Socialist Planning - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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As either the transitional stage to communism or legitimate socio-economic ends in its own right.
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By Julian
#14269666
In response to the rather timid proposals that seem to dominate this forum - let me suggest some rather bolder steps taken from the Manifesto and updated a little for the C21st century

I suggest that such a proposals is only feasible if introduced in full and at roughly the same time in all countries (perhaps within a five year electoral cycle)

- establishment of an economic coordinating body based on elections in all countries

-abolition of property market with a system of fair rents based on criteria

- a graduated income tax

- abolition of right of inheritance

- centralisation of Credit by means of a international bank

- centralisation of Communications and Transport

- elected representatives to control most factories and industries - delivering according to a plan

- All to agree to a programme of work activities which combines manual, menial and managerial roles wherever possible.

- Minimum income for all

- Free education for all
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By Julian
#14269785
A free people and democratic government can choose their own direction. However, I might be able to predict the consequences of an economic system which is unplanned and in which is production is determined for the benefit of the wealthy and that is increasing uncertainty, increasing ineqality and in the long term the collapse of our democratic institutions.
By Soix
#14270104
Julian wrote:A free people and democratic government can choose their own direction.
That's very sweet but, I think, very naïve.

Would these free people surrender some responsibility to a delegation to govern them (presumably so, since you've mention the existence of government)?

I recommend some reading to familiarize yourself with the inescapable problems that arise:

Principal-agent problem
Public choice theory

The question is, would what you are proposing minimize these problems or further exacerbate them? I bet the latter.
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By Julian
#14270237
Thanks Soix

People should be prepared to surrender some aspect of decisions making to Government. I think that generally speaking people always have done. The same thing happens in teams of all description. We constrain some desires to take a portion of a shared reward which is bigger than the reward we would achieve alone.

The problems you raise are real ones. There are inefficiencies in collective decision making but there are problems with individual decisions too. We have less data and greater uncertainty. More to the point giant corporations suffer all the failings that government does and the reality of the market is oligopoly not free enterprise.

Public choice theory tells us something but not everything about politics.
By Soix
#14270250
I think it is about which system minimizes the potential for man to abuse man.

I see socialism as allowing people to do great harm when they are at their worst since the socialist paradigm is wanting of checks and balances ("planning" implies a central authority; i.e. centralization). For the system to "work" it relies on benevolent men which I see as naïve and dangerous.


Whereas I see the anarchic (decentralized) free enterprise system as a system of checks and balances. Producers compete with each other for the consumer's money and consumers compete with each other for producers to sell them what they, the consumers, want. It does not rely on men being beneficent, in fact, it assumes as a worst case scenario that men are malevolent and yet the effect of the system is that it minimizes their scope to carry out their malevolence.

Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy.
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By Julian
#14270495
Unrestrained capitalism doesn't contain checks and balances. It is merely a free for all. On occasions it has become gangster capitalism in which rich oligarchs defend their wealth with private security. There are lots of places on the world not far removed from that.

Western market democracies have flourished where there gave been regulation a degree of planning and competition laws.

However there's no gaurantee that [in the long term] the more [open and decentralised enterprise economic form] will prevail [ over more predatory forms of capitalism]

On the other hand there is no reason why planned economies cannot recognise human rights and diversity. A free press, independent judges and regular elections seem to be better checks and balances than a misplaced belief that economic forces always produce desirable outcomes.
Last edited by Julian on 13 Jul 2013 08:46, edited 1 time in total.
By Sithsaber
#14270512
The problem with this is the effects of outer stimuli and global trade relations.


Just look at Venezuela; Chavez lifted millions out of poverty and step up a new power block and as soon as he dies it nearly all goes to shit due to lack of toilet paper.
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By Julian
#14270678
Sithsaber

I think that globalisation presents a major set of problems for the Social democratic and neo liberal consensus. That is why I have suggested that socialists need to commit to an economic forum which is independent of national interests and work towards giving broad power to this body. Looking at the last century it is true that capitalism has lifted millions in the developing world out of abosolute poverty but it hasn't provided economic security, it has been uneven and its been slow and its not environmentally sustainabe.

As to Chavez, I admired him but he should have strengthened democratic process not seek to undermine it. His 2007 Constitutional proposals demonstrated a cavalier approach to democracy which makes it difficult to be entirely sure that Chavez was committed in the long run to multiparty democracy. However all left wing governments make mistakes along the way. I hope that people look at the good and the bad together because both will teach us something.
#14274978
The first two proposals should be explained a little bit. What does mean the first?, what criteria do imply the second?. How would the world distribute the economic sectors?.

