Could this work? Please look at this conceptual ideological thought experiment - Solidarism - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15103221
Let's imagine we have a country where there is a vanguard party that directs all productive forces of the society. The vanguard party controls the land and resources.

In this country there is private property. People are free to buy and sell. The government actively encourages free enterprise and the creation of businesses, big and small.

Institutional discipline is strict and corruption is kept under control so as not to stifle the investment environment. Government officials cannot simply requisition business or steal from people. You are completely free in the business sphere and your property is secure.

The goverment uses a sovereign wealth fund to allow itself to become wealthy, the money it uses to re-invest in the economy, in infrastrucutre, the national health service, education and national defence. The government owns several corporations but runs them for profit and on an competitive basis to accrue income for itself which it then continually re-invests in the nation.

The economy is planned using five and ten year plans. There are conferences of the big corporations, unions, corporate interests and professional groups to make these plans as well as coordinate internal policy for the sake of national and economic progress.

Homeless is eradicated because the government uses its vast funds to constantly build new apartments. Unemployment is illegal but the unemployed are given a living wage in one of the state companies and an apartment.

However, politically there is only one political choice, the ruling party. The party does not rule by terror but there is no real freedom in the press or media. The population have a good standard of living, free access to health care and peaceful streets and have become apolitical as a result.

Could this system work? In what ways would it not work? Is it possible to have authoritarian rule combined with a good living standard where people have relatively good access to consumer goods?
#15103223
Without freedom of speech (and thus criticism of whatever going wrong) means it is not possible to keep corruption under control in the first place, because wrongdoers will not go punished, especially if they are high up in the vanguard party's leadership.

In real world, China is attempting to be such a state but I do not see them succeeding. The people of China have good living standard but they are spiritually hollow and do not really trust this system is going to last.

Singapore is a slightly more successful example but IMHO they maintain this balance under very special circumstances and their model is not quite repeatable elsewhere.
#15103247
Political Interest wrote:
Could this system work? In what ways would it not work? Is it possible to have authoritarian rule combined with a good living standard where people have relatively good access to consumer goods?



Couple things: How would this authoritarian government be *composed* -- ?

Would it be based on heredity, or private property ownership, or by elections, or by patronage / nepotism -- ?

And what would this country's *external / international* relations be like?

We have to ask what's the *global* ethos, and how *that* would shape this country's own ethos, and in relation to its geopolitical neighbors.

You seem to think that the market system would work *flawlessly*, but we're seeing its boom-bust cycle in the 'bust' phase these days, requiring *trillions* in government debt spending just to keep it from bottoming-out, and it's now doubtful that even the recent financial-type buttressing will keep things afloat.

I mean to point to the overall *social norms*, and, more precisely, how a *government*-type ethos of 'governance' could be reconciled with a *private-sector* type of ethos of 'hardball competition'.

Also, you sound like you want to resurrect the USSR.
#15103254
Patrickov wrote:Without freedom of speech (and thus criticism of whatever going wrong) means it is not possible to keep corruption under control in the first place, because wrongdoers will not go punished, especially if they are high up in the vanguard party's leadership.


What about in Taiwan under the KMT when Chiang ruled a one party state? Also Park Chung Hee's Korea is another example.

Patrickov wrote:In real world, China is attempting to be such a state but I do not see them succeeding. The people of China have good living standard but they are spiritually hollow and do not really trust this system is going to last.


That could be more for ideological reasons. What if this were non-Marxist authoritarianism which did not include atheism as one of its tenets?

Patrickov wrote:Singapore is a slightly more successful example but IMHO they maintain this balance under very special circumstances and their model is not quite repeatable elsewhere.


What are the special conditions?

ckaihatsu wrote:Couple things: How would this authoritarian government be *composed* -- ?

Would it be based on heredity, or private property ownership, or by elections, or by patronage / nepotism -- ?


Through internal party elections. One party but power would not be invested in one leader. Future leaders would be groomed and prepared for succession.

ckaihatsu wrote:And what would this country's *external / international* relations be like?

We have to ask what's the *global* ethos, and how *that* would shape this country's own ethos, and in relation to its geopolitical neighbors.


