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Opus 2 - Tea and Socialism - Nordic Socialism - Need knowledgeable help here Options
Hope1
Posted: Saturday, March 10, 2012 3:28:52 PM

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Tea and Socialism Opus 2- Nordic Socialism (Need knowledgeable help here)

It is just that I have noticed in talking with Americans, especially in the south, that when I ask what they mean by the Socialism that they hate, they reply 'You know, like in Canada'. They seem to have an inherent fear of Socialism. But I have no knowledge of a socialist country and do not know what they mean by socialism. I have never really received an answer to my question.

Of course I know the utopian socialism view of complete World Socialism which does not have a 'Hope in Hades' of ever happening, but I was not able to find out much else on the web with the time I was willing to expend. There were 2600 kinds of socialism (what me exaggerate?). And what I read needed a lot of citations. They had so many different classifications and links that the only site that really helped was the one called Nordic Socialism.

JJ and others, please tell us if any of the following is correct.


http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_Finland_a_socialist_country

"Because means of production are not state owned, Finland cannot be considered to be a socialist country. However, being a Nordic welfare country, Finland has socialist characters in the form a large public sector. (sic?)

Finland has a thriving private sector, including e.g. (sic) worlds (sic) biggest mobile phone manufacturer Nokia. This has made Finland into a very prosperous country; according to World Bank (2008) Finland is the 10th richest country in the world, measured by nominal GDP per capita.

Finland's public sector is large, comprising about half of the GDP. Practically all health and education services are provided by the public sector. Even though this model could be called socialistic, it is very effective. High quality health care is available for all, and this costs only 7,5% of GPD (e.g. in USA the cost is 16%). Also education is free, and the quality of education especially in primary and secondary schools is among the best in the world. ....."

Unquote: income tax rate was progressive but their VAT was higher than Canada's.

Maybe JJ and others can tell us more, as I really know nothing about it or this source. Judging by the grammar, it may not have all its facts right either.

There must be other similar countries and anyone with information about them, please jump in here.

INTERMISSION (better known as P... Parade)



Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. Bernard M. Baruch 1870-1965
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Saturday, March 10, 2012 5:31:25 PM

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I just read every opuses of yours. Applause Applause Applause

Yes, Finland could be considered to be a socialist country, just like the other Nordic countries. We share our welfare.
Soviet Union was never as socialist as was Finland in 1939 when the Soviets attacked to free the Finnish workers. In the 70's they could watch our TV and see how bad it was in the West.

BTW, after the WW2 Stalin, Molotov and Zdanov torpedoed the Marshall aid for Finland. We had to build our Nokias all alone.

We have some 10 political parties here, worth of mention. Right now we have a rightist president, a rightist PM in a coalition regime of rightists and leftists, and all this seem to work. In the middle of the Euro crisis we pay our bills and prosper with AAA class. The president who just retired, Tarja Halonen, was loved by most of the people. She was a social democrat.

Looking back at the American history, I think the loss of both the Kennedys and MLK was a loss for all the Western democracy.

Hope1,
thank you for your writings,
we still have hope, I hope.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 7:36:04 AM

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How did we bury this hope?


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
thar
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 8:58:15 AM

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I don't think most Nordic countries with free healthcare, university education, generous welfare and high taxes to pay for it would call themselves socialist. They just realise you have to be nice to other people. It is not that complicated a concept!
There is a newly-formed Socialist Party in Iceland. It has one member on the city council.

Quote:
Socialist City Councillor Takes Wage Cut to Support Fund for Organisers
By Larissa Kyzer Posted December 15, 2018 In NEWS, POLITICS
Socialist City Councillor Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir has decided to take a monthly pay cut of ISK 158,000 ($1,280/€1,133) and redirect that money to the party’s newly established Maístjarna fund, Kjarninn reports. The fund is intended to empower “those who are worst off” to organise and operate lobbying groups that will work for their interests.

The Socialist Party is using funds received from the City of Reykjavík – around ISK 900,000 ($7,295/ €6,454) – to establish the fund and will supplement these with individual contributions as well as the additional income from Sanna’s voluntary pay cut. According to the announcement on the Socialists’ website, the fund “will work to bolster and strengthen the voices of those who are worst off and assist them in presenting their demands and urging that the country of the future be shaped in the interests of the people.”

