An original proposition for collective ownership - 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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#15180801
Which measures are to be contained in a political program aiming to fight efficiently against social inequality? I think that income redistribution from the rich to the poor can only resist against attacks and hold in the long run if it is based on a robust collective ownership. Otherwise will it always be claimed: “you redistribute, but beforehand we must produce”. If the community owns industrial and commercial assets, by participating in Capital, it becomes a factor of production.

The unique aim of such a collectivisation is to yield an income to every member of the community, unconditionally. The State would simply act as the intermediary who transfers the dividends on your account. In this way, everybody feels that the collective ownership is his, not only abstractly but in facts.

According to the Marxist orthodoxy, socialism has two legs: state ownership and planning. I think that the market system is far more efficient than planning, which leads me to abandon the idea of planning. So we are led to design an economic system combining public ownership with market. It needs some imagination. In my proposition, the reformist government leaves the firms as it finds them. The only change concerns the shareholding (in favour of the State).

The traditional way to build collective ownership, from a capitalist context, is nationalisation, generally of big firms in strategic sectors. I am not a supporter of this kind of collectivisation, though I admit that it is admissible for enterprises of which the kind of activity is better run by the State, such as natural monopolies, public goods… In many European countries, a large part of these enterprises belong already partly or totally to national or local authorities. But to create a public sector for the sake of social justice (more equality) is a whole different ballgame. It is generally understood that nationalisation needs compensation of the ex-owners. This is sensible for nationalisations justified by common utility, but not when the aim is redistribution. When the State simultaneously gains and loses the same amount, the community does not become richer.

In 1982, the Mitterrand government (Union of the Left) has nationalised a series of French big enterprises, after having paid compensations to the ex-shareholders. I confess I do not understand the motivation of such a decision. Was the aim:
- To have influence on the management of these national jewels? Maybe but why? If the State were a better manager than private sector, it would be known.
- To preserve the economic independence of the nation? Then, the nationalisations are not match.
- To take better account of the interests of consumers? A good regulation would make the job.
The two headlines of my proposition are:
- A very high tax on bequests and on income. The tax would be highly progressive. The marginal rates would be as high as they were in the USA in the time of Roosevelt, but this applies naturally only to marginal rates. The rate would be independent of the family ties as it is in Anglo-Saxon countries (in contrast to European continental counties).

- The (slow) constitution of an investment fund, fed by surplus of the (high) taxes over public spending (which must not increase).

For many bequests, the exchange of shares would be the only way to pay the whole of the tax. Taxes paid in money are to finance the purchase of securities by the Fund at the Stock exchange.

The public investment fund is the heart of the system. It would be managed as are existing pension funds. Its managers would be interested in the return and the risk of their investments but would not take part in the management of firms in which they invest. With time, the fund would grow and after some years, it would be able to pay a not too low dividend to every adult citizen. The law would guarantee the independence of the Fund from government intervention.

Not intentionally, my proposition comes close to a well-known one, discussed almost all over the world: the universal basic income. The difference is that “my” dividend would not be a flat sum but would depend of the profitability of the productive sector.

So happens the building of an economy of mixed property. Many firms would keep their boss; private shareholders would keep some percentage of the capital of many firms but the State would become the major shareholder in the country. Undertakers would go on creating new private firms. The tax rules would be favourable to young enterprises.

This is the main pillar of my proposition of market socialism. But it is to be completed by two other ones:
- A good regulation. A strong regulation aims to make professional life agreeable (but productive) and to protect environment. Firms would naturally keep freedom of supply and pricing. Regulation does impair economic dynamism only where it troubles competition. When the rules are identical for all agents, they are considered as an unavoidable context.

- Joint-management with employees. This process has already prevailed in Germany for a long time. It does not prevent German enterprises being among the most powerful in the world. I think that this joint-management is necessary to check the salaries of the senior management.

Would the achievement of such a program lead to a classless society? Certainly not, but it would drastically reduce inequality without bringing efficiency into danger.

The main prerequisite is ideological. The general opinion about property rights must change. It is obvious that my proposition is at odds with the conception of the sacred right of property prevalent in our society. Many consider it as belonging to Human Rights, which confusion results from the historical fact that human rights were first expounded by bourgeois revolutions. A large social debate over these questions is necessary before any party could include my proposition in its program.
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#15180838
Okay, Monti, I have two major critiques:

1. What would prevent this mass-public-welfare fund from falling victim to unforeseen market gyrations? You predicate the fund's health entirely on the private sector stock market, but I would say that that's a kind of *overdependence*, because we saw what happened in 2008-2009 when *bad debt* became attractive to pooled capital.

