Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

How should society be organised, if at all?

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Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:54 pm

bobevenson wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:Have you ever heard of a "sit down" strike?

A so-called sit-down strike is obviously illegal trespassing, and the so-called workers should be immediately arrested.
Wouldn't that be holding a gun to their head, though?

bobevenson
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by bobevenson » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:24 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
bobevenson wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:Bob, the purpose of taxes are to fund government programs. Don't you understand that?
Of course, and I've submitted the only proper form of taxation, which is a single tax on property, property being defined as anything with intrinsic market value.
If you are currently paying taxes, Bob, then I suspect you are paying more than just a "single tax on property".
I'm sorry, but you have not followed my theoretical discussion of the AEP tax program, which is based on a single tax of everything.

bobevenson
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by bobevenson » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:28 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
bobevenson wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:Have you ever heard of a "sit down" strike?

A so-called sit-down strike is obviously illegal trespassing, and the so-called workers should be immediately arrested.
Wouldn't that be holding a gun to their head, though?
What the hell are you talking about? I guess the police actually would hold a gun to the head of an illegal trespasser if necessary. Are you on some kind of drugs?

Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:42 pm

bobevenson wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
bobevenson wrote:Of course, and I've submitted the only proper form of taxation, which is a single tax on property, property being defined as anything with intrinsic market value.
If you are currently paying taxes, Bob, then I suspect you are paying more than just a "single tax on property".
I'm sorry, but you have not followed my theoretical discussion of the AEP tax program, which is based on a single tax of everything.
How are you going to collect a single tax of everything, Bob? Are you going to hold a gun to people's heads if they don't pay?

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:45 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
FlashDangerpants wrote:I never worked in a democracy. I know this because in every job I've had there was some dude who had a bigger say than me, and usually he had some other dude above that who had a bigger say too.

Before I worked I used to go to a place called a school, and in there was a teacher person who seemed to always have a bigger say in what we learned than I did.

I didn't realise that every situation in life was supposed to be democratic.
I've never worked in a democratic workplace either. The lion's share of my work experience has been under condition of being told what to do. I've had jobs that told me when I could go to the bathroom. I understand it's worse in the military. Once upon a time it was deemed perfectly acceptable for human beings to own other human beings as slaves. It seems that civilization has made some progress since then. The point I'm trying to make is that "I never worked in a democracy" in and of itself doesn't say much of logical significance. If there is an issue with democratizing the workplace then it seems to me that the issue must be elsewhere.
I don't honestly feel that there was a target of any logical significance to take aim at.

Most work involves trading your time and skills for money. Democracy is not that. So either we must deform the concept of democracy to make it fit the scenario, or we must declare that work is no longer a thing we do for pay because we want to buy stuff, and have it server some, as yet undefined, political purpose instead. It's hard to say when all that is on offer is a vague slogan.

Perhaps a reasoned explanation of what we might be trying to achieve by democratising a workplace might help us also to establish whether the plan has any likely undesirable outcomes that may attend an otherwise noble ideal.

Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:57 pm

bobevenson wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
bobevenson wrote:A so-called sit-down strike is obviously illegal trespassing, and the so-called workers should be immediately arrested.
Wouldn't that be holding a gun to their head, though?
What the hell are you talking about? I guess the police actually would hold a gun to the head of an illegal trespasser if necessary. Are you on some kind of drugs?
Meh. You're probably right. Everything is as it should be.

I actually am on several prescription drugs, including an anti-psychotic designed to control paranoid delusional episodes.

Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:19 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:Perhaps a reasoned explanation of what we might be trying to achieve by democratising a workplace might help us also to establish whether the plan has any likely undesirable outcomes that may attend an otherwise noble ideal.
The purpose of democratizing the workplace would, of course, theoretically be to prevent abuses of power by relatively small numbers of an inordinately powerful few. So, for example, in the Huffington post article I cited earlier above, some incredibly high paid CEOs were laying off vast numbers of workers during times when profits were on the rise. The article raises the question of whether the CEOs were essentially pruning the workforce (cutting cost in other people's salaries) for no other purpose than it allowed them to maintain their own high salary.

As far as undesirable outcomes of democratization, I can't think of any right now, off the top of my head. Perhaps others can?

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:29 pm

That's not a description of democratising the workplace, it is still just a slogan about democracy and some unhelpful hand-wringing about the general injustice of it all.
Do you want all the share capital in all companies to be seized from the shareholders (your pension fund for instance) and distributed among the workforce?
Or do you want all the staff in a company to have a vote on everyone else's salary?
Or do you think a company should be one employee one vote and all decisions made by some form works council?
What? Describe a thing that can be done, not some vague dream.

A viable complain against capitalism night take the form of a suggestion that it encourages the seizing of opportunities but does not take the full costs of them into consideration. (A true complaint - it is the reason why economists have the concept of externalities, and that is why we have extra taxes for cigarettes and all sorts of regulators).

A meaningful solution to whatever complaint is chosen would need to similarly consider externalities such as equality achieved only by making everyone equally poor.

