatively obvious to anybody familiar with the socialist case. But my conclusion is that even under socialism, somebody will have to swing the blade, pull the lever, make the decision, etc., not just in regard to the obvious subject-matter where most of us would naturally defer to an expert, but also in non-technical areas.  I think socialism will have its own 'politics', pools of self-interest will develop and there will be disagreements between vested interests and a need to exert authority.  You will not be able to completely remove moral privilege: i.e. the situation where an individual or group has sovereignty over others, permanently, temporarily or fleetingly.  Therefore, as a practical proposition, socialism will not be a completely 'democratic' system, and probably can't be.  This presents me (and perhaps you) with a problem: how will minority groups be protected from the majority right?  Will they just move away?  Will they be allowed to?  What is the nature of 'common ownership'?  Does it mean that everything is owned by each individual, or does it mean that everything is controlled democratically?  If the former, then presumably people can go where they like and do what they like and any official incursions will only be of the negative variety, but if the position is actually the latter, then potentially we will be living in a tyranny as bad as capitalism, if not worse.

    #131440
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ike Pettigre we will be living in a tyranny as bad as capitalism, if not worse.[/quote] What is the difference between your ideas and a typical right winger or anti-communist ?  We always leave one set  ideas to adopt another sets of ideas, your left the SPGB to take a new set of ideas, and that statement cited above  is a living proof of that

    #131439
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    Am i to understand that you do not acknowledge the strong similarity of your own views with the ideologies i have linked to and quoted from, Ike?Perhaps you could tell me what differentiates your position from theirs? What are your criticisms if any of national-anarchism?I have never claimed to be an original thinker, as you appear to do, ike. Why else do you think i call myself a Marxist because i subscribe to many but not all of the ideas Marx developed and i joined a party of like-minded socialists who i have learned a lot from. I don't claim ownership of my ideas. You do apparently.Aren't ideas social, and arise from reading and listening? Perhaps you are indeed unique in giving birth to your own particular set of beliefs without the intercourse and interaction of influences. Maybe so, but i think you have had confirmation of them as "valid" from other sources and they have become reinforced by others acceptance of them. You deny any association with those political tendencies i mentioned. You may well have no dealings with them and offer no formal allegiance towards. But the fact is, your ideas reflect theirs and it is extremely difficult in not seeing you as an advocate for them, either knowingly or unwittinglyIf the cap fits, Ike, wear it. It isn't a tangent, Ike. Nor was it name-calling. But, yes it was labeling you. If you refuse to recognise what you stand for then it is up to others to tell you.  I returned to my earlier charge because you repeated your same message in reply to Robbo, which he may not seen the importance of. I merely placed it in context – something i believe you are reluctant to do.

    I'm not claiming that I or anybody else can come up with an entirely unique set of ideas, but I can have my own ideas and my objection is to being pigeon-holed with the ideas of other people.  Besides which, ideological labelling is just a form of name-calling.  It's not debate.As a prominent SPGB member and an enthusiastic advocate of the case for world socialism, your mind is operating within a framework of pseudo-rationality in which social questions are answered according to the consistent interior logic of socialism.  Any logic sumps that arise from the complexities of the real world can be attributed to various catch-all explanations, such as false consciousness.  That makes a debate or discussion between us very difficult, because your mindset is not unlike that of a religious believer and if I say something you disagree with, you are likely to conclude that I am stupid or that I do not understand socialism on some point, rather than questioning your own axioms.  That is the mark of a dogmatic mindset or somebody under psychological control.I think the main difference between my views and that of National Anarchists would be that I reject the need for a market system, any system of exchange, and any organised system of property ownership.  Therefore, in political economy, my 'socialism' is closer to that of the SPGB, though not quite the same as I would not object to the existence of natural markets or essential individual and collective possessory rights to land, space and buildings.The major point on which I part company with the SPGB is that I would want to see the continuation of organic cultures that have already arisen under capitalism.  This will require borders, therefore some rudimentary concept of territorial exclusivity – both at the macro and micro level – would have to be developed and recognised.

    #131441
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    Marcos wrote:
     What is the difference between your ideas and a typical right winger or anti-communist ?  We always leave one set  ideas to adopt another sets of ideas, your left the SPGB to take a new set of ideas, and that statement cited above  is a living proof of that

    Not for the first time, I don't follow your comment/question.  My ideas are clearly different from a typical pro-capitalist right-winger: you only have to read my comments to surmise that, not least the comment you've just quoted.

