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Communism and Capitalism: True Opposites?

Politesse

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Just some hurried thoughts in between numerous meetings, so bear with me if this is a bit jumbled.

I've been listening to a lot of US news lately, owing to the resumption of my long commute and the fact that talk radio is the only bearable option on the dial. One of my local stations does conservative commentary in the morning, liberal in the afternoon. Something has struck me about the way "capitalism" and "socialism" are used in daily discourse, namely that they are entirely inconsistent in their definitions. And I don't just mean the obvious, that the two "parties" interpret these things differently. I mean that even the same speaker will seem to use one of these words differently depending on the situation. Sometimes "Capitalism" is spoken of as a sort of force, for instance, maybe even an agent with a will of its own that defies the expectations or intentions of those connected to it. Other times, it is spoken of as though it were a question of government policy; that a nation-state has to both choose and continually create it in order to exist, and they could change their mind at any time given that they have the desire. Sometimes it is a relational entity, a broker of sorts between socioeconomic classes, while at other times it is a purely material entity, whose relevance is controlled not by class but by individual attainment. Similarly, socialism seems to wear an awful lot of masks, as I'm sure anyone who has read this far into the thread already knows, as we spar about it on this forum frequently.

But..

I did notice one extremely consistent semiotic trend, and that is how they are positioned relative to one another. It seems to me that there is a key metaphor, a master plan of economic potential, that is present whenever Americans are talking about money and government, and that is the construct of Capitalism vs. Communism. The impression one might get is that there are essentially two possible extremes into which a modern economy might fall, with CAPITALISM occupying one far end, and COMMUNISM occupying the other. Countries and communities seem to be placed on a sliding scale somewhere in between these two extremes regardless of whether they had either philosophy in mind when their system was designed, or whether it was consciously designed at all. "Socialism" floats in the symbolic space in between the extremes, drifting closer or farther away from the communist end depending on who the speaker is and more crucially what they are talking about. This is treated as a scalar but antonymic binary; while you might not belong to a "pure" category, nevertheless the more Capitalist you are, the less Communist you are, and vice versa, in all possible cases. Socialism from a semantic point of view allows for navigation of the middle ground without violation of the binary, much as we invent new terms to navigate the space between other perceived binaries such as gender or moral conduct. Regardless of political or philosophical sympathy, this basic metaphor seems to be almost universally used.

Some possible questions for discussion:

1. What the hell are Capitalism and Communism? Do they exist in tangible, quantitative reality or are they categorical constructs whose purpose is primarily discursive? Is all of this Marx's fault for offering a compelling model for talking about economies?

2. Am I right about the way Americans tend to construct the key metaphor of economic life? For residents of other places, does this hold true for the way other nations discuss economies?

3. Are these true opposites? Is one, in fact, capitalist only and exactly to the extent that one is not communist, and vice versa? (examples: Does China necessarily become "less communist" if it encourages free market activity? Does the U.S. become "more communist" every time it introduces a new market regulation?)

4. What should we do with "socialism"?
 
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rousseau

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1. What the hell are Capitalism, Communism, and Socialism? Do they exist in tangible, quantitative reality or are they categorical constructs whose purpose is primarily discursive?

That. To properly answer this question you'd need an essay, but in short I don't think the term 'capitalism' actually points to anything besides maybe being a kind of indicator of who we are. People capitalize, the result is often economies where we don't discourage capitalizing. Whereas socialism is a kind of ideal - who we want to be - that's been set forth by the Marxist tradition, reality be damned.

In practice these terms don't come close to encapsulating what's actually happening, and are usually used politically by people who spend their weekends watching Netflix, and who haven't been in a library since elementary school.

2. Am I right about the way Americans tend to construct the key metaphor of economic life? For residents of other places, does this hold true for the way other nations discuss economies?

I'd say yes

3. Are these true opposites? Is one, in fact, capitalist only and exactly to the extent that one is not communist, and vice versa?

That seems to be the way the dichotomy is framed, and what exists in the overton window right now. But I'd say the reality is much more complex.

For starters, communism is a nonsense idea and shouldn't exist in our discourse at all. And the term capitalism needs much more subtlety as to what it actually is, and how it arises, and what genuine alternatives are.

4. What should we do with "socialism"?

Not sure what you mean here.
 

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1. What the hell are Capitalism and Communism? Do they exist in tangible, quantitative reality or are they categorical constructs whose purpose is primarily discursive? Is all of this Marx's fault for offering a compelling model for talking about economies?
If we ignore how people misuse the terms:

... Capitalism is an economic system in which individuals own and control businesses (means of production according to Marx).

... Socialism is an economic system in which all businesses (means of production according to Marx) are owned and controlled by the government.

... Communism is Marx's wet dream where socialism evolves into a system where government dissolves and vanishes leaving all means of production to be shared by the people communally with no private ownership and no controlling government.
 
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rousseau

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1. What the hell are Capitalism and Communism? Do they exist in tangible, quantitative reality or are they categorical constructs whose purpose is primarily discursive? Is all of this Marx's fault for offering a compelling model for talking about economies?
If we ignore how people misuse the terms:

... Capitalism is an economic system in which individuals own and control businesses (means of production according to Marx).

... Socialism is an economic system in which all businesses (means of production according to Marx) are owned and controlled by the government.

... Communism is Marx's wet dream where socialism evolves into a system where government dissolves and vanishes leaving all means of production to be shared by the people communally with no private ownership and no controlling government.

My qualm with the definitions: yes, these are the meanings of the the terms as usually used, but they're all simplistic, pseudo-scientific, and not representative of how our economies spring forth, what they are, or how they persist. So we shouldn't be debating what these terms mean, we should completely do away with them as meaningful to modern discourse.

Unfortunately they're what's set the framework on how people normally understand economics, and it's nauseating.
 

rousseau

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On a broader, philosophical level those who like capitalism are actually those who prefer to acquire wealth at the expense of others, those who like socialism are those who prefer to spread resources at the expense of the individual. Both of these philosophies are essential to human nature - on one hand acquiring resources to raise offspring is literally what it means to be a living thing. On the other hand, spreading resources among a community creates the conditions for individuals to excel.

So there's a tension there and society works the best when both forces are balanced, which is actually what we see in most nations with a normal history.
 

steve_bank

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The basic dichotomy is the emphsos on individual rights, ownership of peoperty/goods, and the nature of the economy. There are no black and white examples. In the USA we consider France socialist. Govt is a shaeholer in major business.


Free market capitalism – Private ownership of propert, manufacturing, busness, and cpital. Individual rightsn over the state. Little govt interferunce in busness.

