Socialism & Communism

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
User avatar
Grigoris
Site Admin
Posts: 19816
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:56 am

Personally, if asked, I would like to see an anarchist utopia based on mutual aid.

Given that option is highly unlikely, I believe a mixed economy is the best model. I think that all utilities should be owned by the state (electricity, natural gas, petroleum, telephone networks, water, roads, education, health care, etc) and that the market should be overseen by the state to avoid excessive profiteering.

I believe there should be a strong welfare state, funded by a graduated taxation system, with the rich paying the lion's share.

I believe that a representative democracy is the best currently existing system, but that governments not be allowed to sell off state/public owned assets.

Economic decisions should be made by well-trained technocrats and not politicians.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

shaunc
Posts: 772
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:10 am

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by shaunc » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 am

The problem with that idea Greg is that most people that are financially well off have worked hard and taken a few chances.
If they're then heavily taxed for doing well, it takes a fair bit of the incentive away to initially work hard and taken a few chances.

User avatar
Grigoris
Site Admin
Posts: 19816
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:44 am

shaunc wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 am
The problem with that idea Greg is that most people that are financially well off have worked hard and taken a few chances.
If they're then heavily taxed for doing well, it takes a fair bit of the incentive away to initially work hard and taken a few chances.
No, most of the hideously wealthy have never worked a day in their lives.

The graduated taxation system is what you have in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc...

You had the same system in New Zealand, Australia, and even the U$ and it worked perfectly fine.

It was only due to the ability of an extreme minority to buy influence, that these systems were overturned.

But let us take a real example:

Bill Gates.

In 2013 his net worth was US$78.5 billion.

Let us say you taxed him 90%. That would still leave him with US$8.3 billion. That is bigger than the GDP of Liechtenstein. There are 42 nations on this planet that have a smaller GDP than that.

His current net worth is higher than the GDP of 120 nations.

Do you think the citizens of those 120 nations do not work hard or take chances? What is their incentive for doing so?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 1122
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by Nemo » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:20 am

shaunc wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 am
The problem with that idea Greg is that most people that are financially well off have worked hard and taken a few chances.
If they're then heavily taxed for doing well, it takes a fair bit of the incentive away to initially work hard and taken a few chances.
Actually over 70% of those in the 0.1% inherited their wealth. So most of the uber wealthy never worked a day in their lives.

User avatar
Dechen Norbu
Posts: 2986
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:56 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:56 am
Personally, if asked, I would like to see an anarchist utopia based on mutual aid.

Given that option is highly unlikely, I believe a mixed economy is the best model. I think that all utilities should be owned by the state (electricity, natural gas, petroleum, telephone networks, water, roads, education, health care, etc) and that the market should be overseen by the state to avoid excessive profiteering.

I believe there should be a strong welfare state, funded by a graduated taxation system, with the rich paying the lion's share.

I believe that a representative democracy is the best currently existing system, but that governments not be allowed to sell off state/public owned assets.

Economic decisions should be made by well-trained technocrats and not politicians.
This ^
But beware of technocrats. Good politicians, that must be people of proven competence and proper motivation, can often make better decisions than technocrats stuck on models that fail often.
The quality of our politicians dropped a lot. Opportunists and thieves, owned by lobbies the lot of them. Partially this is one of the reasons the world is in a very poor shape.

Plus, and I know I'll take a lot of flak for saying this, the right to vote should be earned. You need a license to drive, right? You should need a license to vote too. Demagoguery would take a plunge.

People should have some notions about economy and politics, mandatory with written exams, in school. Failing that discipline, they could repeat it as many times as they wanted. Until approval, they couldn't vote. The contents and exams should be elaborate by an international panel of specialists. It should be as unbiased as possible. There's a saying with some truth in it that goes something like people having the governments they deserve. It's not entirely true, but not entirely false either.

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 1122
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by Nemo » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:14 pm

As meditation teaches us humans are animals with a layer of narration on top. This continuous monologue is what we call the world. These stories can be manipulated. By ourselves, by the individuals around us and by larger groups. Group indoctrination has become incredibly sophisticated. So much so most people are living a lie built by others. People vastly underestimate the power of propaganda. Which, even if you are smart, is the easiest way to fall victim to it.

Governments and militaries have become incredibly adept at using psychological manipulation. In WWII only 15% of troops shot at the enemy in battle with even fewer aiming to kill. That is over 99% now in Western militaries. The inconceivable advances in weaponry and medicine in the last century have been matched by the ability to brainwash individuals. Governments and countries call themselves many things. Communist, socialist, capitalist democratic, free, etc. Stop listening to what they say and watch what they do.