Anti-imperialist and isolationist to as great an extent possible. Non-interference in the affairs of other countries (to the extent this is possible).

ckaihatsu wrote:You seem to think that the market system would work *flawlessly*, but we're seeing its boom-bust cycle in the 'bust' phase these days, requiring *trillions* in government debt spending just to keep it from bottoming-out, and it's now doubtful that even the recent financial-type buttressing will keep things afloat.

I mean to point to the overall *social norms*, and, more precisely, how a *government*-type ethos of 'governance' could be reconciled with a *private-sector* type of ethos of 'hardball competition'.


You need to have some markets otherwise it becomes very difficult to manage the economy. The USSR had many bottlenecks and problems. China until the 1979 reforms also had severe problems. East Germany had a reasonable living standard but there were apparently still shortages. Poland's command economy was terrible.

ckaihatsu wrote:Also, you sound like you want to resurrect the USSR.


Not really. I'm not a Marxist.
#15103256
Political Interest wrote:
Through internal party elections. One party but power would not be invested in one leader. Future leaders would be groomed and prepared for succession.



Okay, then it's bureaucratic elitism. If someone disagreed with an official Party member, guess who would win?

Why would you consider this caste-type system to be *desirable*?


Political Interest wrote:
Anti-imperialist and isolationist to as great an extent possible. Non-interference in the affairs of other countries (to the extent this is possible).



What if someone wanted something that was manufactured in a foreign country? Why wouldn't / couldn't there be *trade pacts* with other countries, if your economic system here is capitalist markets?


Political Interest wrote:
You need to have some markets otherwise it becomes very difficult to manage the economy. The USSR had many bottlenecks and problems. China until the 1979 reforms also had severe problems. East Germany had a reasonable living standard but there were apparently still shortages. Poland's command economy was terrible.



Keep in mind that that all was during one particular *point* / timeframe in human material development. We're not in any kind of material productive duress *today*.

You favor hypothetical geopolitical *isolationism*, yet you're *bemoaning* such in the countries you just listed.

Are you intending for 'markets' to mostly be a kind of libertarian *mythology*, so as to keep the population *fooled* and 'motivated', while the bureaucratic-elitist one-party government actually manipulates outcomes from behind a curtain? (It would probably happen regardless, otherwise the party apparatus would have nothing to do, and no reason to exist as an apparatus / bureaucracy.)

What would happen if a dire national disaster hit, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the government ran out of savings -- it would be forced into international trade deals and wouldn't look so hot domestically, to its own people. The mechanism of global capitalism, such as it is, would ultimately overrule domestic bureaucratic diktats.


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Also, you sound like you want to resurrect the USSR.



Political Interest wrote:
Not really. I'm not a Marxist.



Marxists aren't *for* the USSR -- Marxists, like myself, are for *Marxism*, not (one-country) Stalinism.
#15103272
Political Interest wrote:Let's imagine we have a country where there is a vanguard party that directs all productive forces of the society. The vanguard party controls the land and resources.

In this country there is private property. People are free to buy and sell. The government actively encourages free enterprise and the creation of businesses, big and small.

Institutional discipline is strict and corruption is kept under control so as not to stifle the investment environment. Government officials cannot simply requisition business or steal from people. You are completely free in the business sphere and your property is secure.

The goverment uses a sovereign wealth fund to allow itself to become wealthy, the money it uses to re-invest in the economy, in infrastrucutre, the national health service, education and national defence. The government owns several corporations but runs them for profit and on an competitive basis to accrue income for itself which it then continually re-invests in the nation.

The economy is planned using five and ten year plans. There are conferences of the big corporations, unions, corporate interests and professional groups to make these plans as well as coordinate internal policy for the sake of national and economic progress.

Homeless is eradicated because the government uses its vast funds to constantly build new apartments. Unemployment is illegal but the unemployed are given a living wage in one of the state companies and an apartment.

However, politically there is only one political choice, the ruling party. The party does not rule by terror but there is no real freedom in the press or media. The population have a good standard of living, free access to health care and peaceful streets and have become apolitical as a result.