Even with the pay cut, Sanna’s monthly salary before taxes is, she notes, 2.5 times the minimum wage. According to data published by Statistics Iceland in August, Icelanders’ average total monthly income—including non-wage, physical or financial assets – was ISK 534,000 ($4,328/ €3,830) before taxes, which are 36.94% for individuals whose monthly income is less than ISK 893.713 ($7,243/€6,410).

“I think we should set a limit on the highest salaries in society – on how much higher they can be than the minimum wage” Sanna remarked. “I think three times the minimum wage is the absolute outer limit, for example, for the mayor and so I’m setting my salary a step below that.”

The first initiative to be funded by the Maístjarna was the demonstration at Austurvöllur square on December 1, in protest of the MPs involved in the Klaustur Scandal. Expenses for the protest came to ISK 140,000 ($1,134/€1,004). An independent group of protesters raised ISK 106,000 ($859/€760) for the event, and the remaining ISK 34,000 ($275/€243) will be subsidised by the Maístjarna.

Sanna is encouraging Socialists who are able to donate to the fund to follow her lead and do so. “The most important step in the direction of a just society is that those who are suffering most under the injustice of capitalism to be able to organise, create solidarity among themselves, and develop tactics to fight for their interests.”


But from what I see, people who use the label 'socialist' - or more correctly parties when people get together - seem to then define themselves by those they are against, and what they hate, what they will end when they get power, how they will control things more. Control people more. That negativity can never result in something positive - even if you get what you want, you just have to choose someone else to hate, or you have no reason to exist. That is why socialism has such a bad name - from Stalin's Socialist Republic to Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party. And at its worst it is insidious and destructive - like any belief when the devotion to the ideology is given more importance than the people it is supposed to serve, people lose their moral compass and a government loses its soul.
So the US have a bogeyman to fear and hate, and to feel self-satisfied whenever anyone else suffers under a bad system. It saves them from looking at themselves.
Fine, they have a democracy, and they have chosen a society where it is more dog-eat-dog. Darwinism red in tooth and claw, and if you are not on top then you should do something about it - work harder, be smarter, be luckier, be whiter! If they want that, then that is their choice. They choose to have a system where the concept of caring for other people is secondary to looking after yourself, where access to healthcare and education is the individual's resposibility and not of national benefit. Fine. Nobody has the right to take away my money to pay for someone else to go to university, or to have healthcare. Liberty, Opportunity, Independence. Not so much of the Égalité or Fraternité.
But why they then have to demonise countries who choose another way - why they suddenly become the enemy, I do not understand. Why a free national health system is some infection to be feared, or free university tuition a danger to the integrity of the state - insecure much?

I know this is a very old thread, and I also know I have probably managed to piss off a lot of people with my generalisations (I am exaggerating for rhetorical effect, folks. I can - I am not a politician and I won't influence anybody!) but I find it confusing, why the US seems so scared of the concept. A country confident in its own solution should be eager to learn from others, not be so scared of them. Ach, Denmark! Anxious

(Question - does a monarchy, where the government is a coalition of left,liberal and conservative, qualify as socialist? No. Does a country with free healthcare and univeristy education qualify as socialist? Yes? OK, then I can hate it. What a relief.Whistle )
Romany
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 12:55:45 PM
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Thar -

I've never felt so completely gobsmacked as the day I described myself as a humanist in one of my posts. It was one where people were taking sides on a question as though there were either one "right" group or one "wrong" group. Seeking to assure both groups that I didn't have a horse in either race and so my reponses weren't to be construed as partisan to either, I mentioned that if I were ever to be compentmartalised into a group myself it would be that of a humanist.

This was in the days before I knew anything about 'Merkin politics so when FD went off on one about "Secular" Humanists I was totally unprepared. (Even when I asked if he had ever heard of the term "Humanist" without the "Secular" attached to it, I got no coherent answer!)

I think the American fear of Communism has, ever since the Fifties, been well known.(And yes, giggled at.) But, like you, this contiguous pairing of Communism and Socialism in the minds of such a large number of Americans, I found somewhat distasteful.

A scant two years later they are no longer even contiguous, but have melded into one, incoherent, myth-laden definition in the minds of those people.

That's part of what has been disturbing to track over the past couple of years: the role language has played in what's been happening. No longer are we two nations who speak the same language; the point is foreseeable now in which American English will become a language of it's own.

There have always been differences in vocabulary - as there are in all variants of English: Canadian, Caribbean, Australian, Malaysian etc. But when existing words or concepts familiar to all these English-speakers take on a different meaning exclusive to only one of those groups, the pathway to communication has already been muddied. When you add in the changes in syntax, pronunciation, grammar and spelling ("Gild" for "Guild"?) all the linguistic indicators are there that American is on the cusp - it could/will become a language; rather than a dialect of another language.