That being said, the rest of proposals are debatable. I don't see the need for abolishing the right of inheritance. I guess you're concerned with wealth accumulation and its malignant consequences in regards to social equality, but inheritance tax rates can be risen in order to lessen unjust advantages. If you don't discriminate you would harm the average worker. On the other hand I don't understand why should Communications, Transport and Credit be centralized. What is the advantage?. Planning does mean centralization.
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By Julian
#14275042
the proposal for an elected parliament is simply that. there should be five yearly elections in all countries . these will be independently run and separate from National Governments and will elect a world parliament. Voting might initially be on the Penrose method which takes into account population size. The Parliament will work to provide a blue print for allocating resources more fairly between countries and to industry to achieve a range of social objectives.

industries will be allocated across countries to produce goods and services efficiently but in ways which work to the long term advantage of the world's least advantaged.

Socialisation of rent

anything which produces wealth without requiring work from the owner should be socialised - that includes land, buildings and intellectual licences . the profits should be split between capital costs for renewal and a social fund for dealing with disadvantage.

Centralisation

Planning does mean centralisation but centralisation is not in itself a bad thing. In terms of the economy Corporate Capital is already centralising wealth within Trans National Companies. What distinguishes free societies from authoritarian societies is the promotion of respect for the individual and opportunities for individuals not the scale of governmental units. Respect for individuals and a desire to create opportunities for individual autonomy is crucial for international, national and local and community bodies.
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By Eran
#14287290
Julian wrote:Unrestrained capitalism doesn't contain checks and balances. It is merely a free for all.

I don't know of any person advocating "unrestrained capitalism".

Rather, supporters of capitalism advocate a system within which people's actions are restrained by property rights.

In fact, this is a far more powerful restrained on abuse of force than any democratic constitution.

Within a society in which property rights are well-defended, capitalism (or individual capitalists) are highly restrained. They can only promote their interests through voluntary cooperation with others, as producers, consumers (of raw materials) and employers.

They can only stay in business by efficiently (at least as efficiently as their competitors) producing those goods and services that consumers are willing to part their money for.

In every interaction with others, again, as buyers, sellers or employers, they add value (a-priori). This is evident for the obvious reason that nobody is compelled to trade with them, and thus those people who do choose to do so do that only because they believe their situation will be improved through that interaction.

On occasions it has become gangster capitalism in which rich oligarchs defend their wealth with private security. There are lots of places on the world not far removed from that.

Since when are gangsters characterised by defending their wealth? Aren't gangsters rather characterised by using force to take the wealth of others? With that in mind, who are the true gangsters, rich oligarchs are politicians?

Western market democracies have flourished where there gave been regulation a degree of planning and competition laws.

How do you know? Isn't it just as possible that western market democracies have flourished despite regulation, planning and competition laws?

Can you give any example of an economy which, in your opinion, suffered due to under-regulation or under-planning (while still protecting property rights, of course)?

The least regulated economies in the world tend to be the most dynamic and successful. Hong Kong and Singapore come to mind.
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By ckaihatsu
#14960434
Unfortunately, even Julian's heroic responses (relative to the general political climate around here at PoFo), fall short of what the _Communist Manifesto_ originally defined and called-for:


The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.



https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... 01.htm#007



Julian's line relies too much on existing governmental- and economic-type structures, when those themselves are insufficient in composition to reliably represent working class interests. Why not just turn over society to the direct control of the working class / proletariat itself -- ?

The problem in both political-economy spheres, socio-political and material-economic alike, is that the status quo capitalistic *abstractions* (of power, and of exchange-values, respectively) would continue to exist, which makes Julian's proposal more in-line with the bourgeois ideal of *social democracy* -- not socialism -- from a century ago.

Julian is *not* aiming for the abolition of the class division, but rather for an avenue of *appeasement* of the powers-that-be, for a proposed permanence of 'radical reformism' -- *nationalization* of key social functions by the governments of various still-existing nation-states, thus upholding the premise of exchange-values over use-values, the latter really being what the political task of communism is all about.

Here's from a recent article published online, for perspective:



What is Socialism?



