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Tags socialism , worker cooperatives

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Old 25th October 2017, 02:41 PM   #321
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
For example, under socialism, a homeless person without money would be considered to have needs for shelter and food, whereas under a free market a homeless person with no money is considered not to have any needs.
Where are you getting this from? This is pretty dramatically inaccurate.
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Old 25th October 2017, 02:46 PM   #322
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
There's more than enough being produced to fulfill everyone's basic needs (food, shelter, electricity, water, ...). People seem to have this weird idea about a so-called "free market" being "good" as a distribution mechanism. But the only reason a free market can be considered to efficiently fulfill needs is by some highly misleading use of the term "need" - much more accurate would be to say that a free market distributes goods so as to efficiently pander to monied interests.

Hence why a house will get distributed as a second or third home to some rich person while another person is still homeless without even a first home. As far as the free market is concerned the rich person does have a need for that second home (because they back up their demand with money) whereas the homeless person has no need for a home (no money implies no need). That's not how people normally understand the term "need".
The free market has nothing at all to do with need. Need isn't a part of it. The free market hypothetically finds the equilibrium price between supply and demand. Not every person will be able to afford that price, and to some people that price is viewed as negligible, because individual budget and preference lines vary. No matter how you look at it, need isn't a component of a free market model.

If you'd like to argue that need should be a component in an economic model, that's fine - go ahead. There are some solid points in that approach. But don't attack the free market model on the basis of a bastardized understanding of it.
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Old 25th October 2017, 02:47 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I never said that it doesn't need a model, nor that it was the model. Just that once you have a model and some data, the algorithm can tell you how many people you need to dig up coal, or whether you should allocate more to car production or to furniture production. At which point the problem of planned economies vanishes.
Sure... hypothetically. There's still probably going to be a bit of a hassle with agency. Maybe not enough people are willing to mine coal to meet the guideline produced by the algorithm... what are you going to do then?
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Old 25th October 2017, 02:49 PM   #324
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
There are already algorithms for that, it's called linear programming, you don't need genetic algorithms for that.
Only if you assume linearity. Why would you assume linearity in the context of a complex economy?
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Old 25th October 2017, 03:18 PM   #325
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, from a macroplanner's point of view, there might not be any practical way of doing that on an aggregate level.

So, you find the equilibrium price for one commodity (#1). Now, what if another commodity (#2) also has an equilibrium price level but which, if effected, would mean that in order to produce that exact volume the production price of #1 would have to change… thus moving the price of #1 away from its equilibrium level?

I was under the impression that by finding the optimal price you imply equilibrium prices for all commodities at the same time, i.e., a kind of general equilibrium. But then one has to ask: What does the supply curve and demand curve in the aggregate sense stand for (supply of what, demand of what exactly)? National net product?
When you move beyond the small scale, you start getting into different econometric models. The basic concept holds, but now instead of it being just one thing moving around (supply versus demand for a specific widget) you get into some very fancy complex models that look to find the best equilibrium for the system as a whole, with consideration given to all the moving parts in it. And a lot of processing power behind that model, because it will always be in flux.

Thus the suggestion of a genetic algorithm.
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Old 25th October 2017, 03:20 PM   #326
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Not necessarily, depends on how you define "optimum".
Only if you insert non-mathematical definitions into a mathematical equation. In the context given, "optimum" has exactly and explicitly the definition that Hans provided.
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Old 25th October 2017, 03:27 PM   #327
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, yes, ideally you'd aim for an across-the-board equilibrium. In fact, you kinda must. If you're off in one direction, you have overproduction and fill your warehouses with goods that people can't actually buy, and in the other direction you create a black market and all sorts of corruption.

Same as happens in an ideal free market, really.

When you move to several products that need the same resource (be it steel, or transport capacity, or shelf space, etc), now essentially you have the same two curves for each of those resources. The guys producing steel also need to find an equilibrium point for THEIR production, and so must the guys providing trucks, and so on.

This in turn affects the supply curves of the products that use them. If the price of steel is higher, the supply-side curve for cars also goes up accordingly.

And basically at this point you see why I said you NEED a computer, and why I was willing to throw in the towel and just use a genetic algorithm. Because basically you have to solve a system of a few thousand such equations. There was no way any USSR committee could even theoretically do it by hand.

Easy? No. As you correctly noticed.

But I'm willing to be that we'll get there one way or another. It doesn't need to be a communist revolution or anything. Sooner or later a few major corporations will figure out how to own the market with such simulations, and just react to each other's moves in real time.
I agree that a genetic algorithm would be a step in the right direction... but I'm not certain it will ever reach the degree of real-time equilibrium that you suggest. At the end of the day, the algorithm is going to run on a model, not on reality. That model will have, by necessity, a set of assumptions that drive it. One of the largest assumptions consistently made by economics as a whole is that of rational actors in the economy. But people aren't rational (as evidenced by the most recent US election), they engage in fads of the strangest sorts, and frequently make very unsound decisions. And just to add some extra confusion to the mix... those pesky humans keep inventing new things and innovating. Which means that the algorithm will need a whole host of curators who constantly try to update the inventory of moving parts that the algorithm has to handle.
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Old 25th October 2017, 03:30 PM   #328
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The OP said nothing about the management structure of the company, only about its ownership structure. You argue against what hardly would even exist. Shareholders would have their meeting a few times per year as usual, and those meetings would be as boring as they are now.