    #131442
    robbo203
    Participant
    Ike Pettigrew wrote:
    I think the main difference between my views and that of National Anarchists would be that I reject the need for a market system, any system of exchange, and any organised system of property ownership.  Therefore, in political economy, my 'socialism' is closer to that of the SPGB, though not quite the same as I would not object to the existence of natural markets or essential individual and collective possessory rights to land, space and buildings.The major point on which I part company with the SPGB is that I would want to see the continuation of organic cultures that have already arisen under capitalism.  This will require borders, therefore some rudimentary concept of territorial exclusivity – both at the macro and micro level – would have to be developed and recognised.

     Ike I am curious about this conception of a possible future society you hold.  On some points there is, as you say, some agreement.  You reject the need for a market system and any system of exchange.  But you also reject the need for “any organised system of property ownership”.  I’m not quite sure what you mean by this. Common ownership of the means of production (which seems to me to denote an “organised system of property ownership”) is what makes possible the elimination of market exchange that you call for.  If you mean simply by this that if everyone owns the means of production this effectively boils down to the same thing as saying no one owns the means of production, then I have no quarrel with this Having just said you reject the need for a system of market exchange you then go on to say: “I would not object to the existence of natural markets or essential individual and collective possessory rights to land, space and buildings.”  I find this all very confusing.  What, in your mind, constitutes a “natural market”?  It seems to me you are confusing a market with a gift economy.  These are two fundamentally different concepts. The purpose of gift exchange is to cement social relationships whereas market exchange involves the dichotomisation  or division of the parties to the exchange into a buyer and seller each pursuing their own self-interest in opposition to the other.  The buyer wants to obtain the lowest possible price; the seller the highest possible price.  In the context of a non-market society of free access and volunteer labour, I fail to see how “natural markets” could arise.  Generalised free access to goods and services based on material abundance kills off the very possibility.  Why buy something when you can get it for free?  I can however easily imagine gift exchange arising in such a society as an expression of our intrinsic sociality as human beings.  In fact socialism has sometime been characterised as a system of "generalised reciprocity" – a sort of “moral economy” in which a pervasive sense of moral obligation will obtain, based on a clear recognition of our mutual interdependence.  With the “right” of unrestricted access to goods and services goes the “duty” to contribute to the social good You talk also of “collective possessory rights to land, space and buildings”.  This is another expression that puzzles me.  Socialists make an important distinction between “possessions" and “means of production” (though there is admittedly a grey area between these two concepts). Your possessions will be yours in socialism, not your neighbours or the local community’s.   This is logically entailed by the concept of free access. “Means of production” on the other hand, are a different matter.  Social or common ownership of the means of production is a logical outgrowth of the socialisation of production itself.   In fact that is where the very word “socialism” comes from. Even the simplist artefact – a pencil, for example – requires the direct and indrect collaboration  of literally millions upon millions of workers right accross the world to produce.  What socialists propose is to bring ownership into line with this socialised integrated character of modern production. This brings me finally to your point that socialism will “require borders, therefore some rudimentary concept of territorial exclusivity – both at the macro and micro level”. I simply fail to see the reason for this.   This whole idea of fixed borders is a relatively recent thing that arose with capitalism and the nation state.   Even a few hundred years ago people could move around comparatively freely.  Passports in the modern sense only appeared in the 15th century in a very limited way although prior to that you did have documentation sometimes being issued to foreign travellers permitting them to pass through a certain territory (which is quite different to the concept of a passport being issued to individuals on the basis of their supposed national citizenship, a comparatively modern concept) I cannot see any reason whatsoever for the continuation of this institution in socialism.  It suits capitalism insofar as, and to the extent that, the basic territorial unit of capital accumulation has historically been the nation state.  But even this has undergone change recently with the emergence of supra-national trading blocs – most obviously the EU – that allow for the free movement of people within these blocs.  In a world in which capital is able to move around freely, the proposal to restrict the movement of labour can only be considered deeply reactionary insofar as it selectively promotes and favours the interests of capital over labour. None of this is to deny the likely continuation of what you call "organic cultures" into socialism.  On the contrary, I would argue that socialism would provide the context in which these organic cultures could much more firmly take root and flourish rather than wither under the insidious influence of capitalist commercialism as they do today.   However I totally reject your suggestion that this requires “borders” and “territorial exclusivity”.  In fact what you are proposing seems the very opposite of "organic".  It seems to be something that is mechanically imposed and bureaucratically enforced.  In short it seems to imply the kind of capitalist mind-set to which you say you are opposed

    #131443
    Ike Pettigrew wrote:
    In the example of the theatre, some expert (or group of experts) has to decide how to ensure that everybody has a practical possibility of escape (and surely the same decision is made under capitalism, though that's irrelevant for the moment).  