Communiam – Common ownership of the means of production. Profit does not exisr. Stae/tribe over the individual’ The Ruddian and Chinese experiments in communism. Production, wages, and prices set by the state. North Korea is a prime economic example.

Socialism – A mixed economy. China today is more socialist than communist. The state controls the economy with some individualeterprise and ownership of property. International Chinese athlets are not permitted to keep all theur easrnings.
 

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3. Are these true opposites? Is one, in fact, capitalist only and exactly to the extent that one is not communist, and vice versa? (examples: Does China necessarily become "less communist" if it encourages free market activity? Does the U.S. become "more communist" every time it introduces a new market regulation?)
No, no, yes, and no. Capitalism and communism are just two kinds of economy; there are many others. For example, there are feudalism, other kinds of slave-based production, hunting and gathering, slash and burn agriculture, caste systems, and mercantilism. They all conflict with one another to various extents, so your economy becoming more of type A generally makes it less of type B, but the converse doesn't follow -- becoming less of type A doesn't need to make it more of type B since it might instead be becoming more of type C. When the U.S. introduces a new market regulation it usually makes us more mercantilist, not more communist.
 

Bomb#20

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On a broader, philosophical level those who like capitalism are actually those who prefer to acquire wealth at the expense of others
This is an insulting story opponents of capitalism tell themselves about those who like capitalism, to justify looking down on us, much like "Atheists are actually those who are mad at God." It has a certain logic to it from the point of view of the accusers' world-view, much as Christians who imagine they see evidence for God everywhere they look are dumbfounded at how anyone could genuinely be an atheist, and therefore need a psychological explanation for unbelievers. The corresponding false premise at the center of many anticapitalists' worldview is the intuitive conviction that economics is a zero-sum game and consequently acquiring wealth is necessarily at the expense of others. This is so subconsciously wired into many people's mentality that they're dumbfounded at how anyone could genuinely disagree with it. So they logically infer that those who like the acquisition of wealth like doing it at the expense of others. But it isn't true. Just as there isn't really evidence for God anywhere Christians look, economics isn't really a zero-sum game. The whole point of capitalism is to invent and implement win-win solutions.
 
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rousseau

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On a broader, philosophical level those who like capitalism are actually those who prefer to acquire wealth at the expense of others
This is an insulting story opponents of capitalism tell themselves about those who like capitalism, to justify looking down on us, much like "Atheists are actually those who are mad at God." It has a certain logic to it from the point of view of the accusers' world-view, much as Christians who imagine they see evidence for God everywhere they look are dumbfounded at how anyone could genuinely be an atheist, and therefore need a psychological explanation for unbelievers. The corresponding false premise at the center of many anticapitalists' worldview is the intuitive conviction that economics is a zero-sum game and consequently acquiring wealth is necessarily at the expense of others. This is so subconsciously wired into many people's mentality that they're dumbfounded at how anyone could genuinely disagree with it. So they logically infer that those who like the acquisition of wealth like doing it at the expense of others. But it isn't true. Just as there isn't really evidence for God anywhere Christians look, economics isn't really a zero-sum game. The whole point of capitalism is to invent and implement win-win solutions.
Ok, I'll grant you this. My 'philosophies' were a bit simplistic, but they point toward a central point that you didn't address.
 

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1. What the hell are Capitalism and Communism? Do they exist in tangible, quantitative reality or are they categorical constructs whose purpose is primarily discursive? Is all of this Marx's fault for offering a compelling model for talking about economies?
If we ignore how people misuse the terms:

... Capitalism is an economic system in which individuals own and control businesses (means of production according to Marx).

... Socialism is an economic system in which all businesses (means of production according to Marx) are owned and controlled by the government.

... Communism is Marx's wet dream where socialism evolves into a system where government dissolves and vanishes leaving all means of production to be shared by the people communally with no private ownership and no controlling government.

My qualm with the definitions: yes, these are the meanings of the the terms as usually used, but they're all simplistic, pseudo-scientific, and not representative of how our economies spring forth, what they are, or how they persist. So we shouldn't be debating what these terms mean, we should completely do away with them as meaningful to modern discourse.

Unfortunately they're what's set the framework on how people normally understand economics, and it's nauseating.

How so? His post is absolutely correct. How is it "pseudo-scientific"?
 

Harry Bosch

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On a broader, philosophical level those who like capitalism are actually those who prefer to acquire wealth at the expense of others, those who like socialism are those who prefer to spread resources at the expense of the individual. Both of these philosophies are essential to human nature - on one hand acquiring resources to raise offspring is literally what it means to be a living thing. On the other hand, spreading resources among a community creates the conditions for individuals to excel.

So there's a tension there and society works the best when both forces are balanced, which is actually what we see in most nations with a normal history.

I think that what you're missing is that there are many die-hard capitalists scum (like myself) who actually do like to "spread resources around". I'm a big believer that we should be helping to lower barriers, help people up, larger safety net, and etc.
 

rousseau

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On a broader, philosophical level those who like capitalism are actually those who prefer to acquire wealth at the expense of others, those who like socialism are those who prefer to spread resources at the expense of the individual. Both of these philosophies are essential to human nature - on one hand acquiring resources to raise offspring is literally what it means to be a living thing. On the other hand, spreading resources among a community creates the conditions for individuals to excel.

So there's a tension there and society works the best when both forces are balanced, which is actually what we see in most nations with a normal history.

I think that what you're missing is that there are many die-hard capitalists scum (like myself) who actually do like to "spread resources around". I'm a big believer that we should be helping to lower barriers, help people up, larger safety net, and etc.

Ok, I'll address these two posts, but this one first,

As usual I wrote the above post when I was at work and didn't have time to carefully craft my wording. I'm not anti-capitalist, nor do I think people who 'like' capitalism are scum, nor do I think there's anything wrong with capitalism. Bomb#20 presents a perfectly valid point - economics isn't a zero sum game, and these two ideals 'helping people' and 'helping the individual', as you say, aren't mutually exclusive.

The broader point is that we have two competing philosophies - I'll try to word it better - helping the collective versus helping the individual. My argument is that a community of people works best when these two philosophies are balanced. When we do both, not one or the other.

And in practice, this is actually the reality of most nation-states without a disruptive history.

My qualm with the definitions: yes, these are the meanings of the the terms as usually used, but they're all simplistic, pseudo-scientific, and not representative of how our economies spring forth, what they are, or how they persist. So we shouldn't be debating what these terms mean, we should completely do away with them as meaningful to modern discourse.

Unfortunately they're what's set the framework on how people normally understand economics, and it's nauseating.

How so? His post is absolutely correct. How is it "pseudo-scientific"?

This one is a bit more subtle.