If you have nothing by way of a meaningful solution you have the advantage of making it hard to discern the undesirable outcomes, but only by having no useful description of the desirable ones either.

Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:50 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:That's not a description of democratising the workplace, it is still just a slogan about democracy and some unhelpful hand-wringing about the general injustice of it all.
Do you want all the share capital in all companies to be seized from the shareholders (your pension fund for instance) and distributed among the workforce?
Or do you want all the staff in a company to have a vote on everyone else's salary?
Or do you think a company should be one employee one vote and all decisions made by some form works council?
What? Describe a thing that can be done, not some vague dream.

A viable complain against capitalism night take the form of a suggestion that it encourages the seizing of opportunities but does not take the full costs of them into consideration. (A true complaint - it is the reason why economists have the concept of externalities, and that is why we have extra taxes for cigarettes and all sorts of regulators).

A meaningful solution to whatever complaint is chosen would need to similarly consider externalities such as equality achieved only by making everyone equally poor.

If you have nothing by way of a meaningful solution you have the advantage of making it hard to discern the undesirable outcomes, but only by having no useful description of the desirable ones either.
Sorry, I didn't see where you asked for a description of how the workplace would be democratized. I just saw where you said:
Perhaps a reasoned explanation of what we might be trying to achieve by democratising a workplace might help us also to establish whether the plan has any likely undesirable outcomes that may attend an otherwise noble ideal.
to that question I thought I was answering.

As far as how it would be implemented, for starters how about one worker = one vote? Perhaps have a kind of parliamentary system by which workers (in larger companies of course) elect managers who hold "office" for a limited period of time and answer to the collective body of voting workers.
Last edited by Gary Childress on Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:54 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:A viable complain against capitalism night take the form of a suggestion that it encourages the seizing of opportunities but does not take the full costs of them into consideration. (A true complaint - it is the reason why economists have the concept of externalities, and that is why we have extra taxes for cigarettes and all sorts of regulators).
Is that the only viable complaint, though? Is concentration of power and it's abuse NOT a viable complaint?
Last edited by Gary Childress on Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bobevenson
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by bobevenson » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:57 pm

Gary Childress wrote:How are you going to collect a single tax of everything, Bob? Are you going to hold a gun to people's heads if they don't pay?
Quit talking so stupid. How do they presently tax real estate?

bobevenson
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Re:

Post by bobevenson » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:00 pm

henry quirk wrote:The AK is flashy and spits fast, but the shotgun is just plain old effective across the board
I guess the rest of the world is just too stupid to catch on.

Gary Childress
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:09 pm

bobevenson wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:How are you going to collect a single tax of everything, Bob? Are you going to hold a gun to people's heads if they don't pay?
Quit talking so stupid. How do they presently tax real estate?
We could just "cut to the chase" and you could just tell me, in a few words, by what method the AEP is going to collect taxes. :)

bobevenson
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by bobevenson » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:21 pm

Why don't you tell me how the county or city collects real estate property taxes. Do they use a fucking gun?

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Socialism: What Has Gone Wrong?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:41 pm

Gary Childress wrote: to that question I thought I was answering.

As far as how it would be implemented, for starters how about one worker = one vote? Perhaps have a kind of parliamentary system by which workers (in larger companies of course) elect managers who hold "office" for a limited period of time and answer to the collective body of voting workers.
Criticism accepted. I shall try to be clearer.

Is this actually the form of democracy you want in the workplace?

For one thing, workers are typically employed by a company and they go there to work and earn money to spend on things made by other companies. The system has to work and the obvious issues with this is that managers will get elected on the same sort of basis as politicians do - by popularity and by presenting populists agendas (often recognisable by impossible promises).

If this plan were implemented but turned out to have deleterious effects on the running of companies by making them less capable of generating efficiencies that would put those companies at a disadvantage to smaller competitors who didn't have to worry about electing managers.

If competent managers are defeated at the ballot by incompetent ones they will leave and start their own, better run, businesses.

If investors are sidelined by the votes of workers, they will vote as they always do with their money, which will follow the ousted managers.

If the banks feel that the big democratic companies are getting flabby and not offering a decent return on capital, they will wish not to lend them money to expand, or buy those machines. By the time the bad managers who won their elections with the unrealistic promises are found out, the company will lack capital and credit to reverse course.

All the people who just wanted to do a job and get paid so they can buy stuff will be annoyed because now they have to eat democracy while somebody else is eating their lunch.

Weirdly, the overall effect might still be net positive for the wider economy. Your plan would probably tank zombie companies that are destined to achieve poor returns on capital over the medium/long term at a far greater rate than already well positioned firms. So you could in effect cause a slight uptick in the efficient allocation of capital and labour. The companies that disproportionately benefited would be those that used automation to gain market share with a minimum of actual employees.

So from my perspective it isn't necessarily all downside. But from yours... well it is all downhill from there because you would have to move onto financial repression of some sort such as forcing banks to lend to politically approved borrowers at govt mandated interest rates (as they do in China), or just seizing businesses that follow the rules but somehow don't give you the results you want (as in Venezuela). And those aren't good ideas at all.

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