Solution: Investments into R&D etc. are automatically part of the company budget, an individual employee has no say in the matter.
Fair points. I was making assumptions.
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:02 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Worker ownership seeks to empower the workers, state ownership disempowers the workers. Empowerment is about more than financial advantage, it’s also about decision making and creativity.
But not everyone is equally creative, so the success of businesses would vary. The successful ones would accumulate wealth, and voilá we are back to square one: a class society of wealthy family lines vs. middle class family lines vs. poor family lines.

Decision making and creativity can be promoted in state ownership too (propella-hats apply for state funding of their smart ideas, funding panels back the most promising ones), though typical Communism does not do so, which also is a major reason for its poor economic performance.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
the worker/owners would share in the success of the company, if it did succeed
The American dream is to focus on the success stories of the few, ignoring the stories of the rest (which are the majority). The Socialist aspect is to focus on the whole population, or indeed its poorest 10%.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I think you place too much importance on equality of outcome
Such a difference exists between our points of view. For me, it is the most fundamental basic foundation of everything else that follows in my thinking. If dramatically increased equality of everyone is not the point, I don't see why the currently existing selective equality is categorically more unethical than selective equality based on worker ownership, as both contain significant inequality.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
in doing so you would destroy the potential for personal empowerment and expression of creativity.
Not if neutral and expert panels accept business proposals, and fund the most promising of them.

In fact, they do it already now as we speak. Even under Capitalism it is a fact that people with the best ideas are not always the ones with sufficient money in pocket to realize their ideas in business life. The same would happen in a worker-owned society, where some workers lose everything in bankruptcy, while some have remarkable success. Then the bankrupt ones might get better ideas, but they would need a panel or bank or whatever to fund them.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I would prefer a system that has a certain base-line guarantee for everyone, access to decent health-care, education and comfortable living, while still allowing those who are especially creative and successful to prosper.
Sounds like present-day Scandinavia.

I agree, while probably to a different extent. I don't want a world where the lame and lazyish worker population creates GDP Z per annum, and exceptionally diligent persons would like to work more or more effectively, to produce a higher standard of living for themselves, but a glass ceiling makes it impossible. I would offer some economic incentives for inventions and longer working hours.

Looking at present-day Scandinavia, which has everything that you listed above, I would want to triple the monthly available income of the poorest 10 %, which would mathematically require slashing above-average standard of living rather dramatically. So the big picture is what already exists, but the extent to which equality is pursued makes a difference. The more equality you want, the more you need to equalize (nationalize) ownership of businesses which create the wealth. Unless you want a highissimo taxation rate, which might do the trick too.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I don’t see it as a bad thing that some people have more so long as those that have less are not in poverty.
How much the poorest 10% should have, indeed that's the crucial question that defines a lot. I would like to see the poorest 10% earning 65% of average income (assuming that they work according to ability, ideologically unemployed are not included in the figure). That's a high call.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I see no reason why a hybrid system cannot be created that utilizes the best of different philosophies.
European social democracy, Scandinavian style, does this, but with too heavy (and currently increasing) emphasis on Capitalism in my opinion.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
You’re assuming free-market pressures in place. With government ownership those pressures go away.
Not if the state-owned companies are required to make profit or close shop. State-owned companies can have a free market against each other.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Another problem with government control is it limits the decision making to just a handful of minds.
Central planning is a bad idea, and its sweet temptation should be resisted.

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Old 26th October 2017, 11:16 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Where are you getting this from? This is pretty dramatically inaccurate.
No it's pretty exactly correct.

Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
The free market has nothing at all to do with need. Need isn't a part of it. The free market hypothetically finds the equilibrium price between supply and demand. Not every person will be able to afford that price, and to some people that price is viewed as negligible, because individual budget and preference lines vary. No matter how you look at it, need isn't a component of a free market model.

If you'd like to argue that need should be a component in an economic model, that's fine - go ahead. There are some solid points in that approach. But don't attack the free market model on the basis of a bastardized understanding of it.
I understand it just fine. If you look a bit closer you might realize that I was arguing against the common claim that "the free market efficiently fulfills needs".

Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Only if you assume linearity. Why would you assume linearity in the context of a complex economy?
Just because you call something "complex" doesn't mean it is. You know that Linear Programming was developed exactly to improve planning in the Soviet economy, right? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Kantorovich

Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Only if you insert non-mathematical definitions into a mathematical equation. In the context given, "optimum" has exactly and explicitly the definition that Hans provided.
Nonsense. Don't try to unduly elevate the status of your ideological preferences by pretending that they are somehow "mathematical". There's no such thing as an absolute notion of "optimum", only relative to a previously chosen measure. And you're free to choose that measure any way you want, none of them are more or less "mathematical" than the others.
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:21 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
No.