Language subversion - especially in terms of ideological concepts (Neo-Nazis are "nice people?") - has always been an essential in propaganda. And we've all (in the USA as much as the rest of the world, I think),over the past two years or so been treated to a look at how successfully that propaganda has worked/is working - even though in only one minority sector of the population.

And it has ripples.

How many times in your life have you actually "hated" anyone - apart from, perhaps a Primary School teacher? Yet look how often you used the word "hate" in one part of it. Do you think, had you written the above sentiments up to 10 years ago, you would have used it? Ten years ago we would have derided, scorned, opposed, demeaned,disagreed, lambasted those with different opinions/groups. Now we unabashedly throw a loaded word like "hate" around as if it were meant to be a part of the human condition; of Everyman.

That's why I started the thread on Nationalism. Language problems. I honesty did not understand the outcry - because of course he is a Nationalist?! Why was this treated with such attention and outrage? What is so outrageous in him voicing it when all his actions declare it? He ticks all the boxes. So does his Administration. So do his policies. Out there for the whole (communist, Socialist & everything in between) world to see. And *no-one's said a dicky-bird as he tried to pull up the drawbridge, keep people out, strengthen the Military, cut Education, cut Welfare, and cut out Bills which sought to enshrine the people's human right to clean air, clean rivers, clean water supply?

What, it's ok to BE a Nationalist and to pass bills - and all the things any good Nationalist would do - but it's not ok for him to say so?

Like other linguists,I've no opinions about evolving "American" at all; other than to note with interest the rapid rate of change increase in recent history.

But forced change - such as propaganda - leaves one with two choices: either there are two ways of describing and presenting an ideology or not. When all the smoke and mirrors have been cleared away will another Administration address such matters - or let them get so muddy that no-one can see through to the other side?

*Well, some things have been said - but where was the public and media outrage, shock, surprise, disparagement all this time?





towan52
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 1:01:12 PM

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Interesting postings. I've always admired Finland as a generally focussed country that gets most things right. They seem to do very well on education. It seems that many Americans have an irrational fear of words like "socialism" and "liberal" equating it with rampant communism spreading like wildfire from the Soviet Union (or anywhere east of New York and west of Los Angeles). This may be that both words have been demonized by politicians and are now considered pejoratives. Little consideration of the literal meanings is evident. A political science lecturer I know, when speaking of "pork-barrel" and "earmark" legislation, said, "the idea is to localize the benefits but socialize the cost." This, IMHO, is quite a good definition of socialism. As a consequence, one could argue that the US military is a socialized organization. The cost is spread through the the nation (by taxes) and the US government deploys the military as it sees fit. Education in the US, to an extent, the same. Yo sólo digo ...

edited to correct word omission!

Voldermort for Trump 2020
progpen
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 2:40:49 AM

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The observations here have been pretty spot on regarding the need to find groups to hate in order to concentrate power. I do have to bring it all back to money though. In the US, it would be very difficult to motivate people to run for offices in government based on platforms of hate and willful ignorance if there was no money behind it. We see people every day standing up in front of cameras and saying things that shock and mortify the vast majority of people and we think they are being driven by some internal morality or zealotry. In fact, these people are being driven by money in the form of campaign donations, well-paying jobs, and other forms of money transfer that the majority would consider bribery, but in the US simply amounts to good business.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 4:32:13 AM
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Proggie -

"We see people every day...and we think they are being driven by some internal morality or zealotry. "

Uh no. No we don't. Not any longer.

As the entire Adminstration has unabashedly demonstrated that venality is their only impetus...it's the only area in which they can claim transparency.

This knowledge plays a large part in the UKs decision (yesterday?) to oppose the USA and accept that no relationship - "Special" or otherwise - exists any longer between the USA and the UK. They, along with many other world players, now look for other partners... whose lust for money doesn't result in them wilfully destroying the planet for their own greed.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 4:54:18 AM

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Romany wrote:


As the entire Adminstration has unabashedly demonstrated that venality is their only impetus...it's the only area in which they can claim transparency.


Based on the stories that were circulated in press, one could hardly have expected Clinton administration to be any better in this respect, had she won.

She would most certainly have been much less transparent though.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 5:14:09 AM
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Jeez! When is this constant bringing up of the person he ran against TWO years ago ever going to ease off.

