Understanding Socialism

Posted by  $  Solver 3 months, 3 weeks ago to Philosophy
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In seven and a half minutes, Bill Whittle tells some tells some great easy to understand stories showing what does and does not drive people’s strong desire for socialism.

https://youtu.be/McZdgBPkmEE


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  • Posted by  $  25n56il4 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    We don't need a study. When children have to sell scrap iron for 17 cents to feed their family and women have to whore themselves to feed their babies, that does it for me.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      I have read in a book entitled Eighth Moon by someone who escaped from Red China, that there was a period during which people were expected to manufacture scrap metal in yards. She said, "I had turns at all three shifts." But I believe the book said that eventually the manufactured scrap metal was thrown away as no good.
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  • Posted by  $  mminnick 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Someone should do a full case study on the disintegration of the Venezualian econy under socialist rule. I don't have the total information I would need but I'm sure someone out there does. It would be very interesting to compare it with the other socialist failures over taime and across space.
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    • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      The disintegration began when Chavez decided he didn't like the idea of sharing oil profits with the American companies that provided the expertise to produce the oil. He nationalized the oil industry and threw the American experts out.

      Like most socialist giveaways, his decision worked, for a little while. The extra cash made it possible to dump lots of money into welfare projects. In fact he was so pleased with the result of his decision, he set about nationalizing all the industries that were partnered with Americans, to pull even more cash into the government, and it worked, for a while.

      The problem nationalization created was that there were no indigenous experts to keep all these industries running. In short order, drilling rigs and pumps started breaking down, with no one to repair them. Oil production slowed, and profits shrank. Even native experts with operating knowledge were shoved aside, in favor of Chavez cronies, only making the situation worse.

      Jobs started disappearing, requiring Chavez to increase welfare expenditures. Then he became ill with cancer, and made one of his worst decisions by selecting Maduro to take over until he recovered. Maduro's only working experience had been as a bus driver, until he caught Chavez's eye, and was brought into the team.

      Chavez dying was the final blow for Venezuela, as the trust and agreements he had secured that enabled him to continue down the path of "Bolivarian" socialism was gone. Everyone knew Maduro was an incompetent. Chavez had tolerated some opposition, but Maduro knew nothing about how to play political games, and became heavy-handed, turning Venezuela into a police state. Maduro began frantically trying to gain control of all commercial activity, ignorant of the fact that centralized market control always fails. That sent the economy into an accelerated fall, so Maduro next tried to change the value of the nation's currency, making it essentially worthless.

      This is the story for socialism. A lack of understanding of what makes a market work inevitably leads to disaster. The European countries that Sanders points to as "democratic" socialism are not socialist at all. They're capitalist welfare states.
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      • Posted by  $  3 months, 2 weeks ago
        This reads a bit like the cultural regression in, “Altas Shrugged.”
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        • Posted by  $  mminnick 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          The adoption of Socialism is cultural regression of the worst kind - government imposition on lower and lower living standards and all associated features of a society.
          Creates more and more looters until everybody is one with no one left to produce any worthwhile product or and produt at all.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    I like how he tricks you into having a little bit of socialist impulse with the narrative of the bonus checks. When I was in my 20s, if that had happened to me, I would have continued feeling the envy. I felt a bit of it as many of my colleagues made a million dollars on options by luck of working for small cap companies in frothy industries. But if it had happened where everyone in my office got more bonus than I did, I would definitely have been annoyed. I still feel that impulse, but I would not be annoyed now. I've been on the other side writing those checks. They're not magical. Sometimes the boss is wrong or his own reasons for doing what he does. I now have the equanimity to be happy with the deal I have or happy to go look for another deal but never doing a deal or working a job grudgingly. I like the story, though, because if I listen to it and imagine in happening, it would stoke a little of that socialist envy on a visceral level.

