Traktion

State Socialism Vs Distributed Socialism

78 posts in this topic

It seems to me that somewhere along the line, socialism has been reinterpreted as statism, rather than state socialism. Due to this, socialism has become a bad word to 'the right' and 'the left' feel like there has never been any 'real' socialism.

This strikes me as a similar situation to money - credit money and asset money have been mixed together into a term 'money', thus breaking the logical connections to the underlying concepts.

You could say both terms have been butchered, perhaps by those who have an agenda, which is inconsistent with the original concept. IMO, it is important to restore (or perhaps rescue) these terms to their original meanings or, if impossible, at least create new independent words which represent the original meaning.

Socialism, as in common ownership of service agencies, resources and so forth is not an unreasonable concept. Cooperatives and mutuals have been commonly owned organisations for a long time. Their membership is optional, with terms which can be defined by the share holders, who all have a say/vote in how the organisation is run.

What is unreasonable, is forced membership. This isn't socialism, but state socialism.

Removing the choice to go with a different cooperative or mutual, means that the opinions of the share holders can be ignored - they have little choice but to accept what the directors of the organisation choose to do. While they may be able to choose different directors, when there is only a choice of unsuitable candidates, it's hardly a choice at all.

IMO, there is a place for both socialism and capitalism. Each has times when they are useful and beneficial. However, I reject both state socialism and state capitalism, as there is no place for double standards and coercion in a civilised society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the 'people living alone thread', I thought someone gave a great definition of the welfare state:

In the past you had children so they could care for you. With the welfare state, other people's children have to care for you at gun point and your own children have become a liability. (or something like that)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that if you aggressively prune back the state socialism and state capitalism that you have now, then voluntary socialism and capitalism will fill the void.

In the 19th century there were loads of different types of voluntary socialist structures as well as philanthropic ventures. The "problem" was that they are never standard and you have to look for the one that suits you best.

That could start with allowing people to opt out of things like the State pension system, the school system, maybe even the NHS etc provided they belong to one or another of those groups.

It wouldn't be hard to get to a stage where you belong to a Health mutual, housing association, employment protections association or trade union depending on what protections you want and can afford. Having multiple options would allow people to get the kind of care and involvement that they wanted instead of having the current one size fits nobody approach we have now.

People are naturally social and will band together to do things if it makes sense for them to do so. The problems arise when they are forced to do things that don't make sense for them. Like paying for people to have kids they can't support and paying for private investors not to lose their money

There could be a government option, but they shouldn't be allowed any special privileges compared to the other mutuals and societies that one might choose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Voluntary taxation? It won't work.

The problem is monopolies and cartels. Gas,, water, food, electricity, all the essentials of life are basically monopolies. So you get ripped off and can't avoid paying.

On the distribution side, the money is siphoned off to the rich, with huge numbers of overpaid jobs in the military, charities, civil service all going to the same class of people. These same people are then allowed to avoid taxes themselves.

The end result is the 99% do all the paying, and the 1% get all the money.

The way to change it, is break up the cartels, stop funding the rich; and cut off all the tax exemptions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
However, I reject both state socialism and state capitalism, as there is no place for double standards and coercion in a civilised society.

But even you would support the right of the majority to appropriate the creative efforts of a minority without payment, on the basis that this would be beneficial to society a whole- which is itself a form of coerced socialism.

On paper the idea of a society composed of freely associating individuals is great- but it seems the temptation to try to impose one's ideals on others is so strong that even those who advocate it cannot resist trying to smuggle in some ideological baggage- in your case it's the belief that information should be free- in others it's the belief that white people are superior to black people, or that the free market should be left completely unregulated ect.

All ideologies, no matter how benign they seem- have the same imperative to prosthelytize and dominate- for simple and tragic reason that those who believe in them know they are right. And knowing this they realise the liberty of those who fail to agree with them is expendable- a price worth paying for' the greater good'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Voluntary taxation? It won't work.

The problem is monopolies and cartels. Gas,, water, food, electricity, all the essentials of life are basically monopolies. So you get ripped off and can't avoid paying.

On the distribution side, the money is siphoned off to the rich, with huge numbers of overpaid jobs in the military, charities, civil service all going to the same class of people. These same people are then allowed to avoid taxes themselves.

The end result is the 99% do all the paying, and the 1% get all the money.

The way to change it, is break up the cartels, stop funding the rich; and cut off all the tax exemptions

And exactly who pays to feed, clothe and house the 8 million plus people in the UK who are economically inactive?