On September 8, 2018, I participated in a panel discussion organized by the nyu chapter of the Platypus Organization, on the topic of “What is Socialism.” Here’s the description of the proposed discussion that the organization posted beforehand: “The term ‘socialism’ appears to be enjoying a resurgence of public interest—both favorably where it is self-prescribed and pejoratively where it is meant to degrade the respectability of public figures. From early 2016 at the height of Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic Party nomination to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over Joe Crowley in June, the term ‘socialism’ appears to be gaining some level of purchase and a whole lot of press. In many instances, ‘socialism’ is commingled with terms as varied as ‘social democratic,’ ‘communist,’ ‘marxist,’ ‘anarchist,’ etc. As such, we view this is as an opportune moment to ask, ‘what is socialism after all?’ What do public figures mean when they identify as socialists or any one of its varied strains? What do their opponents think it means? What does it mean and what can it mean? And perhaps, most important of all, what did it mean in the past?”



http://insurgentnotes.com/2018/10/what- ... cialism%3F



---


Julian wrote:
the proposal for an elected parliament is simply that. there should be five yearly elections in all countries . these will be independently run and separate from National Governments and will elect a world parliament. Voting might initially be on the Penrose method which takes into account population size. The Parliament will work to provide a blue print for allocating resources more fairly between countries and to industry to achieve a range of social objectives.

industries will be allocated across countries to produce goods and services efficiently but in ways which work to the long term advantage of the world's least advantaged.



As things stand today, we've seen that the bourgeois-democratic system can bring a *fascist*, Donald Trump, to power, but there's no guarantee that such an ultra-nationalist can be *removed* using that same electoral system -- bourgeois democracy is in crisis, and it's up to the workers of the world to collectively agree on a better way forward for the sake of the world's productivity -- or lack thereof -- and the fulfillment of unmet human needs for the basics of food, housing, electricity, etc.

Parliamentarism is *not* a viable option because it's inherently class-collaborationist -- the prevailing government would still have to mediate between the objective interests of property owners, versus non-property-owners / workers, and there's no reason to assume that even a relatively *progressive*-type government would favor workers and their working-class interests, over those of the wealthy. As things stand now government represents *ruling class* interests, and even radical-reformist / nationalizing reforms would not empirically challenge the prevailing class division.

For reference and context, here's a framework of societal functioning (or dysfunction) that I developed:


‭History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle

Spoiler: show
Image



I have more to specify and clarify, but since this is a necroed thread I'll hold off for now, contingent on fresh participation from others.
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By ckaihatsu
#14960633
Rancid wrote:
As long as massive wars are still viable, I'm in.



Hmmmmm, taking this at face-value, I'd say you're missing the point. The whole *ethos* of global society would change once people readily have their biological and personal needs provided-for. There would no longer be any artificial scarcity, as there is today, for the benefit of boosting exchange-values / prices, for those doing the selling.

Communism would *undercut* all commodity production because no one would have to bother with exchanges, or warfare, when everyone could get whatever they need and want, *for free*. As things are today mechanical leveraging only benefits *private ownership*, while communism would *collectivize* such industrial production techniques / processes, for *everyone's* benefit, across-the-board and globally.

(We're already on the cusp of this, *despite* the markets, with on-the-horizon technologies like 3D printing for any conceivable material, wherein *anyone* is able to fabricate the custom, or common, parts or goods that they need, without even *involving* industry. Driverless cars would be another example, and of course the special case of the Internet is one of highly-leveraged efforts, for sheerly hands-off automatic distribution, per user request, of widely available digital content.)
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By One Degree
#14960634
@ckaihatsu said...
The whole *ethos* of global society would change once people readily have their biological and personal needs provided-for.


I believe this basic premise is the fallacy in Socialism. Modern society clearly demonstrates people are never satisfied with having their ‘needs’ or even their ‘wants’ met.
They will always feel deprived.
User avatar
By ckaihatsu
#14960640
One Degree wrote:
@ckaihatsu said...


I believe this basic premise is the fallacy in Socialism. Modern society clearly demonstrates people are never satisfied with having their ‘needs’ or even their ‘wants’ met.
They will always feel deprived.



Fair enough -- then those 'deprivations' (space travel, or whatever) would feed back into 'wants', once more-basic biological 'needs' have been fulfilled for everyone on the globe, from collective planning.

Warfare, though, is the *opposite* of this, and needs to be transcended so that no one is deprived of humane basics.


