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Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:37 PM

Capitalism is NOT a dirty word.

In my world, a liberal is a capitalist who seeks to shield capitalism from its own excesses and who hopes to channel capitalism's productive energy into a system and society that creates wealth for all. Capitalism is certainly better than socialism--i.e. state ownership of all property.

Ultimately, capitalism works, and it works well, but it works better when liberal laws are in place to insure that all citizens benefit from it (and not just the wealthy few at the top).

It is serious error for liberals to disparage capitalism. Liberals are capitalists. We just want a sane, just, and humane capitalism.

-Laelth

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Reply Capitalism is NOT a dirty word. (Original post)
Laelth Mar 2014 OP
NoOneMan Mar 2014 #1
Laelth Mar 2014 #4
NoOneMan Mar 2014 #11
Laelth Mar 2014 #26
NoOneMan Mar 2014 #27
JaneyVee Mar 2014 #152
Laelth Mar 2014 #200
kentuck Mar 2014 #233
Laelth Mar 2014 #345
Raksha Mar 2014 #352
Laelth Mar 2014 #357
Whisp Mar 2014 #276
loudsue Mar 2014 #2
LionsTigersRedWings Mar 2014 #12
loudsue Mar 2014 #22
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kristopher Mar 2014 #85
Fumesucker Mar 2014 #223
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delrem Mar 2014 #173
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Laelth Mar 2014 #114
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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:40 PM

1. Fuck that

 

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:41 PM

4. LOL.

I can see you have strong feelings on this subject. Care to expand?

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

11. The argument was without merit

 

It deserves no dignified response beyond "Fuck that".

I'm not particularly sorry if that bothers you. But afterall, I'm not the one wasting my time polishing a giant turd that manifests as a clear and present existential threat.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:53 PM

26. It doesn't bother me.

It's just an incredibly weak response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:55 PM

27. To an incredibly weak statement

 

It was the only response possible in my opinion.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:14 PM

152. I agree completely with your OP

 

Capitalism isn't the enemy, unregulated capitalism is the enemy.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #152)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:27 PM

200. That's it in a nut-shell. Thanks. n/t



-Laelth

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #152)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:46 PM

233. It's that "unregulated" capitalism that is the problem.

Unfortunately, there is no other.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #233)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 08:18 PM

345. FDR and LBJ proved that capitalism can, in fact, be regulated.

We're certainly better off now than most Americans were during the Gilded Age, and the reforms of FDR and LBJ had a lot to do with that, I think.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #345)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:07 PM

352. All FDR and LBJ proved is that capitalism can be regulated TEMPORARILY,

provided the capitalists are sufficiently afraid of "the rabble" to allow themselves to be regulated. But they have to be in the shadow of the guillotine to allow it even temporarily, and that hasn't happened in a very long time.

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Response to Raksha (Reply #352)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 07:42 AM

357. I don't disagree, per se.

However, history has shown that liberal reforms, once enacted, are hard to get rid of. Conservatives have wanted to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, for example, since these programs were enacted. Despite 33 years of Reaganism, these programs are still with us (though their efficacy has been eroded over time as conservatives chipped away at the edges). Still, they haven't been able to get rid of them. It may take a new threat of the guillotine to enact any new liberal legislation that significantly modifies our current system, but what we have now is still way better than what we had in the Gilded Age. History shows not only that capitalism can be regulated and made more humane through liberal laws but that, once reformed, the people won't go back.

-Laelth

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:23 AM

276. agreed. capitalism is about profit over resources

 

whether human or natural.

got to have that profit graph go up and up at any expense so some fat bastards can have 10 yachts. Fuck that is right.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:41 PM

2. I hear what you're saying Laelth, however,

the way capitalism is practiced in this country, it most certainly IS a dirty word, and to "trash" it, publicly, is the only way to get the slower students (republicans) to re-think it....or at least question its viability under the current culture. The entire meme has to change before the whole world goes to hell in a capitalist hand-basket.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

12. So trashing it publicly will get the slower students to re-think it and do what exactly?

change the way capitalism works or to move on to a different system, which is something they probably won't do.

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Response to LionsTigersRedWings (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:50 PM

22. Change the way this country lets it run rampant over people, the environment,

and human decency. Yes. Maybe they will help us insist on changing the way it works....like FDR did for a short while.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #22)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:53 PM

25. So you would like to see what to OP talks about, Capitalism with liberal laws in place to

insure that all citizens benefit from it?

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Response to LionsTigersRedWings (Reply #25)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:13 PM

46. Yep n/t

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Response to LionsTigersRedWings (Reply #25)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:43 PM

74. Won't work

America's tried that and guess what - the uber capitalists buy off the lawmakers to change the rules to ones that benefit them. A system like that in Europe is much more humane and sustainable for the average worker bee. Capitalism at it's root is all about more and more and more and more and more for the haves and screw anything that gets in the way of that like environmental and labor laws.

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Response to lark (Reply #74)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:53 PM

85. Have you considered it's the political apparatus and not the economic apparatus that's to blame?

I don't think people will be empowered until we have mandatory universal voting in a properly structured parliamentary system.
If you do that, the human values that are being ignored will instead be honored, implemented and enforced.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #85)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:16 PM

223. In the future everything not prohibited will be mandatory

Mandatory private insurance, mandatory voting..

Abstaining from voting in a corrupt system can be seen as a form of protest.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #223)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:24 PM

225. Mandatory voting is the best tool for ensuring a democracy that functions.

Or haven't you noticed that most efforts to inhibit democracy try to limit participation?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #225)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:49 PM

235. I don't think it would make much if any difference in our propaganda drenched society

I'm all for efforts to make voting easier but I think the idea of punishing a person for not participating in something they believe to be corrupt is odious.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #235)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:54 PM

237. That is, by FAR, the lesser of two evils.

If you'd rather make a protest by paying a small fine - great, have at it. I want the default setting to be : GO VOTE.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #237)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:59 PM

238. How do you know it will be "a small fine"?

Or even if it starts small how it will stay small?

Small fines in our system end up growing into prison terms somehow.

That's how the USA became the most incarceration prone society on the planet.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #238)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:03 PM

239. I'm sorry...

This is entering the realm of the absurd. If you don't like the idea, I can live with that. If you want to argue pointlessly, I'm not in.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #239)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:12 PM

241. You made a statement and now don't want to back it up?

Do you dispute that the US has the highest incarceration rate of any society?

Why would that propensity not inform a voting mandate?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #241)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:14 PM

242. No, I don't want to back it up.

The proposition is completely self evident. Your criticisms are ... not.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #238)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:50 PM

252. I thought Australia was doing quite well with compulsory voting.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #252)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:28 PM

322. Sorry to burst your bubble, but . . . . Tony Abbott

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Response to loudsue (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:58 PM

29. OK, but what alternative do we propose?

Socialism (a 19th century creation) has proven to be a failure at creating wealth and distributing it equitably amongst the populace. FDR was a liberal, i.e. a capitalist who wanted to insure that our society's wealth is equitably shared. Same goes for Truman and LBJ. Liberals are capitalists. That's the essence of my argument, and I think we look stupid when we attack capitalism, especially when we propose nothing as an alternative.

Certainly, capitalism as practiced by Republicans (who'd like to take us back to the Gilded Age) sux. Agreed. But liberal capitalism works quite well. In fact, it was liberal capitalism that made the United States the wealthiest nation on Earth. A return to liberalism (sane, just, and equitable capitalism) is what I seek. That's why I call myself a liberal.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:09 PM

43. We ARE proposing something as an alternative. Where have you been?

Everyone on this board, except for a very few, think capitalism would work splendidly, if we threw in some very strong regulations, and ENFORCED those regulations, and sprinkled it with a heavy dose of populist sharing (i.e., socialism).

You're trying to make it either/or. There has NEVER been a perfect economic system developed for a working world. Capitalism, HEAVILY REGULATED, and socialist/populist life-lines -- health care, housing, education, food (!) -- enough to live without fright, THAT is fine. But in today's America....that is NOT "capitalism". "Capitalism" devolves into oligarchy and corporatism.

Capitalism is brutal for millions upon millions of hungry and desperate and scared and unhealthy people. You have to see that.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #43)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:49 PM

81. Indeed. I agree with all that you propose.

But, I think you mis-understand the purpose of my post. I think it makes us look dumb, stupid, and naive to attack capitalism itself (as a thread I saw earlier today did). We are capitalists. We just want a just, humane, and sane capitalism that distributes the nation's wealth more fairly. In my mind, that's what it means to be a liberal.

It appears our disagreement is semantic, and it is, in part, but I think we lose ground when we attack capitalism. It's too easy to marginalize what we have to say when we attack capitalism. Well-regulated capitalism made the United States the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth. No wonder people roll their eyes when those of us on the left attack capitalism.

I would add that the United States is and always has been an oligarchy. We had better learn to live with that. At the same time, I will continue to fight to make ours a liberal oligarchy that takes good care of its people.

More here: http://laelth.blogspot.com/2011/01/turning-american-ship-of-state.html

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #81)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:32 AM

278. I thought the original post might have been satire

This is exactly the status quo dogma we heard before during the McCarthy erawhen anything socialist was smeared comfortably with the anti-Commie paint. Since this awesome statement stretches back over decades I tripped over the eighties when liberals became miffed when the tar rolled over them just as successfully. So maybe the post means we want some pre-Reagan renaissance of the way the party was before it folded its tent with many of the oligarchs living resentfully(and temporarily) under its regulatory auspices.

Oligarchs, like God, or rather Mammon, the Molloch god of some Americans are forever. Who knew these fellow apes were more untouchable than the divine, so necessary to submit to, so worthy of the term "necessary evil" that better had better adopt their virtues around them accordingly?

Now only the real nice nice super rich back the party. That handful should even been easier to list. But a liberal oligarchy? Liberals have been proudly and uselessly resisting the tar for decades. Most surviving Dem officials have been even more bent out of whack than ever in the flight from socialism, which arguably was still a matter of self-limitation in the FDR era. To accommodate both capitalism and the corporate rich, even the cabal that tried to overthrow FDR. It is hard to achieve such a sanguine philosophical attitude toward a black and white battle where a modest defense of moderate liberalism means worse than nothing in the face of both global catastrophes and those who continually profit from that- and the death of capitalism one way or the other.

In any event, all of the dogma are mere 1950-s talking points reduced to the pablum that we got in grade school. The war for words has been utterly lost now that the Corporate Pravda terms have degraded in reality to absurdities. No wonder more young people are actively seeking out Socialist
speakers than are rushing with wild enthusiasm to the new realistic, meek and sensible and still spit upon(by all sides) liberals.

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Response to PATRICK (Reply #278)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:15 PM

353. Yep, 1950s talking points...

I'm old enough to remember them as well as well as you do.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #43)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:49 PM

173. Capitalism would work splendidly if only if weren't what it is.

"If only"....
But capitalism is a system where those who have capital (essentially: material wealth in $ form) use it to buy ownership of the planet's natural resources, to buy the means of production and distribution, in order to further the acquisition of even more capital. In the process capitalism must utilize labor, at the *least* cost possible so as to guarantee the greatest profit possible.

As such it's hardly a system that a *country* should identify itself with! Insofar as capitalism is allowed to operate in a country, this ought to be very restricted, just as any other private ventures.

Several factors usually thought essential to a viable socially-responsible state, or country ("socialist" country) are: state ownership of all natural resources; universal health/medical/pharmaceutical care; state guarantees of universal education; guarantee of a minimum standard of living; guarantees of freedom of association (in particular, guarantees of a right to form worker unions). None of these factors contradict limited and regulated capitalist enterprise.

Seems to me that Capitalism with a large 'C' is split amongst two dominant kinds: state capitalism a la China's model, and international corporate capitalism as promoted (far too often militarily) by the USA. Both are extremely blunt instruments - and sensible folk ought to beware of both.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:52 PM

84. Socialism hasn't actually been tried.

If you're referring to the state capitalists USSR and China, well, they had a class and state (just switched classes with the old order), and Labor did not control or manage the means of production, nor have control or manage the fruits of their labor. This was done by the state bureaucratic class.

No, socialism hasn't been implemented in either place, nor anywhere else for that matter. And by the way, socialism wasn't a 19th century creation. You can here the calls of social revolutions even prior to the Enrages of the French Revolution. Even prior when looking at the Levellers and the Diggers in the 1600s. Socialism has been a human condition since the time of our ancient ancestors, and in political form in conjunction with the rise of capitalism.

Such are our ideas as social revolutionaries, and we are therefore called anarchists. We do not protest this name, for we are indeed the enemies of any governmental power, since we know that such a power depraves those who wear its mantle equally with those who are forced to submit to it. Under its pernicious influence the former become ambitious and greedy despots, exploiters of society in favor of their personal or class interests, while the latter become slaves.

---

We have already expressed several times our deep aversion to the theory of Lassalle and Marx, which recommends to the workers, if not as a final ideal at least as the next immediate goal, the founding of a people’s state, which according to their interpretation will be nothing but “the proletariat elevated to the status of the governing class.”

---

Ultimately, from whatever point of view we look at this question, we come always to the same sad conclusion, the rule of the great masses of the people by a privileged minority. The Marxists say that this minority will consist of workers. Yes, possibly of former workers, who, as soon as they become the rulers of the representatives of the people, will cease to be workers and will look down at the plain working masses from the governing heights of the State; they will no longer represent the people, but only themselves and their claims to rulership over the people. Those who doubt this know very little about human nature.

---

There is a flagrant contradiction in this theory. If their state would be really of the people, why eliminate it? And if the State is needed to emancipate the workers, then the workers are not yet free, so why call it a People’s State? By our polemic against them we have brought them to the realization that freedom or anarchism, which means a free organization of the working masses from the bottom up, is the final objective of social development, and that every state, not excepting their People’s State, is a yoke, on the one hand giving rise to despotism and on the other to slavery. They say that such a yoke – dictatorship is a transitional step towards achieving full freedom for the people: anarchism or freedom is the aim, while state and dictatorship is the means, and so, in order to free the masses of people, they have first to be enslaved!

---

Upon this contradiction our polemic has come to a halt. They insist that only dictatorship (of course their own) can create freedom for the people. We reply that all dictatorship has no objective other than self-perpetuation, and that slavery is all it can generate and instill in the people who suffer it. Freedom can be created only by freedom, by a total rebellion of the people, and by a voluntary organization of the people from the bottom up.


~ Mikail Bakunin's State and Anarchy (written in 1873) which was remarkably prescient of the dangers of a Bolshevik style revolution (which proved Bakunin right).