Presumably the 'rich', because they don't fund themselves and the 'poor' don't have any money

You also find that countries where there are few rich people tend to have a lot more poor people than countries that have a lot of rich people.

My analysis is that rich people actually generate wealth that pays to support the poor.

Radical or what?

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that somewhere along the line, socialism has been reinterpreted as statism, rather than state socialism. Due to this, socialism has become a bad word to 'the right' and 'the left' feel like there has never been any 'real' socialism.

This strikes me as a similar situation to money - credit money and asset money have been mixed together into a term 'money', thus breaking the logical connections to the underlying concepts.

You could say both terms have been butchered, perhaps by those who have an agenda, which is inconsistent with the original concept. IMO, it is important to restore (or perhaps rescue) these terms to their original meanings or, if impossible, at least create new independent words which represent the original meaning.

Socialism, as in common ownership of service agencies, resources and so forth is not an unreasonable concept. Cooperatives and mutuals have been commonly owned organisations for a long time. Their membership is optional, with terms which can be defined by the share holders, who all have a say/vote in how the organisation is run.

What is unreasonable, is forced membership. This isn't socialism, but state socialism.

Removing the choice to go with a different cooperative or mutual, means that the opinions of the share holders can be ignored - they have little choice but to accept what the directors of the organisation choose to do. While they may be able to choose different directors, when there is only a choice of unsuitable candidates, it's hardly a choice at all.

IMO, there is a place for both socialism and capitalism. Each has times when they are useful and beneficial. However, I reject both state socialism and state capitalism, as there is no place for double standards and coercion in a civilised society.

You never answered my question in the other thread about what happens when a group of people decide to make money by prostituting their children or selling drugs or weapons.

Other than by claiming that people just don't behave like this - when they clearly do.

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And exactly who pays to feed, clothe and house the 8 million plus people in the UK who are economically inactive?

Presumably the 'rich', because they don't fund themselves and the 'poor' don't have any money

You also find that countries where there are few rich people tend to have a lot more poor people than countries that have a lot of rich people.

:blink:

No, the rich don't pay tax. It's the middle class doing the paying.

The third world has some of the richest people in the world. Sweden has relatively flat income distribution. China has a lot of rich people, and a lot of poor people, so your statement is clearly false.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, the rich don't pay tax. It's the middle class doing the paying.

The third world has some of the richest people in the world. Sweden has relatively flat income distribution. China has a lot of rich people, and a lot of poor people, so your statement is clearly false.

I thought China was a Socialist paradise - so how come they have loads of rich people and loads of poor people?

In actual fact they just have loads of poor people.

You seem to have shot yourself in the foot here.

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Voluntary taxation? It won't work.

Not necessarily.

link

You never answered my question in the other thread about what happens when a group of people decide to make money by prostituting their children or selling drugs or weapons.

Other than by claiming that people just don't behave like this - when they clearly do.

If they 'clearly do', despite the state, then the state clearly isn't a solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not necessarily.

link

If they 'clearly do', despite the state, then the state clearly isn't a solution.

The state would be a solution

if the state didn't spend so much time oppressing ordinary citizens.

There is no alternative to a state

The argument is - what sort of state is the least worst option.

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Voluntary taxation? It won't work.

Apart from it being an oxymoron, I agree that it wouldn't work.

Free association, with people paying for the services they want and need, without coercion is what I am talking about. If said services benefit from being commonly owned by their users/subscribers, that should be a good option to choose.

The problem is monopolies and cartels. Gas,, water, food, electricity, all the essentials of life are basically monopolies. So you get ripped off and can't avoid paying.

They are exactly the sort of industries which could be run as mutuals. If something can be monopolised, allowing subscribers to be share holders with voting rights, gives control of the organisation to the users. In short, they would collectively own the means of production.

That said, water and food seems to work fine without collective ownership. However, perhaps some would like to work in cooperatives for these too, if that suited.

On the distribution side, the money is siphoned off to the rich, with huge numbers of overpaid jobs in the military, charities, civil service all going to the same class of people. These same people are then allowed to avoid taxes themselves.

The end result is the 99% do all the paying, and the 1% get all the money.

The way to change it, is break up the cartels, stop funding the rich; and cut off all the tax exemptions

When you centralise the collection and distribution process, it is inevitable that the rich/powerful will go to great efforts to manipulate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that if you aggressively prune back the state socialism and state capitalism that you have now, then voluntary socialism and capitalism will fill the void.