2. How much time, exactly, would it take to build up the fund initially? What are people supposed to do in the *meantime*, until such a fund could be built up from scratch? Do you have any *metrics* whatsoever for the fund? What would be an acceptable *size* for it? What if companies contend the tax rate and/or the planned size for the fund?
#15180842
Rancid wrote:
Meh,

just print money, and give it to people rather than corporations. That effectively taxes the rich disproportionately more.

DONE!

You are all welcome.



Fun, brah.

I'll do you one better with my recent 'nightmare' scenario:


ckaihatsu wrote:
What about this economic 'nightmare' scenario: Everyone issues their own debt, endlessly, and unregulated by anyone else, or any institutions -- much of the modern world is ad-hoc, anyway, so people make and break relationships strictly based on 'going-forward', socially, economically, and politically.

Would it be better to wear a suit, than not? Would it be better to use cash, or to just issue new personal debt, since one could, that's not backed by anything. Limitless personal debt could even undermine *cash*, since governmental authority would no longer be needed to uphold a currency regime, and currency values.



viewtopic.php?p=15178026#p15178026



(The implicit argument here is that the rich would still be rich because they'd still own the *most* money / finance / means of mass industrial production -- even despite a little demand-side-boost / progressive-taxation. So why stop there? Why not a full 'reset' that *individualizes* / politicizes / socializes social transactions *altogether* since the *current* system keeps stumbling from crisis to crisis, anyway.)


---



Wall Street plunges on fears of global recession

Nick Beams
15 August 2019

US stock markets experienced their biggest fall for the year yesterday amid clear signs of a growing financial crisis and a marked global economic slowdown, with increased prospects of a recession.

Market indexes on Wall Street opened significantly down and continued to fall throughout the day. The Dow ended down by 800 points, or 3 percent, the S&P 500 fell 2.9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index dropped by more than 3 percent.

A confluence of factors contributed to the market fall: clear signs of a global contraction; the continuing fall in bond yields; a growing recognition that monetary stimulus by the world’s central banks is not going to bring an upturn in the global economy; a financial crisis in Argentina; the ongoing US-China trade war; political instability in Europe as exemplified in the Brexit crisis and the break-up of the Italian government; and the growth of social opposition in the working class, exemplified by the 10 weeks of protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong.



https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/0 ... e-a15.html
#15180905
ckaihatsu wrote:How the rich avoid paying taxes



The rich can avoid taxes all the more because they have friends in many governments. And also because governments of various counties have it so difficult to work together. I think that with true political will, we could solve this problem. But social-democrat parties must change their attitude.
#15180907
Rancid wrote:Meh,

just print money, and give it to people rather than corporations. That effectively taxes the rich disproportionately more.

DONE!

You are all welcome.


Yes, but do not forget that inflation decreases the real value of financial assets, except shares and real estate . Shareholders and landlords would not become poorer. But people would have to face increasing prices of necessities.
#15180912
ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, Monti, I have two major critiques:

1. What would prevent this mass-public-welfare fund from falling victim to unforeseen market gyrations? You predicate the fund's health entirely on the private sector stock market, but I would say that that's a kind of *overdependence*, because we saw what happened in 2008-2009 when *bad debt* became attractive to pooled capital.

2. How much time, exactly, would it take to build up the fund initially? What are people supposed to do in the *meantime*, until such a fund could be built up from scratch? Do you have any *metrics* whatsoever for the fund? What would be an acceptable *size* for it? What if companies contend the tax rate and/or the planned size for the fund?

*
1- I cannot guarantee that no crash could happen and harm the collective Fund. But a policy must be considered as a whole. If a State is able to apply my proposition, it is also able to take a lot of other sensible decisions in various sectors. In the eighties, the Right governments have deregulated finance. It was a stupidity. A left government must re-regulate in that sector.
2- Before yielding the dividend, you must invest. It is a general rule. But in the meantime, other reforms may already be applied. Joint-management with employees, regulation to protect the labour force, housing policy fighting against homelessness…
#15180949
Monti wrote:Yes, but do not forget that inflation decreases the real value of financial assets, except shares and real estate . Shareholders and landlords would not become poorer. But people would have to face increasing prices of necessities.