First, anyone who has ever been involved in a committee of more than about 7 people can attest... everyone having an equal voice is a very glacial way to make decisions. By the time an agreement surfaces, it's too late to do anything.

Secondly, it's going to be almost impossible to collect sufficient capital to innovate and invest in long-term objectives. Lower-paid employees and people who expect to move to a different company in a relatively short time aren't going to be willing to give up part of their ownership profits in order to fund the future. And having to have a fund-raising drive any time you want new computers is just going to be painful.

So basically, in some very small, limited instances, sure, maybe it will work for a period of time. But as a general way of getting things done? Not even remotely feasible.
You are correct. Twice, I have been involved with such and twice it dissolved in political bickering and twice I walked away. It is all about ego.
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:42 AM   #332
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You pack a lot into your sentences.

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
I understand it just fine. If you look a bit closer you might realize that I was arguing against the common claim that "the free market efficiently fulfills needs".
Granted, I haven't read every possible conversation everywhere... but I've never run across that claim. The closest I've come to is that the free market is more efficient at meeting demand than other models. Even that is based predominantly on theory rather than practice.

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Just because you call something "complex" doesn't mean it is. You know that Linear Programming was developed exactly to improve planning in the Soviet economy, right? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Kantorovich
First - it IS complex... and insinuating that the entirety of an economy is not complex is rather silly.

Second - How did that work out for the Soviet economy?

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Nonsense. Don't try to unduly elevate the status of your ideological preferences by pretending that they are somehow "mathematical". There's no such thing as an absolute notion of "optimum", only relative to a previously chosen measure. And you're free to choose that measure any way you want, none of them are more or less "mathematical" than the others.
First - what do you think my "ideological preference" is? Do you have any idea at all, or are you just making an assumption here?

Second - No, that's not how a mathematical optimum works. And no, you're not really free to choose a measure any way you want if you want it to be accurate and useful.

Third - yes, some of them are most definitely more mathematical than others.
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Old 26th October 2017, 11:47 AM   #333
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
I understand it just fine. If you look a bit closer you might realize that I was arguing against the common claim that "the free market efficiently fulfills needs".
Apparently not understanding there is a huge difference between "fulfilling needs" and "fulfilling everyone's needs".
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:12 PM   #334
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
No it's pretty exactly correct.

I understand it just fine. If you look a bit closer you might realize that I was arguing against the common claim that "the free market efficiently fulfills needs"...
I could be misreading the discussion, but a primary problem with these issues appears to exist over the term "needs," particularly as it is more typically conflated with the term "wants."

To my consideration there are two categories of "needs" which need to be distinguished (personal needs, and societal needs), and in my opinion, it is society's responsibility to address both of these separate categories of need, without society's role in addressing societal needs there is no rational argument for society. Whereas it is the individual, and self-identifying group's responsibility to address issues of want.

Most of the ideological differences exist in the perceptual differences between needs and wants and whose responsibility it is to insure, provide and regulate the supporting resources and security of personal and societal needs and to what degree the various individual and societal wants should be subsidized by the entire society and whether or not there is societal benefit of the outcome and whether this should be supported by the individuals/groups who primarily benefit from them, or society at large.
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:29 PM   #335
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
I could be misreading the discussion, but a primary problem with these issues appears to exist over the term "needs," particularly as it is more typically conflated with the term "wants."

To my consideration there are two categories of "needs" which need to be distinguished (personal needs, and societal needs), and in my opinion, it is society's responsibility to address both of these separate categories of need, without society's role in addressing societal needs there is no rational argument for society. Whereas it is the individual, and self-identifying group's responsibility to address issues of want.

Most of the ideological differences exist in the perceptual differences between needs and wants and whose responsibility it is to insure, provide and regulate the supporting resources and security of personal and societal needs and to what degree the various individual and societal wants should be subsidized by the entire society and whether or not there is societal benefit of the outcome and whether this should be supported by the individuals/groups who primarily benefit from them, or society at large.
Yup. That's the crux of the debate in a nutshell. Now I just wish I had an answer for any of it.
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:45 PM   #336
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Granted, I haven't read every possible conversation everywhere... but I've never run across that claim. The closest I've come to is that the free market is more efficient at meeting demand than other models. Even that is based predominantly on theory rather than practice.
It's not even that, it's effective demand, and even then the claim is vacuous anyway.

Quote:
First - it IS complex... and insinuating that the entirety of an economy is not complex is rather silly.
Gross production targets in a planned economy are approximately linear and anything but complex.

Quote:
Second - How did that work out for the Soviet economy?
Very well, especially relative to free market allocation. Your point being?