In the 19th century there were loads of different types of voluntary socialist structures as well as philanthropic ventures. The "problem" was that they are never standard and you have to look for the one that suits you best.

That could start with allowing people to opt out of things like the State pension system, the school system, maybe even the NHS etc provided they belong to one or another of those groups.

It wouldn't be hard to get to a stage where you belong to a Health mutual, housing association, employment protections association or trade union depending on what protections you want and can afford. Having multiple options would allow people to get the kind of care and involvement that they wanted instead of having the current one size fits nobody approach we have now.

People are naturally social and will band together to do things if it makes sense for them to do so. The problems arise when they are forced to do things that don't make sense for them. Like paying for people to have kids they can't support and paying for private investors not to lose their money

There could be a government option, but they shouldn't be allowed any special privileges compared to the other mutuals and societies that one might choose.

Good post. I agree with much of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that somewhere along the line, socialism has been reinterpreted as statism, rather than state socialism. Due to this, socialism has become a bad word to 'the right' and 'the left' feel like there has never been any 'real' socialism.

...

You could say both terms have been butchered, perhaps by those who have an agenda, which is inconsistent with the original concept. IMO, it is important to restore (or perhaps rescue) these terms to their original meanings or, if impossible, at least create new independent words which represent the original meaning.

The battle over the language, and the meaning of words, is going on all the time.

Look at the strange mutilation of the words 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' in the US. Recently, I've started to see those uses creep into the UK as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But even you would support the right of the majority to appropriate the creative efforts of a minority without payment, on the basis that this would be beneficial to society a whole- which is itself a form of coerced socialism.

While I don't want to turn this thread into another copyright thread, you still misinterpret my position on this.

You're putting up a straw man argument here - I haven't argued for the ethical case which you present. I don't support the right for the majority to exploit a minority minority. I certainly don't base any opinion on it being 'beneficial to society a whole'.

My position is simply that ideas aren't property, copying isn't theft and without an agreement you can't force others to do as you say. The conclusions and implications of where this leads is beside the point.

On paper the idea of a society composed of freely associating individuals is great- but it seems the temptation to try to impose one's ideals on others is so strong that even those who advocate it cannot resist trying to smuggle in some ideological baggage- in your case it's the belief that information should be free- in others it's the belief that white people are superior to black people, or that the free market should be left completely unregulated ect.

Again, I never asserted that 'information should be free' either. See my position above.

Having copyright, by pretending ideas are property, that copying is theft and that people are bound by an unwritten agreement, is an ideology. I just don't see how this could be enforced in a free market, even with arbitration.

Regulating a free market is also an odd thing to suggest. A free market is one in which people freely choose who to trade with and when. What business is this of anyone else?

All ideologies, no matter how benign they seem- have the same imperative to prosthelytize and dominate- for simple and tragic reason that those who believe in them know they are right. And knowing this they realise the liberty of those who fail to agree with them is expendable- a price worth paying for' the greater good'.

Near universally preferred behaviour can be methodically defined. There are many conclusions which can be reached, without resorting to arbitrary, ethical arguments, based on majority opinion.

Without resorting to force, sure, you can't make everyone agree. However, good, well formed, consistent arguments can be appreciated by all, over time. IMO, this is why free market economics and libertarianism/anarchism in general are appealing to more and more people - their consistent, logical, assertions, based on first principles, resonate.

Edited by Traktion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The state would be a solution

if the state didn't spend so much time oppressing ordinary citizens.

There is no alternative to a state

The argument is - what sort of state is the least worst option.

:blink:

There are many alternatives to a state, some better, some worse.

At some level this dissolves into semantics and arguments over the meaning of words.

The real questions are who gets power, how do they get it, and why should we submit to it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I don't want to turn this thread into another copyright thread, you still misinterpret my position on this.

You're putting up a straw man argument here - I haven't argued for the ethical case which you present. I don't support the right for the majority to exploit a minority minority. I certainly don't base any opinion on it being 'beneficial to society a whole'.

My position is simply that ideas aren't property, copying isn't theft and without an agreement you can't force others to do as you say. The conclusions and implications of where this leads is beside the point.

Again, I never asserted that 'information should be free' either. See my position above.

Having copyright, by pretending ideas are property, that copying is theft and that people are bound by an unwritten agreement, is an ideology. I just don't see how this could be enforced in a free market, even with arbitration.

