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#145517 - 08/09/18 08:53 PM Risk Dem Socialism poses to minorities  
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https://www.theatlantic.com/politic...ocialism-poses-to-all-minorities/566528/

Another great piece from Connor

Quote
Instead of individual capitalists deciding what to produce in their endlessly varied, constantly competing private businesses, “without any democratic input from the rest of society,” control over industry and decisions about what to produce would reside in state planning agencies. And imagine their decisions perfectly, if improbably, reflect the actual democratic will of workers, whether in the nation; or a state, like Ohio or Utah; or a metropolitan area, like Maricopa County or Oklahoma City.

Popular control is finally realized! So: How popular is Islam? How many Muslim prayer rugs would the democratic majority of workers vote to produce? How many Korans? How many head scarves? How much halal meat would be slaughtered? What share of construction materials would a majority of workers apportion to new mosques?

Under capitalism, the mere existence of buyers reliably gives rise to suppliers. Relying instead on democratic decisions would pose a big risk for Muslims. And Sikhs. And Hindus. And Jews. And maybe even Catholics.

Right now, under capitalism, vegetarians and vegans have more options every year. But there aren’t very many of them. Five percent of Americans are vegetarians. Three percent are vegans. Would “the workers” find a societal need to produce vegan meat or milk substitutes? No one knows the answer.


Also, seems like he's been reading up on Hayek lately. Good for him.

Quote
As the economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek put it, “Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another.” But, he added, “if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy.” Socialists are attuned to the ways individuals are vulnerable in capitalism but blind to ways that it frees us from the preferences of the majority. Nearly all of us would hate abiding by the will of the majority on some matters.


I've always pondered that question myself - that is, how do socialists wrap their heads around the monopoly power of gov't that they complain about in terms of capitalism?

It's scary that true, actual socialism is on the rise again and just goes to show that severely malformed thinking, misinformation, and delusion are obviously not the sole providence of the Trumpian 'right'


For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)
#145519 - 08/10/18 12:02 AM Re: Risk Dem Socialism poses to minorities [Re: Derid]  
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Conor Friedersdorf is a rare light of reason in modern fog of fuzzy thinking.


#145520 - 08/10/18 12:11 AM Re: Risk Dem Socialism poses to minorities [Re: Derid]  
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Originally Posted by Derid
I've always pondered that question myself - that is, how do socialists wrap their heads around the monopoly power of gov't that they complain about in terms of capitalism?


They don't, as socialist's ideas are generally framed in terms that makes such conclusion unlikely. However, don't mistake disproven ideas and unworkable solutions to also mean that identified problem is not acute.

Socialists are generally spot-on in pointing out that lion's share of our society's productivity was hijacked and monopolized by very few undeserving people.

I assume you are familiar with Walter Scheidel's The Great Leveler.



#145521 - 08/10/18 08:25 PM Re: Risk Dem Socialism poses to minorities [Re: Derid]  
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Finding issues is relatively easy, making improvements is very difficult. Lots of people from all hues of the political spectrum have identified various problems and pain points with our society. I haven't read Leveler, but I'm familiar with the idea that inequality as such is typically only changed via extreme means.

In real terms, I don't know of any solution either. Because as you mentioned some time ago in the corporate responsibility thread, talking details and getting into the weeds of things like finance (and, in my observation, just about anything) puts people to sleep, or they think youre a nutter, etc. Or, at least, democratic solutions do not exist - or don't exist within our current cultural and possibly even physical (neurological) makeup.

Which leaves us hoping for the same thing our ancestors of 10,000 years prior wished for - the enlightened dictator. Which, history has shown, doesn't typically happen more than once or twice a millennium. 99.999% of authoritarian govts are anything but enlightened, and even where they wish to do well by their subjects, simply fail due to inadequacy.

Though he did not present a convincing answer, or at least one that is workable in the short term, Hayek at least posited the correct question: How do we construct a society led by the will and assent of the people, yet simultaneously restrain the same? Constitutions obviously have been proven ineffective in the long run, as is even evidenced by our current social predicament. You will sooner find a Phoenix feather or the horn of a Unicorn than find someone who believes in upholding more than one or two clauses of the Bill of Rights, for example.

One thing I think Level missed, according to my reading of synopsis anyhow, is that of space. Both space in terms of unclaimed real-estate - and outer space, which is basically unclaimed real-estate. The American dream occurred because of unruled space. I wont say unclaimed, as there were natives present who had more of a claim than the colonialists, however I would strongly assert that the trajectory (including the economic levelling, amongst those colonialists of Euro descent) of America would have remained largely the same even had there not been a native populace to massacre.

So, lets hope good ole' Elon keeps his head in the space game and doesn't lose himself to Twitter until he builds us some legit spaceships and orbital habitats or something.


For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)
#145524 - 08/11/18 04:35 AM Re: Risk Dem Socialism poses to minorities [Re: Derid]  
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I don't know why you think that approach that was successfully applied to bust robber barons would not work on this current situation that is very similar. To put it bluntly - tax the fuck out of them, then some more. Then add some monopoly busting on top of that.

What worked on Rockefeller should also work on Bezos.


#145526 - 08/11/18 06:37 AM Re: Risk Dem Socialism poses to minorities [Re: Derid]  
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I think the difference is that the technical barons are easy to replicate, relatively speaking. Also, wealth moves internationally much easier than it did then. So we tax the fooooook out of Facebook et al, then what? Google and Facebook and co move servers and offices to Ireland? Or maybe Monaco? So, do we setup Great Firewall like China?

While I wouldn't be adverse to monopoly busting legislation in principle, actually doing it in a manner that doesn't simply create a billion rules and barriers of entry is also an issue. Telecom is a good example of my fears - instead of investing and regulating in a manner that promoted competition, our govt instead aided and abetted the monopoly machines - and political will turned towards 'net neutrality' to try and police the monopolists.

If you recall I used to be an opponent of NN, not because I think people should be squeezed by rent seeking telecoms, but because if dealing with the telecoms relies solely on the political will of the moment to keep them in line, we've already lost. We failed to foster an open, competitive telecom environment, and now we get to pay for it for a very very long time. I fear a similar occurrence in regards to trying to regulate other sectors.

Its not that it is impossible, but the devil is in the details - and I think our voting public is incapable of sifting through those details to obtain a good outcome, just like the voting public was incapable of recognizing that maintaining open and competitive telecom scene was paramount, and instead jumped on the NN bandwagon back when it was still extremely possible to actually engender a competitive telecom market.

I sure wouldn't mind being proven wrong, but have a hard time seeing how it could be different going forward.


For who could be free when every other man's humour might domineer over him? - John Locke (2nd Treatise, sect 57)

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