Quote:
First - what do you think my "ideological preference" is? Do you have any idea at all, or are you just making an assumption here?
Capital growth. Production set at market equilibrium maximizes capital growth. And before you respond to this point, I'm not so much talking about your personal ideological preference, but the implicit ideological preference in defining market equilibrium prices as "optimal".

Quote:
Second - No, that's not how a mathematical optimum works. And no, you're not really free to choose a measure any way you want if you want it to be accurate and useful.

Third - yes, some of them are most definitely more mathematical than others.
No it isn't. Disagree? Find me a single mathematics textbook that defines "optimum" the way you claim it is. You won't find any. There's no such thing as a "mathematical optimum".

The mathematical concepts are maxima/minima of functions. To call such a maximum (or minimum for that matter) an "optimum" you first have to choose a measure which you are optimizing for. And that is where the ideological preference comes in, there's no mathematical reason why maximizing the enrichment of the capitalist class (ie maximizing capital growth) should be considered "optimal". It's just a sleigh-of-hand used by economists to hide the ideological preferences that go into their models.

There's absolutely nothing (and certainly nothing mathematical) stopping you from, say, using long-term sustainability as an optimization target and calling a production & allocation model which maximizes that measure "optimal". Mathematically all you have is a bunch of functions with maxima/minima. Which of those you want to call "optimal" is a question of (ideological) preference.
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Old 26th October 2017, 12:53 PM   #337
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Yup. That's the crux of the debate in a nutshell. Now I just wish I had an answer for any of it.
Well, most ideologies provide a range of solutions addressing the problems societies face within the confines of the manner in which they define these problems. Unfortunately, the ideological definitions allow almost no overlap of "needs" or "wants," between ideologies so that there are almost never any acceptable solutions across the span of differing ideologies. Even the most rightward progressive solution will never be acceptable to most conservatives, and the most leftward conservative solution will never be acceptable to most progressives.
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Old 26th October 2017, 05:11 PM   #338
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
And before you respond to this point, I'm not so much talking about your personal ideological preference, but the implicit ideological preference in defining market equilibrium prices as "optimal".
The rest of your post is irrelevant, based on this piece.

I'm not talking about defining it as optimal as in "ideal" or "most favorable". I'm talking about optimum in the mathematical sense as that which brings the first derivative of a relationship closest to zero within the boundary constraints.

This is why I said it was a mathematical concept in the first place. You're conflating different meanings of the terms optimum, optimization, and optimal.
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Old 27th October 2017, 06:41 AM   #339
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
The rest of your post is irrelevant, based on this piece.

I'm not talking about defining it as optimal as in "ideal" or "most favorable". I'm talking about optimum in the mathematical sense as that which brings the first derivative of a relationship closest to zero within the boundary constraints.

This is why I said it was a mathematical concept in the first place. You're conflating different meanings of the terms optimum, optimization, and optimal.
Again, there is no mathematical concept of "optimum", the mathematical concept you are talking about is called an "extremum" - namely a maximum/minimum of a function. For differentiable functions those maxima/minima indeed occur where the first derivative is zero, but non-differentiable functions can also have extrema of course, you just can't calculate it through setting the derivative equal to zero obviously.

An "optimum" is always relative to a previously chosen measure of what is to be considered as optimal (that measure is called an "objective function"[*]). I'm not the one conflating things here.

But like I said in my previous post:
Quote:
Disagree? Find me a single mathematics textbook that defines "optimum" the way you claim it is.
I can already tell you that you won't find any, but since this point somehow just doesn't seem to be getting through, feel free to convince yourself by going on that search.

* and, like I said earlier, therein lays the sleight-of-hand used by economists. Hiding the objective function behind a pretense that the concept of an "optimum"[**] is some absolute concept rather than relative to an (ideological) preference of what is considered "optimal". In capitalist economics that objective is capital growth (which is really a nice way of saying "enriching the capitalist class").

** the same goes for the concept of "efficiency".

When you said "how did that work out for the Soviet economy?" I'm assuming that you were intending to show that the Soviet economy was sub-optimal and inefficient. And you certainly could've pulled up the data, applied your model, and indeed find that it was highly sub-optimal and inefficient. What you would've forgotten in all that was the assumption that goes into the model you'd have applied, namely the objective of enriching the capitalist class. So, sure, they were quite sub-optimal and inefficient at enriching the capitalist class. But then, that wasn't their objective, and they were indeed quite optimal and efficient at their own objectives.
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Old 27th October 2017, 01:48 PM   #340
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
But not everyone is equally creative, so the success of businesses would vary. The successful ones would accumulate wealth, and voilá we are back to square one: a class society of wealthy family lines vs. middle class family lines vs. poor family lines.
Not being creative or a great decision maker doesn’t guarantee your company will go bankrupt, and these skills are skills that a company can hire.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Decision making and creativity can be promoted in state ownership too (propella-hats apply for state funding of their smart ideas, funding panels back the most promising ones), though typical Communism does not do so, which also is a major reason for its poor economic performance.
Shark Tank for Socialists?