If you don't over do it, it would be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinneeeeeeeeeeeee


TRUST ME. :)
#15181040
Monti wrote:
*
1- I cannot guarantee that no crash could happen and harm the collective Fund. But a policy must be considered as a whole. If a State is able to apply my proposition, it is also able to take a lot of other sensible decisions in various sectors. In the eighties, the Right governments have deregulated finance. It was a stupidity. A left government must re-regulate in that sector.
2- Before yielding the dividend, you must invest. It is a general rule. But in the meantime, other reforms may already be applied. Joint-management with employees, regulation to protect the labour force, housing policy fighting against homelessness…



Acknowledged, but at the heart of it is the *contradiction* of opposing interests based on *scale* -- you're attempting to reconcile the private-accumulation interest for *profit-making*, with the social-commons interest for *socializing* productive output.

I like to mention, in this particular context, that profits are a *cost* to funding. If you're so willing to employ bureaucratic-state-type decision making, on the whole, for a *blanket* policy over social conditions, then why stop *there*? Why not extend this collectivism to the *workforce* as well, so that the *workers* can be the ones to control the overall economics of production as well, instead of leaving production dynamics in the interests of private-property profit-makers?

Economically you're saying that revenue should go to capitalists so that they can make their profits, with some of that diverted to state administration -- taxes -- for a welfare fund to be managed by the state administration, that will be dependent on the vagaries / fluctuations of capitalist profitability (the stock market), so that disbursements could be handed out proportionately to everyone, so that they could then *spend* that money in the private sector, returning it back to the companies who are producing goods and services for society, thus starting the economic cycle all over again.

Doesn't this sound *circuitous* and overly *complicated* to you at all?

If the purpose is general *welfare* why should society want to predicate such welfare-type disbursements on the profitability (or not) of the private sector? What does private profitability have to do with general well-being? This approach obviously prioritizes *profitability* over general well-being, by looping the economics through the private sector first.

Wouldn't it make more sense to simply provide productive output to the *public* first, so that everyone's well-being *comes first*, and then, secondarily, allow 'excess' funds to be individually directed to the private sector for whatever it may happen to be doing.


Monti wrote:
Not intentionally, my proposition comes close to a well-known one, discussed almost all over the world: the universal basic income. The difference is that “my” dividend would not be a flat sum but would depend of the profitability of the productive sector.



Since you're comparing your approach to that of a universal basic income, wouldn't a universal basic income be *preferable*, since it would effectively be a direct 'floor' of provisioning to everyone, *instead* of first looping the funding through private-sector profitability?
#15181491
One major error made by many socialists, especially Marxists, is to underestimate the economic qualities of capitalism. Even if we do not like it, we must admit that its result is impressive. Moreover, it seems obvious that such productivity is unachievable by a planning system. This is the main reason why “my” system preserves various elements of a market economy. True, capitalism generates crises, but an adequate regulation, that right-wing governments dislike, could temper this problem. I think also that it is desirable to offer to some persons the opportunity to succeed in an undertaking; for most of us is this secondary, but a few of our fellow humans cannot be happy without this opportunity and the whole of society benefits from it when some conditions are satisfied. Economic planning of the Soviet kind does not offer to the labour class anything concrete to better their life: it is a form of control, but an inefficient one.

My system reserves few space for “bureaucratic-state-type decision making”; enterprises are free to manage themselves. The Fund would be an important institution, but not more bureaucratic than existing pension funds.

The “circuit” present in my proposition is the well-known economic circuit. Enterprises buy factors of production and sell goods. Households buy goods and sell factors of production (mainly labour). This inescapable circuit rules every social system from common hunting in primitive communities to capitalism or socialism. Revenue from selling goods goes to firms that use it to go on producing, so creating income for factors labour and capital; and “my” big social progress is that you and I will participate not only in labour but also collectively in capital.

What you call “the private sector”, in “my” system, would be better termed “the mixed sector”, because the main capitalist is the Community Fund.

Why not a SIMPLE universal basic income? Because, as Marx, I think that property is at the heart of economy. Without collective property, the man in the street has nothing to oppose to capitalists. Property is the strongest advantage in the contradiction between classes. Without property, the State and the labour class can only beg to capitalists.
#15181515
Monti wrote:
One major error made by many socialists, especially Marxists, is to underestimate the economic qualities of capitalism. Even if we do not like it, we must admit that its result is impressive.



Capitalism is inherently good at organizing within conditions of *scarcity*, due to its overall 'optimization' quality -- but once *abundance* has been reached (which happens *quickly*), then it actually becomes *counterproductive* because it *needs* conditions of scarcity in which to work, and will *destroy* components in the system (through warfare, offshoring, etc.), in order to get to conditions of *artificial* scarcity so that the logic of the *exchange values* balances-out on paper.