So, ok, those who feel that, at the last elections the only candidates were a couple of no-hopers, should see that as a sign that the USA Government is broken!

If a country of 325+ million can only produce two crooks to run the country then something is terribly wrong in the home of the brave and the land of the free.

And no other leader in a democracy COULD be less transparent than Trump: who has still not produced his tax returns, has continued to make millions out of his position illegally; who pays off porn stars; who raised nepotism to an art form; who has lied about every single aspect of his life; who enters into sly negotiations with other countries; who has told more than 5,000 lies since he took office.....I've no feeling whatsoever about Hilary Clinton but I doubt whether she - or any normal, functioning person at the head of a country - could manage to tell Five Thousand Lies in public!
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 5:45:11 AM

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I don't know about "five thousand lies"... He looks like a man who is pretty outspoken. He may not have produced his tax returns, and probably for no good reasons, but he looks and sounds like a man who on matters that are really important says what he thinks and does what he has said he would.

And that amounts to a lot. I guess it is against that backdrop that many people seem not to care whether he's had any omissions in his tax reporting, and how many more porn stars he may have had affairs with. He could afford it, they readily got onboard with this I suppose, so good for him.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 5:54:33 AM

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Romany wrote:

If a country of 325+ million can only produce two crooks to run the country then something is terribly wrong in the home of the brave and the land of the free.


We have a country with half the size by citizens, and only ONE candidate for presidency ;-)


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 7:30:49 AM

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towan52 wrote:

A political science lecturer I know, when speaking of "pork-barrel" and "earmark" legislation, said, "the idea is to localize the benefits but socialize the cost." This, IMHO, is quite a good definition of socialism.


Right, but this is not all, this is only an instrument. The key idea is control, overwhelming power over everything and everybody. Many of the people who's been and are behind this are also materialists, so they think it is Okay if they forecefully alter and destroy other people's fates and lives, reshape the world in line with their vision, with no moral limitations, no consideration to what it takes in terms of losses, damage and destruction. Since what those moral limitations might mean if this world is governed by laws of physics alone, and nothing else? We should take power, and then even if billions suffer, who on earth will challenge us for that?

And it doesn't occur even to some of the seemingly educated people among them how shortsighted and even increasingly scientifically wrong their vision and approach is.

By the way, I want at the same time to be fair to those who call themselves "socialists", as radical capitalists are exactly the same in terms of the ultimate goal and results of their policies. In a radical capitalist society masses are kept on the hook by way of poverty and financial dependence, whereas in a radical socialist society masses are controlled by direct administrative means. In both cases it's about creating an "elite" of human beings who control everybody else and the world.

I think we should avoid extremes. Just honestly do what's best for most people, for each of our countries, and ultimately for the world, without ideological prejudices of any sort.

progpen
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 7:32:06 AM

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Romany wrote:
Jeez! When is this constant bringing up of the person he ran against TWO years ago ever going to ease off.

So, ok, those who feel that, at the last elections the only candidates were a couple of no-hopers, should see that as a sign that the USA Government is broken!

If a country of 325+ million can only produce two crooks to run the country then something is terribly wrong in the home of the brave and the land of the free.

And no other leader in a democracy COULD be less transparent than Trump: who has still not produced his tax returns, has continued to make millions out of his position illegally; who pays off porn stars; who raised nepotism to an art form; who has lied about every single aspect of his life; who enters into sly negotiations with other countries; who has told more than 5,000 lies since he took office.....I've no feeling whatsoever about Hilary Clinton but I doubt whether she - or any normal, functioning person at the head of a country - could manage to tell Five Thousand Lies in public!


Romany. The close relationship that he has with Russia is not a secret and the support that he gets from their government and private entities is quickly coming to light. It stands to reason that those entities in Russia want to keep him in the White House (they spent a lot of money and resources to put him there).

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
towan52
Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 1:08:54 PM

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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
towan52 wrote:

A political science lecturer I know, when speaking of "pork-barrel" and "earmark" legislation, said, "the idea is to localize the benefits but socialize the cost." This, IMHO, is quite a good definition of socialism.


Right, but this is not all, this is only an instrument. The key idea is control, overwhelming power over everything and everybody. Many of the people who's been and are behind this are also materialists, so they think it is Okay if they forecefully alter and destroy other people's fates and lives, reshape the world in line with their vision, with no moral limitations, no consideration to what it takes in terms of losses, damage and destruction. Since what those moral limitations might mean if this world is governed by laws of physics alone, and nothing else? We should take power, and then even if billions suffer, who on earth will challenge us for that?