The siege of Hodeidah: Washington doubles down on its war crime in Yemen

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/1 ... s-n07.html
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By One Degree
#14960653
ckaihatsu wrote:Fair enough -- then those 'deprivations' (space travel, or whatever) would feed back into 'wants', once more-basic biological 'needs' have been fulfilled for everyone on the globe, from collective planning.

Warfare, though, is the *opposite* of this, and needs to be transcended so that no one is deprived of humane basics.


The siege of Hodeidah: Washington doubles down on its war crime in Yemen

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/1 ... s-n07.html


I agree not only war, but all aggressive person to person proselytizing outside one’s own community should be condemned. However, I believe this is best achieved through ‘common acceptance based upon common benefit’ of this one goal, rather than universal ideology encompassing all aspects of society.
All universal ideology requires limiting choices (freedom) rather than increasing choices. Socialism as a community choice can be wise for some. Socialism for everyone eliminates any chance of pursuing alternatives some people may benefit from. Or any chance of discovering a superior ideology through experimentation. Once we adopt any universal ideology we become stagnant.
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By ckaihatsu
#14960688
One Degree wrote:
I agree not only war, but all aggressive person to person proselytizing outside one’s own community should be condemned. However, I believe this is best achieved through ‘common acceptance based upon common benefit’ of this one goal, rather than universal ideology encompassing all aspects of society.



So you're saying that the bulk of your politics has specifically to do with a societal eschewing of political proselytizing -- ?

From my end of things I'll note that a *socialist* politics has to do with overcoming / transcending capitalism's *commodity*-based mode of production, in favor of a communistic-gift-economy type of *collective* social production, something that can only happen once the world's working class seizes control of industrial implements.

Other types of leftists -- radicals and Stalinists, for example -- are also / primarily interested in extending 'ideology' to matters of *personal lifestyle*, which are not *my* politics, nor are they Marxism.

I think it best to *compartmentalize*, as much as possible, these three 'realms' of social existence (sorted by scale / magnitude, from micro to macro): lifestyle, logistics, and politics:


‭History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle

Spoiler: show
Image



---


One Degree wrote:
All universal ideology requires limiting choices (freedom) rather than increasing choices.



This happens to be a rather *pessimistic* view of socialism, and I'd go so far as to say that you're probably conflating socialism with nation-state-bound *Stalinism*, which is an inappropriate conflation. Sure, any political ideology that overrides personal volition would be *backward*, and *reactionary*, by definition, but I have to also point out that it's a two-way street: A revolutionary ideological movement would itself be *constrained* by any mass abstentionism on the part of workers who *opted-out* in significant numbers, as is the general case today (also bought-out business unionism, etc.).

In other words the bourgeois control of society has not *yet* been overthrown, and such requires *mass participation*, instead of mass *lifestylism*, as you're implicitly arguing-for.


One Degree wrote:
Socialism as a community choice can be wise for some.



'Community' is insufficient because it doesn't control the privately-owned implements of mass industrial production. Community politics very much resembles 'playground politics' because there's hardly anything *at stake* with either one.


One Degree wrote:
Socialism for everyone eliminates any chance of pursuing alternatives some people may benefit from.



Well you can use whatever labels you like on anything you choose, but you're not giving any *descriptions* of what you're abstractly referring-to.

Socialism requires monolithic hegemony over policy, otherwise it's not really doing anything. The misguided arguments I've seen here for parliamentarism don't cut it, either, because if someone introduced a bill that called for the handing over of industrial implements to the working class, it would *not* be passed. Therefore bourgeois politics is *also* insufficient for the realization of a proletarian revolution.


One Degree wrote:
Or any chance of discovering a superior ideology through experimentation. Once we adopt any universal ideology we become stagnant.



This is conjecture based on vague terminology -- socialism is well-defined and could be a decisive stepping-stone to other, more-advanced ideologies like a thoroughly post-capitalist *communism*:


[7] Syndicalism-Socialism-Communism Transition Diagram

Spoiler: show
Image
User avatar
By One Degree
#14960697
@ckaihatsu
Thank you for your very thorough response. I was aware of the ‘natural progression’ and actually agree with it theoretically. I also agree compartmentalism (decentralization) would offset some dangers. However, I don’t see how either can work in practice when a ‘pyramid stucture’ is always the chosen method of governing. Historically, this always results in assumption of more and more power at the top and increased centralization.
This structure seems much more important than the ideology in practice reflecting theory. It is designed to convert any ideology to authoritarianism. I don’t know how you can prevent this without many totally autonomous communities cooperating by choice.

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