Statism and Anarchy at Marxist.org

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #84)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:15 PM

114. I have read Bakunin, and I have heard that argument many times.

That said, I don't find it persuasive, and here's why. The Republicans keep telling us that "the free market," as they define it, hasn't really been tried. Do you want to risk trying it? No. That way lies madness. The truth is that socialism has been tried, and it failed to produce a just distribution of wealth. I would also argue that "free-market capitalism" has been tried (during the Gilded Age in the United States, and during the mid-19th century in the U.K--i.e. the horrors of the most gut-wrenching Dickens novel), and it also failed to create a just distribution of wealth. Liberal capitalism (i.e. FDR, Truman, and LBJ) has also been tried, and it made the United States the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth.

As such, I argue, capitalism is not the problem. Laissez-faire capitalism is a major problem, however, and a heavy dose of liberalism is required in order to produce a more just, sane, and equitable society.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #114)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:39 PM

130. What Republicans seem to forget...

... is that a free market does not and will not exist until protective mechanism for big industries are removed from our system of laws.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:41 PM

3. Well, that's your head WELL above the parapet.


I think there's a clear point there that's about to get smushed in the ensuing melee.

I'm gonna need a silo's worth of for this one...

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Response to sibelian (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

13. I can withstand the barrage.

I am quite serious about this. We live in a capitalist society. It is stupid, and outright dangerous, for those of us on the left to attack capitalism. It's certainly better than any system yet devised. Socialism stinks (as it has so-far been practiced on Earth). Here, I note, the alleged Socialist parties in Western Europe are really just liberal. None of them supports state ownership of all property (i.e. Soviet real socialism).

We need to work within the system we have, and capitalism is it. With some liberal controls, capitalism works very well, and I am quite prepared to defend that position. It makes us look really stupid to attack capitalism as a system, especially when we have no alternative to offer.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:53 PM

24. The alternative is to take from the rich, and give to the poor ....

 

whether it is done by force (Robin Hood), or via the force of govt (taxation), matters not. It is the result that counts. Equality.

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Response to oldhippie (Reply #24)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:00 PM

35. That's the definition of liberalism.

And that's still capitalism. Until you advocate for state ownership of all property (i.e. Socialism), you're a liberal. And so am I.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:58 PM

32. See? You're trashing socialism. It's not black & white. That is why people need to re-think

it all. That is how the people get educated about issues. You just can't say "capitalism is good", and that is how everyone needs to march lock-step. It isn't good. It's dangerous. It needs to have elements of socialism, and BALANCE, and it has to be highly regulated. HIGHLY regulated. Or it doesn't work at all. In which case, No. It is NOT a "better system that any"... It is the death knell of society.

"liberal controls"...now THAT is going to be a phrase for the greeting card industry.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #32)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:11 PM

45. I am trashing socialism, yes.

But socialism doesn't need me to trash it. History has already done that.

Keep in mind that socialism means state ownership of all property. Liberalism, on the other hand, is capitalism with strict government controls to insure that society's wealth is equitably distributed. Ultimately, most of the people I know who call themselves socialist are really liberals, but the point I am making here is that capitalism is not inherently evil. Absent government control it's downright barbaric, but with government controls (of the kind enacted by FDR, Truman, and LBJ) liberal capitalism works better than any system yet devised to improve the living standards and wealth of the people.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #45)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:18 PM

51. I agree with that 100%. So...capitalism doesn't need you to speak up for it...

"Regulated capitalism with socialist safeguards" might be the way to take up for all the people.

Hey! I love government. I love labor unions. I love business. But when anything gets too entrenched, it goes to the bad. Capitalism in this country has gone to the bad.

So...I think we're in total agreement. I just don't think making a blanket statement that "capitalism is good" gets you where you want to go, in the world we live in today.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #51)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:29 PM

60. Capitalism in this country HAS gone bad.

Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:59 PM - Edit history (1)

Laissez-faire capitalism is downright barbaric. Capitalism with government controls to insure a more just distribution of the nation's wealth, on the other hand, has proven to work quite well, and I point to FDR, Truman, and LBJ as support for that assertion. Liberal capitalism made the United States the richest and most powerful nation on Earth. Had it not been for Reagan and thirty+ years of drift back towards the laissez-faire capitalism of the Gilded Age, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #45)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:18 PM

52. No it DOESN'T mean state ownership of all property, that's COMMUNISM.


Socialism just means state ownership of PROPERTY.

SOME OF IT.

The BBC is state funded. It's a corporation modeled on socialist ideals.

Socialism is as much a philosophy as it is a political system. Socialist is an adjective as well as a noun!

Saying socialism inescapably entails state ownership of all property is like saying "Space travel is a mode of transport pioneered by NASA's space shuttle"!

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Response to sibelian (Reply #52)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:34 PM

64. The U.K. is a capitalist society.

In fact, it was the U.K. that taught us capitalism. There's a semantic argument that we could have here, but I will decline, as I see that as pointless.

The point I am making here is that it makes us look really dumb to attack capitalism. We are capitalists (to the extent that we are members of a capitalist society), and history has shown that socialism (as it has so far been practiced on Earth) has failed in its goal of producing wealth and insuring its equitable distribution.

From a purely rhetorical perspective, I think we're better off embracing capitalism but then insisting on its strict regulation with the goal of creating a more just distribution of our national wealth. That, in my mind, is what it means to be a liberal.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #64)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:38 PM

71. Yes, OK fair enough, the beef isn't worth chewing.


It is semantics ( "RRRRRAAAAAAAAAAARGH SEMANTICS MATTERS" ) - shut up sibelian's internal political geek.

The point I am making here is that it makes us look really dumb to attack capitalism. We are capitalists (to the extent that we are members of a capitalist society), and history has shown that socialism (as it has so far been practiced on Earth) has failed in its goal of producing wealth and insuring its equitable distribution.

From a purely rhetorical perspective, I think we're better off embracing capitalism but then insisting on its strict regulation with the goal of creating a more just distribution of our national wealth. That, in my mind, is what it means to be a liberal.


OUI D'accord!

Vive le cash registers! They are in fact good things.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #71)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:55 PM

87. LOL. Cheers, my friend.

And thanks for engaging me on this topic.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #64)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:52 PM

180. Huh?

I fail to understand exactly how it makes one look dumb to "attack" (certainly you mean criticize) capitalism.

Yes, we live under capitalism, a particularly virulent form of it at that.

Ergo we're dumb to critique it?

Please explain explicitly so this stupid-ass looking crazy woman who hates capitalism can get it!

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Response to tea and oranges (Reply #180)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:06 PM

220. Perhaps I erred in my wording.

By all means, the economic system we have at the moment is not fair, nor is it just, nor is it healthy for our nation. By all means, critique the injustice you see. Personally, I feel ethically compelled to speak out against injustice when I see it. I am not advising silence and acquiescence. Rather, I'm suggesting that capitalism, itself, is not the problem. Unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism is the problem, and that's the direction in which the Republicans are pushing our country. Regulated FDR and LBJ capitalism, on the other hand, made us the richest and most powerful nation on Earth. Capitalism, therefore, isn't bad unless it's unregulated (i.e. Somalia). It's unregulated capitalism foisted upon us by Republicans and a few complicit Democrats that is pushing us all back to the misery of the Gilded Age.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #220)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:21 PM

243. Sigh!

If only capitalism didn't produce capitalists, you know, those folks who control the means of production, the ones who always push for fewer regs, taxes, worker protections, more pollution.

I'd like to see a subsistence society(one that isn't based on profit) that didn't have boom & bust cycles. The bust cycles require the mass expulsion of workers, the booms are usually bubbles that burst creating the busts. Having lived through many of the above, allow me to say they ain't fun.

People must give up so much to have a job - their children to daycare, time to dream, be creative, listen to music, gardening, friendship. Why? To make capitalists wealthier.

Sorry Laelth, even a living wage doesn't make up for what we as a species lose to the great god of profit.

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Response to tea and oranges (Reply #243)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:32 PM

245. "If only capitalism didn't produce capitalists..."....

Ain't that IT in a nutshell? What's more BECAUSE they control the means of production they have the ability and the power, i.e., wealth TO MAKE CAPITALISM WHAT THEY WANT IT TO BE! And what we see IS what they want it to be.

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Response to tea and oranges (Reply #243)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:52 PM

256. I don't know.

It seems to me that French and Australian liberalism work pretty well for the people of those countries. What you propose has never been done, to my knowledge. Without a reasonable path to get there, which I don't see, I feel compelled to make the best of the capitalism we have, for better or for worse.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #256)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:35 AM

259. Have You Not Noticed the Gov't of Australia's Gone Right Wing?

Plus, the French are having a wee bit of trouble along the same lines.

What I proposed - a subsistence economy - wasn't what I would call "tried" - it was a way of life for people before the advent of city-states.

What would "making the best of the capitalism we have" look like? What does that mean? Finding the invisible hand, putting a stake through it, & burying it? Your plan doesn't seem any more realistic, frankly, than mine.

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Response to tea and oranges (Reply #259)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:45 AM

277. Its not right wing as we know it.

Sure on social issues they may look like moderate republicans in our country but on economic issues they make American democrats look like republicans on almost all but energy policy. Conservatives in Australia are Democratic Socialist light same with France.

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Response to Notafraidtoo (Reply #277)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:55 PM

284. As in the economic decision to go full speed ahead

w/ new coal mines & export stations, never mind the drought, fires, record heat, etc?

Hmmm, who does that policy aid & abet? Maybe the oligarchs? Just guessing here.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #256)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:43 PM

307. Australian Liberalism?

Probably best not to use those terms to try and make your point. The liberal party is not who you think they are.

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Response to Fairgo (Reply #307)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:51 PM

309. Thanks for the tip.

And, welcome to DU.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #45)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:12 PM

109. So you telling me that the Norther European SOCIAL DEMOCRACIES

 

a form of socialism, are no longer Social Democracies? FYI the US under FDR was well on it's way to becoming a social democracy. IMHO it would have been best if that project was not derailed by the usual suspects in the name of CAPITALISM. The usual suspects are people like the Koch brothers. They like this fully unregulated system very much.

What you described in your OP is a form of socialism. That is all kinds of funny. We call it Social Democracy.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #109)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:42 PM

132. They can call themselves socialist all they want.

They're still just liberal. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's good that they're liberal. They have capitalist societies that are tightly controlled and that insure a more just distribution of their national wealth. What's wrong with that?

Nothing, but that's not socialism. Socialism, as defined by Engles and Marx, i.e. the people who created the word, means state ownership of all property. That system has been tried, and it failed to create either great wealth or just distribution of that wealth. Liberalism is, by far, a better system, and that's why I call myself a liberal. I want controlled capitalism that insures a more fair distribution of society's wealth. Ultimately, I doubt you disagree with me on that.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #132)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:49 PM

134. But they ARE social democracies

 

by definition, and it is a form of socialism.

And the only thing I disagree with you is putting down a system that you are defining. Social democracies take both the good aspects of capitalism, private ownership of factories for example, and the good aspects of socialism, such as public ownership of roads, utilities, schools, ergo the commons. It goes much deeper than that, but this is a good start.

What you want is social democracy. This is exactly where we were going towards with FDR, and even Ike, and what a certain group of usual suspects organized to unravel. They have been so successful that people cannot see what they want for what they want. The red baiting has been extremely successful in the US.

That is all I am saying. It is ironic that while you bash a philosophy you do not understand, you are calling for a form of it. For the record, what Adam Smith proposed was not capitalism, if you ever bother to read the Wealth of Nations, but a form of social democracy. It included silly shit like living wages, which European Social Democracies have, for the most part, implemented. In my view they are closer to what Smith (and yes even Marx, they are the two bookends of classical liberalism) wrote about.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #134)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:30 PM

228. Here's what Truman had to say about this distinction.

American Democrats (FDR, Truman, LBJ) are liberals and capitalists, not socialists.

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with — and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

- Harry Truman in Detroit (14 May 1950), as recorded in Good Old Harry.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman


-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #228)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:34 PM

230. Need I remind you that was the height of the COLD WAR

 

and we had a certain Senator who was in the middle of a red scare and we had a Committee for un-American Activities? (HUAC)

No, what we were moving towards was social democracy. And we are starting, per some experts, to move towards it AGAIN

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140345/lane-kenworthy/americas-social-democratic-future

And trust me, Foreign Affairs, is not the cute and cuddly red magazine.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #132)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:23 PM

249. You are conflating so many terms it is making my head hurt.

Liberalism is a social philosophy not an economic system.
Now you can apply liberal social values to economics, in this case capitalism, and what you get is socialism, regulation and redistribution of wealth for the benefit of society as a whole.

You keep conflating socialism; regulated capitalism, with historic communism; state owned capitalism.

What Marx and Engels were advocating was worker directed and owned capitalism. In other words democracy in the workplace. That has not been tried on a national scale.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #249)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:49 PM

255. Thank you for this clarification.

Not that it's irrelevant, just that it's not entirely relevant. The question to which this thread is address is whether capitalism is or should be a dirty word. What say you to that?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #255)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:48 AM

261. I say yes, Capitalism is a dirty word.

It is the root of most of the worlds economic problems and inequity.
It is an exploitative system that favors the strong over the weak, the rich over the poor.
As you have noted it is the product of the Victorian era and is steeped in social Darwinist ideas that permeated most facets of late 19th century American and British bourgeois ideology.
It is time to move beyond capitalism to a worker democracy.
It would have to start as a mixed socialist economy but the end goal should be to leave capitalism behind, just like feudalism and slave economies.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #261)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:11 PM

287. In fact, I don't disagree with you ... about the word.

As much as I might like those of us on the left to look sane and reasonable and not attack the very system that has made us the richest and most powerful nation on Earth--yes, as dumb as I think it is to attack capitalism, if I'm honest, I have to note that capitalism is already a dirty word. Try it. Just call your boss, or some rich person, a "capitalist" and watch their reactions. They'll be offended, and that's because capitalism is already a dirty word, despite the fact that we live in a capitalist society. LOL. Marx had tremendous influence, even if most people now say they don't agree with him for X, Y, and Z reasons.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #45)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:47 PM

133. Not criticisizing you, but...

you're mixing economic theory with political theory. Liberalism, while it may call for a more equitable financial system, is not a form of capitalism. What you're describing, I think, is Welfare Capitalism as is practiced in Nordic countries. It's what liberals should (and generally do) aim for.

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #133)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:09 PM

148. What we call it in my econ and int'l business courses

is a mixed economy - (capitalism and socialism mixed). The political system in that part of the world is often a social democracy (according to my poli sci electives). You are right - 2 different things.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:00 PM

34. I think your definition of socialism might be a LITTLE strict, there...


Some governments have managed to make SOME profits, you know...

... but I see where you're coming from. I suspect the values you support are probably also mine.