And it doesn't occur even to some of the seemingly educated people among them how shortsighted and even increasingly scientifically wrong their vision and approach is.

By the way, I want at the same time to be fair to those who call themselves "socialists", as radical capitalists are exactly the same in terms of the ultimate goal and results of their policies. In a radical capitalist society masses are kept on the hook by way of poverty and financial dependence, whereas in a radical socialist society masses are controlled by direct administrative means. In both cases it's about creating an "elite" of human beings who control everybody else and the world.

I think we should avoid extremes. Just honestly do what's best for most people, for each of our countries, and ultimately for the world, without ideological prejudices of any sort.



Your last sentence is so true and insightful! A modicum of socialism tempered by a modicum of capitalism would probably work better that the extreme pendulum swings we see now!


Voldermort for Trump 2020
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 5:08:51 AM

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I've learnt the words modicum and pendulum Dancing

Excatly. In Russia we've seen top communists turning into super rich capitalists almost overnight, and they are quite fine with this.

So it's same people, same attitudes, same vision of the end objectives. At a given moment they choose the colour of the flag that tactically serves them best, then at another moment thay can change it. It's an international group whose only true objective is power, money and control, as they stop at nothing.
Y111
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 7:50:27 AM
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Capitalism is likely coming to an end. Robots will make us unemployed. We will have nothing to sell in the market as soon as our hands and brains are not needed anymore. The end of market economy will be the end of capitalism.

So either the government will feed us or we will die. And when the government feeds the people, it's pure socialism. The government will have to nationalize the economy to do so.

Because if the economy stays private, I don't see how it could work. Suppose you produce something. I buy it from you with the money I got from the government. Then, obviously, the government will need to take this money from you and get it back to me so I can buy your product again when I need it. Where is your interest here? You don't receive anything in return for your product. And if so, why would you bother to run your company? What for?
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 8:46:52 AM

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Well, I am personally more optimistic than that... In a sense, one can view humans and other biological beings as "robots", too... Bodies are essentially nothing but very sophisticated devices, and souls are probably very sophisticated software running on neurons. However, both body and soul are sophisticated absolutely beyond belief. I do not think any human-made robots can compare to that in any foreseeable future. Humans will remain key figures on this planet, not robots, this is my optimistic view anyway.Angel

It is another matter that as technology advances and with it many "simpler" jobs are taken over by machines humans have to turn to more creative occupations - art, science, engineering, construction, management, services... This is a challenge in terms of the need for the society to adjust to these changes (the patterns of necessary skills, education, legal framework etc). But this problem is not new, it's always been there and only intensified at the times of especially fast technological revolutions.

Just like climate warming (to be somewhat provocative, I know many on this forum will be tempted to react), technological improvements are to change life for better, not for worse. It is only that we have to be smart and demonstrate that we can make good of of what we are gifted with.

And since I believe there will be place for humans, I do not think we'll see the "end of market economy". At any rate a picture of a society where robots do all the job and humans are passive beings fed by the government is quite repulsive to me Angel I'd rather die than let it happen.
Y111
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 3:23:13 PM
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I am rather pessimistic about a whole population becoming intellectuals and artists in a market economy. Who will pay them and why? We come to the market to exchange what we have for what we need. Suppose you have a song or a picture and you need food. But food will be produced by robots. They don't need songs and pictures. Their human owner may be interested but he/she doesn't need so many. There will be a real lot of that stuff in the market if a lot of people turn to more creative occupations, and who will be on the other side? A bunch of robot owners. They will not be able to consume so much art, so they will not buy it. You will be extremely lucky if someone buys your masterpieces, and the price will be very low because supply will far exceed demand.

Things that are essential for humans, like food, clothes, homes, energy, transportation will be produced by machines. What can humans produce that is essential for machines? In most cases nothing. The owners of those machines will get almost all they need from those machines as well. They won't need us very much either.

Why would they need more singers and painters than there are now? Do they now complain there are too few? Does anyone at all have such a complaint? :)
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2018 5:38:50 AM

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Well, first of all these radical technological changes will not happen overnight, it's a gradual process, and it's been there forever. But this of course doesn't mean we shouldn't be thinking of future and planning things in advance.Angel

Then, even when and if robots take over most of the manufacturing jobs, there will still be quite a job to do for humans: somebody has to design those robots, service them, "tell" them what to do and oversee their operations.