I don't think 'capitalist' economies were consciously chosen. There was no actor, or any point of time where people sat back and said - 'we're going to create a capitalist economy'. I don't know the specifics of how the regulatory systems of many capitalist economies arose, but the subtle point is that these regulations were and are just a logical choice given time / circumstances. They were what worked best at the time.

IOW, we didn't choose capitalism, capitalism chose itself. It was just a natural result of communities of people organizing themselves.

On the other hand, socialism and communism in the tradition of Marx is a fantasy, it's an ideal. A great ideal, but a pseudo-scientific one that's not based in reality.

So what this means is that on one hand we have reality - capitalism - and on the other hand we have an intrusion on reality - Marx. So to say it's either or is a false dichotomy. By claiming that communism is a legitimate opposite of capitalism we're trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.

So the definition of capitalism, sure, maybe, but when we prop it up against communism and socialism in the tradition of Marx the conversation is already broken. So my argument is that instead of normalizing communism as something meaningful, we should be doing a better job of understanding what capitalism is, and how to promote it's evolution to suit the needs of the collective. Ideally in a way that actually works.
 

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Ok, I'll address these two posts, but this one first,

As usual I wrote the above post when I was at work and didn't have time to carefully craft my wording. I'm not anti-capitalist, nor do I think people who 'like' capitalism are scum, nor do I think there's anything wrong with capitalism. Bomb#20 presents a perfectly valid point - economics isn't a zero sum game, and these two ideals 'helping people' and 'helping the individual', as you say, aren't mutually exclusive.

The broader point is that we have two competing philosophies - I'll try to word it better - helping the collective versus helping the individual. My argument is that a community of people works best when these two philosophies are balanced. When we do both, not one or the other.

And in practice, this is actually the reality of most nation-states without a disruptive history.

My qualm with the definitions: yes, these are the meanings of the the terms as usually used, but they're all simplistic, pseudo-scientific, and not representative of how our economies spring forth, what they are, or how they persist. So we shouldn't be debating what these terms mean, we should completely do away with them as meaningful to modern discourse.

Unfortunately they're what's set the framework on how people normally understand economics, and it's nauseating.

How so? His post is absolutely correct. How is it "pseudo-scientific"?

This one is a bit more subtle.

I don't think 'capitalist' economies were consciously chosen. There was no actor, or any point of time where people sat back and said - 'we're going to create a capitalist economy'. I don't know the specifics of how the regulatory systems of many capitalist economies arose, but the subtle point is that these regulations were and are just a logical choice given time / circumstances. They were what worked best at the time.

IOW, we didn't choose capitalism, capitalism chose itself. It was just a natural result of communities of people organizing themselves.

On the other hand, socialism and communism in the tradition of Marx is a fantasy, it's an ideal. A great ideal, but a pseudo-scientific one that's not based in reality.

So what this means is that on one hand we have reality - capitalism - and on the other hand we have an intrusion on reality - Marx. So to say it's either or is a false dichotomy. By claiming that communism is a legitimate opposite of capitalism we're trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.

So the definition of capitalism, sure, maybe, but when we prop it up against communism and socialism in the tradition of Marx the conversation is already broken. So my argument is that instead of normalizing communism as something meaningful, we should be doing a better job of understanding what capitalism is, and how to promote it's evolution to suit the needs of the collective. Ideally in a way that actually works.

Good post. I didn't mean to imply that you are calling capitalists "scum". It's pretty common for capitalists to self deprecatingly call themselves scum or capitalist pigs. I agree that capitalism is a natural feature of human systems. It's extremely contrived to give personal/business assets to the government. Incredibly obscenely contrived to further give them to the "collective". We can mold an economies natural capitalist system by determining the right level of regulation, taxation, and safety net to suit the "collective". The key issue here that I was trying to address is that regulation, taxation and safety net work well and are necessary to a strong capitalistic system. Conversely, healthy and productive private enterprises and individual freedom's are not allowed in a socialist system.
 

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^ ^ ^

It is true that Marx's idea of a communist state is an absurd delusion and why I called it Marx's wet dream. However socialism as an economic system has been tried several times. A socialist state only needs a strong central government to confiscate 'the means of production'. Cambodia under Pol Pot is the most extreme example I can think of but then there is the USSR under Stalin, China under Mao, North Korea under the Kims, Cuba under Fidel, and lately there is Venezuela.

Ironically, even Marx thought socialism was a bad system but he saw it as a necessary step to reach his ideal of a communist state.
 
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Politesse

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How so? His post is absolutely correct. How is it "pseudo-scientific"?
That one seems obvious to me; the definitions in question are derived from cultural ideals rather than from empirical observation of any particular really esxisting community. This much is just the basics of the social sciences. It would only, though, become pseudo-science if someone actually claims that these are scientific terms, which no one (I think) has done here.
 

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Apparently people gather together to support one another and to share labor for personal and community benefit, be socialists, without having a 'government' control and regulate it. On the other hand freedom to exploit resources, one of our glorious government's cherished ideals, harms others in the act of such as mining, harvesting timber, controlling water, making money by not serving outliers, etc. We were formed under a social compact. We are free socialists if you like.
 

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How so? His post is absolutely correct. How is it "pseudo-scientific"?
That one seems obvious to me; the definitions in question are derived from cultural ideals rather than from empirical observation of any particular really esxisting community. This much is just the basics of the social sciences. It would only, though, become pseudo-science if someone actually claims that these are scientific terms, which no one (I think) has done here.

Huh? It seems to me that his post pretty much described reality. Most countries are capitalistic, the individuals mostly own the means of production. There many examples of when the government owns the means of production and we generally call these types of countries socialist. And then when socialist countries voluntarily give all means of production to the collective and the government melts away (ergo communism) is a wet dream because it has never happened (and probably never will.)
 

Harry Bosch

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Apparently people gather together to support one another and to share labor for personal and community benefit, be socialists, without having a 'government' control and regulate it. On the other hand freedom to exploit resources, one of our glorious government's cherished ideals, harms others in the act of such as mining, harvesting timber, controlling water, making money by not serving outliers, etc. We were formed under a social compact. We are free socialists if you like.

I don't understand your post completely. Are you saying that there are examples of communist countries? If so, what were they? Or are you describing free socialists? And if so, could you give concrete examples of free socialism?
 

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^ ^ ^

It is true that Marx's idea of a communist state is an absurd delusion and why I called it Marx's wet dream. However socialism as an economic system has been tried several times. A socialist state only needs a strong central government to confiscate 'the means of production'. Cambodia under Pol Pot is the most extreme example I can think of but then there is the USSR under Stalin, China under Mao, North Korea under the Kims, Cuba under Fidel, and lately there is Venezuela.

Ironically, even Marx thought socialism was a bad system but he saw it as a necessary step to reach his ideal of a communist state.