I think there may be opportunities to make more common ownership of some means of production more viable now that we have the internet, microfinance and things like that. A lot of the problems with socialism and communism as they have been practised come down to lack of economic flexibility.

Having said that, I also feel that some means of production must necessarily remain capitalistic, as one cannot in fact remove money, as it is really no more than the physical crystallisation of an inherent human concept i.e. value. The value of work isn't something that you can successfully argue with people about. The attribution of value is in general a primarily emotional process, and there isn't any way of making it NOT that.

To me the main problem lies in establishing what we are all happy to agree are shared human experiences for which we are all responsible and have the right to benefit from, and should be run by elected representatives (important point) and which productive process should always remain private.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #34)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:13 PM

47. I think a lot of people throw around the word "socialism" without knowing what it means.

To the extent that what they really mean is "liberalism" (like the Socialist Party in France, for example), well then sure, I support socialism (so long as we're really talking about liberalism). Nobody I know is, at this point, arguing for state ownership of all property, and that's the definition of socialism.

Otherwise, I agree with nearly everything you posted. Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #47)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:35 PM

68. ...


I was about to post another mini-rant about the definition of socialism but I'm not going to. What you call "liberalism" is clearly what I call "socialism".

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Response to Laelth (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:13 PM

110. You are talking about communism, not socialism.

The Soviet is not real socialism. Liberal socialism, like in Europe, is a much better system than cut throat capitalism, which is where it will always end. Where Europe goes bad is when the capitalist try to undo the socialist laws because they aren't in their favor.

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Response to lark (Reply #110)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:21 PM

117. Liberal socialism (like they have in some European countries) is just liberalsim.

But that's beside the point. My point is that capitalism is not inherently bad. Unregulated capitalism is very bad, agreed, but regulated capitalism that seeks to insure the well-being of all the citizens of a nation works very well, as shown by the long-lasting and beneficial effects of the policies of FDR, Truman, and LBJ.

I think it makes us look stupid and naive to attack capitalism. As a liberal, I embrace capitalism. I just want it to be highly regulated in order to insure that its benefits are more fairly distributed across all segments of our society.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #117)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:13 PM

150. Hi Laelth...

Capitalism would be great if it was regulated and operated the way it should be. But it's not and it isn't.

If we define "Socialism" like the right does, in the strictest sense, then no, we don't want that kind of socialism. That "ism" is as bad as capital"ism". It's an ism. That kind of social"ism" is an economic system, just like capital"ism" is an economic system.

Bernie Sanders doesn't hate Capitalism, but he calls himself a socialist. A socialist, in that he wants to hold capitalism to account for it's wrongdoing, for it's avarice and greed. I call him a Social Democrat. I think that's what I am, though I vote Democratic ticket.

I think the "isms" is what we get all in a twist about. Capitalism is all we know. But I certainly am not going to defend it, as it is not good for all. It's broke. Look at this country. If capitalism was so good, why do we go through these severe downturns so often? And it looks like this one is transforming all jobs into "cheap labor." Unless the cost of living comes down with the wages, we can't raise families in this way. More and more, Capitalism is turning us into a third world nation. I can't blithely go along with it.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #150)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:31 PM

288. The right calls everyone to the left of Hitler a socialist.

I don't like their definition, and I refuse to use it in the sense they mean it. Here's how Truman distinguished between the two:

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with — and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

- Harry Truman in Detroit (14 May 1950), as recorded in Good Old Harry.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman


If Truman is right, then FDR liberalism is not socialism. In fact, Truman suggests in this passage that it was FDR liberalism that prevented socialism from coming to the United States.

As for Senator Sanders, I know that he calls himself a socialist (adopting the right's frame), but I think he's a liberal. I have never seen him argue for state ownership of all property, nor have I seen him argue for complete worker control over the means of production. His words and actions strike me as those of a solid FDR, Truman, LBJ liberal.



-Laelth

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Response to lark (Reply #110)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:50 PM

176. The OP is just a Semantical Game

to make Capitalism = good and Socialism = bad.

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Response to LarryNM (Reply #176)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:13 PM

222. In part, yes.

A thread appeared on DU earlier today suggesting that we should "make capitalism a dirty word." This thread is a response to that one. Personally, I think it makes us look stupid and naive to act as if capitalism were a dirty word (and that's because most of us are capitalists--whether we like the word or not). Liberalism, I and others have argued, is a political philosophy that seeks to protect capitalism from its own excesses (and prevent a bloody revolution). If that's the case, liberals are capitalists, or, at the very least, defenders of the capitalist system, and why shouldn't we be? FDR and LBJ liberalism made us the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth, and, prior to the Reagan revolution, the nation with the highest standard of living on Earth. If that's liberal capitalism at work, I'll take it.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:25 PM

120. Is that in the context of ethics or in the context of efficiency?

" It's certainly better than any system yet devised..."
Is that in the context of ethics or in the context of efficiency?


"especially when we have no alternative to offer..."
I think there are many alternatives. Four provided in this thread alone. That you yourself may reject them does not in fact, deny their existence. And that one may fail in one region due to variances of geopolitics, cultures, and historical forces does not directly imply that it would fail under other circumstances. To think as such is the logical fallacy called post-hoc-ergo-prompter-hoc.


But, like religion, I offer little in conversations dealing with wholly imaginary constructs which we allow to control and dictate our lives, our decisions, our families and our futures-- pretending to ourselves that one imaginary construct is "better" than another, and calling others stupid because they may or may not like your imaginary preference...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #120)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:53 PM

138. I admit that I am not terribly interested in efficiency.

I am, for better or for worse, and ethically-driven creature. That said, the "alternatives" you note in this thread all sound like liberalism to me. None of them proposes to do away with capitalism. None of them proposes state ownership of all property (socialism). None of them proposes all property owned by a noble class (feudalism). They're nothing new (these proposals). They're all liberalism (i.e. highly regulated capitalism that seeks to insure that a society's wealth is justly distributed to all members of said society).

No, my point in this thread is that we look stupid and naive when we attack capitalism, itself. Most people I know who call themselves socialists, for example, are really liberals. They don't want state ownership of all property and state control of every aspect of a person's life, i.e. socialism. Rather, what most alleged "socialists" want is liberalism, i.e. highly-regulated capitalism.

I suspect you are one of those people. Cheers!



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:42 PM

5. thanks, Laelth

 

I prefer a mixed socialist/capitalist system, but I appreciate that it takes guts to post this and that it's thoughtfully stated.

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Response to cali (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:02 PM

37. Thanks for the kind words, cali.

Cheers, my friend.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:42 PM

6. Capitalism is an unjust means of dividing resources. That seems pretty "dirty" to me.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:44 PM

9. This rests on your notions of "just".


For any system of shared human values, this term needs to be carefully agreed on.

Which is probably the main problem.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

16. I would agree, and that lack of critical examination has gotten us to this paradise, called

a Capitalistic Free-Market Utopia....

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:22 PM

54. Perhaps capitalism is unjust.

I don't mean to be trite, but I recall a maternal figure in my life reminding me that "life isn't fair." That said, there can be no doubt that liberalism creates greater economic justice than what one would find in an unregulated capitalist society (i.e. Somalia). If we have to have a capitalist system (and we do--there is simply no viable alternative), then why not have a liberal capitalist society that works to insure a minimum of injustice by more equitably distributing the wealth that capitalism creates?



-Laelth

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:49 PM

82. Capitalism can be two farmers trading an apple and an orange...

They can both benefit. I think what your attacking is corporatism.

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Response to TampaAnimusVortex (Reply #82)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:01 PM

96. No, that is just trade

Capitalism is the amassing of wealth in the hands of the few so they can motivate the masses to work for them.

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Response to cprise (Reply #96)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:12 PM

248. Someone needs to go back to school

Capitalism is an economic system that provides ownership of private trade. Those two farmers trading apples and oranges are engaging in capitalism... they both own their trade goods, control how those goods are made, the property where those goods are made, decide how much their goods are worth, and decide how much the labor of the people that helped to create those goods is worth.

It is the most flexible of all the economic systems we've so far had in the world as depending on the laws that control the capitalist economy it can be anywhere from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. Even bartering is nothing but a simplistic unregulated form of capitalism and is not immune from conservativism... what if one has nothing with which to barter? How can they live? What happens if the farmer's crops fail and he has no capital? Let's not forget that the word capitalism uses the root word "capital" meaning you need some kind of capital in order to participate whether that's your labor or your goods. I social capitalism is the most fair as through socialistic laws that regulate the capitalist economy and fair taxes from everyone's earnings the government can then help out those that are in need whether it was the farmer's crops failing or an individual's inability to earn any income.

Corporatism is just a new word for fascism - the marriage of business and government to benefit only themselves. Which like it or not is what we got. Without a socialistic change for the better it will only get worse, and there can be no socialistic change for the better without a change in how our politicians are elected and operate. Private money must be removed from that system in order to divorce the business/government marriage. The money always resides with who has the power whether that's the government, the government along with a small group of individually wealthy or the people as a whole. The people can only have the power to control the system when they come together to do what is necessary to remove the power from the few and put it into the hands of the people and where the people are truly educated and informed through a strong educational system coupled with a strong truly independent media.

Socialism is the ideal capitalistic economic system in which the government uses socialistic laws to regulate the capitalism to the benefit of everyone. It is the most fair as it equalizes everyone to the extent that no one is poor and starving and no one is obscenely wealthy while also affording the ability to rise higher economically through one's own talents, skills, intelligence and hard work.

EVERY other type of economic system has failed, and by their very constructs ensured that it they are unfair and produces a society where there is the few supremely wealthy whether private individuals and their minions or government officials and their minions while the largest percentage of people are poor or on the brink and with no real way to elevate themselves out of that state. And that's pretty much where we are... when something like 75% of the people are one paycheck away from disaster the system is already a failure and will not get better without the average people coming together with one mind to change the system to a more socialistic one that is the most beneficial particularly for the people. The R vs. D perpetual battle is a distraction purposely constructed by those in power in order to keep the people from coming together or overthrowing a system that works for THEM whether they're R's or D's.

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Response to TorchTheWitch (Reply #248)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:16 PM

254. Sharecropping (a concentration of wealth) has been a major feature of capitalism.

All your definition of capitalism means is "something that is neither feudalism nor fascism".

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Response to cprise (Reply #254)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:40 AM

272. I can see why you failed at this in school

or never learned it.

Sharecropping was a major component to feudalism where the lord - the owner of the lands - hired families to farm parcels of his land... a staple of English feudalism where England's economy was agriculturally based. Sharecropping didn't even last in the US as the system went from feudalistic to capitalistic. Sharecropping was only ever a major staple of any economic system where agriculture was far and away the economy's most prominent feature. With the advent of slave populations in the US in the southern colonies which was the only place in the US where agriculture was the largest feature of the economy sharecropping was done away with.

Sharecropping is a HISTORICAL economic feature which came from feudalism and could only survive as a staple of capitalism in those places where agriculture was the main staple of the economy. What on earth does sharecropping - only a very small part of capitalism and most prominent in feudalism - have to do with capitalism in general or how it applies in the world or this country once it died with the advent of slave labor and when only the southern colonies had agriculture as it's main economic staple? What the hell does sharecropping have to do with capitalism in the last couple of centuries?

Eeeee gad. This silliness isn't even worth responding to.


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Response to cprise (Reply #96)

Sun Mar 9, 2014, 10:10 AM

372. Exactly... Trade IS capitalism...

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism

Full Definition of CAPITALISM
: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

-------------------------------

Private ownership of capital goods and distribution determined by competition in a free market...

Two farmers trading fruit certainly qualifies as the most basic example of this.

They own the fruit and they are distributing the goods freely in a competitive manner, as they could have kept the fruit themselves instead of sharing it... or they could have traded it with other people for other things.

I'm not sure why this is so complicated...

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:43 PM

7. It works well for some. It has never worked well for all.

Granted, that is a very demanding criterion, but probably the essential problem.

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Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:24 PM

56. Until we have a viable alternative, I see no option but to make the best of it.

And, I suggest, liberalism is the means by which we do exactly that--since liberalism seeks to more fairly and justly distribute the wealth created by a capitalist economy.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #56)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:30 PM

61. I'm still betting on Socialism. nt

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:43 PM

8. No, it's a dirty economic system.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:14 PM

153. But what can those of us on the left offer that would be better?

And how could we eliminate and replace the capitalist system we have?

I agree that unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism sux, but liberalism (i.e. highly regulated capitalism of the kind advanced by FDR, Truman, and LBJ) made the United States the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth. Prior to the Reagan revolution, we also had the highest standard of living on Earth. That's liberal capitalism. What's wrong with that?

And don't we look really stupid and naive when we attack capitalism--the very system under which we live and have prospered (prior to Reagan, admittedly)?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #153)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:13 PM

194. "the system under which we...have prospered"

capitalism only created a prosperous corporate nation (and a few wealthy individuals) at the expense and exploitation of our vast natural resources and hard working labor force (including immigrants)...

average people only prospered once social policies were implemented

the game must change!

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Response to Laelth (Reply #153)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:03 PM

218. Its core value of reducing everything, including humans, to a commodity can be explicitly rejected.

 

As it stands now, when property rights are not paramount, human rights and human needs are, at best, given equal weight to property and corporate rights. Ideologically, property rights (the touchstone of the ant-tax, anti-spending, and anti-benefits blocs) should never take precedence.

That's a far cry from socialism but it's a good touchstone for a government in the meantime.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

10. Nah, we should go with communism

 

It worked really well

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:49 PM

20. When exploiting the earth and the people to fashion unnecessary comforts to be...

 

divided disproportional to your chosen family of people, does it really matter what name you give to your hammer and sickle?

We're on a one way trip to hell and extinction. Driving there in a capitalistic or a communistic vehicle just an argument over how soon we should arrive and what percent of the population get the cash in before the shit house comes down.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #20)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:17 PM

50. I'll have Green Goddess, please.

A nice creamy garlic would suffice in its lieu.

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:01 PM

36. See? That's just ignorant as hell. Like it is supposed to be some dogma that everyone can live by.

No. Communism doesn't work either, in its purest form. Nor does socialism. Nor capitalism. Quit trying to make it 100% ANYTHING. The world doesn't tolerate any kind of extremism, for people's lives to work properly and safely. Pure capitalism is extremism, pure and simple.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #36)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:04 PM

41. Thank you. nt


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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

14. I disagree with your basic definition of socialism....

"Capitalism is certainly better than socialism--i.e. state ownership of all property."


Rather, socialism is worker ownership-- and control-- of the means of production. It is the exact opposite of "state ownership of all property," which is the essence of monarchy when the state is embodied by one person and of totalitarianism otherwise.