    I think the video should have ended there before he went off and used SJW without irony.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    When I started going to business school in 1970 (the school took bankruptcy after a few months), I started my carhop's job at night at approximately the same time. The school was run by a married couple. I heard the female
    teacher bragging , "I never tip." She said management should pay the waitresses "a decent wage'. Now she did not say the government should do anything about it, but I think this is the idea held by a lot of people. They want mandatory minimum wage, and taxation for a welfare state, but actually tip anybody with their own money?! Ha ha! (By the way, I think tips should be earned, by taking out the food extra fast, offering to hand things to the customer, etc., not just given automatically).Still, there is a lot of this attitude on the part of altruists, for instance, the customers who hand out religious tracts as substitutes for tips.
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  • Posted by  $  3 months, 3 weeks ago
    The collectivist mindset can famously be summed up with what Obama said in 2012,

    “If you got a business, you didn’t build that.”

    Of course Obama wasn’t talking about your business was he? He was talking about roads and bridges, right? “That” roads and bridges.
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    • -2
      Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      It's a tribute to how amazing President Obama was that his critics still dig up this one poorly-phrased statement all these years later.
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      • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        It wasn't just one poorly-phrased statement. It was a rallying cry, liberals all over used it. Elizabeth Warren prominently made it:

        "“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."

        It was not a mistake, it was a deliberately framed attack on capitalism. It's the underlying argument why they own the fruits of your labor.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          And interesting that when she said "the rest of us", she did not include the factory builders who had also paid for the roads, etc.
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          • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 2 weeks ago
            Also, if you don't have the factory (or business) you don't need a road to it, you don't need anyone to protect it, you don't need anyone on call to put out a fire, and you don't have anyone to tax to provide all those services you wouldn't need.
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          I probably disagree with wherever Warren was going with that, but she's correct. There are some "public goods," i.e. things that are non-excludable. It's reasonable that someone might not want to pay for police patrol, preferring to provide her own protection and take more risk, but there's no way to allow people who want police presence to pay for it while not providing it to those who don't want it. It's the same thing with reducing air pollution.

          I think we should try to privatize these things where possible.. Maybe roads could be partially privatized and paid by supply and demand, so there would never be traffic jams. The price would go up until demand = carrying capacity of the roads. At one time there was only one phone company and one cable TV company, and now there's competition. So public goods can be privatized.

          The fact that there are public goods ,though, is not in itself an attack on capitalism. The quote is stating fact. Coming from Warren, though, she was likely using it to make a socialistic point.
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 2 weeks ago
            As to police protection, that could be made pretty simple. Once the government was chopped down to its proper functions (which are mighty few), the Law Enforcement Fee could be financed by something like the present sales tax, although voluntary; the stores could pay a percentage (and nearly everyone goes to the store), and once registered and having paid the initial fee, would receive a sticker to put in the window , like the present inspection sticker on a car; if the owner did not agree to pay, he would not be given such a sticker (which would also warn the public that that store was not receiving any police protection); and, if such an owner's store were invaded or robbed, the police would not come to the owner's rescue, because the address would be in the computer as belonging to one who had refused to finance the government. (Under such a system, refusers would be quite few; most would be glad to have such an insurance against crime, especially as their money would not be thrown away on education they did not believe in, art they regarded as blasphemous, studies on mating habits of the fruit fly, etc). As to the Federal government, the national functions (such as Supreme Court, and the armed services) could be financed by a percentage of whatever was in each state's coffers (perhaps 25%), and a man would know that when he paid his Law Enforce-
            ment Fee he was also paying for national defense.
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            • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
              National defense could be reduced by having a militia that's only mobilized for training and if an emergency occurs. I don't know how the voluntarily funded police would work, but I like trying radical ideas. The biggest problem I see is a lot of the benefit of having police isn't when you call them but criminals knowing they're there. So the people not buying the sticker would get collateral protection. The same is true, though, from everyone getting protection from criminals knowing many law-abiding citizens are armed; and we don't try to charge people for that protection. So I like experimenting, in a cautious way, with radical ideas like this.
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              • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 1 week ago
                I think it would still be better to have national defense by having Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, still well-trained and ready, even in peacetime. Even so, the money (under the system I advocate) would not be thrown away on so many things it is now, so there would probably be enough for it.
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                • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
                  Yes. Relying totally on a citizen militia is "concept car" that would never be practical on the road. They couldn't do missile defense, for example. I just think we should trend in that direction, slowly dismantling the military industrial complex, allowing it to retool for whatever peaceful civilian business purposes. That would mean that when some atrocity happens in Syria, we wouldn't be able to do much. We would be upset if bad guys like ISIS took over. We would have citizens' faith-based and secular humanitarian groups doing what we can. We'd have a great country with liberty and opportunity that people could look to as a model. But if you come here to attack, we all have guns and equipment, and we don't wait helplessly for the authorities to act. The army of citizens would be everywhere.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        He was pretty amazing all right. So amazing that now that Donald Trump is President we actually have a working economy, fewer people on food stamps, more full-time jobs, low unemployment despite the addition of people who had dropped out under Obama, unrest in the Middle East is down, Chinese aggression in the South China Sea is down, Chinese pirating of IP is down, terrorism is down in the US. And I should note that bureaucratic costs are down under Trump (when they had skyrocketed under Obama), we got the pipelines built, domestic energy production now provides enough that we are a net exporter, the IRS is no longer targeting opposing political groups, the EPA is no longer slow-rolling developments and opposing everything the Green Lobby asks them to.

