Market based pricing, as imperfect as it is, is a system that I can see working, and that I see that can be improved, and therefore i want to improve it. I think that socialism has many good criticisms of markets, which can be used to improve it. This is why am a "reformer."
On the other hand I do not have first hand experience, or even a detailed explanation, of any system that can make the billions of decisions that need to be made every day, without markets. I cannot support ripping down a system that works badly, to replace it with no system at all. This is why I am not a revolutionary.
If someone can convince me that they have a workable system for replacing capitalism, I welcome it wholeheartedly.
Viva la evolution!
Dearest Snafu, thank you for your clarification, (phew!)
Our Commons: the Planet Earth is nothing but a common dump and
wasteland of the most toxic substances ever conceived.
The fear is not that individuals will take what they can from the
Commons, as you point out (eg how many trees a tribesman can cut down,
how many fish an individual can fish in a given day) but the
corporations who not only TAKE what they want, but DUMP their putrid
wastes into our air and water.
One can not have "COMMONS" in one nation only, like 'socialism in one
nation'--we have learned our bitter lessons--not all who died and
fought valiantly for revolution thought any different from us when
they began. Today, we have a whole century of failures and the ability
to revisit our historical tragedies with lucidity and sobriety, this
our historical blessing and never return to those models. Some folks
fall into cyclical temporalities believe everything is doomed to
repetition, and the other temporal fallacies is that there a certain
future, some model that we will eventually arrive at if only
x..y..z.., this inductive reasoning is both hegelian and kantian or
religious thinking. Both are incorrect, we have to look at the past in
order to produce solutions for the future that will not repeat
themselves. This kind of clarity of thinking today is only found in
the marxist philosophers, in that it offers liberation from the
conundrum of history in the attempt to construct a future that is
neither promised but created and forged out of proper archeology of
knowledge. (derrida, bergson, deleuze guaatari--obsessed with
postmodern repititions--i will save this argument for another
day...and old school kantians hegelians and heiddegarians about the
categorical future imperatives...)
So, folks, let us not confuse marxism with the Thermidor of
centralized gov't, kangaroo trials and top down bureaucracy. We are
also allowed to consider the idea that revolution is possible
"without" armed struggle ie. Leninism, Maoism etc. This is another
fallacy that people impose of marxism, assuming all marxists are
proponents of armed struggle. I do not discount Lenin or Trotsky or
Mao's writings, they lived within their historical limitations and
necessities..no, but allow me to plug in here, one of the earliest
proponents of decentralized and non-violent revolution was Rosa
Luxembourg, less known in her day, but her understanding of Marx and
her poetical writings, exemplify a most profound elaboration on the
expansion of capitalism into new unequal markets, ie. imperialism
which is our fact of life today, a century later.
As this article attempts to formulate, but also fails as Andy pointed
out, by red baiting the WWP (who by the way were not stalinist as this
author gossips, but trotskyist and later maoist) so YES, there is a a
great need to recuperate and subject an unbiased analysis, to begin
again without prejudice and never ever to assume a question as
exhausted no matter how simple or complex. We must and can do better
with the best theories at our disposal.
The main problem today, i believe, are conspiracy theories type
thinking, characterized most forcefully by the right wing. folks who
blame individual "errant capitalists" for our global problems and
propose as a solution some messianic figure like Ron Paul who has all
the answers. But why stop there, that is too easy, it is not just the
Ron Pauls or right wing (fascists like to blame certain people, ie,
Jews or Muslims) Unfortunately, some of our most profound theorists
too, in our ossified economic depts at our top universities fall into
this paradigm, albeit not as perniciously, into the notion that we can
save capitalism or "eqilibriate" capitalism, or just bring forth
"capitalism with a human face." Sorry to be so trite, but it always
returns to the same question: REFORM or REVOLUTION? let us look
carefully at this question, and be careful, just because you are so
GUNG HO, and scream revolution!!, doesn't necessarily mean you know
what you are talking about--and i speak to myself too--i have noticed
that the right wing screams out much much louder than we can. We
should rather carefully examine this question and whisper our
solutions with careful sobriety ask fellow comrades to re-visit this
age old question again and again as we set forth...
Please folks, when someone disagrees, let us not call them "leeches"
or "infiltrators" or "irrational" this kind of suspicious
fearmongering is what is wrong with all of us on the left and similar
to the tactics of the right wing, they really believe that replacing a
few individuals with "good" individuals (themselves or messianic
leader) is the solution to the worlds problems and only they know it,
because as elitists, they don't believe the public has a clue about
its own oppression and is powerless. That is why the obsession with
leaking and hidden knowledge that only certain people have, the rest
of us are stupid. Let us stop red-baiting, as Andrew pointed out
earlier--establishing such a a historical precedence--a methodology-an
ethics---will enable us to never make the same mistakes that are the
central features of the counter-revolution and deepest failures of the
Sorry to go off on a tangent folks
Peace and Love,
On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM, rob hollander <email@example.com
> Snafu -- the answer to corporate control over a "democracy" is ... a social
> protest movement like OWS!
> It's sort of like "90% of success is just showing up."
> But the consequences of a movement can go in any direction, favorable or
> I agree about resources. If some forms of exploitation are taken off the
> table by enforced law, the need will find its way for other forms of
> exploitation which may be less dangerous -- or more. That's the long history
> of legislation. Good legislation should recognize a need and facilitate
> satisfying it while protect adverse consequences.
> But a shift from an expansion economic model requires a global shift. Look
> at what happened with the Occupy Wall Street trademark. OWS didn't pursue
> the capitalist model, and some entrepreneur tried to trademark it,
> recognizing that someone or other would do it eventually.