I'm a liberal who strongly disparages capitalism, especially unmanaged U.S. style capitalism. If that sort of capitalism is not a dirty word, then neither are greed and avarice, or exploitation, wage slavery, and oppression, because capitalism fosters all of them.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #14)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:23 PM

163. Unrestrained capitalism is evil, admittedly.

I won't argue with that. Marx and Engles, the people who coined the word, define socialism as state control of all property, but I'll accept your definition for the sake of discussion, here. My problem with "worker control of the means of production" is that we've never had that, and I don't know how to get there. Co-ops are cool. The few worker-owned companies we have are cool. But our system relies on capital, like it or not, and I can't really imagine how to get to a world where workers own all the means of production. I might be for it if I could see how it would work and how we could get there, but, as a liberal, I have no problem with a highly-regulated capitalism that works to insure that society's wealth is more justly distributed to all the people. That is what FDR, Truman, and LBJ gave us. They proved it could work. They created the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth through liberal capitalism, and I am reticent to second-guess them. Prior to the Reagan revolution, in fact, the U.S. had the highest standard of living of any nation on Earth. So, it's clear to me that liberalism works.

Worker ownership of all means of production, however, has never been tried, and there may be a good reason for that.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #163)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:49 PM

174. worker control of the means of production was the norm before the industrial revolution....

That's one reason that European feudalism was not such a bad deal for crafts-persons and trades-persons. Prior to the industrial revolution, cloth was made by weavers and felters who either owned or rented their looms, raised or bought their fiber, etc. Smiths owned their forges, hammers, and anvils. Papermakers their beaters and vats. Tailors their shops, and so on. Printers owned their presses, and cabinet makers their saws and planes.

The industrial revolution changed that because it displaced worker ownership of the means of production with workers who had no stake in production other than the sale of their time. Even their skills were ultimately less important than the hours of their lives, which capitalism drove down the worth of to the point of slavery and which became most worker's only absolute commodity. All of their labor goes to enrich the capitalist, who owns the means of production and therefore controls the outcome of their labor while skimming off all the profit from it for himself.

This was NOT the natural order of human society for most of human history, no matter how much it looks like it through the lens of modern life. Capitalism is, in fact, a relatively new means of exploiting and oppressing workers to steal the fruits of their labor.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #174)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:48 PM

234. +1

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Response to mike_c (Reply #174)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:42 PM

289. I have no interest in going back to a medieval economy.

That sounds like utter misery to me. No, thank you.

In addition, I don't believe in any kind of utopian state. What we have now (advanced, post-modern capitalism) is quite natural, I would argue. If it weren't, we wouldn't be here.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #289)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:01 PM

351. that's not at all what I said, but you're also demonstrating quite a bit of misunderstanding...

...about "medieval economy." You're probably thinking pre-industrial revolution life was all about papal wars, smallpox, and crushing the life out of serfs, right? Some parts were like that-- just as they are today. But the industrial revolution made most workers' lives far WORSE than they were previously, at least in the context of their work.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #351)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 07:31 AM

356. I have read Dickens.

I am aware that the industrial revolution created misery for many, many workers. I will note, however, that conditions weren't so hot on the farms, either. That's why people flocked to the cities and mines to get jobs. Still, I wouldn't want to go back to that economy or any one that we've witnessed in human history. I like the one we have now better (though I'd like to see more liberal controls on it to insure that our national wealth was more justly distributed).

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to mike_c (Reply #174)

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 09:34 AM

374. +1 n/t

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

15. Good luck wih that.

 

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Response to oldhippie (Reply #15)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:28 PM

164. LOL. Thanks.

I should have known this post would create a shit-storm, but I couldn't fail to respond to a thread I saw earlier today suggesting that we should "make capitalism a dirty word." Since I see liberals as capitalists (but capitalists who insist upon some economic and social justice), I felt the need to speak out.

Admittedly, I may have erred.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:46 PM

17. Well-regulated capitalism for me, thanks.

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:55 PM

86. Also known as "cocoon-capitalism"

 

But since the underlying mechanisms of capitalism route the wealth produced via production dis-proportionally to the few owners of the means of production (rather than the majority group that is the workers), it puts upward pressure upon disparity; a process that will always and forever result in the upper echelon having the capital and power to purchase and undermine the very government that regulates their activities. As disparity approaches infinity, ugly capitalism will emerge from the cocoon because the owners will throw off the shackles of regulation.

There is not "well-regulated" capitalsm. There is not "corrupt" capitalism. There is simply capitalism. It happens in stages. The throttling stage is as important to the owners (who prefer their prey time to fatten up) as the rape stage.

I'm so tired of people pointing to a tiny stage of a larger process and saying "lookie how wonderful it is". I'm sure a lot of people who shuffle off from shooting up heroin could recollect--if given a chance--a moment of pure euphoria. We aren't stupid enough now to forget the real world, objective manifestations of an economic system because it sometimes almost works for some people if everything is magically perfect and corruption is kept in place for a few years throughout a century of shit.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 08:46 PM

347. Thanks for the post, Scuba.

Always nice to see you.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:46 PM

18. Your definition of socialism is wrong, too.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #18)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:31 PM

166. I got my definition from Marx and Engles, I think.

They're the ones who coined the word. Do you have a different definition to offer? If you do, I have this sneaking suspicion that it's going to sound like liberalism to me, unless, of course, you're talking about "worker ownership of the means of production," which has never been tried across an entire society and which I have no idea how to create.

If that's your definition, btw, I'd like to see a suggestion about how we could get there.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #166)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:50 PM

177. They didn't coin the term at all. nt

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Response to Laelth (Reply #166)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:03 PM

189. No, they certainlywould didn't coin the term

Are you sure you got your definition from them?

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:48 PM

19. "Liberals are capitalists"

Really? All of them? How do you know?

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Response to FiveGoodMen (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:33 PM

167. LOL. Admittedly, I have not met every person who self-identifies as a liberal.

That said, I'd love to critique your own, personal definition of a liberal. Spell it out for me, please.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #167)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:36 PM

168. I'm saying that you've chosen to define the word in your own terms

Words aren't much use unless they mean the same thing to all of us.

So: by what logic, or what authority, did you decide to equate 'liberal' with 'capitalist'?

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Response to FiveGoodMen (Reply #168)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:42 PM

207. I was wondering that myself, but I thought maybe I'd just missed the memo.

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Response to FiveGoodMen (Reply #168)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:59 PM

257. Liberalism and socialism are very different things.

And liberalism is aligned with capitalism. How else shall we explain this quote from Truman:

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with — and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

- Harry Truman in Detroit (14 May 1950), as recorded in Good Old Harry.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman


-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #257)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:36 AM

260. Truman said something bad about socialism so liberals are capitalists?

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Response to FiveGoodMen (Reply #260)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:59 AM

264. Umm ...

Truman didn't say anything bad about socialism in the quote above. What he suggests is that liberalism saved capitalism from socialism. Thus, I conclude, liberalism is aligned with (and protective of) capitalism, itself.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #264)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:00 PM

282. ...at least in Truman's view.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:50 PM

21. Capitalism relies on consumption.

Over time capitalism destroys itself as we see in the world today. In the 1930's capitalism had to be restrained with infusion of socialism and world war. Capitalism piles wealth on one side of the scale. You cannot balance the scale because of the lack of wealth on the other side. Since the few capitalists have capital they are the winners in a zero sum game. Capitalism needs to be tempered by socialism. It's called stakeholder wealth maximization. Stakeholders in this case are not just the owners of capital.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #21)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:45 PM

172. It seems our disagreement, if any, is merely semantic.

I call restrained capitalism liberalism. I call socialism state ownership of all property. Socialism has been tried and it failed to produce either great wealth or a just distribution of said wealth. Liberalism, by contrast, made the United States the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth which, prior to the Reagan revolution, also had the highest standard of living of any nation on Earth. It's hard to argue with liberalism's track record.

What I'm arguing, here, is that it makes us look stupid and naive to attack capitalism, itself. It seems to me that everyone who has posted in this thread really wants highly-regulated capitalism, i.e. liberalism. I'd be willing to wager that nobody here has ever lived in a socialist country, nor would they want to. Socialism, whatever it is, is irrelevant in this context.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #172)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:54 PM

181. Yes I think we define things differently

We have socialism in Social Security Medicare and Medical and the post office because capitalism cannot deliver needed services to those without the means to pay.
Like I said capitalism feeds on itself because over time less and less people can afford to pay. There needs to be a redistribution of wealth back to consumers and to me that is socialism.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #181)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:53 AM

262. Truman, of course, argued that Social Security is what PREVENTED socialism.

And that's what I'm suggesting as well.

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with — and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

- Harry Truman in Detroit (14 May 1950), as recorded in Good Old Harry.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman


-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #262)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:30 PM

283. Where does social security come in that statement?

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #283)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:00 PM

286. Hmm ...

Here's how I read it. Truman says that if things had kept going as they were prior to March 1933, i.e. prior to Roosevelt and the New Deal, then we would have had "real" socialism in the U.S. Truman suggests that the New Deal prevented "real" socialism from happening. Social Security, obviously, was part of the New Deal, so it makes sense to say that Social Security is not socialism. Rather, Social Security is what I would call liberalism, and it is liberalism, as I and other have suggested, that saved capitalism from itself and prevented a socialist revolution in the United States. That's what I think Truman said in the quote above.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:51 PM

23. Who is we?

Not all of us are liberals.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #23)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:50 PM

175. The "we" in the OP refers to American liberals.

I never said that everyone who posted on DU was a liberal.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #175)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 11:21 AM

362. I don't think you, or any one person, can speak for

all American liberals.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #362)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 11:55 AM

363. You are quite right, of course. I stand corrected.

But in order to make something useful out of this discussion, now that we've picked all our nits, what is it that you want?

I want a sane, just, and humane capitalism. Now it's your turn. Is that not what you want? If not, what is?



-Laelth



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Response to Laelth (Reply #363)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 08:06 PM

369. I want a system that benefits the 99%.

I see that as worker-owned means of production. Or non-profit corporations. Or government owned and operated, and guaranteed, essential services like health care, education, transportation, energy, and housing.

Or some combination of all of the above.

I get my electricity from a non-profit corporation that serves those of us living rurally. Their service and reliability is superior, their prices are significantly lower, and every 2 years I get a check...small to be sure, but a check refunding what I paid that they didn't use for regular day-to-day operations, upgrades, or repairs. Friends who live in town are stuck with the for-profit power company; they are envious.

What I really want to do is remove the profit motive for under-paying and over-charging people.

It has nothing to do with being liberal. As a matter of fact, economic liberals are those causing the problems.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:58 PM

28. Any economic model that commodifies everything is toxic

 

To human souls, spirits, and the planet they -- and everything else -- live on.

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Response to villager (Reply #28)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:54 PM

182. I don't disagree with you.

I have serious ethical problems with the fact that everything in a capitalist society is a commodity to be bought and sold. How to escape this model, however, eludes me.

My point was that until we devise a reasonable and reachable alternative, we're better off working within the system we have. Highly regulated capitalism, it seems to me, is the best we can do at the moment. That, actually, is why I call myself a liberal.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #182)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:02 PM

186. I'm more of a democratic socialist. Though one fellow writer describes it as "Left Libertarian"

 

I think most resources need to be held and dispensed communally -- energy, transportation, medicine, etc.

I think government -- i.e., the "collective" -- needs to be as transparent (and as localized) as possible.

I think people need to be as individually free as possible as well, including whatever moves them entrepreneurially. Of course, that freedom ends as soon as they'd bring harm to other individuals, or those collectively held resources, etc...

Those, at least, are the broad strokes...

As for capitalism, well, yes, since we're stuck with it in these moments before its inexorable collapse, we need to regulate the hell out of it....

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:58 PM

30. More to the point, there's more than one kind of capitalism...

Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:41 PM - Edit history (1)

...and simply allowing conservatives to reduce it all to black-and-white works in their favor, not ours. We have to take the word back and make it clear that it's not their toy to play with.

The bumper sticker version is:
Conservatives have spent 30 years dismantling the economic system that defeated Communism so that they could send us back to the one that spawned it.


That's why I try to cook up images like the one below, so that people can wrap their minds around how much has really changed, how the version of capitalism in the past gets called "socialism" by RWers (and "centrists".


Tax brackets for selected years (adjusted to 2013 dollars)
(image is incomplete -- not all percentages have been filled in -- but the adjusted income levels of the brackets are accurate)


(edited to clarify the chart is in terms of 2013 dollars)

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Response to JHB (Reply #30)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:03 PM

38. CHRIST!!! Look at 1955!!! I had no bloody idea.


THAT'S where the "tax is bad" thing comes from...

Woah.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #38)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:27 PM

58. That was only if you made over $1.5 Million per year IN 1955 dollars....

And tax is what built this country, but not on the backs of those who couldn't afford it. "Tax" at those astronomical levels of income is best for the whole country.

Today it would be the equivalent of about $10 million of 1955 dollars. And, yes. If you make over $10 million a year, you should pay 90% of all that OVER $10 million back to the country that made it all possible. You keep your first 10 million, and pay a chunk of the rest of it back.

That's not just reasonable, it's FAIR.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #58)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:42 PM

72. Um...


I think we could revisit this subthread from #9 onwards...

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Response to loudsue (Reply #58)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:39 PM

129. Actually, that's if you made over $400K in 1955 dollars...

Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:16 PM - Edit history (1)

...The chart above is in 2013 dollars.


However, you'd be closer to right going back farther. Here's a similar chart (again, in 2013 dollars) for the full span of the income tax. The humungo ones in the 30s were on incomes above 5 million in 193x dollars:



Here's just from 1942 to 2013:

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Response to sibelian (Reply #38)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:42 PM

170. Lots of people have no bloody idea

Back during the "should we raise taxes on incomes above $250,000" debates, I looked it up what the brackets used to be. I knew about the 91% top rate, but didn't know where the brackets broke down compared to today.

It turned out that in 1955 there were 24 tax brackets. After adjusting for inflation, 16 of them kicked in at incomes above $250K. Two bloody thirds of them! And 11 of those kicked in above a half million. The infamous top rate was on income above about $3.3 million in 2013 dollars (400K in 1955 dollars). (All these numbers are for a married couple filing jointly.) Digging further, it turned out that ALL progressivity in income taxes for very high incomes was wiped out under Reagan, and has never really come back. The changes by Clinton and Obama were tepid tweaks compared to what came before. Even the Roaring Twenties had more progressivity than we do now.