Agreed. The problem is that socialists must install a brutal force in order to steal everyone's stuff. Brutal people never voluntarily give up power. Hence the transition period to communism never happens. Even if it did, there would be a long period of uncertainty and a large power vacuum, that some group would exploit. Indeed, communism is a wet dream...
 
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steve_bank

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All three are both an economic system and a social/political philosophy as to the purpose of govt.

Anarchists oppose any govt, libertarians may accept some govt such as police, capitalists may accept forms of state assistance like unemployment support, communists want cradle to grave support, a utopia of sorts.

Economics is an expression of social philosophy.

People rail ageist the system, but do not shy away from benefitting. Technocrats who make a lot more than the average worker doing easy comfortable software. Hollywood 'progressives' who get obscene rich acting yet are anti capitalists. Bob Dylan got rich as an anti system counter culture icon.

If you accept we all have to work then it is a matter of compensation. In Soviet and Chinese communism a skilled surgeon might not make much more that a taxi driver. That forced equality led to stagnation and a dull authoterian society.

I have seen it first hand, people who start companies. They mortgage homes. Work 24/7 for years.

Only under our free market system could Jobs and Wozniak have started in a gorge and create a global company. The original HP stared in a SF garage.

Capitalism today is not 19th century capitalism. Owners ruled like aristocrats. Henry Ford.

The idea most anyone can have a retirement IRA is historically new. Money is invested in business to support retirement.

In a broad sense you can say someone at the median income today is far better off than a wealthy person in the early 20th century. House, multiple cars, computers, jet travel, plenty of food and clothing.

You have to look at positives and negatives, Business is comprised of people.

The communist experiments failed miserably. China restructured itself and divested govt of inefficient business. Europe divested a large part of socialism in the Thatcher era.

In terms of standard of living modern free market capitalism is wildly successful. Western investment recued China but they will never acknowledge it. When you say 'busyness makes money at the expense of others' you have to explain.


Up until global warming a UN report said that the global economy was steadily reducing global poverty. A competitive economy is shown to be the best results. The question in the USA today is how far towards socialism we need to go.

We do not want a rigid system where people are not free to choose a path, and we do not want unrestricted capitalism that disregards the betterment of all and the environment. A balance between risk-reward and social stability.
 

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what were they? could you give concrete examples of free socialism?

Jist talking about US history and tradition. Barn raising, most rural co-operatives, many early education setups in US. neighbors bringing in harvests, community bakeries, library systems, fire departments, etc, ect, etc, .... Example still are being created in cities and even within businesses. Bosses who see the need to keep good employees grant space and furnishings for nursery and preschool set ups on site. to have clinics on site, to share fractions of income with workers beyond that which contracted for employment.
 

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All three are both an economic system and a social/political philosophy as to the purpose of govt.

Anarchists oppose any govt, libertarians may accept some govt such as police, capitalists may accept forms of state assistance like unemployment support, communists want cradle to grave support, a utopia of sorts.

I disagree most emphatically.

Capitalism is an economic, not a social philosophy. Democracy is a social, not economic philosophy. Socialism is primary a philosophical sub topic within the range of political philosophies. Communism solves marketing by putting wealth in the hands of the people so it is both economic and political philosophy. Anarchism and libertarianism are primarily political philosophies which some have cobbled to socialism and democracy.

What one does with respect to other persons is political. What one does with others with respect to property is primarily economic.

I see things from the views of Plato, Smith, and Marx.

Early america, for instance, had banks that minted their own money in as small as a community which when later constitutionalized was provided for both state and federal action and control which was settled by Jackson until the early 20th century when the feds brought order to things.
 

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what were they? could you give concrete examples of free socialism?

Jist talking about US history and tradition. Barn raising, most rural co-operatives, many early education setups in US. neighbors bringing in harvests, community bakeries, library systems, fire departments, etc, ect, etc, .... Example still are being created in cities and even within businesses. Bosses who see the need to keep good employees grant space and furnishings for nursery and preschool set ups on site. to have clinics on site, to share fractions of income with workers beyond that which contracted for employment.

You seem to be confusing community cooperation for a national governmental system.
 

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Conservative capitalists and libertarians have the mystical image of a 19th century western ranch owner who needs no one and no help sitting on the porch with his rifle.

Those at the top may think they did it by themselves but they did not. Roads, water, education. The libertarian cognitive dissonance.

The system today I so complex without social programs there will be instability for those at the top. The conservatives in congress are eater posturing or slimly do not grasp the foundation of stability.

here will be a point where people will say what is the point of working if there is no guarnrtee of retirement or loosing a home because of a downturn.

The question is if we will change in a reasoned fashion or if it wull take collapse to evolve to something else.

I was a card carrying member of the free market club as an engineer and saw the positive side. But it is running its course.
 

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^ ^ ^

It is true that Marx's idea of a communist state is an absurd delusion and why I called it Marx's wet dream. However socialism as an economic system has been tried several times. A socialist state only needs a strong central government to confiscate 'the means of production'. Cambodia under Pol Pot is the most extreme example I can think of but then there is the USSR under Stalin, China under Mao, North Korea under the Kims, Cuba under Fidel, and lately there is Venezuela.

Ironically, even Marx thought socialism was a bad system but he saw it as a necessary step to reach his ideal of a communist state.

The capitalism of Marx's time is not the capitalism of today. Life was brutal at the bottom. He thought there would be a world wide uprising,. What happened was democracy and a change to a different form of economics.
According to my poli sci prof Marx is considered the greatest social scientist of all time. He accurately defined the times and the soial economic forces at work.

Whether he was delusional is matter of view. He was corrupted and used by Lennin and Mao. From a Vietnamese I know Ho Chi Min and his successors have been personality cults, as was Mao and Stalin. Communist collectiviz zation dialed, probably due to a central incompact authority and rigid ideology.

There could be communism with a democratic power structure. Common ownership of means of production with leasership chosen by a democ5ratic process.

Modern Is real was founded on the kibitz or collwective. In the 70s I attened a presentation on campus by an Israeli looking for people to summer on a kibutz.

There were agricultural and manufacturing kibutz. The one being presented had individual homes, a common dining hall, a car pool where cars could be checked out, and amenities like a swimming pool. They worked because Israel is small and the kibutz were small and manageable.

There is a US commune that stared in the 70s called t The Farm in Tenn. Stephen Gaskin. Started out as a group of hippies and grew into a successful farm. They opened a school. They went through an evolution of social order from no rules to structure. Out of necessity for order if you had sex you were engaged. If you got pregnant you were married.

It can work on a limited bases.
 

fromderinside

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what were they? could you give concrete examples of free socialism?