You can make patches to cover the flaws of Marxists systems, but I think it would be easier to start with a Capitalist system and make patches to cover its flaws. Part of the problem with putting anything under government control is it opens it up to the corruptive influence of politics. Would these experts really fairly evaluate ideas? Or would they make decisions to favor one political group? Would these decisions become a placebo to placate unsatisfied masses? Or what if this committee is just wrong?

An organic system like capitalism doesn’t guarantee every good idea is enacted, it just gives more of them a chance.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The American dream is to focus on the success stories of the few, ignoring the stories of the rest (which are the majority). The Socialist aspect is to focus on the whole population, or indeed its poorest 10%.
The “American Dream” is a vague term and generally means that people who work hard can advance, and that your children can attain a higher standard of living that what they were born to. We may talk a lot about individual success stories, but if you watch the evening news plenty of focus is on economic indicators that apply the population as a whole and the poorest.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Such a difference exists between our points of view. For me, it is the most fundamental basic foundation of everything else that follows in my thinking. If dramatically increased equality of everyone is not the point, I don't see why the currently existing selective equality is categorically more unethical than selective equality based on worker ownership, as both contain significant inequality.
I think if the poorest among us can have adequate housing, healthy food, good medical care and a reasonably comfortable existence then the economy is working well and you have a good system. I don’t see any inherent problem with there being billionaires who skew equality measurements. Do you?

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Not if neutral and expert panels accept business proposals, and fund the most promising of them

In fact, they do it already now as we speak. Even under Capitalism it is a fact that people with the best ideas are not always the ones with sufficient money in pocket to realize their ideas in business life. The same would happen in a worker-owned society, where some workers lose everything in bankruptcy, while some have remarkable success. Then the bankrupt ones might get better ideas, but they would need a panel or bank or whatever to fund them.
Capitalism has a lot of options. If you can’t fund your own start-up, and sometimes they can be done out of your garage, there are bond sales, business loans, and also investors who actively go around looking for good ideas to invest in. You can try to mimic some or all of these in a socialist system, but I think it's easier to start with a capitalist system and add socialist features.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Sounds like present-day Scandinavia.
Which is stable and prosperous, isn't it? When you have an example of what works, I think you should look at that example very closely.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Looking at present-day Scandinavia, which has everything that you listed above, I would want to triple the monthly available income of the poorest 10 %, which would mathematically require slashing above-average standard of living rather dramatically...
I think this is an inherent flaw in your thinking is the assumption that standard of living is a zero-sum game where if you improve one person’s standard you have to take away from someone else. I think the reality is you can work to maximize productivity so there is more for everyone.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
European social democracy, Scandinavian style, does this, but with too heavy (and currently increasing) emphasis on Capitalism in my opinion.
I think they’re right to do that as it’s Capitalism that creates the productivity that pays for it all.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Not if the state-owned companies are required to make profit or close shop. State-owned companies can have a free market against each other.


Central planning is a bad idea, and its sweet temptation should be resisted.
Government has an inertia that’s hard to overcome. You think you can create a set of rules today that will carry into the future, but the future implementation of those rules will become politicized. You want to close a business? Oh the politicians will moan and groan about the people laid off or they’ll say it’s in a remote location and should be exempt, or something. With the decision left to private enterprise, you don’t have those same problems.
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Old 27th October 2017, 02:08 PM   #341
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
It's not even that, it's effective demand, and even then the claim is vacuous anyway.
I don’t know what distinction you’re trying to make, but demand isn’t a constant. It’s a variable.

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Gross production targets in a planned economy are approximately linear and anything but complex.
It’s linear because it ignores consumer wants in favor of an artificially determined “need”. Bare survival is simple, but wants and quality of life are complex. This is why huge black markets developed in the Soviet Union for western goods, because the local economy ignored consumer wants.

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Very well, especially relative to free market allocation. Your point being?
Are you using the same metric you applied to free market allocation? I.E., one failure to provide for an individual means the whole system fails?

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
The mathematical concepts are maxima/minima of functions. To call such a maximum (or minimum for that matter) an "optimum" you first have to choose a measure which you are optimizing for. And that is where the ideological preference comes in, there's no mathematical reason why maximizing the enrichment of the capitalist class (ie maximizing capital growth) should be considered "optimal". It's just a sleigh-of-hand used by economists to hide the ideological preferences that go into their models.
Production of things people want seems like a good metric.

Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
There's absolutely nothing (and certainly nothing mathematical) stopping you from, say, using long-term sustainability as an optimization target and calling a production & allocation model which maximizes that measure "optimal". Mathematically all you have is a bunch of functions with maxima/minima. Which of those you want to call "optimal" is a question of (ideological) preference.
How would you define “long term sustainability”? In a free market if something isn’t sustainable, the market creates pressure to find alternatives that are sustainable, or just close down production.
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Old 30th October 2017, 03:32 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Not being creative or a great decision maker doesn’t guarantee your company will go bankrupt, and these skills are skills that a company can hire.
Companies go bankrupt every day in the world. Avoiding that is not as simple as "hiring someone".