Part of the "taxes are bad" anger came from bracket creep: before 1984 they weren't indexed for inflation, so if your income rose at the rate of inflation you'd basically stay the same in theoretical spending power, but because your income was going up you'd move into higher brackets. So even if your income was holding even with inflation, taxes were biting deeper and effectively setting you back. By the 70s some people were being affected by taxes that had only affected people with twice their spending power 10 years earlier. That sort of thing ticked people off, and Republicans exploited that anger.

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Response to JHB (Reply #170)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:20 AM

269. Very interesting post, JHB. And you can see how they were able to successfully

manipulate that, rather than bringing it up to date for inflation. I also remember that it used to be considered shameful to inherit your wealth, rather than earn it the "American way". Then the republicans started labeling the inheritance tax a "death tax". That higher tax, if I remember correctly, left the first few million untouched, did it not? So by eliminating the higher bracket inheritance taxes, they allowed for a million/zillion trust fund babies and extremely wealthy Paris Hilton types who created the "player" class.

My how things have changed.

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Response to JHB (Reply #30)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:57 PM

89. If we are to continue to have Capitalism, the Keynesian model is the best.

Your chart clearly proves it. I would happily live with a Keynesian based form of Capitalism.

But the problem here is 1) getting the Neo Liberals who have infiltrated the halls of our government for the past 30+ years to go along with it, and 2) once accomplished, preventing them from undoing it as history has proven that they will do.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 03:58 PM

31. What are liberal laws? I don't see the word 'regulation' in your post, is that what you mean?

Capitalism at its core is the opposite of altruism; and there's nothing humane about it. The very nature of the system causes people to be selfish. But the bottom line is the bottom line - in a risk analysis of huge profits vs an acceptable amount of harm to people and/or the environment, profits win every time in a capitalistic system. Being liberal has nothing to do with it, and your insistence that it does misses the mark.

I am a liberal but I am not a capitalist, even though I must participate in such a system to survive. Perhaps someday we'll figure out a system based upon cooperation instead of competition, where money is not the motivating factor for getting up in the morning.




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Response to Avalux (Reply #31)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:02 PM

187. Excellent question. Thank you.

What follows are some examples of what I would call "liberal" laws. There were three, brief periods in the 20th Century in which "liberal" laws were enacted. The first is generally called the Progressive Era:

The first such period of reform occurred during what’s known as the Progressive Era, 1890-1920. Here is a partial list of that era’s liberal achievements: the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act and the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act (neither of which was regularly enforced until progressives, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, came to power); the Presidential primary system; establishment of the Federal regulatory system--including the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Reserve System; the 16th Amendment (1913), establishing the Federal Income Tax and progressive taxation; the 17th Amendment (1913), establishing the direct election of Senators; the 18th Amendment (1920), establishing prohibition—curbing the effects of alcohol abuse was a progressive goal; and the 19th Amendment (1920), establishing voting rights for women.


The second was a period of Democratic control of Congress from 1933-38 during the Great Depression. These are "liberal" laws from the FDR era:

Among other measures, Roosevelt managed to pass the WPA which employed two million Americans; the Glass-Stegall Act which limited risk-taking by banks; the Social Security Act; The National Labor Relations Act which legalized unionization and collective bargaining; and the Fair Labor Standards Act which established the minimum wage and limited child labor.


Had Roosevelt been able to enact his Second Bill of Rights, these would have also been "liberal" laws:

Roosevelt was unable to enact his Second Bill of Rights by which he sought to establish the right of every American to a home, a job, a good education, adequate recreation, adequate medical care, and economic security from the ravages of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.


Those "rights," however, were never established. The third period in which liberal laws were passed in the U.S. in the 20th Century occurred under LBJ:

Among Johnson’s liberal achievements are Medicare; Medicaid; Legal Aid; federal funding for education including creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Public Broadcasting Act; the Revenue Act of 1964; the Economic Opportunity Act; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Those are some examples of how liberalism can restrain capitalism to create a more just society for all. My entire essay on that subject can be found here:

http://laelth.blogspot.com/2011/01/turning-american-ship-of-state.html

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:00 PM

33. Socialism is common ownership of the means of production.

 

I.e. Anything a CEO owns in their capacity as CEO of a company. "All property" is entirely misleading. There's a difference between "private property" and "personal property." The former is what I just defined. The latter is what an individual or family owns not in a business capacity.

Capitalism is a dirty system that concentrates wealth in the hands of the few and demands little or no responsibility to the society at large if left unchecked. Ultimately, the end goal should be common ownership of private property, with tight regulation and control to check capitalism in the meantime. The only way that works is if capitalism is turned into a dirty word; it has to be called the selfish and destructive system that it is if we're going to wean us off of it.

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Response to NuclearDem (Reply #33)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:57 PM

90. So under your system...

Let's say my family starts a small business, a restaurant, only family members as employees. We own the whole thing. So, as soon as we grow large enough that we need to start to hire people outside the family, the outsiders automatically become part owners of our family restaurant just by getting hired?

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #90)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:04 PM

102. What's the problem with that?

 

Normally companies vest ownership over a certain number of years (and an employee only actually gets the ownership scheduled upon each anniversary). As long as everyone in your family continues to work during that period, the new workers ownership would remain largely inconsequential and reflective of their contribution.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #102)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:03 PM

143. The problem is that it is a disincentive to grow the business...

Beyond a certain point. What if we don't want anyone outside the family to have ownership? That means the business will stay small. That means we will NOT hire anyone. No jobs created. That means we will not be paying higher taxes or higher Social Security.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #143)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:07 PM

146. Why is that a disincentive?

 

If you can't have everything of more, you don't want any more at all? That's disgusting.

If the growth of your company relies/depends upon the labor of people outside your family, why should they not own some part of the growth they were essential for creating? Why must you own ALL of such growth?

This is a mind-boggling argument drowning in selfishness. If anyone is in the position to grow their wealth by simply appropriately rewarding "others" for helping them do it, I would suggest they are stupid for not doing so. Of course, we live in a system where the norm is to achieve growth by exploiting labor, so any step toward egalitarianism is of course alien.

Your basic argument is that it is a disincentive to become *even wealthier* if you must reward others who are necessary to the process. Wow.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #146)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:52 PM

179. Yes! Why do we have to keep batting down RW talking points here?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #146)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:20 PM

195. ...

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #143)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:38 PM

204. That attitude is the problem.

 

This only works if the people starting these businesses care more about the benefit of the community than their own interests.

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Response to NuclearDem (Reply #204)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:01 AM

266. We can't legislate altruism. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #90)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:15 PM

113. The point is that the use of public resources has to go towards benefiting the whole.

 

Not the individual.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #90)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:23 PM

118. You've pointed out a very obvious problem with "capitalism is evil"


What about hairdressers and freelance photographers? Screw that, what about the WIND FARM MANUFACTURERS?

It's certain kinds of capitalism, certain implementations of it that cause the problems.

Saying capitalism is evil is every bit as stupid as saying MONEY is evil. It's just lefty point-scoring.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #118)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:53 PM

310. +1. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to NuclearDem (Reply #33)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:01 PM

97. Property is Theft ~ Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

And he was referring to industrial property, i.e. the means of production. He also said "Property is Liberty!" which of course, he was referring to personal property and the fruits of one's labor.

Thank you for your post. The OP's premise on what "socialism" is is completely invalid.

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Response to NuclearDem (Reply #33)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:38 PM

169. +! n/t

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Response to NuclearDem (Reply #33)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 03:56 PM

290. I like your definition, and I can work with it.

As I liberal, I do not seek a world in which there is common ownership of the means of production (and no private ownership of the means of production). Frankly, a lot of people who call themselves socialists, including Bernie Sanders, I think, don't want that either.

I hope a lot of people read your post. There certainly is a lot of confusion about the meaning of certain terms.

-Laelth

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Response to NuclearDem (Reply #33)

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 09:36 AM

375. "There is a difference between "private property" and "personal property". Most important post ^ n/t

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:03 PM

39. 'liberal' is what created the corrupted system we now live with. nt

i have developed a near gag reflex for the word 'liberal' -- it simply doesn't mean what so many thinks it does.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #39)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:59 PM

95. Exactly.

And it needed to be said.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #39)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:16 PM

155. Thank You. Like Howard Zinn said, (paraphrasing)

The function of liberals is to prevent radical change, to funnel working class anger into the ballot box where it can be directed away from the 1%.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #39)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:09 PM

191. What can I say? I am sorry to hear that you feel that way.

The word "liberal" has been under siege at least since 1988 when George H. W. Bush made a campaign issue out of it and turned it into a dirty word with the aid of a complicit media. For my part, I refuse to run from the word. It is, in the end, an apt word to describe my politics. If you hate liberalism, you hate FDR, and Truman, and LBJ. If so, I am truly sorry to hear that.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:04 PM

40. If only we still lived in a capitalist society. Alas we live in a plutocracy now.

 

When D.C. finally decided to do away with regulations and oversight - capitalism died on the vine and this horrid, undead zombie-like system took over called plutocracy. Now it feeds on the most vulnerable in society with absolutely no hindrance and is motived by creatures like the Koch liches.


WE LOVE US SOME WAR AND DEATH! GOOD FOR THE BOTTOM LINE!

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Response to Rex (Reply #40)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:11 PM

193. I hear you, but the US is and always has been an oligarchy.

We had better get used to that idea, I think, and learn to turn our oligarchy into an oligarchy that meets the needs of all the people.

More on that subject here:

http://laelth.blogspot.com/2011/01/turning-american-ship-of-state.html

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #193)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 08:44 PM

370. an oligarchy that meets the needs of all the people." is perhaps the most fanciful statement ever

They wouldn't be oligarchs if they were looking out for everyone rather than themselves at everyone's expense.

Really when you say something that at odds with logic, history, the nature of power, and reality then it is difficult to think you are even being serious.

By definition, we have no power to "make the best" of anything under such a system. We'll get what what we are given by our masters as it suits their purposes or nothing at all, again as it suits the ruler's fancy.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #370)

Mon Mar 10, 2014, 08:12 AM

373. Perhaps.

I will note, however, that the Republic of Venice managed to maintain a fairly benevolent oligarchy for nearly 1,000 years. There's a sense in which all republics are oligarchies. I would also note that "the people" have more political power in the United States, now, than at any time in our history.

More on that here: http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Laelth/36

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #373)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 01:54 AM

378. You think the oligarchs are the office holders? No wonder we have a failure to communicate.

Those folks are just the interface that also acts as complaint department and illusion of control for the masses.

As far as the all time high in power over government for the people, I don't get the argument. Access to the vote? Popular election of the Senate? Doesn't begin to mitigate the entanglement of corporate capture or the ever growing security state, the people have little sway. The advancements in suffrage have at least been countered.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #378)

Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:16 AM

379. Hmm ...

I don't think I ever said that the oligarchs were the office holders. In fact, that's quite rare, as far as I know. FDR was an actual oligarch, and so was Shrub, but it's rare for the oligarchs, themselves, to hold office. Why would they want to? Being a politician is a crappy and low-paying job (for an oligarch). No, the oligarchs use their puppets in government to shape the law and, thereby, society.

That's what happened in Venice, and that's what happens in the U.S. Given that we're agreed on that, I'm not sure where you're going with the previous post. Care to expand?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #379)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 05:13 PM

380. Well, if the oligarchs are beyond election then I'm missing the "how" to get benign ones

or how we'd "make the best of it".

I'm also not really sold on Venice comparison, maybe you can flesh that beyond a Wiki link?

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #380)

Thu Mar 13, 2014, 10:00 AM

381. Let me see if I can explain.

In an oligarchy, in order to get liberal reforms, you've got to convince the oligarchs that it's in their best interests to do so. That's our task, and that's how we make the best of it. I have an essay on the subject, if you're interested, here:

http://laelth.blogspot.com/2011/01/turning-american-ship-of-state.html

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #381)

Fri Mar 14, 2014, 03:52 PM

382. That was well written and you know what? I substantially agree with you.

However, I think there is some disconnect in play between observation and assessment and the solutions point. I think this is because of rational concern about the risks of blowback from poking the bear, while having a more than a legitimate understanding that the bear must be poked (arguably hard enough to be taken out but that risks even more dangerous bears after a clusterfuck so it is to be avoided).

I get the impression that you essentially think the best thing to do is to wait for the dumbass bear to poke it's self and hope that rather than plowing us after the clusterfuck (that I guess you calculate will cause less upheaval even if more suffering) they do something more broadly beneficial to help them to not poke themselves so.

You also seem reluctant to connect that since only fear motivates these fucks, fear must be in the toolbox. There has to be a plausible threat to wealth and power for a better deal. What always turn out to be temporary deals that they start trying to claw back no later than day one.

What you describe in your excellent article is not benign, nor is it in any way responsive to the people but rather obstinate assholes that when pressed to existential danger will make moderate concessions until the heat is off and then redouble their previous efforts.

I don't see how talking up capitalism puts their balls in a vise or gives the people any advantage. These folks respond better for us to barbarians at their gates than to partners with suggestions.

You might be able to get a partner with suggestions in charge for a spell IF AND WHEN the barbarians are really at the gates and too many within are thinking that their new barbarian overlords might not be so bad but When there are no barbarians and everyone is singing the praises of the Lord's then the suggestions can be ignored, the only game in town can play by whatever rules it likes.

It is like you want to placate them but know that they cannot really be bargained with in any real sense. I do not believe the evidence supports that anything but the worse can be expected except by applying unrelenting pressure of a gun to the head of the goose that lays the golden eggs, with a grim determination to pull the trigger if concessions aren't made and possibly there has to be some threat that it will be pulled anyway so the folks in steerage wrestle the gun away themselves rather than to lose their cut.

I do find the last bit less than satisfying, as far as our increased power. I just don't see how the exchange of ideas, availability of data, or quick contact time with the complaints and propaganda department actually improves our hand on the levers of power. Well, other than catching them on some embarrassing bullshit that can't be sold in daylight and maintain the illusion of democracy but those setbacks tend toward the temporary and if it is important enough for them they will just do it (see bailout)

They are nothing if not persistent.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:07 PM

42. First... that took guts.

Okay, I'm not sure I agree with you concerning the "Capitalism works, and it works well" part. I think that it just fails slower than all the others. I will say that a cross bread of socialism and capitalism would be what I prefer over either of the two separately. There are many reasons for this we can get into some other time (I believe neither can endure without elements of the other).

Lastly, not everyone is Liberals here. I would venture people here range across the entire spectrum depending on what the current topic is.

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Response to 1awake (Reply #42)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:25 PM

198. First, let me say "thank you" for the kind words.

Second, let me say that I never intended to suggest that all DU posters are liberals. I am sure they're not, in fact. However, since you are the second person to make a comment along those lines, I must assume that I was unclear in the OP, and for that I apologize.