Could this system work? In what ways would it not work? Is it possible to have authoritarian rule combined with a good living standard where people have relatively good access to consumer goods?


It sounds good, as described. Many things sound good in the abstract. These types of schemes run up against human devilry. With any type of rule-based system, you confront the question of who writes the rules and who enforces them?
#15103276
Political Interest wrote:Let's imagine we have a country where there is a vanguard party that directs all productive forces of the society. The vanguard party controls the land and resources.

What's the point of a 1-party state dictatorship if there's free enterprise and private property?

Institutional discipline is strict and corruption is kept under control so as not to stifle the investment environment. Government officials cannot simply requisition business or steal from people. You are completely free in the business sphere and your property is secure.

In a 1-party dictatorship, corruption becomes rampant because there's no accountability to anyone but themselves.
#15103352
Political Interest wrote:What about in Taiwan under the KMT when Chiang ruled a one party state? Also Park Chung Hee's Korea is another example


That's exactly why both have to free up at the end.


Political Interest wrote:That could be more for ideological reasons. What if this were non-Marxist authoritarianism which did not include atheism as one of its tenets?


China had never been really religious (they believe deities are only useful if they bring them prosperity. Paganism at best). What I mean is that these people, under Communist Rule, had lost most if not all of their moral compass, and see wealth and strength as the sole defining factor of success. Not even the United States is this arrogant.


Political Interest wrote:What are the special conditions?


Singapore is a point of balance and buffer between Malaysia and Indonesia, and to a wider extent, the whole of South-east Asia. Besides they take hold of one of the most important nodes on the Indian - Pacific Ocean trade route.
#15103403
ckaihatsu wrote:Your acolytes await your answer, PI.


x D


Sorry, I will respond now. I appreciate your interest.

ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, then it's bureaucratic elitism. If someone disagreed with an official Party member, guess who would win?

Why would you consider this caste-type system to be *desirable*?


The discussion was not so much as to whether or not this is desirable but if it is possible to have this type of one party system and also ensure economic prosperity.

On a private level I think it is desirable because democratic politics in the West has turned out to be an absolute shambles. Look at how democracy elected Trump. The irony is that democracy brought us Hitler as well.

ckaihatsu wrote:What if someone wanted something that was manufactured in a foreign country? Why wouldn't / couldn't there be *trade pacts* with other countries, if your economic system here is capitalist markets?


Trade pacts on a mutually consensual and beneficial basis I would certainly be in favour of. I'd also be in favour of no strings attached aid and non-covercive investment in the global south.

ckaihatsu wrote:Keep in mind that that all was during one particular *point* / timeframe in human material development. We're not in any kind of material productive duress *today*.


But certainly command economy socialism is even more impossible today than what I propose? This is of course if I understand you correctly.

ckaihatsu wrote:You favor hypothetical geopolitical *isolationism*, yet you're *bemoaning* such in the countries you just listed.


A market system is possible with minimal interference in the affairs of other countries. For example, the West never needed to invade Iraq or assist in the overthrow of Gaddafi. Western economies would not have collapsed if the West had not chosen to undertake such adventures.

ckaihatsu wrote:Are you intending for 'markets' to mostly be a kind of libertarian *mythology*, so as to keep the population *fooled* and 'motivated', while the bureaucratic-elitist one-party government actually manipulates outcomes from behind a curtain? (It would probably happen regardless, otherwise the party apparatus would have nothing to do, and no reason to exist as an apparatus / bureaucracy.)


Markets provide ready access to consumer goods. There is a huge problem as there was in the socialist countries when you cannot get access to basic consumer goods or food.

ckaihatsu wrote:What would happen if a dire national disaster hit, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the government ran out of savings -- it would be forced into international trade deals and wouldn't look so hot domestically, to its own people. The mechanism of global capitalism, such as it is, would ultimately overrule domestic bureaucratic diktats.


True. But we have to operate within the confines of reality. Even North Korea was not spared as far as we know.

ckaihatsu wrote:Marxists aren't *for* the USSR -- Marxists, like myself, are for *Marxism*, not (one-country) Stalinism.