    No, the point is:a) That if we aim to maximise the use values available to all, we maximise the possibility of freedom for all.b) that in producing goods for all, there is no profit motive counter-acting providing for all.  Capitalist firms first and foremost must satisfy the profit criterion, which prevents them from taking human need as the starting point of action.c) Abundance means each would be able to choose their exit point without having to have it allocated by experts.And I am assuming that it is possible to ensure that 100% can be evacuated in a fire.  Accept or reject that premise if you will.

    Ike Pettigrew wrote:
    But my conclusion is that even under socialism, somebody will have to swing the blade, pull the lever, make the decision, etc., not just in regard to the obvious subject-matter where most of us would naturally defer to an expert, but also in non-technical areas.  I think socialism will have its own 'politics', pools of self-interest will develop and there will be disagreements between vested interests and a need to exert authority.  You will not be able to completely remove moral privilege: i.e. the situation where an individual or group has sovereignty over others, permanently, temporarily or fleetingly.  

    So what?  I'm happy to concede to the life guard dragging my idiot arse out of the freezing lake water.  Peter sober needs protecting from Peter drunk.  Any such authority would be contingent and shifting, not sovereign: sovereignty would be the feature that we abolish (sovereignty I would understand by the great German legal term Comptence Competence).Want to live on an island on your own, go ahead, we'll help you.  Want to live in a teaming metropolis, fine, we'll help you. 

    #131444
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
     I'm happy to concede to the life guard dragging my idiot arse out of the freezing lake water.  Peter sober needs protecting from Peter drunk.  Any such authority would be contingent and shifting, not sovereign: sovereignty would be the feature that we abolish (sovereignty I would understand by the great German legal term Comptence Competence).

    Yes, but that's not the point.

    #131445

    That seems to me precisely the point, that it doesn't matter: and as long as we collectively retain the competence competence, and can call in any institution top interogate its purpose, the principle of freedom obtains.

    #131446
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant

    @ YMSI personally don't believe you can "collectively retain sovereignty" at the scale you believe, not in any meaningful sense.  What you propose works in theory, but I would suggest that what works from an academic/paper-shuffler's perspective can't always work well in reality.  Socialism as an actual system will, I believe, only amount to a vague reflection of the socialist case, which is really just a hypothesis.  In reality, it could very easily turn into quite a nasty system.But we've both had our say now, l suggest we leave it.I do think I've proved my point that socialism as a practical reality will not be able to avoid moral privilege, but that doesn't destroy your case and it wasn't my intention to do so.  I'm not laying traps or scoring points here.

    #131447
    Ike Pettigrew
    Participant
    robbo203 wrote:
     I am curious about this conception of a possible future society you hold.   

    I may start a new thread to address your various posts.

    #131448

    Starting from a better definition of socialism as a conscious association, so a deliberate choice (like my democracy between friends example) to stay together, as opposed to accidental association of peasant proprietors or nation states, may be a more productive way to consider things.A part of freedom is being left alone, and so we would want to, as much as is practicable, allow people to follow their ownself development: i.e. a society in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.  Nearly the Kantian notion of treating each as an end in themself (we could reformulate that as "act in the way which will enable the freedom of others").But, that is a one sided understanding of freedom, dropping dead of a heart attack is the opposite of freedom, and no amount of volition would enable us to agree to be helped.  We can only be as free as we help each otehr to be.On a wider scale, we'd have to start from voluntary associations within an aegis of agreed principles, and where we use our common wealth to avoid personal domination (e.g. housing so people can leave abusive relationships without facing homelessness and loss of amenities). etc.Any system can turn nasty, if you only look at the system on paper, as a kind of commodity fetishism (which is what people are engaging in when they ask us to tell them that we have a plan for socialism); but starting from free human beings wanting to be free and actively defending that freedom, and having the means to do so (and also denying any monopoloisation of the m,eans to dominate or prevent freedom) produces a diferent answer: are you willing to be a slave?

    #131449
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Came across this bunch on my cyber travelshttps://www.tradworker.org/points/Faith, Family, and FolkI know Ike stands against the state so he will disagree with many of their points such as nationalisation and the establishment of an anti-capitalist white-ethno national socialist state.Very much an echo of Strasserism updated for American consumptionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Worker_Party#Organization_and_activitieshttps://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/traditionalist-worker-party

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