Jist talking about US history and tradition. Barn raising, most rural co-operatives, many early education setups in US. neighbors bringing in harvests, community bakeries, library systems, fire departments, etc, ect, etc, .... Example still are being created in cities and even within businesses. Bosses who see the need to keep good employees grant space and furnishings for nursery and preschool set ups on site. to have clinics on site, to share fractions of income with workers beyond that which contracted for employment.

You seem to be confusing community cooperation for a national governmental system.

No. I'm saying governments form organically out of community efforts as well as from constraints on individuals needed for groups of some size to exist or be driven by the strong for control. Those who thought about these factors described what they saw as evident in groups to which they belonged or of which they were aware as natural aspects arising from human nature.
 

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There are many interpretations and definitions based on how you are approaching. What is important is what the menings are as used today refernced to the real world.

China while still being ruled by the Chinese Communist Party has bed describes by the last Chinese leader as socialist.

There are no black and white dichotomies. American capitalism is not really capitalism as defined by Smith. American business gets corporate welfare. Soviet communism was not really communism as predicted by Marx.

Looking at the last 200 years II go with what is observed. Free market capitalism is derived form Laisee Faire capitalism, the idea that best economy is one that is 'hands off' by the ruling powers. Today it associated with intectual and private property rights. The right to keep profits from an invention. In 19th century Britain the crown could take an invention.

Communism is associated with much less private ownership and less ownership of intellectual property. Individual is submerged in the group identity.

Socialism is in the middle. France, the UK. Until the Thatcher era the UK govt controlled major industry like coal. Same with France, I read that the French govt wilds some control as stockholders in major busyness.

It comes down to the level of action and independence of the individual. In the USA no one plans what gets produced, how much, and what it costs. It is based on a dynamic supply and demand.

The communist experiments tried central planning. It led to famine in Russia and China. The last attempt by the Fench givt to control gas prices ended in riots.

Saudi Arabia in its constitution calls itself socialist. They nationalized oil and infrastructure. Most everybody in the country is paid directly or indirectly by the govt from oil. There is little in the way of free enterprise.
 

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If you look at Denmark and its neghbors you will find much more govt support then what you see in the USA. A large scale safety net, as conservatives put it cradle to grave.

Capitalism, socialism, and communism as is today is a reflection of philosophy of the connection between citizen and state.

Bernie Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist. Medicare for all and free education for all.

Our conservatives and libertarians would say no support from govt, no social programs. Some libertarians reject community police and emergency services from taxation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark#Public_policy

Public policy

See also: Flexicurity and Taxation in Denmark

Also related: Taxation in the Faroe Islands and Taxation in Greenland

Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the Danish economy is characterised by extensive government welfare provisions. Denmark has a corporate tax rate of 22% and a special time-limited tax regime for expatriates.[134] The Danish taxation system is broad based, with a 25% value-added tax, in addition to excise taxes, income taxes and other fees. The overall level of taxation (sum of all taxes, as a percentage of GDP) was 46% in 2017.[135] The tax structure of Denmark (the relative weight of different taxes) differs from the OECD average, as the Danish tax system in 2015 was characterized by substantially higher revenues from taxes on personal income and a lower proportion of revenues from taxes on corporate income and gains and property taxes than in OECD generally, whereas no revenues at all derive from social security contributions. The proportion deriving from payroll taxes, VAT, and other taxes on goods and services correspond to the OECD average[136]

As of 2014, 6% of the population was reported to live below the poverty line, when adjusted for taxes and transfers. Denmark has the 2nd lowest relative poverty rate in the OECD, below the 11.3% OECD average.[137] The share of the population reporting that they feel that they cannot afford to buy sufficient food in Denmark is less than half of the OECD average.[137]
Labour market

Like other Nordic countries, Denmark has adopted the Nordic Model, which combines free market capitalism with a comprehensive welfare state and strong worker protection.[138] As a result of its acclaimed "flexicurity" model, Denmark has the freest labour market in Europe, according to the World Bank. Employers can hire and fire whenever they want (flexibility), and between jobs, unemployment compensation is relatively high (security). According to OECD, initial as well as long-term net replacement rates for unemployed persons were 65% of previous net income in 2016, against an OECD average of 53%.[139] Establishing a business can be done in a matter of hours and at very low costs.[140] No restrictions apply regarding overtime work, which allows companies to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.[141] With an employment rate in 2017 of 74.2% for people aged 15–64-years, Denmark ranks 9th highest among the OECD countries, and above the OECD average of 67.8%.[142] The unemployment rate was 5.7% in 2017,[143] which is considered close to or below its structural level.[144]

Economy

Further information: Economy of Denmark, List of companies of Denmark, and List of largest Danish companies

Also related: Economy of the Faroe Islands and Economy of Greenland





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Denmark has a developed mixed economy that is classed as a high-income economy by the World Bank.[111] In 2017 it ranked 16th in the world in terms of gross national income (PPP) per capita and 10th in nominal GNI per capita.[112] Denmark's economy stands out as one of the most free in the Index of Economic Freedom and the Economic Freedom of the World.[113][114] It is the 10th most competitive economy in the world, and 6th in Europe, according to the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report 2018.[115]
 

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If you look at Denmark and its neghbors you will find much more govt support then what you see in the USA. A large scale safety net, as conservatives put it cradle to grave.

Capitalism, socialism, and communism as is today is a reflection of philosophy of the connection between citizen and state.

Bernie Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist. Medicare for all and free education for all.

Our conservatives and libertarians would say no support from govt, no social programs. Some libertarians reject community police and emergency services from taxation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark#Public_policy

Public policy

See also: Flexicurity and Taxation in Denmark

Also related: Taxation in the Faroe Islands and Taxation in Greenland

Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the Danish economy is characterised by extensive government welfare provisions. Denmark has a corporate tax rate of 22% and a special time-limited tax regime for expatriates.[134] The Danish taxation system is broad based, with a 25% value-added tax, in addition to excise taxes, income taxes and other fees. The overall level of taxation (sum of all taxes, as a percentage of GDP) was 46% in 2017.[135] The tax structure of Denmark (the relative weight of different taxes) differs from the OECD average, as the Danish tax system in 2015 was characterized by substantially higher revenues from taxes on personal income and a lower proportion of revenues from taxes on corporate income and gains and property taxes than in OECD generally, whereas no revenues at all derive from social security contributions. The proportion deriving from payroll taxes, VAT, and other taxes on goods and services correspond to the OECD average[136]

As of 2014, 6% of the population was reported to live below the poverty line, when adjusted for taxes and transfers. Denmark has the 2nd lowest relative poverty rate in the OECD, below the 11.3% OECD average.[137] The share of the population reporting that they feel that they cannot afford to buy sufficient food in Denmark is less than half of the OECD average.[137]
Labour market