Where I seem to agree with you is that over time there will be less and less job to do for poor and less educated.

If I were to summarize the way ahead as I see it I would come up with something like this -

(i) market economy and effective law and law enforcement;

(ii) more even distribution of property - f. all those "oligarchs" - what we need is more people having their own economic base - homes, land, small businesses etc. Most people should be independent owners, not economic slaves zombied by monopolized media;

(iii) private property in most economic sectors, but not in all of them. Healthcare, education, defense - these are examples of sectors where in my view public property works much better;

(iv) The "quality" of people - healthy, educated, resistant to external manipulations. Humans must be better and smarter than robots, otherwise I agree - what the heck will humans be there for? Angel

(v) competition in media, de-monopolization of sources from which people get information.

So you see, it's not "capitalism" or "socialism" in their extreme forms. In my view it should be something that just works best. The above is "my mix", other people may differ, but what's important is that this discussion is not framed by any ideological dogmas.





Hope123
Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2018 8:24:56 AM

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Kirill wrote: "So you see, it's not "capitalism" or "socialism" in their extreme forms. In my view it should be something that just works best. The above is "my mix", other people may differ, but what's important is that this discussion is not framed by any ideological dogmas."
Exactly.


It's becoming more and more a service industry already.

Best Jobs of Future

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2018 8:46:53 AM

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Hope123 wrote:

It's becoming more and more a service industry already.
Best Jobs of Future


Right, but I think the criticism is that contraction of the number of manufacturing jobs in Western countries has been not due to an increased automation of the production process, but rather due to geographical relocation of the production process to other countries, and this is a somewhat different story.
progpen
Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2018 11:08:40 AM

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Kirill is correct, automation has not had nearly the effect on jobs that people feared. Manufacturing jobs have just gone to Asia for the most part.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
Y111
Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2018 11:15:40 PM
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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
(ii) more even distribution of property - f. all those "oligarchs"

I agree, but how do we achieve it? So far it's been going in the opposite direction. The rich are getting richer. This is the essense of capitalism, I think. If you are successful, your capital grows. You take up more and more of the market. So in the end there are only you and a crowd of singers, dancers and painters. ;)

What measures can you think of to reverse this trend? Expropriation of the expropriators? :) Do you see any legal ground for that (worldwide, not just in Russia)? Or are you thinking about some kind of revolution?
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 6:06:44 AM

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Y111 wrote:

I agree, but how do we achieve it? So far it's been going in the opposite direction. The rich are getting richer. This is the essense of capitalism, I think. If you are successful, your capital grows. You take up more and more of the market. So in the end there are only you and a crowd of singers, dancers and painters. ;)

What measures can you think of to reverse this trend? Expropriation of the expropriators? :) Do you see any legal ground for that (worldwide, not just in Russia)? Or are you thinking about some kind of revolution?


I don't think there exists a solution that would equally work in all countries, let alone the fact that the political will to reverse the trend strongly varies accross countries, to put it mildly. So each country will have to decide for itself and do whatever its political leaders / electorate decide to do.

But in principle it is not as grim and hopeless as you put it, in my view.

The concentration of economic power in hands of an ever narrowing group of people is not quite that "natural" process as Marxists want us to believe. In fact this process is severely aggrovated by such things as corruption and flawed management at the level of national and local governements.

For example, as you know in Southern Russia land is precious due to good conditions for farming. It would serve social interests best if that land belonged to a relatively large number of midium-sized farmers, rather than to a handful of giant agricultural conglomerates. However, conglomerates seem to be gradually taking it over (unless this trend has recently reversed). How do they do that? Not at all in a "natural" way through better economic efficiency or something of that sort. You may recall there were reports a couple of years ago about fraudulent practices involving illegal land aquisition that relied on corruption in local administrations, courts etc...

So the process of escalating economic unequality very much rests on ability of the rich to buy politicians and governments. Once there's an effective governement that truly serves national interests, it becomes quite a different game. So that's the key.

FounDit
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 5:52:48 PM

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It's a pleasure to read the reasoned and logical posts of Kirill Vorobyov.

As I see it, societies are always going through stages that tend to run from one extreme to the other. We've seen it throughout history in the various countries and cultures humans have created. Always there is the rot of human greed, lust for power, and abuse of the citizens upon whose shoulders the "elite" rest.