Third, what you claim to desire (a blend of socialism and capitalism) is what I call liberalism--i.e. essentially capitalism but with strong government controls to insure that capitalism's wealth is equitably divided among all the citizenry. Nobody, to my knowledge, wants to live in a socialist country. In fact, there are none left on the planet to my knowledge, and that's probably because socialism doesn't work. On the other hand, nobody I know wants to live in an unregulated capitalist society (i.e. Somalia) either. Most of us want liberalism, I think, and that means regulated capitalism.

If that's the case, we sound pretty silly calling capitalism "evil" when, in fact, most of us want to live in a highly-regulated capitalist society.

Does that make sense?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:10 PM

44. bullshit. Capitalism does not work for the vast majority.

 

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #44)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:58 PM

139. It does with proper controls.

For instance, compare the economy of Washington State, with it's highest Minimum Wage in the country ($9.32), to oh... the economy of Georgia or Wyoming where it's $5.15. And if you're a tipped worker, you can make even less in those states. Not so in Washington. The minimum wage in WA applies to everyone except underage workers in school, who can be paid 75% of the minimum wage. (Still higher than Georgia or Wyoming LOL)

WA's economy is kicking ass, and there's a reason for it. And that DOES benefit the vast majority.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/compare_state_spending_2014b40a

Compare state/federal welfare spending between those three states, GDP, population, and growth.

Capitalism isn't necessarily evil, UNREGULATED capitalism is fucking horrific. With proper controls, it can be amazing.
Germany and the US both have mixed-market economies, but Germany is kicking our asses, and that's mostly because of the controls put upon capitalism, that benefit labor. They have a capitalist economy, but it has social controls.

best of all worlds, really, implemented properly. Their health care system, also with social controls, is amazing compared to ours.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #139)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:30 PM

250. Some times I pray that armies of true Progressives would become business owners

or Venture Capitalists. Only through that effort will the needle of income be turned back in favor of workers. But true Progressives, by and large, don't start businesses and the be honest, many despise business - they would rather protest the Koch brothers in the streets of our nation.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #250)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:31 AM

271. Safety nets and labor protections are good for business.

Hence, VW's puzzlement at US workers NOT wanting to unionize, or even looking at Costco's success, with higher wages, and good benefits.

You don't get or grow good workers without those things, and without good workers, your business is screwed.

I like to think that SOME companies are starting to see it. (Like IBM, surprise hiring when everyone was expecting 13k layoffs.)


A tool is only what you make of it. Capitalism and Socialism can be married in a highly productive hybrid arrangement.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:15 PM

48. I thought we had pretty much all agreed on a mixed approach by now?

The question is how much capitalism and how much socialism do you want? I don't mind capitalism in the social democratic sense.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #48)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:24 PM

57. Not only agreed to it, but implemented it.

The entire western world runs on an economy which is a mix of capitalism and socialism. The mix needs to be re-jiggered, of course, but capitalism isn't the enemy - deregulation and monopolization are. I'd add to that the commoditization of currency, but that's another conversation.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:16 PM

49. Glad you made an OP on this

 

I wanted to , but am too tired today to get into it.

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Response to Pretzel_Warrior (Reply #49)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:34 PM

202. Sigh. This thread has been a major drain on my mental reserves.

That said, I am glad I did it. Cheers!



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #202)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:37 PM

203. Yep! Glad you did too. Maybe I'll read through more later

 

But it's all so predictable.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:20 PM

53. So Socialism IS a dirty word?!

With all due respect, liberals like you are the reason why the Democratic party is plagued by centrist politics. Get out of the way, you're not helping.

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Response to Oakenshield (Reply #53)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:27 PM

59. Not a dirty word; just a fantasy word...

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #59)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:33 PM

63. Bullshit.

Social Security, universal healthcare and education....these aren't fantasies. They've helped millions. We could help millions more by building on these successes.

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Response to Oakenshield (Reply #63)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:59 PM

93. ...and all of those were built within a capitalist system...

If you've got an example of a successful SOCIALIST (not Social Democratic) framework at a national level, please share.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #93)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:11 PM

108. Brilliant argument.

Because it's never been done, it should never be tried. Sensibilities like that are more befitting of a Republican.

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Response to Oakenshield (Reply #108)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:17 PM

116. I don't say that something that hasn't been tried should never be tried...

...but before I advocate for a radical change, I'll want to know what it's likelihood for success is. Socialized medicine would be a radical change for which there is a reasonable basis of information to determine its potential success. Socialism beyond small settlements has no such track record.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #116)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:26 PM

121. I really had no idea the northern European countries were small settlements

 

one learns new things here every day.

Thanks.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #121)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:49 PM

135. Capitalism has been outlawed in Scandinavia?

one learns new things here every day.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #135)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:51 PM

137. Scandinavia *IS* a social democracy

 

learn what that means. You can start with the Wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #137)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:03 PM

144. Social Democracy *IS NOT* SocialISM

learn what that means. You can start with the Wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_socialism

"Social democracy"
Not to be confused with Democratic socialism.

"Socialism"
Socialism is a social and economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy,[1][2] as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, citizen ownership of equity, or any combination of these.


Personally, I nave no problem with Social Democracy. Neither, apparently, does Nokia.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #144)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:05 PM

145. Well I guess my poli sci instructor who used to be CIA

 

and every other philosopher I have ever read, including European ones, is wrong.

But what my prof said applies here. "People in the US are so afraid of communism and socialism that they will not know it even if it bytes them in the ass." I am of course paraphrasing. He could be acerbic at times.

Stop being afraid... or not. Red Baiting is so 1950s you know.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #145)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:17 PM

156. I would only be "afraid" if I thought the prospect was real...

...as opposed to an academic discussion on a political blog that rarely seems to result in anything other than pontificating.

And now, I'm going to turn OFF my computer and rejoin the real world.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #156)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:19 PM

159. Go join the real world

 

and yes, fear is very real in the US.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #144)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:38 PM

231. Oh and here from them pesky commies at Foreign Affairs Magazine

 

Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:24 PM - Edit history (1)

NORDIC MODELS

Social democracy originated in the early twentieth century as a strategy to improve capitalism rather than replace it. Today, people generally associate it with European social democratic political parties and the policies they have put in place, especially those in the Nordic countries, such as Denmark and Sweden. Over the course of the next half century, the array of social programs offered by the federal government of the United States will increasingly come to resemble the ones offered by those countries.


http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140345/lane-kenworthy/americas-social-democratic-future

You might want to skip the article though.

Oh and here is what Webster's has to say about it

social democracy noun
: a political movement that uses principles of democracy to change a capitalist country to a socialist one

: a country that uses both capitalist and socialist practices


Full Definition of SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

1
: a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means
2
: a democratic welfare state that incorporates both capitalist and socialist practices
— social democrat noun
— social democratic adjective
See social democracy defined for English-language learners »
First Known Use of SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

1850

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #144)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 08:23 AM

359. Nor do I.

These "social democracies" are liberalism in action.



-Laelth

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #116)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:33 PM

126. So you're afraid. Own up to it and move aside.

We will almost certainly stumble in the attempt of adopting a socialist system, but that's life when you're acting as a pioneer. I'd sooner have us stumble a dozen times in the pursuit of a more fair and just society than settling for this squalor of a economic system.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #93)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:40 PM

206. That's the problem. They haven't existed at a national level.

 

And our attitude towards ownership and wealth is a major factor.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #59)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:48 PM

80. It's not a fantasy word, it's a political PHILOSOPHY, not a hard-wired SYSTEM.

It's a catchall for the tendency to use state funds to provide services for the populace, not a hard-coded SYSTEM for ensuring that ALL services, or indeed products, are publically funded.

Public libraries are a fully functioning SOCIALIST IDEA.

It's obviously not a fantasy, socialist principles support the BBC and the National Health Service. These are "socialist" institutions in the same way that SETI is a "scientific" institution.

Saying socialism is a fantasy is exactly the same as saying science is a fantasy.

Now if you were talking about COMMUNISM, which is hard-coded political system based on the philosophy of socialism that DOES require state control of everything, you'd have a point.

Please tell me you did not need to be told all that.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #80)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:03 PM

98. I don't think anyone equates "Public Sector" with "socialism" as an economic structure.

A library is "socialist" only if a capitalist alternative is not allowed.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #98)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:42 PM

131. With the possible exception of the self identifed SOCIALIST politicians


who established the existence of the NHS and the BBC in the first place, presumably!!!!!!!

:

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #59)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:04 PM

101. What the OP has described IS SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

 

which was pretty much working here in the 1950s, but still works very well, thank you very much.

The one living in fantasy...

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Response to Oakenshield (Reply #53)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:51 PM

136. I cannot disagree. nt

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:23 PM

55. Hi Laelth. I like your posts a lot.

I don't know what the answer is anymore. Can capitalism ever be controlled? Who knows. I'm leaning to thinking that perhaps the best form of government isn't capitalism but a combination of socialism and a controlled free market. I dunno.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #55)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:09 PM

105. You may be interested in the philosophy of Mutualism.

Developed separately by Josiah Warren and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (unbeknownst to each other).

It's other name is free-market socialism (or free-market anti-capitalism). A central tenet is that free-markets are incompatible with capitalism. They can exist, however, if Labor collectively owned the means of production and managed their labor.

Mutualism - Wikipedia

Mutualist.org by Kevin Carson

Note: I don't consider myself a full-fledged Mutualist. I'm sort of a hybrid between Mutualist, collectivist, and communist. For what it's worth.

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #105)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:15 PM

112. Cool! I'll check into these. It's looking to me as if capitalism can only lead in one direction

unless well controlled and overseen, and that direction is an oligarchy.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #55)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:38 PM

205. Hello, Sarah.

Thank you for the kind words. I am not sure that capitalism can ever be completely controlled, as it were, but it is the system we have, and we are now the most powerful nation on Earth. In addition, prior to the Reagan revolution, we had the highest standard of living of any nation on Earth. That tells me that restrained and highly-regulated capitalism (i.e. liberalism) can and does work. History supports this argument.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:32 PM

62. I am sorry that your thoughts are profane

 

Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:14 PM - Edit history (1)

Capitalism - an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism


Any game where "winner takes all" is a game where most lose. If an Economy is managed this way, it means most are homeless and starving.

Capitalism fails for most people.

edit - an old post of mine in regards to my thoughts of liberals and capitalism.

liberal.
the term liberal is used a lot.

It is used to describe someone in support of

Women's rights
LGBT rights
Minority Rights
Fair Judicial system
Animal Rights
and many more.

I claim that as long as a person stands in support of Capitalism or any unfair economic system, they can not be a true liberal. They are a LINO. They are willing to allow personal choice and direction, but only within the confined cage of tyranny that is Capitalism. There is no true freedom in that system, only the illusion of freedom.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=3427568


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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #62)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:18 PM

157. Also, theoretically, capitalism will always result in monopolies in the end

we're starting to see a lot of that now with food, energy and media.

I'm a mixed economy kind of person. With the capitalism part in that 'mix' being heavily regulated.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #157)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:46 PM

208. That's quite true of unregulated capitalism.

That, in fact, is why we passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act during the Progressive Era. That law is rarely enforced, and that's a shame. As a liberal, I want highly regulated capitalism for this very reason--to prevent the concentration of wealth.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #208)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:57 PM

253. I disagree.

I think it happens even with weakly regulated capitalism and is still a threat in regulated capitalism. If there are no monopolies and there is perfect competition, then there is no profit or growth for the companies within that competitive sphere. Competition destroys profit, and monopoly maximizes it. In our current system, there is no sane CEO that isn't going to trend towards monopoly because that is where the profit is. Plus, our markets are based on perpetual growth which is inherently unsustainable, but a company's only chance of survival is to continuously chase the growth of their profits. Without growth of profits, companies fail. Capitalism and the current financial market system are forcing companies into monopoly. The only other choice is forcing companies to stay smaller and encourage competition which, in the end, results in little growth or profit. That is why you are seeing the laws being ignored. Those who are in charge of making the laws and enforcing them benefit from this monopolized economy. Even with regulation, where we are now is always how it will end. That is why I'm in favor of a mixed economy - because regulation alone will not reign in the excesses of capitalism.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:34 PM

65. Deregulated, unchecked capitalism is the real underlying danger.

Capitalism works when companies are regulated, audited throughly, and pass inspections. Unregulated capitalism is where we get white collar crime. It's where we get a completely one sided media, the health insurance industry, for profit prisons, and the Heritage Foundation. That's where capitalism doesn't work.

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Response to Initech (Reply #65)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:48 PM

209. Hear, hear! n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:34 PM

66. Socialism isn't "state ownership of all property."

Your premise is wrong.

Even the Marxist socialists quibble about this (and Marx himself deferred to other viewpoints regarding not having state control after his witnessing of the events of the Paris Commune).

So, yes, I agree that liberals are capitalists (that's why I'm not a liberal), I do disagree that capitalism isn't a dirty word. In fact, it's downright filthy. FDR, though good-hearted, wanted to save capitalism from itself with his New Deal, so he co-opted a lot of socialist rhetoric. But capitalism is a system of exploitation - no matter how many restrictions or regulations you thrust upon it. You will always have a parasitic capitalist accumulating the surplus value of others' Labor and deem it profit for himself.

That's disgusting.

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #66)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:00 PM

185. Hear! Hear! [n/t]

 

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #66)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:54 PM

215. Ethically, I agree with you about the nature of capitalism.

And I am aware that FDR was attacked from the left for preventing a socialist revolution in the United States with his liberalism. That said, capitalism is the system we have, and I see no way to escape it. Like FDR, I think we'd be better off trying to harness it and channel its energies into making this society more just (though never completely just). Besides, revolutions are bloody, nasty affairs. I don't look forward to being a part of one, and I hope my children don't live through one either.

More on these subjects here: http://laelth.blogspot.com/2011/01/turning-american-ship-of-state.html

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:35 PM

67. Distribution of power.

That's what liberalism boils down to.
It's not who's got the power (gov't/private owners) but who's got too much of it. Right now, capitalists/corporations have too much. They need a lot more restraint on their power than what we have on them now.

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #67)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 04:57 PM

291. I can't disagree with that. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:35 PM

69. Good thread and post. Trashing capitalism is cool, particularly if you don't understand it...

 

Liberals are as guilty of this sort of group think as anyone else. I think that it's human nature, but it's always just a touch irritating to see or hear when you do understand and know better.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #69)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:27 PM

122. So is trashing socialism

 

the OP posted the TEXTBOOK definition of social democracy, a form of socialism

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #122)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:20 PM

160. Yes, the irony of that statement was not lost on me, LOL.

Truly, people need to understand the concepts before making sweeping statements.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #160)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:22 PM

162. People have no idea

 

and this is on purpose

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #162)


Response to Laelth (Reply #293)


Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #295)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:09 PM

297. I misunderstood you. My apologies. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:36 PM

70. I hope you realize

 

You just described what social scientists and economists, and political scientists call social democracy

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #70)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:59 PM

92. Ya beat me to it. n/t

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #70)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:02 PM

292. Perhaps. But it's not socialism.

It's liberalism, as far as I am concerned.