        Oh, but immigration is a huge problem - thanks to Obama and the Dems. Oh, and now we're finding out that Obama's Justice Department was involved in spying on Trump during the election. Yup - Obama was just so amazing... [/sarcasm]
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        • -2
          Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          I think all this is nonsense. President Trump doesn't get credit for the expansion and all the things that go with it anymore than President Obama does. The same goes for the recession of 08-09 and President Bush. They had nothing to do with it.

          The one thing politicians stand to blame for is the borrowing. I thought the $400 billion a year when Obama was president was staggering. I never imagined it would double in such a short time. It's a problem that will lead to a mini-crisis, one that would be easier to address before it materializes. Getting back to Obama-era deficits would be a huge improvement.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
            You're welcome to think whatever you wish. The facts are that the economy sucked under Obama because of Democrat policies. Now we're under Republican policies and the economy is doing well. Those are indisputable facts - not opinions or wishful thinking. And let's think about just exactly what happened that turned things around?

            1. Tax breaks. Lowering the tax rates gave everyone more money to spend the way they wanted to.
            2. Tax breaks enable lower prices for business goods and services.
            3. Less regulation means lower regulatory costs (which get passed on to consumers) and better business flexibility.
            4. Regulation rollback means less control by the bureaucratic state.

            These are all policies which Democrats - led by Obama - put in place which were then reversed under Trump and the Republicans.

            I agree with you that the borrowing is still a huge problem, but again, most of the obstruction to lowering borrowing is being led - again - by Democrats. This is especially true in the Senate where they continue to use the filibuster to block votes on any bills they don't approve of. So while there are a minority of Republicans who have gone along with the Democrats, this is a problem caused and owned by the Democrats.
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            • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
              "The facts are that the economy sucked under Obama because of Democrat policies. "
              I think there's no bit of truth to that. The recession of '08-09 was not caused by politics. The recovery and expansion following the recession were not caused by politics. We're due for a recession, and it won't be anyone's fault.

              Regarding the last paragraph, I couldn't care much less who gets the blame. I don't get any benefit from their games. I am not surprised politicians have found a way to increase borrowing, spending, and gov't intrusiveness. I just wish there were some way they clone Obama and at least get half way back there, not even all the way, but just cut spending and borrowing to levels between 2016 and now.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months ago
                Uh, you don't qualify the policies of the Federal Reserve to prop up massive borrowing by the Federal Government a political decision? You don't call the Government bailout of Fannie and Freddie after they were used to prop up sub-prime mortgage lending under Bill Clinton a political decision? You don't call the government's threatening of the major banks to go along with the bailout a political decision?

                Good grief, man! Political policies set the stage for everything that happens in an economy. Higher taxes lead to the recession - higher taxes that were introduced by a Democratic Congress under Bush and exacerbated under Obama. Then what happened when the Republicans and Trump slashed taxes? The economy came roaring back. The EXACT same thing happened under Carter (who with Democrats raised taxes leading directly to a recession) and then Reagan (who slashed taxes despite Democrats which led to an economic boom).