The Founders of the U.S. tried to create a nation that would not fall victim to the worst of those abuses, but no one can be sure that human nature won't override those efforts. It's being tried even as I write this.

The main idea is for the citizens to keep a measure of control over the levers of power to prevent those who wield it from becoming so entrenched, so powerful, that they can't be removed. This is the fear Americans have with Socialism/Communism as its history demonstrates that is the ultimate end of both, necessitating a bloody revolution to clear the field. Even this almost always leads to another round of abuse as those who revolt become abusers themselves.

It is for that precise reason that there is now a populist movement to return to the goal of an America as it was designed to be, founded to be, and hoped to become as described in our original documents. Yet rather than witnessing a concerted effort by all to achieve that goal, we see instead criticism, hateful speech, demands for a different kind of country, constant vitriolic attacks on anyone who espouses that dream/goal as if it is not worthy of effort.

But I remain optimistic. I think technology will increasingly provide a better life for us all if we will allow it to do so, but that won't happen if we shut down out of fear. Humans have always faced their fears and worked to overcome them, through science, work, and courage. We should not abandon those traits now. They are needed more than ever.

The constant whine over some trivial detail of today can easily result in falling victim to that old adage of straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. Such a worms eye view isn't going to be very helpful - to anyone.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Y111
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2018 3:32:43 AM
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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
Then, even when and if robots take over most of the manufacturing jobs, there will still be quite a job to do for humans: somebody has to design those robots, service them, "tell" them what to do and oversee their operations.

We shouldn't overestimate the number of such jobs. A robot can work 24 hours 7 days a week. That is as much as 4 human workers. So 10 robots can replace at least 40 humans. Perhaps one of them can get the job of supervising those 10 robots. The other 39 will have to go out. A rather grim ratio, I must say.

EDIT: Oh, it didn't occur to me that robots working 24/7 might have to be supervised also 24/7. Then 4 humans stay, 36 go. That's definitely better but still not very good.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 5:56:41 AM

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Y111 wrote:
Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
Then, even when and if robots take over most of the manufacturing jobs, there will still be quite a job to do for humans: somebody has to design those robots, service them, "tell" them what to do and oversee their operations.

We shouldn't overestimate the number of such jobs. A robot can work 24 hours 7 days a week. That is as much as 4 human workers. So 10 robots can replace at least 40 humans. Perhaps one of them can get the job of supervising those 10 robots. The other 39 will have to go out. A rather grim ratio, I must say.

EDIT: Oh, it didn't occur to me that robots working 24/7 might have to be supervised also 24/7. Then 4 humans stay, 36 go. That's definitely better but still not very good.


To build something humans once had to dig pits with spades. Now one person can operate an excavator and replace a hundred of manual diggers.

Did this lead to 99% loss in construction jobs? No. This only has led to that we now can build more, and do it faster.

Machines have increased productivity and with it the real income and the standard of living of an average person. Climate improvements, technological improvements - they cannot be bad, in fact they bring more prosperity, even though they require continuos adaptation to ever changing conditions.

So I do not see any threat from technological advances. Where I do see a great threat though is that other thing that you mentioned - concentration of political and economic power in hands of a bunch of mfkers, and at this particular time they seem to be damn serious about winning this world - monopolizing wealth, money, media resources, "academia" etc...

Dealing with technological progress is not a new issue, it's already been successfully dealt before. The unique challenge for the living generations is to defeat this plague above. They try deceit, provocations, they try wars, they try bribing, all the old ways - and in the past people too often swallowed one of those baits. I hope it is now that we (the humans, the majority of us) show we've grown some bit older not to let us be fooled like that.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 6:23:02 AM

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FounDit wrote:
But I remain optimistic. I think technology will increasingly provide a better life for us all if we will allow it to do so, but that won't happen if we shut down out of fear. Humans have always faced their fears and worked to overcome them, through science, work, and courage. We should not abandon those traits now. They are needed more than ever.


Yes, exactly.

After all, these traits are what makes humans different from animals, aren't they? It is animals who only adapt and act out of fear. Humans are gifted with the ability to act out of broader vision in spite of instantaneous fears. So either we grow up and be equal to that, or we sign off on being ultimate losers. And this is after all the love, attention and ingenuity that have been invested in us (by the Creator - for those who believe it, or by "Nature").
Hope123
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 10:16:08 AM

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Kirill wrote:...After all, these traits are what makes humans different from animals, aren't they? It is animals who only adapt and act out of fear. Humans are gifted with the ability to act out of broader vision in spite of instantaneous fears. So either we grow up and be equal to that, or we sign off on being ultimate losers...