Like other Nordic countries, Denmark has adopted the Nordic Model, which combines free market capitalism with a comprehensive welfare state and strong worker protection.[138] As a result of its acclaimed "flexicurity" model, Denmark has the freest labour market in Europe, according to the World Bank. Employers can hire and fire whenever they want (flexibility), and between jobs, unemployment compensation is relatively high (security). According to OECD, initial as well as long-term net replacement rates for unemployed persons were 65% of previous net income in 2016, against an OECD average of 53%.[139] Establishing a business can be done in a matter of hours and at very low costs.[140] No restrictions apply regarding overtime work, which allows companies to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.[141] With an employment rate in 2017 of 74.2% for people aged 15–64-years, Denmark ranks 9th highest among the OECD countries, and above the OECD average of 67.8%.[142] The unemployment rate was 5.7% in 2017,[143] which is considered close to or below its structural level.[144]

Economy

Further information: Economy of Denmark, List of companies of Denmark, and List of largest Danish companies

Also related: Economy of the Faroe Islands and Economy of Greenland





Lego bricks are produced by The Lego Group, headquartered in Billund.
Denmark has a developed mixed economy that is classed as a high-income economy by the World Bank.[111] In 2017 it ranked 16th in the world in terms of gross national income (PPP) per capita and 10th in nominal GNI per capita.[112] Denmark's economy stands out as one of the most free in the Index of Economic Freedom and the Economic Freedom of the World.[113][114] It is the 10th most competitive economy in the world, and 6th in Europe, according to the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report 2018.[115]

Well, you're basically describing the size of the safety net. Just because France and Denmark care for their people better doesn't make them socialist or communist. The key issue revolves around freedom and who owns the means of production. In a capitalist system, people have the freedom to own assets. And the majority of companies are privately owned. However, people can also form non-profit companies, employee owned companies, and etc. In the socialist system, people do not have the freedom to own assets. All assets are owned by the rulers as they see fit. In the communist system, all assets are owned by the collective (individual workers) and the rulers are disbanded (must suck for older people - no more retirements!).

I would agree that China is an outlier. I would still describe China as socialist. Yes, they have a vibrant hard-working entrepreneurial class. However, in actuality, all business assets are really owned by the Chinese government.
 

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Socialism as discussed usually refers to the level of community support or welfare, a term which is used by conservatives as a pejoratives.

'socialized medicine'.

The degree of responsibility of the state for individuals and responsibly of individuals for themselves.

To me there main categories have moral, philosophical, and economic boundaries.

The question today is the morality of freewheeling free enterprise system we have. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys built a stadium that ran upwards of one billion. All the while we struggle to pay emergency services and teachers.

Something is going to give. In our system there are little constraints on what you can do with your money. Eventually people will rebel when enough people can not afford housing. There will no loner be buy in to the system.
 

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Socialism as discussed usually refers to the level of community support or welfare, a term which is used by conservatives as a pejoratives.
You are either attacking a straw man or some people's ignorant misuse if the meaning of the term. The most generous welfare systems on the planet are supported by a capitalist economic system... you have pointed out several of them. Under the welfare systems in the current socialist countries, like Venezuela, the welfare recipients receive almost nothing because the government has been incapable of creating wealth to distribute. The difference between the government providing social support system in a capitalist economic system and a socialist economic system is where the government gets the finances to pay for it. In a capitalist system the government gets the financing by taxing those making money. In a socialist system the government has to manage and run the industries well enough to make a profit that can finance those aid programs. So far, I have seen no evidence that politicians have the smarts to effectively direct or manage industries. In Venezuela, the new government management has changed Venezuela from the wealthiest nation in South America to the poorest and it only took less than twenty years for them to burn through the wealth that they confiscated.
 
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Socialism as discussed usually refers to the level of community support or welfare

No it does not.

a term which is used by conservatives as a pejoratives.

Might be true, but it is irrelevant.

Here is the definition of socialism from Wikipedia:

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

This does not describe the Nordic countries. What Bernie Sanders chooses to call himself is irrelevant.

The former Danish prime minister has criticized Americans calling Denmark socialist:

But in a speech Friday evening at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that while he's flattered to see Denmark discussed in a widely watched US presidential debate he doesn't think the socialist shoe fits.

"I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism," he said. "Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."

In Rasmussen's view, "The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish."
 

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What Bernie Sanders chooses to call himself is irrelevant.
Well it is rather important if he is actually a socialist (which he calls himself) rather than a capitalist that wants to see a more generous social safety net. I don't think that Bernie is an idiot and that he is well aware of the actual meaning of the word, socialist. He was a great admirer of Chavez and his rhetoric is very close to that of Chavez when he first ran for office.
 

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Socialism as discussed usually refers to the level of community support or welfare, a term which is used by conservatives as a pejoratives.

'socialized medicine'.

The degree of responsibility of the state for individuals and responsibly of individuals for themselves.

To me there main categories have moral, philosophical, and economic boundaries.

The question today is the morality of freewheeling free enterprise system we have. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys built a stadium that ran upwards of one billion. All the while we struggle to pay emergency services and teachers.

Something is going to give. In our system there are little constraints on what you can do with your money. Eventually people will rebel when enough people can not afford housing. There will no loner be buy in to the system.

Yea, you are using the conservative definition of socialist. Conservatives have co-opted the term socialist to mock progressives. Obama, Warren, and even HRC are routinely called "socialists" because they advocate for a larger safety net.
 

Harry Bosch

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What Bernie Sanders chooses to call himself is irrelevant.
Well it is rather important if he is actually a socialist (which he calls himself) rather than a capitalist that wants to see a more generous social safety net. I don't think that Bernie is an idiot and that he is well aware of the actual meaning of the word, socialist. He was a great admirer of Chavez and his rhetoric is very close to that of Chavez when he first ran for office.

I very much agree with your post. Bernie's action to blur the definition of socialists has made it more difficult for progressives to get elected and make a difference. He is adding fuel to the right's desire to decrease the safety net...
 

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Democrats are not social democrats. Democrats are progressives aiming to re-establish fundamental pilgrim principles of community.

Works here around westernmost. We got two democrat senators and five democrat representatives of six in congress and both state houses are democrat. Of course Portland being the only metropolitan area with about two million inhabitants helps.
 

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A communist, a socialist, and a capitalist are strded on a desert islnd.

In the first night the communist wakes up with a bug crawling on him. He says 'Wake up comrades, I will divide the bug in thirds for us to eat. Even though I got the bug and did the work to cut it up we will all share equally'.

On the second night the socialist wakes up finding a bug. He says 'Wake up my friends, I will do the work of cutting the bug and for that I will get a little more of the bug than either of you'.