My point is that capitalism is not inherently bad, so it makes us look silly to pretend like capitalism is a dirty word. Tightly controlled capitalism, i.e. liberalism, is what it appears most of us seek. Socialism (whether by that you mean state ownership of all property or communal ownership of the means of production) is not what I seek politically.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #292)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:22 PM

301. I will be charitable and use the *other term* used by experts

 




Mixed economy.

None use liberalism to define what you described.

Words have meanings to them. When discussing economic systems we should be careful to be precise with the language.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #301)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:42 PM

306. I will concede that you are the expert on the meaning of words.

I concede this point because I consider it irrelevant. We lack, in English, an "Academie de la Langue Francaise" to permanently and finally define all words for us. English is a living, fluid language, and definitions change.

But I agree with you that definitions do, in fact, matter, and I am talking, specifically, about how we ought to define the words capitalism, socialism, and liberalism. My point is purely pragmatic. I am not trying to win a debate. I am defining liberalism (as did Truman) in a way that aligns liberalism with capitalism and places liberalism in opposition to socialism. I do so because I want liberals to win, and it's my sense that one can't win an election in the United States by attacking capitalism and making capitalism into a dirty word.

If you disagree with this strategy, so be it. I still think you want liberals to win elections, though.

Thanks for the lively discussion.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:42 PM

73. Sorry but that is:

 

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #73)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:07 PM

294. LOL. Extraordinarily creative response. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:45 PM

75. I agree. In the public debate, we need to talk more about ETHICAL Capitalism,

about companies who CHOOSE to do right by their workers, by their customers, and by their communities...NOT because they are FORCED to do so by draconian regulations, but because it's the right thing to do. Those companies who voluntarily choose to behave well should be extolled and shouted from the rooftops.

Because in this hyper-connected instantaneous Twitterverse, people can vote with their pocketbooks and immediately STOP doing business with an UNETHICAL company and LET THE WORLD KNOW when and why they are doing it, and publicly SWITCH to do business with a DECENT company and tell the world why as well. In a consumer-driven economy, the consumer has more power than she realizes.

Of course we still need common sense regulations and penalties for those companies who refuse to do what is right.

Speaking as a former Republican and now more in-between-Independent, I'll just say that there is a HUGE chunk of this country that you will NEVER persuade to vote for you, or your party, or your ideals if a major part of your platform is, "Capitalism sucks, corporations are bad, and we gotta end it all...but, um, we really don't have a clear alternative system."

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Response to Common Sense Party (Reply #75)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:08 PM

296. Hear, hear! We need to win elections.

We can't afford to look like imbeciles.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:45 PM

76. Americans are brought up to put capitalism on a pedestal

 

and to view the alternatives as somehow less worthy.

It benefits us all to open our minds and question the conventional wisdom that says capitalism is the best economic system. It's only the best for those who have lots of capital, which excludes a majority of Americans.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #76)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:17 PM

298. I hear you on that.

However, I will also note that capitalism (for better or for worse) has conquered the world. Even those countries that were really and truly socialist have been moving toward capitalism at a rapid pace. There must be a reason for this. I do not believe that humanity is collectively insane. Capitalism isn't necessarily the "best" economic system, but that's irrelevant. At the moment, it's the only economic system. As such, I suggest we get used to it and try to bend it to serve the common good (as much as we can).

That said, I think it quite wise to keep one's mind open to other possibilities. I just don't see any at the moment. Perhaps you do.

I also mentioned in a post above that, contrary to my OP's thesis, capitalism already is a dirty word. Try it. Just call your boss, or some rich person, a "capitalist" and watch their reactions. They'll be offended, and that's because capitalism already carries a negative connotation, despite the fact that we live in a capitalist society. LOL. Marx had tremendous influence, even if most people now say they don't agree with him for X, Y, and Z reasons.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth



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Response to Laelth (Reply #298)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:49 PM

308. My suggestion is to transition away from capitalism, rather than accede to it.

 

When you say:

Even those countries that were really and truly socialist have been moving toward capitalism at a rapid pace.


I'm assuming you are referring to the Soviet Union and China. While these nations were ostensibly "socialist", they were also "totalitarian" to a degree that vastly overshadowed their socialist natures. In the first case the totalitarian state failed to a state of economic anarchy, a situation ripe for capitalist exploitation. In the other, the totalitarian state simply realized that capitalism gave them a more efficient means of filling their coffers.

I can't think of a democratic state that has made a dramatic transformation from socialism to capitalism.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:46 PM

77. There's no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism

Every system is a blend of those concepts. Using traditional points of reference, the US is on the far right, but nowhere near the end, of the scale.

Likewise no country is an example of pure socialism. All countries tend to cluster towards the middle half of the scale.

I don't care about capitalism, per se, as the economic system. What I want to move us towards is a functioning social democracy where the power of government is truly a representation of public values. To that end, it is necessary to limit the accumulation and concentration of capital.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #77)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:27 PM

199. "to limit the accumulation and concentration of capital," is essential!

The accumulation and concentration of capital is the accumulation and concentration of power. And we know what power does.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #77)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:27 PM

303. Seen as a spectrum, this makes sense.

And, perhaps that's a more useful way to look at this dynamic. I will say, however, that attacking capitalism in the United States is a bad strategy for getting elected. Democrats need to win, and I think it's a better strategy to argue that capitalism needs restraint in order to insure that its benefits are widely and more justly distributed, as opposed to simply saying that capitalism sux. That's a sure loser of an argument for U.S. politicians.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:47 PM

78. But, when it combines with government to run the country it becomes Fascism. Which is a dirty word.

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #78)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:50 PM

83. BINGO!

 

It is also sad to see people get socialism and communism mixed up. I blame our western education.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #78)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:33 PM

304. Yes, that's my understanding of the word fascism, or, "corporatism" as Moussolini called it.

And, I agree. That's very bad.

Perhaps there was a larger point I am missing?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:47 PM

79. UNREGULATED capitalism cannot be successful.

OVERregulated anything can't work well.

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Response to elleng (Reply #79)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 09:59 AM

361. Agreed. Unregulated capitalism leads to Mexico and Somalia.

Over-regulated capitalism leads to the U.S.S.R. I prefer the liberal middle, myself.

Thanks for the post.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #361)

Sat Mar 8, 2014, 06:07 PM

368. Ditto,

and you're welcome, Laelth.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:57 PM

88. Not buying that.

To me, capitalism stinks of greed and dishonesty.

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Response to Rider3 (Reply #88)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 05:35 PM

305. Good thing I gave it to you for free, then.

No need to buy. Didn't cost you a penny.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:59 PM

91. You mean like these Liberals?




Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy, War Talk

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Response to Zorra (Reply #91)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:03 AM

267. Um ... no.

In my mind, those are not liberals.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 04:59 PM

94. I have always liked you Laelth -

you were kind to me when I was a newbie here at DU.

I would respectfully ask that you read a little more about socialism.

Socialism is the working class owning the means of production. That could be through a central entity like a state or a cooperative venture.

Here's a little more if you're at all interested: http://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch06.htm

Solidarity.


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Response to TBF (Reply #94)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:00 PM

311. Thank you for the kind words.

You'd be surprised, it appears, by how much I have read about socialism--i.e. a lot.

But I would invite you not to get bogged down in a futile attempt to discover the "true" definitions of words, here. Like you, I believe that words matter, but I am trying to shape the definitions of three key words, those being capitalism, liberalism, and socialism. My purpose is purely pragmatic. I am not trying to win a debate or discover the "true" meaning of these words. I am defining liberalism (as did Harry S. Truman) in a way that aligns liberalism with capitalism and places liberalism in opposition to socialism. I do so because I want liberals to win elections, and it's my sense that one can't win an election in the United States by attacking capitalism and acting as if capitalism were a dirty word.

If you disagree with this strategy, so be it. I still hope you want liberals to win elections, though.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:03 PM

99. It seems the banksters didn't get the message.

Capitalism is one of many economic systems that can work under a democracy. If it's the only system under government then it becomes feudalism with a small monied upper class and the majority at subsistence level serfdom. For capitalism to work in a democracy, it needs to have a large middle class and to achieve that we need a strong system of socialism alongside it.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #99)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:23 PM

119. Socialism, or regulation to achieve social goals.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #99)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:06 PM

312. If what you call socialism is what I call liberalism, then I agree.

In my OP, I am trying to shape the definitions of three key words, those being capitalism, liberalism, and socialism. My purpose in doing so is purely pragmatic. I am not trying to win a debate or discover the "true" meaning of these words. I am defining liberalism (as did Harry S. Truman) in a way that aligns liberalism with capitalism and places liberalism in opposition to socialism. I do so because I want liberals to win elections, and it's my sense that one can't win an election in the United States by attacking capitalism and acting as if capitalism were a dirty word.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:03 PM

100. Also -

Have you done any reading on the idea of resource-based economies?

Here is more food for thought: http://www.thevenusproject.com/

I see capitalism destroying this world because it is an inherently unjust system that only rewards greed and profit above all else - and I think history has proven we can't regulate it. I don't think the authoritarian types of so-called "socialism" have worked very well (with some exceptions) but that doesn't mean capitalism is what we are left with. It just means we haven't found the right alternative (or how to get there).

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Response to TBF (Reply #100)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:07 PM

313. I think history has proven that we CAN regulate capitalism.

How else would we explain the liberal advances of FDR, Truman, and LBJ?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #313)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:32 PM

324. Were they "advances" though?

Perhaps temporary fixes. You definitely have a fair argument - there was less economic inequality between approx 1940-1980 than we've seen at any other time. Somehow capitalism always comes charging back with a vengeance though. All the gains we had for that short period of time are gone.

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Response to TBF (Reply #324)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:09 PM

328. Indeed. That is the question.

Some socialists in the early 20th Century actually blamed Roosevelt for preventing a socialist revolution in the United States. They saw liberalism for what it does (it protects capitalism by making it more palatable). Personally, I think revolutions are usually bloody, nasty affairs that often give rise to totalitarian governments, so I see FDR's liberal achievements as advances, but many socialists think differently.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #328)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 08:16 PM

344. Yes, that is spot on re purpose of liberalism.

So far the revolutions have led to dictatorships, with varied results on the other end. The only time we really saw a revolution followed by socialism of any other variety (a more democratic model) was the Paris Commune. Sadly they were so busy voting that they weren't guarding their area and the regime lasted about 2 months until they were taken over. So, it is certainly not easy and we would be forging a new path. I still think it is worth working towards but understand your position as well and appreciate the respectful exchange of ideas.

You asked about voting and I wanted to respond to that. I don't vote with the idea of advancing liberalism but rather with the idea of helping the most amount of people (as opposed to simply helping the 1%). In my mind a socialist ticket would be preferable but I vote for democrats because we have a two party system and they are going to do more to help a greater number of people in my judgment. So far no independent party has been able to make inroads in this system so this is what we have. Maybe not an ideal choice, but a best choice given reality.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:07 PM

103. Agree completely with the OP.

"Conservatives " need to read Adam Smith. I mean, really read it. Because he says much the same thing.

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Response to riqster (Reply #103)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:08 PM

314. Yes, he does, and thanks. n/t



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #314)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:18 PM

319. NP

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:08 PM

104. It is to me.

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Response to johnp3907 (Reply #104)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:12 PM

316. To be honest, it is to most Americans I know.

As I said in a post above, as much as I might like those of us on the left to look sane and reasonable and not to attack the very system that has made us the richest and most powerful nation on Earth--yes, as dumb as I think it is to attack capitalism, if I'm honest, I have to note that capitalism is already a dirty word. Try it. Just call your boss, or some rich person, a "capitalist" and watch their reactions. They'll be offended, and that's because capitalism is a dirty word and has been for some time, despite the fact that we live in a capitalist society. LOL. Marx had tremendous influence, even if most people now say they don't agree with him for X, Y, and Z reasons.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:10 PM

106. I'm a liberal and I say capitalism sucks.

 

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Response to Vashta Nerada (Reply #106)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:16 PM

317. Fine, but it's not terribly useful to make that argument, is it?

Personally, I want liberals to win elections, and they can't do that in the United States if they act like capitalism is evil.

Do you disagree?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #317)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 08:19 PM

346. Capitalism is what's wrong with the country.

 

Capitalists buy politicians, elections, and laws.

Fuck capitalism.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:11 PM

107. Agree.

 

Entrepreneurialism and invention are powered by capitalism.

The problem is that capital controls government and government therefore refuses to regulate it.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #107)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:18 PM

318. When capital controls government, we call that fascism.

And I fully agree that fascism sux. Thanks for the response.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:13 PM

111. Problem is, capitalism is based on a fundamental flaw...

... that of maximizing growth while ignoring the impact on limited resources and the environment.

Capitalism qua capitalism is not a dirty word, but as currently practiced it is a dirty system. As others have pointed out. Regulation would be fine and dandy if said regulations were adequate and enforced. They are neither.

The reason some want to make capitalism a "dirty word" is pushback due to making words like "liberal" and "socialist" dirty words. These ideas have been distorted by those who would seek to perpetuate the kind of unbridled capitalism that you yourself agree is poisonous.

You are mistaken in your definition of socialism. It is not "all property is owned by the state." Many, if not most, of the countries in the EU practice Democratic Socialism, which provides for private property and corporate ownership of businesses. It does, however, provide for state-run ("owned," if you like) services such as telecommunications, transportation, education, power, water, etc. The unbridled capitalist insists that privatization of such services is a more efficient way to provide them. This turns out not to be the case, and that points to the inherent flaw in capitalism, which is that it is about making money for the capitalists, and not serving the population as a whole.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #111)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:25 PM

320. That is a very serious problem, I agree.

We lack a viable paradigm to deal with it, however, and I'm not sure the problem is so much inherent in capitalism as it is in explosive systems (as described by Baudrillard). Baudrillard argues that the inevitable shift from our explosive system to an implosive one will be cataclysmic.

Not so sure I am ready to switch gears, personally, though I concede that we are doing serious damage to the Earth and most living things on it under the current paradigm.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:15 PM

115. I have always considered myself a liberal capitalist.

 

And I would not want to live in a socialist state.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #115)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:27 PM

321. Same here. Thanks for the response. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:31 PM

123. There is a couple of decent posts on DU regarding David Simon.

IMHO, worth a quick site search and a watch.