Regulating a free market is also an odd thing to suggest. A free market is one in which people freely choose who to trade with and when. What business is this of anyone else?

Near universally preferred behaviour can be methodically defined. There are many conclusions which can be reached, without resorting to arbitrary, ethical arguments, based on majority opinion.

Without resorting to force, sure, you can't make everyone agree. However, good, well formed, consistent arguments can be appreciated by all, over time. IMO, this is why free market economics and libertarianism/anarchism in general are appealing to more and more people - their consistent, logical, assertions, based on first principles, resonate.

You still don't 'get it'

Some people would choose to 'opt out' of a system and spend years idling

Others would 'opt in' and spend years building up a surplus for times of need

When times of need arrived - those who had 'opted out' would simply steal the surplus from those who had 'opted in'

This has happened over and over again throughout history

Why do you think people would behave any differently now

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many alternatives to a state, some better, some worse.

At some level this dissolves into semantics and arguments over the meaning of words.

The real questions are who gets power, how do they get it, and why should we submit to it?

The strong

By force

Because they make us

The irony of the human condition is that to over throw those in power requires violence

which is exactly how those currently in power got power

So by overthrowing them using violence you become them.

This process repeats endlessly throughout history and usually the new 'them' turn out to be much worse than the old 'them'

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You never answered my question in the other thread about what happens when a group of people decide to make money by prostituting their children or selling drugs or weapons.

I think I did answer in the other thread, but I will answer again here.

Whether someone sells guns or drugs is between the seller and the buyer. What the do with them (particularly the former) may affect the buyer later on.

As for people prostituting their children, it's a similar case to when pimps prostitute other adults. If you are using force to make people do something against their will, you're enslaving them. Clearly, they have every right to be free too.

Other than by claiming that people just don't behave like this - when they clearly do.

:blink:

Clearly, I don't claim that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The state would be a solution

if the state didn't spend so much time oppressing ordinary citizens.

There is no alternative to a state

The argument is - what sort of state is the least worst option.

:blink:

The state has failed to be the solution time and time again. If we could just do this or that, isn't a convincing argument.

Asking what sort of state is the least worst option is a false dichotomy. It isn't needed at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The battle over the language, and the meaning of words, is going on all the time.

Look at the strange mutilation of the words 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' in the US. Recently, I've started to see those uses creep into the UK as well.

Yeah, I agree. People love to change the meaning of words, to benefit from the original meaning, while manipulating it to their needs.

I should think co-opting 'anarchism', after years of suggesting it means violence and chaos, will take some serious smooth talking though. I think this is a good thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You still don't 'get it'

Some people would choose to 'opt out' of a system and spend years idling

Others would 'opt in' and spend years building up a surplus for times of need

When times of need arrived - those who had 'opted out' would simply steal the surplus from those who had 'opted in'

This has happened over and over again throughout history

Why do you think people would behave any differently now

:blink:

I don't accept this super simplistic argument, sorry. If it were true, there would be a one world government, which there isn't. Nor is one wanted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The strong

By force

Because they make us

The irony of the human condition is that to over throw those in power requires violence

which is exactly how those currently in power got power

So by overthrowing them using violence you become them.

This process repeats endlessly throughout history and usually the new 'them' turn out to be much worse than the old 'them'

:blink:

This is why violent hierarchies should be resisted. They are not the answer and should be seen for what they are - abusive relationships.

TBH though, I don't think many see the state in this way (although it is correct, IMO). People are like a battered wives... they keep defending their abuser, keep saying they don't mean to do it, that it was their fault, and that they will change; it doesn't happen. The best way is to leave the abusive relationship and form a new one with someone who respects you as an equal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The strong

By force

Because they make us

The irony of the human condition is that to over throw those in power requires violence

which is exactly how those currently in power got power

So by overthrowing them using violence you become them.

This process repeats endlessly throughout history and usually the new 'them' turn out to be much worse than the old 'them'

:blink:

Or the threat of violence, or the promise of reward.

However, you are assuming there is only ever one person with any power, but that is almost never true.

The ideal society is one in which power is distributed, so no one can dominate (This is similar to the M.A.D. principle of the cold war).

In fact, this has already happened in countries such as the UK, where powerful tyrants ceded power to limited forms of democracy,

and the average citizen gained far more power than their ancestors.

Unfortunately, this process has now gone into reverse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now