                And we don't even have to look at the US to see this. What is happening in France under Macron? Riots and protests in the streets because of gasoline taxes - a public policy decision. Europe's crime rates have skyrocketed since they took an open borders position - a public policy. I can't figure out whether you are playing devil's advocate or willfully blind because there are heaps upon heaps of evidence of public policy decisions and how they affect the economy.

                "Regarding the last paragraph, I couldn't care much less who gets the blame."

                Obviously not, because you keep voting for the primary perpetrators of bad policy.
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                • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
                  My claim is those political decisions do not make or break the economy.

                  You are also factually incorrect about your timing of the economic cycle, but this is moot because I don't accept the opinion that these political decisions are responsible for the economic cycle.

                  Consider your example of bank bailouts in 08-09. I can accept they caused the recession of 08-09 to end faster and the expansion following it to get going faster. They came at the cost of moral hazard and govt debt taking the place of bank deleveraging. I find political games to assign blame and credit to be beyond asinine. The banking system is structured such that we prime the pump with fiscal policy, get malinvestment, have another crisis, and then do another round of monetary and fiscal stimulus.... fiscal stimulus that will only be possible as long as the USD remains the reserve currency of the world. I think crypto-currencies will supplant it fast. At any rate, this is just an unstable system. It's not the first unstable system I've seen as an engineer, and it's not the first time I've seen people spend their efforts on blaming one another instead of working the problem.

                  I try to be a stoic and kind person, but I have strong contempt for people responding to an unstable inefficient system with creative narratives to blame one another instead of working the problem. In addition to your timeline being factually wrong about when the recessions/expansions occurred, I find the blame-oriented narratives surrounding them as loathsome as Ayn Rand villains.
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                  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months ago
                    Last question: were the choices of Hugo Chavez responsible for plunging Venezuela into its current socioeconomic crisis?
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                    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
                      "were the choices of Hugo Chavez responsible for plunging Venezuela into its current socioeconomic crisis?"
                      Yes
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                      • Posted by  $  blarman 2 months, 4 weeks ago
                        Those were political choices which had social and economic consequences for his entire nation - dire ones which have plunged what was once and should still be be a prosperous nation into chaos and financial ruin.

                        The fact is that political leaders can have a tremendous influence on a nation's prosperity. To ignore this fact is to ignore reality. Such a denier of reality will also be unwilling to place responsibility on those making those (poor) decisions in the first place.
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                        • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                          Yes. It's somewhat simplistic, but look at other similar countries in the region, countries that have less oil wealth. Their production is going up, while Venezuela is a disaster.
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  • Posted by Robert_B 3 months, 1 week ago
    To combat AOC and Bernie leading the national effort toward socialism, we need to cut it off at its roots: the concept of the 1 percent. If I understand the video, it clearly demonstrates there is a certain percentage of people who benefit from socialism. The socialists would have you believe that it is more than half due to "concentration of wealth". But, as we all know, after the 1% are stripped of their wealth, there will be the 2%. The 2% will be comprised of the original 1% and the next 1%, and so on until 50 percent of the population has been taxed to give 50 percent of the total income to the lower 50 percent. What socialists don't admit is that the total is not fixed, but increases tremendously due to competition and free trade. And since it would be unreasonable to expect the top 50 percent to work for more than their new pay, it means that 100 percent of the people would make double what the lower 50 percent originally made. In the US assume the median income is 35,000. Also consider the total taxable income divided by the number of total tax returns is about 72,000. As you can see, on the whole, the total amount of income would drop by about 50 percent. So, you would have all people in the US living on half of the income if we all were paid by the median. That would result in financial ruin since neither the government nor the banks would be able to pay a debt or float a loan. And this would result -- of course -- in physical compulsion (i.e. force) waged by those privileged to be sanctioned by a socialist government -- with guns.
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  • Posted by  $  25n56il4 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    These 'Would be Socialists' are going to need oxygen if their health bill should happen to pass. They, too, will be waiting in line and looking for a doctor. And the insurance people who lose their jobs will know who to vote for, if they don't already. It might last a few minutes longer than O'BamaCare.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Me dino liked the start of the video with what looked like the business end of a flaring flamethrower followed by the constant backdrop of what made me think of a once thriving for business Venezuelan sea port on fire in the dark of night.
    That very well symbolizes the end game of socialism to me.
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