In what way would your Marxism be different to Soviet Marxism?

quetzalcoatl wrote:It sounds good, as described. Many things sound good in the abstract. These types of schemes run up against human devilry. With any type of rule-based system, you confront the question of who writes the rules and who enforces them?


True. I don't think much of what I described could work very well in practice, though.

Unthinking Majority wrote:What's the point of a 1-party state dictatorship if there's free enterprise and private property?


National cohesion and the suppression of anti-social trends. Safety.

Unthinking Majority wrote:In a 1-party dictatorship, corruption becomes rampant because there's no accountability to anyone but themselves.


But they are accountable to the people. The people can overhthrow them.

Patrickov wrote:That's exactly why both have to free up at the end.


Is that because authoritarianism in Korea and Taiwan was unsustainable? Democracy was a fundamental tenet of the KMT ideology. Do you think Park would have democratised if he had not been assasinated?

Patrickov wrote:China had never been really religious (they believe deities are only useful if they bring them prosperity. Paganism at best). What I mean is that these people, under Communist Rule, had lost most if not all of their moral compass, and see wealth and strength as the sole defining factor of success. Not even the United States is this arrogant.


I see.

Patrickov wrote:Singapore is a point of balance and buffer between Malaysia and Indonesia, and to a wider extent, the whole of South-east Asia. Besides they take hold of one of the most important nodes on the Indian - Pacific Ocean trade route.


But then Malaysia is far more corrupt than Singapore. If Singapore had remained part of Malaysia it is highly unlikely that this would have bestowed upon the Malaysians wealth and clean government. It is more likely that Singapore is prosperous because the political class there are clean and sincerely committed to the well being of the country.

ness31 wrote:Unemployment is illegal? :eh:


Yes, it was illegal in the USSR. We would have state run industries that provide employment to the unemployed, at a living wage of course. Unemployment benefits in Western countries today don't offer a living wage.

In the Soviet Union and red China there used to be cradle to grave welfare states, you would have life time employment but on the other end of it there was no private property and a lack of economic opportunities.

I propose two parallel economies, one state run and the other private. People can buy and sell but there is the state system to provide a safety net for people. It would be a combination of the Scandinavian model with Sovietism.
#15103421
Political Interest wrote:
Sorry, I will respond now. I appreciate your interest.


Political Interest wrote:
The discussion was not so much as to whether or not this is desirable but if it is possible to have this type of one party system and also ensure economic prosperity.

On a private level I think it is desirable because democratic politics in the West has turned out to be an absolute shambles. Look at how democracy elected Trump. The irony is that democracy brought us Hitler as well.



Okay, this helps, to understand your motivation for this thought-experiment.

I maintain, though, that social dependence on a separatist specialized state-like bureaucratic elitist administration is a *bad* idea, because the administration does *not* actually produce commodities, and it will have an institutional interest in maintaining its power over those who do the *real work* in society.

Society's labor and the administration of the same needs to be the *workers* themselves, to self-determine what work gets done, and to *co-administrate* over the same, in real-time. No external dependence on a state apparatus, and no class (wealth) division. Everything productive gets collectivized. This is *workers-of-the-world* socialism, not so-called 'socialism-in-one-country' Stalinism.


Political Interest wrote:
Trade pacts on a mutually consensual and beneficial basis I would certainly be in favour of. I'd also be in favour of no strings attached aid and non-covercive investment in the global south.



Okay, but you're making it sound as though all 'mutual' trade pacts are entirely even-handed -- they're *not*. That's why there's a 'global south' to begin with, from the historic legacy of predatory colonialism and imperialism on the part of the advanced Western countries / empires.


Political Interest wrote:
But certainly command economy socialism is even more impossible today than what I propose? This is of course if I understand you correctly.



You're still thinking of Stalin's Stalinism. (Look at the previous segment for my description of workers-of-the-world socialism, which is what I advocate.)


Political Interest wrote:
A market system is possible with minimal interference in the affairs of other countries. For example, the West never needed to invade Iraq or assist in the overthrow of Gaddafi. Western economies would not have collapsed if the West had not chosen to undertake such adventures.