On the third night the capitalist wakes up to find a bug. He shouts 'Wake up, wake up! Anybody want to buy a bug?'.

There are philosophical, moral, social justice, and economic perspectives to any system. Our modern progressives equate socialism with social justice without really explaining how that would work.

Define communism, or socialism, or modern capitalism in terms of

Philosophy
Morality
Relative freedoms of the individual and actions
Economic system
Forms of govt
Social justice and equality
Human nature

If Denmark is not representative of a socialist system then detail what a socialist system would look like in reality, not dictionary definitions.
 

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Socialism has no one meaning. Employee owned companies exist in the USA. 'Citizen owned' economics on the scale of the USA would be a disaster. The Soviet and Chinese forms failed catastrophically.

The dialogue I see here seems mostly idealistic thinking. Socialism as an idealized definition.

s a freethinker rejcting bounded ideoligies what I ask is what can be done relisticaly to balance econmics in a system while having a high level of individual freedom. Denmark seems like a good model.

Sanders is just another ideology waving a flag and shouting power to the people.

What is required is a fundamental change to the system. All else is useless. It is all piecemeal. Socialized medicine is useless if the divide between the top and bottom grows. It is useless if the middle class continues to be outpriced on housing. A decent small 1 bedroom apt in Seattle is around $2k a month.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

Socialism
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Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management,[10] as well as the political theories and movements associated with them.[11] Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity.[12] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them,[13] with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.[5][14][15]

Socialist systems are divided into non-market and market forms.[16] Non-market socialism involves replacing factor markets and money with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system.[25] By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm, or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.[26][27][28] The socialist calculation debate concerns the feasibility and methods of resource allocation for a socialist system.

Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions, and at other times independent and critical of unions; and present in both industrialised and developing nations.[29] Originating within the socialist movement, social democracy has embraced a mixed economy with a market that includes substantial state intervention in the form of income redistribution, regulation, and a welfare state. Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism where there is more decentralised control of companies, currencies, investments, and natural resources.

The socialist political movement includes a set of political philosophies that originated in the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 18th century and out of concern for the social problems that were associated with capitalism.[13] By the late 19th century, after the work of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, socialism had come to signify opposition to capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership of the means of production.[30][31] By the 1920s, social democracy and communism had become the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement.[32] By this time, socialism emerged as "the most influential secular movement of the twentieth century, worldwide. It is a political ideology (or world view), a wide and divided political movement"[33] and while the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally socialist state led to socialism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model, some economists and intellectuals argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism[34][35][36] or a non-planned administrative or command economy.[37][38] Socialist parties and ideas remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all continents, heading national governments in many countries around the world. Today, some socialists have also adopted the causes of other social movements, such as environmentalism, feminism and progressivism.[
 

fromderinside

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If Denmark is not representative of a socialist system then detail what a socialist system would look like in reality, not dictionary definitions.

Denmark is Social democracy/republic. 1950s England after Labor nationalized steel, coal, and railroads was pretty close to a socialist democracy/republic.

In oregon we've demonstrated over and over that providing for citizen comfort and health through proper taxation actually improves economies above those that don't do such as providing transportation, trails, parks, low income support and housing. Take the conservative stronghold in our state Medford. Poor libraries, transportation, health services within fire and police departments result in incomes of about 50% of that of Eugene which does provide those kinds of services. Even Ashland. which is next door to Medford, provies substantial more services and it's population has substantially higher income average than does Medford.
 

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... snip ...

Define communism, or socialism, or modern capitalism in terms of

Philosophy
Morality
Relative freedoms of the individual and actions
Economic system
Forms of govt
Social justice and equality
Human nature

... snip ...
Only economic system applies to socialism, communism, and/or capitalism. They are only economic systems. Any of those economic systems can have a wide variety of moral codes, governments, philosophies, etc.

If Denmark is not representative of a socialist system then detail what a socialist system would look like in reality, not dictionary definitions
Denmark has a capitalistic economic system with a generous social safety net. Denmark's government system is a parliamentary representative democracy.

Venezuela has a federal presidential republic government with a socialist economic system. Twenty or so years ago Venezuela was a federal presidential republic government with a capitalist economic system.
 
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J842P

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... snip ...

Define communism, or socialism, or modern capitalism in terms of

Philosophy
Morality
Relative freedoms of the individual and actions
Economic system
Forms of govt
Social justice and equality
Human nature

... snip ...
Only economic system applies to socialism, communism, and/or capitalism. They are only economic systems. Any of those economic systems can have a wide variety of moral codes, governments, philosophies, etc.

If Denmark is not representative of a socialist system then detail what a socialist system would look like in reality, not dictionary definitions
Denmark has a capitalistic economic system with a generous social safety net. Denmark's government system is a parliamentary representative democracy.

Venezuela has a federal presidential republic government with a socialist economic system. Twenty or so years ago Venezuela was a federal presidential republic government with a capitalist economic system.

How, precisely, is Venezuelan socialist? All the means of production are owned communally? At what percentage does it become "socialist" rather than "capitalist"?

I mean sure, it has been a rentier state for the past century.
 

skepticalbip

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Only economic system applies to socialism, communism, and/or capitalism. They are only economic systems. Any of those economic systems can have a wide variety of moral codes, governments, philosophies, etc.


Denmark has a capitalistic economic system with a generous social safety net. Denmark's government system is a parliamentary representative democracy.

Venezuela has a federal presidential republic government with a socialist economic system. Twenty or so years ago Venezuela was a federal presidential republic government with a capitalist economic system.

How, precisely, is Venezuelan socialist? All the means of production are owned communally? At what percentage does it become "socialist" rather than "capitalist"?

I mean sure, it has been a rentier state for the past century.

You need to re-read Marx. Under a socialist economic system, the government owns and manages the 'means of production'. The oil industry was nationalized in the mid 1970s. Chavez nationalized the industrial capacity and the farming industry during his reign.

Communism is an economic system where the people communally share ownership of 'the means of production', not the government.

Capitalism is an economic system where individuals own and manage the 'means of production'.
 

J842P

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Only economic system applies to socialism, communism, and/or capitalism. They are only economic systems. Any of those economic systems can have a wide variety of moral codes, governments, philosophies, etc.


Denmark has a capitalistic economic system with a generous social safety net. Denmark's government system is a parliamentary representative democracy.

Venezuela has a federal presidential republic government with a socialist economic system. Twenty or so years ago Venezuela was a federal presidential republic government with a capitalist economic system.

How, precisely, is Venezuelan socialist? All the means of production are owned communally? At what percentage does it become "socialist" rather than "capitalist"?

I mean sure, it has been a rentier state for the past century.