A paraphrase of a couple of my favorite parts.

Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2013: David Simon

7:55 ...that notion that profit is the metric by which we are going to measure the health of our society is one of the fundamental mistakes of the last 30 years. It begins, I would date it in my country, to about 1980 exactly, and it has triumphed. And ultimately the farce of this argument that seemingly where capitalism stomped the hell out of Marxism by the end of the 20th century, and was predominate in all respects. The great irony of it is that the only thing that actually works is non ideological, is impure, has elements of both arguments, and never actually achieves any kind of partisan or philosophical perfection. It’s pragmatic, it includes the best aspects of socialistic thought and of free market capitalism, and it works, because we don’t let it work entirely….

11:50.…And ultimately we abandoned that. And we believed in the idea of trickle down, and the idea of the market economy, and the market knows best. To the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It’s astonishing to me. But it is, people are saying “I don’t need anything but my ability to earn a profit. I’m not connected to society. I don’t care how the road got built, I don’t care where the firefighter comes from. I don’t care who educates the kids others than my kids. I am me.” It’s the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar….

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:31 PM

124. I'm with you L, I've got no problem with that economic system

My problem is that left unrestrained it is a self destructive system. We've probably (at least those of us over 50) have played Monopoly. The only winner in the game ends up owning everything. That is not sustainable and will eventually crash and burn.

I dropped out of the system back in 2002 but I still have to pay the price for other peoples decisions.
I might be able to grow my own food, don't have to support parasitic industries but I still need to buy fuel that is being gamed by speculators and that is killing me.

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Response to tech3149 (Reply #124)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:12 PM

329. Agreed. Unrestrained, laissez-faire capitalism bites.

Thanks for the response.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:33 PM

125. It's a dirty word when America decides it's policy is to promote it by murder.

 

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #125)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:15 PM

330. I can't argue with that. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:34 PM

127. True. Unchecked, capitalism leads to a situation ...

... where the few at the top control all the wealth and most of the power. They may call themselves winners, as they would do if they were playing Monopoly. Unfortunately, as the money rises to the top, those in the bottom half of the economy lose both their ability and their incentive to buy. The market dries up. What people on the Republican Right fail to remember is that capitalism, as a system, relies on the existence of a market. When the market dries up, the game is over.

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Response to NancyDL (Reply #127)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:17 PM

331. Hear, hear! Well said.

We need a major increase in the minimum wage.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:38 PM

128. Tell that to Exxon Valdez survivors.

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Response to raven mad (Reply #128)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:08 PM

147. Accidents never happen in non-Capitalist systems?

Tell that to the Chernobyl survivors.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #147)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:05 PM

190. +2000!

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #147)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:11 PM

315. The Exxon Valdez spill was an avoidable accident, neccessary equipment was left

 

broken and unrepaired including RAYCAS radar which would have alerted impending collision, the entire crew was overworked and fatigued, the captain was intoxicated and in treacherous waters.
Less profit driven management with any sense of responsibility in charge, that spill would likely have not happened.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 05:59 PM

140. No, but it is unsustainable. nt

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Response to redqueen (Reply #140)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:18 PM

332. Hard to say, but we're stuck with it for the moment, I think.

I am suggesting we make the best of it.

Thanks for the response.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:00 PM

141. Unfettered Capitalism is, though.

GREED. In a round about way, unfettered capitalism sends a message that human beings are only as valuable as their bank accounts or the stocks they've chose to invest in. I think this is so unbelievably wrong.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:02 PM

142. You can tell that to the children of America that died for a few table scraps.

 


Way down in the mines. Or are you going to pretend there was no capitalism before the turn of the last century?

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Response to Rex (Reply #142)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:50 PM

236. One of those kids could have been my dad. He went down into the

copper and silver mines at the age of 12 in 1908. He said he got paid $1 a day. He lived in a rooming house and said he bought a meal ticket for $1 a week good for 1 meal a day from a Chinese immigrant who ran his kitchen out of a chuck wagon and another $1 for his younger brother he was taking care of. It was their only meal a day. This was in Arizona territory before it became a state. WWI actually saved him. He learned a skill to be an electrician in the army and was able to work above ground then once he came home from the war.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:10 PM

149. If capitalism is so great why does it need to be regulated?

 

If capitalism is what brings such great and wonderful things why the need to restrict and fence it in with regulations and laws? It should be able to provide us with a smoothly functioning economy without all the booms and busts that capitalism always has. It should be able to provide a good job for anyone who wants one and decent retirement. Instead you get swings of severe unemployment and the raiding of retirement funds by capitalists.

We all really know the answer. Capitalism does not work. It is no better than feudalism or slavery. It grew out of those economic systems and has all the same flaws. A few people get most of the good while the majority get most of the bad. The solution is to put in to the hands of the workers the means of production. The Soviet Union put the means of production into the hands of the state. They thought it would work because then the citizens could vote out the bad politicians. The state became the capitalist. The state decided what to do with the product, the surplus and the profits, not the citizens or the workers.

Democratic Socialism as practiced in parts of Europe is not any better. What they do is weave social services in among a capitalist economy and attempt to regulate capitalism more than in the US. The few still get most of the good out of it, just look at the British Queen. The middle class gets some basic necessities from the state like health care but even those services are being whittled away by rich capitalist who buy off politicians.

The work place needs to be democratized. The worker needs to be able to control the product and profits. That has never been tried in any country.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #149)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:24 PM

197. ....

"If capitalism is so great why does it need to be regulated?" <

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Response to fasttense (Reply #149)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:00 PM

216. So the system you want needs no regulation?

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #216)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:01 AM

265. That's actually why state socialism has yet to succeed.

It's so fixated on being for the people that when some gaps happen and some nefarious shit happens it's swept under the rug. It's effectively capitalism with a state monopoly (think all businesses owned by the state). It's really no different from oligarchs owning and controlling anything in the end. There's a reason state leaders and their immediately friend circles and family members benefit the most from it. And it's not some genetic desire to be "socialists" it's because that's who they trust in their circles.

To put it simply, state socialism has no regulations to any reasonable extent because those at the top get away with whatever they want.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #216)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 09:20 AM

279. The system I want needs no regulation to prevent the rich from abusing the 99%.

 

The system I want puts power in the hands of the majority not the elite. It puts democracy into the work place as well as in our political system.

Right now a handful of obnoxiously wealthy greedy fools are turning the planet into an inhospitable toxic stew. If the majority of people had their say, this would NOT be happening. The elite are destroying our water, air and soil quality because they own most of the wealth. They buy up our political institutions and then pass laws to expand their wealth at the cost of all of us. If we continue to allow capitalist to own the means of production they will continue to repeal and subvert all the regulations and laws that hold them back from taking the wealth of the 99%. The majority's will is subverted because capitalism is all about concentrating vast wealth into the hands of the vastly wealthy (just like feudalism and slavery). In capitalism those with the capital rule both economical and politically.

I want to take the capitalist's power away and give it to the masses. Their power lies in the economic system of capitalism.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #149)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 08:04 PM

341. I think we're much better off today than most Americans during the Gilded Age.

Capitalism does create wealth, and liberal, restrained capitalism does a better job of distributing that wealth than any system I have yet seen or studied.

Your experience may be different. If so, I'd like to hear about it.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #341)

Sun Mar 9, 2014, 08:26 AM

371. But capitalism caused the Gilded Age as much as it has caused the current crisis.

 

So capitalism causes some really bad economic dysfunction and some less bad dysfunction?

Did capitalism really make people better off or was it the hard work of the middle class who were able to get a decent education for a change? Is it capitalism that redistributed a minor portion of the wealth (and is now concentrating it again) or simply free enterprise? There is something inherently wrong with a system that must be restrained at its foundation.

Capitalism came out of feudalism and slavery. It's foundation is rooted in 2 very flawed economic systems. Why can't we evolve out of capitalism like we did with feudalism and slavery? We can do better.

We need more democracy, lots and lots of it. We need to bring it into our workplaces. We need to introduce democracy to our economic system. Give the worker the power and control we give to citizens. Give the worker control over the means of production.

Here is a good starting place to learn about cures for capitalism. http://www.democracyatwork.info/

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:13 PM

151. capitalism is dirty, filthy, unfair

 

Last edited Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:03 PM - Edit history (1)

and in conjunction with RW politics destroys families through foreclosures and starvation. Capitalists don't want a living wage for workers because their profits, which are obscene, would be somewhat less. Capitalism has allowed corporations to take over this country and definitely determines who runs this country. Capitalism is very dirty, filthy and disgusting as a system for the weaker and vulnerable in our society. A true american capitalist will NOT allow wealth to be spread around. The corporate capitalist wants hungry people begging for their minimum wage jobs, control over the masses is kept in a few hands that way. Your idealism is honorable, but not realistic, especially given the last 14 years of american capitalism at it's best in destroying families and communities. RWers will not allow "liberal" laws to help us 99%ers. They are paid by the people they are protecting, greedy corporate capitalist. Laelth you're usually on the mark, but this time, no.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:15 PM

154. Laelth, a sane, just, and humane capitalism appears to be out of our reach.

The big wealthy capitalists have taken over the election and legislative process undermining "our" democracy.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #154)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:57 PM

339. I don't disagree.

But let us not despair. Personally, I am not ready to give up. I suspect you're not, either.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:18 PM

158. check out Gar Alperovitz's "What then is to be done" about democratic ownership

as an emerging potential alternative (in 50 years) to this seeming impasse.

http://www.garalperovitz.com/abc/

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Response to zazen (Reply #158)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:50 PM

211. Thanks for the link.

If you would return the compliment, please check out my essay on the subject, here:

http://laelth.blogspot.com/2011/01/turning-american-ship-of-state.html



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:22 PM

161. But that idealized capitalism is a chimera, it has never existed.........


...... and it will never exist.


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Response to marmar (Reply #161)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:51 PM

178. Because it's a contradiction in terms. nt

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:30 PM

165. No, 'socialism' doesn't mean state ownership of all property.

Your statement lacks the nuance, or elementary understanding of political/economic terms, needed as basis for a reasonable discussion. All you'll be left with is a "yah, so-called 'capitalism' would be great if only it weren't what it in fact is".

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Response to delrem (Reply #165)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:23 PM

224. I am open to discussing your definition of socialism as soon as you produce it. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #224)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:24 PM

226. Do your own work. nt

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Response to delrem (Reply #226)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:31 PM

229. I'll let Harry S. Truman speak for me on this one.

American liberals are capitalists, not socialists.

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with — and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

- Harry Truman in Detroit (14 May 1950), as recorded in Good Old Harry.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman


-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #229)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:25 PM

244. yes, I'm sure you feel righteous in your affirmations.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:43 PM

171. "Liberal" in the USA is not the same as globally.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #171)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:54 PM

183. Well,. there is that too

 

Good point

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:57 PM

184. Capitalism fails without socialist reforms/checks

Minimum wage, child labor laws, collective bargaining, a progressive income tax--all attacked as socialism, and that list barely scratches the surface.

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Response to fishwax (Reply #184)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 08:27 PM

227. Those programs have been called "socialist."

But they're not. They're liberal. The right throws out the term "socialist" for rhetorical effect, but it's all baloney. As Truman said:

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with — and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism.

- Harry Truman in Detroit (14 May 1950), as recorded in Good Old Harry.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman


-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #227)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 10:04 PM

247. nah, they were socialist

The progressive income tax and public education, for instance--key planks in the Communist Manifesto (though communism and socialism aren't precisely the same thing).

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:03 PM

188. Capitalism is based on profiting off of other people

 

Capitalism is a economically violent system that not only condones but actively encourages what I believe is the worst human trait, greed.

Capitalism is literally based upon ripping people off. Its an awful system. Socialism is by far preferable to Capitalism. and no, Socialism is not state ownership of all property. That would be communism.

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Response to frwrfpos (Reply #188)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:10 PM

192. It is sad watching someone get socialism and communism mixed up.

 

Sad, because it is the same mistake I hear RWingers make all the time.

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Response to Rex (Reply #192)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:48 PM

210. That slur was particularly unkind. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #210)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:52 PM

212. No offense, but it is true. I see that mistake made all the time here in Texas by RWingers.

 

I don't for a minute think you are a RWinger...I like most of the things you post they seem real progressive.

Call it a pet peeve of mine or just ignore me.

Up to you.

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Response to Rex (Reply #212)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:34 PM

325. It's all good.

As I said to a poster above, I am not terribly interested in the "true" definitions of these words: socialism, liberalism, and capitalism. My purpose is purely pragmatic. I am defining liberalism (as did Harry S. Truman) in a way that aligns liberalism with capitalism and places liberalism in opposition to socialism. I do so because I want liberals to win elections, and it's my sense that one can't win an election in the United States by attacking capitalism and acting as if capitalism were a dirty word.

Thanks for the discussion.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #325)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 06:42 PM

326. I see that now and appreciate the elaboration, which makes (for me) your OP make a lot more sense.

 

I've never been one to rally against tools. I've never actually blamed capitalism for societies ills...same as I would never blame a gun for what someone might do with it. It is ALWAYS, ALWAYS the people that use the tools that are at fault. Good or bad.

So if you are pitting liberalism and socialism against each other...what do you think social safety nets are and what about the indirect way Americans help each other daily...without intention? We all have a social contract and it keeps us fed and our cars full of gas. What you describe is a 'social democracy' imo...which I am TOTALLY for! Call it a 'liberal democracy' if we are not using absolutes here...but I DO think you and I are on the same page on this.

Capitalism is only as good as the people that use it and abuse it. SOME people have turned the word into a very DIRTY notion. Yet I've always thought a well regulated economy is a productive one for all it's citizens!

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Response to Rex (Reply #326)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:03 PM

327. If I were to re-write the OP now, I'd do a much better job.

I've been thinking about this topic for a full 24 hrs. and have gotten better at explaining my purpose and intent. LOL.

Cheers!

-Laelth

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Response to frwrfpos (Reply #188)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:54 PM

213. Seems like a good time to post this. Didn't see it posted in this thread yet.

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Response to Laelth (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:23 PM

196. I've given your exact explanation almost to right wingers

They still insist I am a socialist.

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Response to treestar (Reply #196)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:32 PM

201. I know. Their understanding of political theory is often limited.

But I encourage you to keep fighting the good fight. Speaking for myself, I am not a socialist. I am a liberal, and that means I want to save capitalism from its own excesses. Right now, we're seeing a lot of excesses, and if we don't do something about it soon, we'll be headed for revolution.

Just as they're about to get their heads lopped off at the guillotine, I suspect the right-wingers you mention will come to realize that the "liberals" they disparaged really were trying to save them from their own reckless greed. At that point, it will be too late.

-Laelth