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
You can make patches to cover the flaws of Marxists systems, but I think it would be easier to start with a Capitalist system and make patches to cover its flaws.
I constantly give some consideration to both options, at least privately if not in public.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Part of the problem with putting anything under government control is it opens it up to the corruptive influence of politics. Would these experts really fairly evaluate ideas? Or would they make decisions to favor one political group? Would these decisions become a placebo to placate unsatisfied masses? Or what if this committee is just wrong?
Whoever makes such decisions today (for example, banks when deciding whether to give a loan or not, or government institutions when deciding whether to give business development aid or not), is subject to the same problems as are listed above. My advice is: create several small panels rather than one big, and statistically monitor the economic success rate of each panel (and indeed, of the votes of each panel member, even when the decision went a different way than the panel member voted). Periodically replace the worst performing panelists with new ones.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I think if the poorest among us can have adequate housing, healthy food, good medical care and a reasonably comfortable existence then the economy is working well and you have a good system. I don’t see any inherent problem with there being billionaires who skew equality measurements. Do you?
My primary focus is on improving equality among the working class, not so much complaining about wealth of the wealthiest. One would think that typical Socialist doctrine focuses on both of these, but to my disappointment, Socialist thinking often focuses on demonising the wealthiest without having any intention to equalize the salaries of workers once the wealthiest would be abolished. So they are forever hopelessly fighting the lesser evil, and forever ignoring the greater evil.

Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I think this is an inherent flaw in your thinking is the assumption that standard of living is a zero-sum game where if you improve one person’s standard you have to take away from someone else. I think the reality is you can work to maximize productivity so there is more for everyone.
I am perfectly aware that productivity can be increased, but apart from people working longer hours (for which I would reward people generously), remarkable super-productivity is possible in a minority of professions only. If that is so, then rewarding the lucky holders of such professions would be actually unfair, maybe a school teacher or a bus driver is an equally super-productive personality, he or she just happens to work in a profession where it cannot produce measurable extra productivity into GDP.

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Old 30th October 2017, 03:37 AM   #343
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
free market is more efficient at meeting demand than other models. Even that is based predominantly on theory rather than practice.
The contradiction is that the Socialist model was (and many believe that it still is) supposed to be mathematically superior in productivity (or at least in distribution of its fruits) compared to the Capitalist model. But the lame versions of Socialist societies that 20th century produced, failed to perform anywhere near as productively as the leading Capitalist states. (While they mostly did outperform the worst-performing Capitalist states.)

The theory looked good, the practice not.

Though what matters for the poorer 50% (not to speak of the poorest 10%) of population is not so much GDP, but rather, how much of GDP is distributed to the poorer 50% of population. So GDP does not directly tell which society is the best for the poorer 50% of population. When we talk about the poorest 10% of population, even the leading capitalist country USA performs relatively poorly, and might realistically be outperformed by the known historical Communist countries of the previous century.

Last edited by JJM 777; 30th October 2017 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 30th October 2017, 03:44 AM   #344
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
Unfortunately, the ideological definitions allow almost no overlap of "needs" or "wants," between ideologies so that there are almost never any acceptable solutions across the span of differing ideologies.
Conflict of interests is a basic feature of politics. Its only effective solution would be legal autonomy of political parties, within their own geographic regions of the country. Then they would be able to define their wants and needs as they want.
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Old 30th October 2017, 12:05 PM   #345
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Conflict of interests is a basic feature of politics. Its only effective solution would be legal autonomy of political parties, within their own geographic regions of the country. Then they would be able to define their wants and needs as they want.
IMO, an easier solution that would bring greater benefit to electorate and nation, would be to simply outlaw political parties, institute and regulate a publically-financed election system and a judicially controlled voting district mapping system.