What I noticed working in politics is the rich always get what they want. If something stands in their way like an educated populace they enact small changes that destroy education for instance. If the media is insufficiently biased they buy all the stations and change the editorial narrative. We have reached a tipping point where the methods of propaganda have created a large zombie army that overrides all sense of good governance. The rich donate to all the parties and their plan involves all of them being elected during a 20 year period. Some get in to mollify the leftists but oddly get little accomplished, the far right enact incredible destruction and are soon thrown out and the centrists clean up their messes and fix nothing.

So there is no return to the technocratic days of the 1950s. That system can no longer exist under current conditions. We need to make something new. Probably after things collapse. Hopefully a system that understands the power of propaganda in the hands of a tiny elite so we do not repeat the same mistakes.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 7942
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by Queequeg » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:20 pm

PeterC wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:43 am
what really advances us toward it is the development of technology, not the ideological superstructure around that.
Andrew Yang for Prez.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

PeterC
Posts: 957
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Socialism & Communism

Post by PeterC » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:47 am

shaunc wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 am
The problem with that idea Greg is that most people that are financially well off have worked hard and taken a few chances.
If they're then heavily taxed for doing well, it takes a fair bit of the incentive away to initially work hard and taken a few chances.
I think you need to distinguish between the super-rich - those that can pass on intergenerational wealth - and the ultra-rich. Someone in the low USD hundred millions can, if they're careful, pass on something that will sustain their family for future generations. But a billionaire has an entirely different level of power and influence. In most countries, they can buy political outcomes, frustrate litigation (including criminal investigations) by tying it up endlessly, reshape the physical and urban landscape by acquiring huge tracts of land and getting it rezoned and redeveloped, create political and social movements out of nothing, including changing peoples' opinions through media, gain access to anyone on the planet that they want to see. It's a completely different league.

If our concern is giving people the incentive to work hard, create businesses, create jobs, etc., the possibility of becoming a hundred-millionaire is perfectly sufficient. Very occasionally someone will become a billionaire by chance, usually because of a well-timed invention - DOS, the home computer, etc. - and in some cases it is inherited wealth from a ruling family. But aside from that, I think that the occurrence of billionaires is actually the sign that something has gone wrong with a society. The problem lies in the path from the low hundred millions to the billions and beyond. The further you are along that path, the more your wealth can become self-perpetuating. You can change the rules of the game to enrich yourself - get laws passed to reduce competition, allow you to market dangerous products, pay less tax, etc.

If a billionaire only uses this power to enrich themselves, that's actually not a terrible outcome - it's certainly bad, but all its doing is shifting money from one pocket to another. However that tends not to be the pattern. Over time, almost all ultra-rich people come to believe that they know better. Of course they do, why else did they become rich in the first place? In the US, there's a whole mythology around justifying wealth in terms of some rare combination of genius, hard work and god's will, completely overlooking luck, which is the main factor in getting past the low millions.

So you're a billionaire, and you've decided that you know best. The temptation is that you focus on "making the world a better place" - which means reshaping it to fit your ideological stance. And this is where the real damage is usually done, because most billionaires have a very twisted view of how a society should function. If you think your wealth was somehow earned and justified, then it's easy to think that the poor are poor because they didn't deserve to be rich. If you think god helped you, then your religious views must be right and others' must be wrong. If you think you did this all yourself without the government's help, then government is not particularly useful, and so you should give it less money and keep more for yourself to use, since you know better. And so on. Perhaps you made your own money, and you spend your entire life on your business and never get into political or social issues - good for you. But your wealth passes to your children, who have never had to work in the same way you did: who's to say that they won't decide to focus on society rather than business.

Many of these people appear to engage in, for want of a better word, evil. This is particularly true in the US. I don't believe that many people in the world really are genuinely evil in the comic-book sense. They're just profoundly deluded. Wealth intensifies delusions: it wraps you up in a little bubble of self-satisfaction that is extremely hard to penetrate. As we know all to well, attachment to pleasant things is much harder to break than aversion to unpleasant things. So the ultra-rich, in their own way, do suffer from delusion as much or, probably, more than the average person. The only answer is, as Buffett advises, to give it all away. There is much to criticize about Buffett, but I suspect he's one of the few who really does understand the nature of wealth and what it does to a person.

User avatar
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 3537
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Tiananmen: people vs party

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:25 pm

If you missed the first broadcast, it will be repeated on PBS and there is also a streaming version:

https://www.pbs.org/video/tiananmen-the ... ty-o9xuk3/
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 1122
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Tiananmen: people vs party

Post by Nemo » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:02 pm

Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:25 pm
If you missed the first broadcast, it will be repeated on PBS and there is also a streaming version:

https://www.pbs.org/video/tiananmen-the ... ty-o9xuk3/
So when America wipes out a country like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria should that be put in a thread about capitalism?

Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 89 guests