The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

Tags: Communism, socialism

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It would, indeed, be a bit odd to include Marx, a philosopher, with a list of rulers...

The real question though is whether the philosopher didn't think it through far enough to see problems inherent (i.e., that will inevitably arise) in what he advocated, given that real people would have to adopt the system, and they live in a real world where sometimes things just go wrong, up to and including things we still quaintly refer to as "acts of god."

The mistake might be of the same order of seriousness as forgetting to design bathrooms into an office building, but much more subtle because the philosopher is working at a much higher level of abstraction.

"In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat."

I think he had a pretty decent idea, it's not exactly a secret that people tend to object if you take stuff they consider theirs. Socialists in general don't mind a few broken eggs if they want an omelette, and it's quite easy to dismiss traitors in any event. Marx offered little in terms of concrete policy (even less than Romney!) and merely presented general ideas often based on extrapolating and interpreting the past into the future. The groundwork for implementation was in large part made by Lenin, though a number of others have also worked on that aspect, chief among them Mao and Trotsky. 

Or twenty years ago forgetting to design conduits for wiring the many computers that would be required in the new main public library in San Francisco.

That design flaw made it into the newspapers.

Hey Tom,

Are you serious? I never heard that. Incredible. I could see it up here in Petaluma, but SF surprises me,

- kk

Marx had a list of rulers?

Hey Unseen,

No, he's saying that the list included rulers and Marx as not one; neither was Hegel.

- kk

A few even say democracy is socialism. Real democracy (not the seriously limited American kind) might lead to a form of socialism: employee ownership of their workplaces.

(I am going to give this another try--mainly because you said something spot-on a few posts above.)

You've said this before.  I can think of about six or seven different things that statement could actually mean.  Last time I read you saying this it certainly did look like you were saying that democracy was socialism, now you are implying otherwise.  Would you care to elaborate?  As I understand the term "democracy" is simply a specific method of political decision making, rarely pure in practice; how will that necessarily lead to everyone owning their employer?  Or is that not what you are saying?  (Or is that not how you conceive of "democracy"?)  And by the way what is "real" democracy?  (From what you've said earlier it's not pure unrestrained democracy, or did I misunderstand you?)

As Unseen pointed out, regardless of the mode of political decision making, when people are free to make at least some of their own economic choices, a business model where employees own shares in their employer is not at all unheard of.  (It's even more common for employees to own some of the shares of their employers (which certainly is quite different) most 401ks have an option to buy the company stock, some in fact ONLY have that option.)

As a semi-aside, employees directly owning--as shareholders sharing in the profit--the company they work for is a quite different animal from the government owning all the places people work, and "the people" electing the government (the traditional definition of socialism as I understand it).  Control is a LOT more diffuse then from the standpoint of the individual, he has a sub-microscopic share in the the control of a lot of enterprises which he is totally ignorant ("Hey Joe, what do you think that mine in Montana ought to do about..."  "Why the fuck are you asking me? I work in a grocery in Ohio!")--rather than a somewhat larger share of control of his specific place of work, which he knows a great deal about; many aspects far better than a traditional company owner possibly could. ("Hey that's the fourth time that goddamn truck #11 has broken down, you think it's a lemon and should we buy a new one?" "I dunno, that's awfully expensive...")  [Of course we know that there would be a manager who will actually make the decisions, but presumably he would have to listen to the owners from time to time!]   [The traditional socialist model, BTW, is what I thought you were trying to advocate earlier.]

It should be noted that owning shares in the company you work for is risk perverse. If the company goes belly up you lose your income and savings. 

If the company does well, my income and savings, and those of the other owners, do well.

BTW, what kind of risk verse is doing well?

The problem with that statement is that around half of companies go bankrupt within 3 years of startup, and very few companies survive for more than 50 years. Problem is, you can't know ex-ante which company will thrive, and which will fail. That's why you should diversify.

Averse is doing very well. 


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