There are a lot of anachronistic and arcane hold-overs in our modern American system, that made some sense when it took weeks for news, and months for people to travel throughout the eastern, coastal colonies, yet alone a nation as large as the United States grew to represent within its first century of existence. Most of these issues are no longer relevant, however, and really gum up the works of elections and good governance.
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Old 30th October 2017, 12:37 PM   #346
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How does "outlaw political parties" work? Wouldn't you have to abolish freedom of association and freedom of speech? That's actually all political parties are, at their core: like-minded citizens freely associating with each other to promote political ideas and get out the vote for a candidate who will try to implement those ideas.
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Old 30th October 2017, 05:17 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
How does "outlaw political parties" work? Wouldn't you have to abolish freedom of association and freedom of speech? That's actually all political parties are, at their core: like-minded citizens freely associating with each other to promote political ideas and get out the vote for a candidate who will try to implement those ideas.
Not at all, under a such a situation individuals can speak however they wish, they just cannot do so as an organized and established group (a political party thus becomes a criminal conspiracy), likewise candidates can form their own campaign staffs but they cannot solicit or accept any monies or resources beyond those provided by the public-financed elections funding and they cannot as a group try to publically influence or impact voters. The idea is to eliminate the support machines and donated monies that are the root of most corruption in politics.
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Old 30th October 2017, 07:34 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
IMO, an easier solution that would bring greater benefit to electorate and nation, would be to simply outlaw political parties, institute and regulate a publically-financed election system and a judicially controlled voting district mapping system.
You call that an "easier solution"?
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Old 30th October 2017, 08:04 PM   #349
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
Not at all, under a such a situation individuals can speak however they wish, they just cannot do so as an organized and established group (a political party thus becomes a criminal conspiracy), likewise candidates can form their own campaign staffs but they cannot solicit or accept any monies or resources beyond those provided by the public-financed elections funding and they cannot as a group try to publically influence or impact voters. The idea is to eliminate the support machines and donated monies that are the root of most corruption in politics.
So you *are* abolishing freedom of association and freedom of of speech. Okay.
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Old 31st October 2017, 05:18 AM   #350
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
IMO, an easier solution that would bring greater benefit to electorate and nation, would be to simply outlaw political parties, institute and regulate a publically-financed election system and a judicially controlled voting district mapping system.
While your suggestion would amend some problems, which are specific to USA, your suggestion does not actually help for your original concern, which was:
Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
Unfortunately, the ideological definitions allow almost no overlap of "needs" or "wants," between ideologies so that there are almost never any acceptable solutions across the span of differing ideologies.
To which I offered a solution which helps for this concern. Then you offered a solution which does not help for this concern of yours.

Oh, but you wanted to ban political parties, so then there would be no conflict of ideologies. Wait, ideologies are thoughts and opinions, so to get rid of conflicts between them, you would need to ban thoughts and opinions. No more voting and speaking rights to anyone would solve the problem of conflicting votes and speeches.

Last edited by JJM 777; 31st October 2017 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 31st October 2017, 11:23 AM   #351
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
While your suggestion would amend some problems, which are specific to USA, your suggestion does not actually help for your original concern, which was:

To which I offered a solution which helps for this concern. Then you offered a solution which does not help for this concern of yours.

Oh, but you wanted to ban political parties, so then there would be no conflict of ideologies. Wait, ideologies are thoughts and opinions, so to get rid of conflicts between them, you would need to ban thoughts and opinions. No more voting and speaking rights to anyone would solve the problem of conflicting votes and speeches.
The problem is not conflict, conflict is the essential foundation of identifying social issues that require consideration and addressment. The problem is the institutionalization of conflict as a fundamental foundation of a group's existence. When the latter happens there is no benefit to that group in resolving or successfully addressing the issue's problem as it eliminates a primary reason for that group's existence. With political parties in the US we really aren't dealing with ideological issue conflicts so much as political fund-raising , the "conflict" becomes a fund-raising strategy instead of political conflict resolution. Public financing of political candidates in the U.S. will likely send political parties in a tail-spin back into the shadows all on its own over a few decades.
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Old 31st October 2017, 11:31 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You call that an "easier solution"?
granted.
Perhaps, "more simple" would have been a better term. I didn't mean that such would or could be easily implemented, merely that it would cut straight to the issue of most of the damaging conflict consequences while making their reoccurrence much less likely.
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Old 31st October 2017, 11:41 AM   #353
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
Perhaps, "more simple" would have been a better term.
Mmmm no. A congress filled with self interested people (or people who truly represent the interests of their individual electorates) would have no less conflict than one run on party lines. Worse, you wouldn't know what the candidates stand for come election time (one of the reasons I don't vote in council elections).
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Old 31st October 2017, 11:44 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So you *are* abolishing freedom of association and freedom of of speech. Okay.
Not at all, individuals should have the ability to freely associate and to individually speak their mind. Outlawing political parties, would merely eliminate the ability of arcane institutionalized groups to serve as gate-keepers in individual political campaign policy decisions and campaign finances.
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Old 31st October 2017, 12:00 PM   #355
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Mmmm no. A congress filled with self interested people (or people who truly represent the interests of their individual electorates) would have no less conflict than one run on party lines. Worse, you wouldn't know what the candidates stand for come election time (one of the reasons I don't vote in council elections).
It is incumbent upon voters to devote time and effort into the process of informing themselves and making decisions based upon these efforts. It is the abundance of well-funded party and party candidate lies that are the primary cause of dissatisfaction with the current political process in America. Politicians beholden to, and integrated within party systems, are locked into systems of beliefs and supportive voting, regardless of how they personally feel (or their constituencies feel) about those votes. If they do vote their conscience and/or their constituencies' preferences, they can find themselves cutoff from party support and challenged by party operatives (and their self-interest lies) in the next primary. I prefer candidates being directly responsible to the electorate who sends them to office, not groups of individuals who don't actually face voters, merely their largest donors.
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Old 31st October 2017, 04:50 PM   #356
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
IMO, an easier solution that would bring greater benefit to electorate and nation, would be to simply outlaw political parties, institute and regulate a publically-financed election system and a judicially controlled voting district mapping system.
I think you would get the effect you're looking for with just the publically financed election system. I don't think it's possible or desirable to outlaw political parties.