You need to re-read Marx. Under a socialist economic system, the government owns and manages the 'means of production'. The oil industry was nationalized in the mid 1970s. Chavez nationalized the industrial capacity and the farming industry during his reign.

Communism is an economic system where the people communally share 'the means of production'.

Marx didn't invent socialism, I was trying to simply repeat your definition. Fine, I accept your nitpick. What percentage of Venezuelan industry is owned by the government, and what percentage is necessary to be called socialist?
 

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It is also social and political philosophy.

The American farmers crated a govt empowered to protect individual rights which includes the right to free enterprise and the right to keep your profits to do with as you like. Both a political and social philosophy.

The philosophical question is what is the role of govt/ Is it individual rights with no obligation to create a balance and social justice, or is it to provide social justice and support for all. For example some politicians proposing minimum income regardless if work or mot.Conservatives use the worse examples of socialism and communism to create a fear that any national support like health care will result in dictatorship. The progressives invoke capitalist tyrants like Henry Ford from the early 29th and late 19th centuries. Makes it impossible to reach a reasoned compromise.

The philosophy of our modern economy is make a lot of money any way you can and to hell with anyone else. Of course an exaggeration but it is the genral idea.

Socialism is about through govt we take care of everybody to some degree.
 

PyramidHead

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Only economic system applies to socialism, communism, and/or capitalism. They are only economic systems. Any of those economic systems can have a wide variety of moral codes, governments, philosophies, etc.


Denmark has a capitalistic economic system with a generous social safety net. Denmark's government system is a parliamentary representative democracy.

Venezuela has a federal presidential republic government with a socialist economic system. Twenty or so years ago Venezuela was a federal presidential republic government with a capitalist economic system.

How, precisely, is Venezuelan socialist? All the means of production are owned communally? At what percentage does it become "socialist" rather than "capitalist"?

I mean sure, it has been a rentier state for the past century.

You need to re-read Marx. Under a socialist economic system, the government owns and manages the 'means of production'.

It's not that simplistic; you should start with Wikipedia

In Marxist theory, the socialist mode of production, also referred to as lower-stage of communism[1] or simply socialism as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used the terms socialism and communism interchangeably, refers to a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that emerge from capitalism in the schema of historical materialism. The Marxist definition of socialism is an economic transition where the sole criterion for production is use-value and therefore the law of value no longer directs economic activity. Marxist production for use is coordinated through conscious economic planning while distribution of products is based on the principle of "to each according to his contribution". The social relations of socialism are characterized by the proletariat effectively controlling the means of production, either through cooperative enterprises or by public ownership or private artisanal tools and self-management so that social surplus goes to the working class and hence society as a whole.

[...]

In Marxist theory, the state is "the institution of organised violence which is used by the ruling class of a country to maintain the conditions of its rule. Thus, it is only in a society which is divided between hostile social classes that the state exists".[11] The state is seen as a mechanism that is dominated by the interests of the ruling class and utilized to subjugate other classes in order to protect and legitimize the existing economic system.

After a proletarian revolution, the state would initially become the instrument of the proletariat. Conquest of the state apparatus by the proletariat must take place to establish a socialist system. As socialism is built, the role and scope of the state changes as class distinctions based on ownership of the means of production gradually deteriorate due to the concentration of means of production in state hands. From the point where all means of production become state property, the nature and primary function of the state would change from one of political rule via coercion over men by the creation and enforcement of laws into a scientific administration of things and a direction of processes of production, meaning the state would become a coordinating economic entity rather than a mechanism of class or political control and would no longer be a state in the Marxian sense.

In other words, state ownership of the means of production is only an incidental ingredient of socialism; the main one is that a revolution has occurred that replaces the ownership class with the working class as the dominant force in society. Only when the state is comprised of workers does state ownership of property equate to socialism.
 

PyramidHead

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It is also social and political philosophy.

The American farmers crated a govt empowered to protect individual rights which includes the right to free enterprise and the right to keep your profits to do with as you like. Both a political and social philosophy.

The philosophical question is what is the role of govt/ Is it individual rights with no obligation to create a balance and social justice, or is it to provide social justice and support for all. For example some politicians proposing minimum income regardless if work or mot.Conservatives use the worse examples of socialism and communism to create a fear that any national support like health care will result in dictatorship. The progressives invoke capitalist tyrants like Henry Ford from the early 29th and late 19th centuries. Makes it impossible to reach a reasoned compromise.

The philosophy of our modern economy is make a lot of money any way you can and to hell with anyone else. Of course an exaggeration but it is the genral idea.

Socialism is about through govt we take care of everybody to some degree.

That's a kind of paternalist social democracy, which differs from socialism as described by Marx and his later followers. The term "socialism" is meaningless without the backdrop of class struggle. Same goes for the terms "government" and "ownership" and "property" and all the rest. Over and over, every socialist since Marx has emphasized the importance of class interests and how they can make a specific policy (such as the government "taking care of people") either good or bad depending on which class is being served and which is doing the serving. Any discussion about communism/socialism that does not mention class is akin to a discussion of biology that doesn't mention natural selection. You can never get past the most superficial, glancing encounter with the actual content of what's being said if you're missing its central element.
 

skepticalbip

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In other words, state ownership of the means of production is only an incidental ingredient of socialism; the main one is that a revolution has occurred that replaces the ownership class with the working class as the dominant force in society. Only when the state is comprised of workers does state ownership of property equate to socialism.
You are using the Trotskyite interpretation of Marx. Trotsky was so radical that even Stalin rejected him. The economic basis of a system is what determines if it is socialist, communist, capitalist, mixed, etc. not how it decided to adapt that base.

While it is true that, historically, socialist states generally confiscated the 'means of production" through military force, that is not a necessary element. It is the state owned 'means of production' that makes it socialist. Venezuela achieved this through voting in a socialist leader who then simply nationalized the 'means of production'.
 
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PyramidHead

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In other words, state ownership of the means of production is only an incidental ingredient of socialism; the main one is that a revolution has occurred that replaces the ownership class with the working class as the dominant force in society. Only when the state is comprised of workers does state ownership of property equate to socialism.
You are using the Trotskyite interpretation of Marx. Trotsky was so radical that even Stalin rejected him. The economic basis of a system is what determines if it is socialist, communist, capitalist, mixed, etc. not how it decided to adapt that base.

The article literally quotes Marx:

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society – after the deductions have been made – exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he receives back in another.

Not much about the government owning anything. Incidentally, Marx wrote very little about what a society that practice socialism or communism would look like, and actually defined the latter not as a system but as the struggle to achieve a break from capitalism. From The German Ideology:

Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

Read Marx or stop pretending you know anything about Marxism
 
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