> On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 9:07 AM, Snafu <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> Shaista I am not making a Malthusian argument here. On the contrary, I
>> just stated that capitalism relies on a constant expansion of the world
>> population to increase production-consumption and, yes, the workforce
>> Rob, John a system can never be truly democratic if predicated upon
>> massive inequality in the distribution of wealth. Those who own the most
>> will always a louder voice than those who own less. The Supreme Court has
>> candidly ratified this fact by defining corporate donations to political
>> candidates as free speech (i.e. who owns the most speaks the most).
>> So the struggle for democracy has to go hand-in-hand with the struggle for
>> social and economic justice. And if you want to attack the problem at the
>> root you have to take *some* resources off the market and manage them in
>> common. The main difference with state socialism being that this system
>> would be highly decentralized. Yet in a world that is highly interdependent
>> and globalized some resources cannot be simply managed locally. Take the
>> Amazon, the lungs of the earth. Given the global importance of this resource
>> should its management left to local companies and populations? If not, what
>> kind of alternative resources can be provided to Brazilians so that they may
>> not cut the forest for their livelihood? The same goes for the Delaware
>> River Basin and the property rights of upstate landowners to lease their
>> land to fracking companies. What kind of alternative resources can be
>> provided to impoverished farmers so that they may use the waters wisely?
>> When you begin thinking at this level of scale, the question of the
>> commons gets complicated because many resources--including energy
>> production--are not locally bound. Yet these issues can be tackled much
>> better when the interested parties are not driven by the profit motive but
>> try and solve their conflicts (which won't end in a post-capitalist society)
>> on the basis of their reproductive needs. A system driven by profit such as
>> capitalism rewards the most primitive instincts in human nature. A communal
>> system of management would be predicated upon the preservation and
>> reproduction of the common good.
>> On 11/9/11 12:06 AM, shaista husain wrote:
>>> Rob, despite all my disagreements with you--i must say here you are
>>> correct--- Snafu i like your ideas but to underlie your ideas with a
>>> natural law of scarcity --this is the easiest and first polemic marx
>>> destroyed-- of the conservative malthusian economists... the reserve
>>> army of labor is popular control that is peculiar to the capitalist
>>> mode of production.
>>> "The error of Malthus and the classical economists was to focus their
>>> analysis of capital accumulation and its effects upon specific sectors
>>> of production instead of looking at the relationship between total
>>> social capital and the total labor force. This perspective leads them
>>> to confuse the laws that regulate that general ratio with the laws
>>> which regulate the allocation of specific sectors of the labor force
>>> to specific sectors of production (Marx, 1970:638-639).
>>> On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 11:41 PM, rob hollander<email@example.com
>>>> I like Andy's tiger. You remove the tiger's teeth -- and be very careful
>>>> to forget to declaw him too -- but let him keep his legs under your
>>>> and his hunger.
>>>> Which leads to the anti-hunger Malthusianism that the green movement has
>>>> managed to legitimize. I don't see that Malthusianism is any more true
>>>> than it was when it first appeared. I would not underestimate the
>>>> of human invention, if only it were cultivated with quality education
>>>> accessible to all, instead of for just the few, and turned to human
>>>> problems, rather than to corporate interests. There is the place for big
>>>> government where capital falls short, and that's a notion older than
>>>> socialism, it's the social contract. It's also called democracy --
>>>> your gov't work for everyone.
>>>> The answer to rapacious capitalism has got to be democracy. That's what
>>>> seems to be at bottom all about. We've got a plutocracy of thieves, it
>>>> doesn't work for us, we've had enough of it; we want our government
>>>> I do agree with snafu that capitalism is the ultimate Ponzi scheme. But
>>>> happens when you call out a Ponzi scheme? Everyone is left destitute.
>>>> I like the commons notion. There's something Georgist in it -- pool the
>>>> social resources including all land. Georgism doesn't cure capitalism,
>>>> it wouldn't hurt.
>>>> On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 11:00 PM, Lauren<firstname.lastname@example.org
>>>>> What alternative has even been allowed to run unimpeded?
>>>>> Socialism? Social-capitalism is merely a stopgap to make the european
>>>>> and latin american working class shut up.
>>>>> Communism? Communism in Russia died in 1921. Maoism is confucianism
>>>>> with a coat of red paint.
>>>>> Anarchism? Yes, I guess being beaten by the combined might of Hitler,
>>>>> Stalin, Mussolini and Franco, despite there being a war between each
>>>>> other, could count as an objective measurement of failure, assuming
>>>>> that your ethical standards are those of a jackbooted thug.
>>>>> Where is the success of capitalism in Africa? Why do we keep being
>>>>> reminded about the kulaks, but never about the millions who died
>>>>> during the rubber boom, never about the millions who died during the
>>>>> dust bowl, never about the millions who died because of Britain's
>>>>> laissez-mourir approach to famines in India, Ireland, Africa?
>>>>> Capitalist wealth is the wealth of empire. It's the illusion brought
>>>>> about by concentration, by homogenization of societies that used to be
>>>>> heterogenous even there; wealthy countries with wealthy regions with
>>>>> wealthy cities with wealthy neighborhoods. Hey, some of the country
>>>>> doesn't have electricity and running water? It's okay, we have
>>>>> billionaires in the capital who are really enjoying the success of
>>>> Rob Hollander
>>>> Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
>>>> 622 E 11, #10
>>>> NYC, 10009
> Rob Hollander
> Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
> 622 E 11, #10
> NYC, 10009