Yes, except I'm not sure that animals can't adapt too after the initial fight or flight response that humans have too.

Human fear is also a normal feeling the same as other feelings, but there are healthy ways to deal with it.

Fearing fear is just a way to distract us from our responsibilities in the reality of what is happening in our own life and the world. Life is never secure but humans who get busy and try to make the best of the situation are often happier than those who whine about their situation and do nothing, or refuse to accept reality.

"Optimists acknowledge the reality of the situation, then they do something that is far from easy.

They make the choice to look for the nuggets of positivity in the situation, and most importantly, they always take action towards a better outcome, regardless of the situation." Quote from a psychology article on optimism.

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Y111
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 11:49:54 AM
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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
So I do not see any threat from technological advances. Where I do see a great threat though is that other thing that you mentioned - concentration of political and economic power in hands of a bunch of mfkers

But those are not two separate problems in my posts above but one. I see the advance of technology as a threat in connection with the concentration of capital, not by itself. You have admitted that you don't know how to reverse this process, only think that it can be slowed down by the elimination of corruption (is this even possible?).

The only workable solution that I can see for now is nationalization. In a socialist country technology will naturally serve everyone because it will belong to all. As long as it belongs to certain individuals, it will serve you only if this is profitable to those individuals. If you have something they need or if you can do something their robots can't. With the advance of robots it will become more and more difficult.

Robots will be much cheaper. Just compare the time necessary to grow a human and to make a robot. To teach a human and to program a robot. Once you have a working program, you can install it on as many robots as you need. Can you do the same with a skill, knowledge or experience acquired by a human? No. You can't extract it from his head and insert in the heads of others, you have to spend as much time teaching them as you spent on the first one (and the same result is not guaranteed). After being taught they will have to practice for as long as the first one has before they attain a similar level of mastery.

So it looks like a human worker will be like a spade made of gold. Much more expensive and much less durable.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 4:31:57 AM

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Y111 wrote:

But those are not two separate problems in my posts above but one. I see the advance of technology as a threat in connection with the concentration of capital, not by itself. You have admitted that you don't know how to reverse this process, only think that it can be slowed down by the elimination of corruption (is this even possible?).

The only workable solution that I can see for now is nationalization. In a socialist country technology will naturally serve everyone because it will belong to all. As long as it belongs to certain individuals, it will serve you only if this is profitable to those individuals. If you have something they need or if you can do something their robots can't. With the advance of robots it will become more and more difficult.

Robots will be much cheaper. Just compare the time necessary to grow a human and to make a robot. To teach a human and to program a robot. Once you have a working program, you can install it on as many robots as you need. Can you do the same with a skill, knowledge or experience acquired by a human? No. You can't extract it from his head and insert in the heads of others, you have to spend as much time teaching them as you spent on the first one (and the same result is not guaranteed). After being taught they will have to practice for as long as the first one has before they attain a similar level of mastery.

So it looks like a human worker will be like a spade made of gold. Much more expensive and much less durable.


If you question the need or even possibility to defeat corruption, then with corrupt government socialism will arguably work even much worse than capitalism, as in a socialist system government plays a much bigger role.

And with this idea of nationalisation, the first practical question would be - how far would you want this nationalisation to go?

I think we should go by careful and well calculated steps. Radical solutions - no, they always do much harm under seemingly good pretexts.
Y111
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 4:20:07 AM
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Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
And with this idea of nationalisation, the first practical question would be - how far would you want this nationalisation to go?

As far as necessary to solve the problem. I don't have a more specific answer at the moment. A socialist government can be corrupt too, of course, but I was only speaking about this particular problem. Why would it work worse here?

If you have another solution in mind, you are welcome to present it. What else could, at least theoretically, work? How are you going to persuade the fat cats to share their capitals with the rest of the people?

Kirill Vorobyov wrote:
I think we should go by careful and well calculated steps. Radical solutions - no, they always do much harm under seemingly good pretexts.

Maybe it will happen in a natural way. Workers are also consumers. With more and more of them losing their jobs, it will become harder and harder for you to sell your product, which will lead you to production cuts and firing still more employees, and so on. So your capital will get less and less profitable, apparently... And will cost less. Hmm... Imagine that in the end you have a lot of robots and nobody to buy what they produce. Will the robots themselves cost anything then? Maybe you will be glad to give them up to the government just to get rid of them. :)
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