Capitalism and Socialism

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by Fscheu, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. Fscheu

    Fscheu Banned

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    What exactly is the proper way to view capitalism and socialism? Is there a spectrum in which people fall on, or are people definitively one or the other?
     
  2. dark exegesis

    dark exegesis New Member

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    If we could state the extremes clearly everyone would be able to find their own position between them. Maybe a free market with minimal government for the sake of preventing fraud on the one hand, and equal outcome for all on the other.

    Of course it depends if we understand socialism as personal property + equality of outcome, or as abolition of personal property. And some people seem to think that legislation against monopolies is more Capitalist than not having that.

    Surely Bernie Sanders is less socialist than was Lenin, though more than Hillary.
     
  3. Luxichan

    Luxichan Member

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    Capitalism entails the private ownership over the means of production (machines, tools, computers even). It is run by a capitalist, who oversees labor being done by the workers, and sees to it that he makes the maximal amount of profit possible in order to compete in the market.
    Markets,however, is not necessarily capitalistic, as they have existed in previous societies as well in a smaller scale. However even they are exploitative.

    Socialism is the ownership over the means of production by the workers, who are the guys who did all the work to make the things. There is not necessarily any money involved anymore (depends on the socialist your talking to). However the distinction must be made by me between true socialism and state capitalism, which is capitalism which replaces capitalists with state bosses. This is essentially the system adopted by Soviet 'Socialism', and combined with a stupidly done central command economy led to the problems it faced (I'm being simplistic, but work with me).

    The socialism of Edward Bernstein (involved in evolutionary socialism, social democracy, and revisionism) and Bernie Sanders is basically saying: "We don't necesarilly want to go to the latter form, so lets just have the former capitalist mode of production with decreased hours of work and worker benefits like universal healthcare and all that jazz." This is called Social Democracy, which is what the mainstream of the left in Europe other than liberals.

    Capitalism and socialism are not in a spectrum per se, they are two distinct ideas with each having their own inner specifics. For capitalism, its whether to have state control or capitalist control over the means of production. In socialism, it is a precondition that the workplaces are run by the workers, but there are internal arguements on whether to have markets and money, or to abolish those as well and go for a planned economy.

    P.S: This is the Marxian/Anarchist explanation of it, so if you are confused about what I'm talking about just point the specifics out.

    P.S.S: Personal property and private property are distinct as well, personal entails personal belongs (home, land, TV, etc.). Private means the means of production and the places where they are produced in, such as factories, offices, etc.
     
  4. dark exegesis

    dark exegesis New Member

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    I think you state the Marxist view with clarity, but since it has been under withering attack for quite some time is it our best choice? I mean the theory is decisively challenged. I consider the practical or actual failures of lesser importance, and that isn't my chief reason for questioning this view. Since just because something hasn't been established up until now, doesn't mean it can't be done. But if the blueprint is incoherent...

    “Capitalism and socialism are not in a spectrum per se, they are two distinct ideas with each having their own inner specifics. For capitalism, its whether to have state control or capitalist control over the means of production. In socialism, it is a precondition that the workplaces are run by the workers, but there are internal arguements on whether to have markets and money, or to abolish those as well and go for a planned economy.”

    It seems that it would follow that someone who made more, put in more labour, could become rich under that concept of communism. So that in practice disparity of wealth might be greater than under the capitalist system.

    It seems to me the ultimate standard is fairness on the one side, and real economic output on the other. That means, equality of real outcome as one extreme, and something like the current market rule on the other.

    Are the Marxist definitions really the best? After all, the idea of exploitation rests on an idea that seems to have been refuted. Namely natural value.

    I think there is a more fundamental issue that can guide us, so to speak, the determination that first brought forth the distinction between capitalism and communism; it belongs to the 17th century: is labour the sole right to property? Or is there also legal right, going beyond labour, that gives title to property? E.g., inheritance and transfers of all kinds.

    There is a problem that in full socialism, would there be an open right of title to property, based on an individual's desire to give someone something? (The way I understand Marx he trails off into a fanciful idea that all men would get what is necessary to their happiness under full communism. So that people who don’t need a great deal to be happy would only take what they wished, and others who would be miserable without luxury would get that. But this view is almost infinitely far from reality.)

    I think the greatest contrast, in reality, is: Does one impose equality of outcome, i.e., the same enjoyment of property for all? Or does one pursue some other aspiration, such as the greatest efficiency, or utility, towards real economic output.
     
  5. DZero

    DZero Member

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    The difference between capitalism and socialism is in ownership of the means of production.
    Capitalism- Private ownership of the means of production, operating for profit.
    Socialism- Social ownership of the means of production.
    A capitalist economy is controlled by capitalists(private owners of business).
    Socialism has different varieties, ranging from collective ownership to state ownership. So, A socialist economy is controlled by workers, the state, etc. Basically socialized ownership.
     