For example what good is capitalism -- these days -- when overproduction has yielded so much availability that prices are low, even for wages? Labor -- people willing to work -- is so abundantly available that its price, wages, is low, meaning that people then don't have *money* from wages with which to partake in the economy of low prices and high availability. Everything just kind of grinds down to a halt, even though there's plenty of stuff produced and plenty of people who would *like* to partake of the stuff, but who are 'surplus labor' themselves.


Monti wrote:
Moreover, it seems obvious that such productivity is unachievable by a planning system. This is the main reason why “my” system preserves various elements of a market economy. True, capitalism generates crises, but an adequate regulation, that right-wing governments dislike, could temper this problem. I think also that it is desirable to offer to some persons the opportunity to succeed in an undertaking; for most of us is this secondary, but a few of our fellow humans cannot be happy without this opportunity and the whole of society benefits from it when some conditions are satisfied. Economic planning of the Soviet kind does not offer to the labour class anything concrete to better their life: it is a form of control, but an inefficient one.



Fortunately I'm not a Stalinist, and so I don't advocate any kind of bureaucratic elitism -- a separatist specialized professional administrative elite that purportedly makes the right economic 'blueprint' for all of society.

Capitalist productivity *is* impressive, but then we have to ask 'Who is it *for*?' -- if stuff is produced but then just sits around, unused, then what was the point of producing it in the *first* place?

What's needed is *workers power*, because they're the ones who are actually producing the stuff, but, under capitalism, they're inappropriately *stripped* of political power, such as the say-so over their own labor and what they produce.


Monti wrote:
My system reserves few space for “bureaucratic-state-type decision making”; enterprises are free to manage themselves. The Fund would be an important institution, but not more bureaucratic than existing pension funds.



Your 'Fund' would simply have a *reinforcing* and *accelerative* effect on the economy, due to its size.


Monti wrote:
The “circuit” present in my proposition is the well-known economic circuit. Enterprises buy factors of production and sell goods. Households buy goods and sell factors of production (mainly labour). This inescapable circuit rules every social system from common hunting in primitive communities to capitalism or socialism. Revenue from selling goods goes to firms that use it to go on producing, so creating income for factors labour and capital; and “my” big social progress is that you and I will participate not only in labour but also collectively in capital.



Again, though, you're placing all of your hopes, and even 'faith', in the healthy functioning of capitalism, yet we know that the *dynamics* of capitalist functioning are far from sound. There's constant *overproduction*, *overextension* of capital and its leveraging, and an overimportance of social function for the role of finance / capital.

Just look at how *depersonalizing* you're allowing capital to get, here, with a *fetishizing* of its social role -- if this functioning of capital, as 'lifeblood', falters at all, as it has in 2019, 2020, and now 2021, then our overdependence on it and its fragility becomes apparent to all, with resulting *slowdowns* necessary for 'economic maintenance'.

I can simply counterpose, to your 'capitalist circuit', the political economy of 'a landscape of piles of stuff', meaning that *everything* could be in 'the commons', for workers to *replenish* local piles of stuff, with their labor, or not, depending on how all of society consciously *decides* to use stuff from all of the piles in socially constructive ways.

This post-capitalist approach replaces the capitalist 'hands-off' market mechanism, with a mass-conscious 'hands-on' *social* mechanism, so that nothing is ever again 'accidental' or a 'market failure'.


Monti wrote:
What you call “the private sector”, in “my” system, would be better termed “the mixed sector”, because the main capitalist is the Community Fund.

Why not a SIMPLE universal basic income? Because, as Marx, I think that property is at the heart of economy. Without collective property, the man in the street has nothing to oppose to capitalists. Property is the strongest advantage in the contradiction between classes. Without property, the State and the labour class can only beg to capitalists.



*Or*, why should there be *any* private property *at all* -- ?

You're showing the lengths and convolutions that you have to *go* to, to *retain* the social practice of private property. Once the interests and concerns of private property are *discarded* and left to the wayside, people would be free to refocus on what *matters* to them -- their own lives and direct interactions with the larger society and material world. Under *capitalism* everything of social significance always has to be through the impersonal intermediary of 'the markets', or of 'capital accumulations', which is thoroughly *disempowering* and *alienating*.

Whose world *is* it, anyway -- the *people's* world, or that of capital intermediaries.

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