Okay, but then some hawkish government official starts up a hawk faction that says 'Let's get some oil for free!' and ramps up jingoism and military drills, so as to go get that oil from another country. What is the empire to do then? What forces can conceivably *counteract* this imperialist / fascist influence within government?

(You think that all dynamics are *geopolitical*, when in fact what we're seeing today with the collapsing economy is *economic*, and would have happened *anyway*, as it did in 2008-2009.)


Political Interest wrote:
Markets provide ready access to consumer goods. There is a huge problem as there was in the socialist countries when you cannot get access to basic consumer goods or food.



Markets only provide ready access to consumer goods for those *who can afford them*. You're making the market mechanism sound *infallible*, but look at *Lebanon* these days for a counter-example.

Sure, people need stuff -- but there's no such thing as a 'socialist country' -- again, you mean *Stalinism*, or bureaucratic elitism. Here's a diagram:


Political Spectrum, Simplified

Spoiler: show
Image



---


ckaihatsu wrote:
What would happen if a dire national disaster hit, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the government ran out of savings -- it would be forced into international trade deals and wouldn't look so hot domestically, to its own people. The mechanism of global capitalism, such as it is, would ultimately overrule domestic bureaucratic diktats.



Political Interest wrote:
True. But we have to operate within the confines of reality. Even North Korea was not spared as far as we know.



You're making my point *for* me, and I don't consider *any* country, including North Korea, to be a valid example of 'socialism'. If the production isn't being controlled by the workers then it's *not* socialism, by definition.

So you're *not* against international trade, which means that your proposed political economy is *not* really isolationist.


Political Interest wrote:
In what way would your Marxism be different to Soviet Marxism?



The Stalinists in the USSR were *revisionists*, starting with Stalin himself and his line of 'socialism in one country' -- which is *not* Marxism since it wasn't based on the 'soviets' (workers councils). So anytime you hear or see the term 'Soviet Marxism', it's just revisionist political *branding*.

A good place to start is to read _The Communist Manifesto_, which is the original, and valid Marxism.


Political Interest wrote:
True. I don't think much of what I described could work very well in practice, though.



(If you don't think that your proposal is even *feasible*, then what's the point of proposing it?)


Political Interest wrote:
I propose two parallel economies, one state run and the other private. People can buy and sell but there is the state system to provide a safety net for people. It would be a combination of the Scandinavian model with Sovietism.



It's easy to *say* 'government and markets', but, as I noted before, these are *two different* kinds of ethos, one being 'governance', and the other 'hardball competition'.

'Competition' will pervade into government, as we have today with high-powered, well-funded corporate *lobbyists* that overwhelm 'democracy' with their own special private interests.

And, vice-versa, official power benefits from political *favoritism*, and people with power can extend *patronage networks* down through any supposedly 'free market' private sector businesses, to make certain things work and other things not-work.
#15103434
Political Interest wrote:Do you think Park would have democratised if he had not been assassinated?


Frankly no. Usually regimes like these have a giant web of beneficiaries. Only when the supposedly disenfranchised become equally rich or strong themselves that changes start to happen. Park's assassination was just an irrelevant interlude.

Political Interest wrote:But then Malaysia is far more corrupt than Singapore. If Singapore had remained part of Malaysia it is highly unlikely that this would have bestowed upon the Malaysians wealth and clean government. It is more likely that Singapore is prosperous because the political class there are clean and sincerely committed to the well being of the country.


Malaysia clearly are in a much "safer" situation and therefore have different objectives. In fact it's them who expelled Singapore in the first place.
#15103521
Yes, it was illegal in the USSR. We would have state run industries that provide employment to the unemployed, at a living wage of course. Unemployment benefits in Western countries today don't offer a living wage.

In the Soviet Union and red China there used to be cradle to grave welfare states, you would have life time employment but on the other end of it there was no private property and a lack of economic opportunities.

I propose two parallel economies, one state run and the other private. People can buy and sell but there is the state system to provide a safety net for people. It would be a combination of the Scandinavian model with Sovietism.


It’s foreign to me that unemployment in some secular activity is illegal. It screams slavery :hmm:

So, what does it mean? A 38 hour working week? How much of ones life does a person have to dedicate to ‘work’ to stay on the right side of the law?
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