  6. Luxichan

    Luxichan Member

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    I don't really dissagree with you on this one, of course Marxism has been attacked before because of its controversial nature. However, I don't think it should be put down because of those.
    For example, the biggest arguement of anti-Marxists against Marxism is that Marginalism essentially destroyed Marxism around the time of Marx. So much so that Marx himself died because of it....Yeah no, marginalism can fit perfectly well with Marxist economics, its just that the theorists who created the concept of Marginalism did not take labor as a factor in value.

    Where would you get that idea from? Labor in Marx's works relates to capitalism and a free market. Of course, it would still apply in some ways in a communist society, but since there is no more concept of monetary wealth and money anymore (it is irrelevant by this point) there is no need to argue that a person would be able to be rich in a capitalistic sense in communism.

    Fairness? In capitalism? Lol that one got me, since we can see that in our current society we are not being treated fairly. The rich can squander their wealth they got from a risky business on things they don't need. Meanwhile, a person can't even buy a McDonald's or cloth themselves in the winter. This doesn't seem fair to me, people deserve the right to compete in society on an equal base. This is what communism truly is, where people are individually liberated in doing what they want, without the restraints of inequality and money.

    Again a misconception, natural value is something that is a strawman argument against marxism. Value is never inherent in an object, just like how a stone or a stick don't seem to have value in the forest. However, with some labor it can be turned into a primitive hammer. Thus, you have realized that value in relation to the labor you put into it.
    Now I understand you may protest to that with something along the lines of ''Well you would've needed to value something in those items to make them into something in the first place''. This arguement is a good one, but take into account that you put labor into finding that stone and stick as well. So for example, if that stone and stick were broken and you wasted all that effort for just a faulty raw item. It would be better if you looked for another set of those rather than spending your time fixing it, which would require even more labor and time.

    Legal rights are the basis for the capitalist ownership of the means of production and the workplace. Labor is the called the right to property because it is the workers who do the most labor in the workplace, thus they should be the ones to run the whole area. In a socialist society, there will of course be some sort of remainder of the capitalist mindset of legal ownership. I'm not exactly sure how inheritance would work, or whether there will eventually be a sort of guild system (I don't really like syndicalism) taking over. That could be an issue.

    There of course would be some property that would be held by a person, which would personal belongings and other neccesities. Now, in relation to productive organs, there would be collective ownership. Which would mean the employees in the workplace would own it together, and each take what they desire from it what they need.

    The Marxist critique of capitalism's inefficiency is not because workplaces are inefficient (capitalists extract the most from their workers). The larger marco-market system is inefficient and how it relates to distributing goods and services to society in general. So a marxist or libertarian socialist in my case would say: "Why is there need for the middleman? Can't we have a society where these things are done in a way that doesn't require any sort of indirect market system to determine my life."
     
  7. Kode

    Kode Well-Known Member

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    First we need to be clear on what exists already regarding these two.

    We know what capitalism is. But the point of confusion is in regard to the current mixing of capitalism and socialism.

    During the very early 1900s the capitalist system was brutal. There were few laws to modify and "soften" the ruthless drive for profits. Even children were exploited, force to work their fingers to the bone. Unionists appeared in an effort to eliminate the worst of capitalism's ways and capitalists hired gangs to kill unionists. Read up on these times and if you don't already know what it was like, you will be shocked unless you select a right wing source for information.

    Finally, government (FDR) introduced "socialist-type reforms" to moderate capitalism and save it from total revolution. But since the reforms were introduced in order to preserve capitalism, we should not think for a minute that this represented a switch to socialism. However, this did provide us with a mix of capitalist laws and "socialist-type laws". Such mixing is normal among capitalist countries due to the brutal nature of pure capitalism.

    In some European countries the governments were taken over by political groups and parties that favored a socialist society and economy. These took two different approaches to the effort. Some, like Russia and China and others resorted for specific reasons to violent revolution. Marx warned of the dangers of this.

    Others took the second approach, which was that of gradual, peaceful change. There were other approaches that fell in between these two with one degree of violence or another, but these two are the two distinctly different approaches.

    And among those that took the more gradual, peaceful approach we find the Scandinavian countries. They introduced socialist reforms as each became practical with the goal of eventual total change to socialism. And all these retained capitalist structures as the reforms proceeded to eliminate each capitalist structure as such change became practical.

    None of these countries of the second type has yet completed the change to socialism, and now most are being strongly influenced by conservative and right wing ideologues and forces. They risk sliding back now into greater capitalism. And as they slide, most of them by far are experiencing increasing serious problems with their economies.

    So this is where we are in the world right now. If there is any "spectrum" of capitalism vs. socialism it is just that of attempts to move from capitalism to socialism in one way or another, but the two are diametrically opposed in the final analysis.

    But this brings up an important observation: as our current U.S. government slides to the right with elimination of regulations that rein-in corporate excesses, and the elimination of programs of great benefit to the society, we move back toward ruthless, brutal capitalism and therefore toward the inevitable day of violent revolution in response to tht brutality. If we would "save capitalism", FDR showed the way.
     

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