Breaking our two-party system would be good, though.
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Old 31st October 2017, 08:18 PM   #357
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
Not at all, individuals should have the ability to freely associate and to individually speak their mind. Outlawing political parties, would merely eliminate the ability of arcane institutionalized groups to serve as gate-keepers in individual political campaign policy decisions and campaign finances.
Sure.

Tell me: If three individuals get together and decide one them should be mayor, and agree pool their votes behind their candidate, is that an illegal political party, in your utopia?

What if they go door to door, and buy advertising, encouraging others to vote for their candidate?

What if someone else steps up, arguing that they are a better representative of the group's values than the original candidate?

What if these citizens, associating freely, agree among themselves on a process for deciding which contender will enjoy the endorsement of the group?

Do you even understand what a political party actually is? Do you even understand how closely tied it is to the fundamental rights of free speech and free association?
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Old 1st November 2017, 04:05 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
The problem is not conflict, conflict is the essential foundation of identifying social issues that require consideration and addressment. The problem is the institutionalization of conflict
Conflicts of interest are inevitable and seemingly eternal, at least what comes to such groups as investors, high-paid workers, low-paid workers, and the unemployed. When issues such as taxation and free state services and social benefits are decided, these groups have conflicting interests. No matter what the decision is, a conflict remains between the achieved status quo and the interests of nearly every group.

I would like to see the political ideologies do more (with autonomous powers) and talk less. Enough has been heard of their endless talking.
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Old 1st November 2017, 11:30 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Companies go bankrupt every day in the world. Avoiding that is not as simple as "hiring someone".
Not in all cases, no, but we were discussing the specific case where the problem is lack of creativity. Companies hire creative people for the purpose of being creative all the time.

The typical hedge against a catastrophic loss from one company going bankrupt is to diversify, so if you want to incent people through ownership yet protect them, a likely solution would be to have them invest a certain dollar amount in their own company and another dollar amount in a more general retirement fund.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I constantly give some consideration to both options, at least privately if not in public.
You are to be commended for your open-mindedness.

Are there examples of systems that began as Marxist revolutions and then progressed through reforms to reach a standard of living comparable to Scandinavia? I don’t think China is there yet, but seems to be rapidly moving in the right direction.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
Whoever makes such decisions today (for example, banks when deciding whether to give a loan or not, or government institutions when deciding whether to give business development aid or not), is subject to the same problems as are listed above. My advice is: create several small panels rather than one big, and statistically monitor the economic success rate of each panel (and indeed, of the votes of each panel member, even when the decision went a different way than the panel member voted). Periodically replace the worst performing panelists with new ones.
You can artificially mimic the organs of a capitalist society, or you could have a capitalist society and let these institutions develop organically. I guess a lot would depend on the size and scope of the project.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
My primary focus is on improving equality among the working class, not so much complaining about wealth of the wealthiest. One would think that typical Socialist doctrine focuses on both of these, but to my disappointment, Socialist thinking often focuses on demonising the wealthiest without having any intention to equalize the salaries of workers once the wealthiest would be abolished. So they are forever hopelessly fighting the lesser evil, and forever ignoring the greater evil.
Much of the working class is fine. If you’re a machinist working at a factory, you’re most likely making good money. The attention needs to be paid to the working poor.

Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
I am perfectly aware that productivity can be increased, but apart from people working longer hours (for which I would reward people generously), remarkable super-productivity is possible in a minority of professions only. If that is so, then rewarding the lucky holders of such professions would be actually unfair, maybe a school teacher or a bus driver is an equally super-productive personality, he or she just happens to work in a profession where it cannot produce measurable extra productivity into GDP.
Remarkable super-productivity comes from technological improvements that give people better tools to work with. Modern computers and software, for example, allow us to accomplish in hours what used to take weeks, factory automation makes the individual worker more productive. Anything that can be automated frees up people to be productive in other ways.
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Old 1st November 2017, 12:08 PM   #360
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
IMO, an easier solution that would bring greater benefit to electorate and nation, would be to simply outlaw political parties, institute and regulate a publically-financed election system and a judicially controlled voting district mapping system.
Is your first impulse always tyranny? Political parties are the result of free speech, which is guaranteed by the first amendment to the US constitution. The problem with politics isn't the existence of political parties, it's the fact that the plurality voting system guarantees that two parties will become dominant (see Duverger's law).

Instant runoff voting in all elections would be a crucial political reform, and would give power to less established and entrenched parties.

Then there is the problem of endless fiat money used to buy politicians. "Let me issue and control a nation's currency and I care not who writes its laws."
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