Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Capitalism or Socialism?


The Socialist Party has organised a public debate for early February between ourselves and Dr Eamonn Butler the Director of the Adam Smith Institute, and the subject under discussion and examination will be Capitalism or Socialism! That's straight forward then, and this is an event that if you live in the London area; you may find it well worth attending irrespective of what organisation you belong to or opinions held; with plenty of time allowed for floor discussion and contributions your take on the situation would be most welcome. To get you in the mood I've reproduced an article from last years Socialist Standard entitled Capitalism is working.

Capitalism is working


The Times (9 March) carried an article by Eamonn Butler, the director of the Adam Smith Institute. Yes, they are still around, even if it might be thought that they would be keeping a low profile these days, given that the pursuit of profit has yet again led to overproduction and a financial and economic crisis, a really big one this time.

Butler began by quoting a speech by an American professor called Boettke at a recent gathering of Mad Marketeers in New York:

“If you bound the arms and legs of gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps, weighed him down with chains, threw him in a pool and he sank, you wouldn't call it a ‘failure of swimming'. So, when markets have been weighted down by inept and excessive regulation, why call this a ‘failure of capitalism'?”

That depends on what you mean by capitalism. Boettke seems to mean the spontaneous operation of production for profit and the market. But that’s not really capitalism; it’s just a policy that some capitalists (and their paid and unpaid publicists) have favoured at some times.

Capitalism is a system of production for sale on a market with a view to profit. Ideologists such as Butler and Boettke are assuming that there is some irreconcilable conflict between the profit system and government intervention. But there isn’t. Capitalism has never existed without government intervention and never will. For a start, it is based on the exclusion of the majority from the ownership and control of the means of production, which are monopolised by a profit-seeking minority. A state is needed to maintain this exclusion. This has to be paid for, so taxes have to be levied. Capitalists in one country are in competition with capitalists from other countries, and governments have always intervened to help “their” capitalists with tariffs and subsidies and, if need be, by military action.

So, capitalism and the state are not incompatibles. They go together. What is true is that the consensus of capitalist opinion varies at times as to the desirable degree of government intervention. What seems to be annoying the Adam Smith Institute today is that their ideological rivals, the Keynesians, who have no qualms about government intervention in the capitalist economy, are making a come-back because of the present crisis.

“Up to now”, Butler wrote, “the Keynesians have made the running. Greed, they say, has brought down the world economy. Only massive public spending can revive it”. If by “greed” Butler means the pursuit of profits, the Keynesians are not against that, even if they certainly are in favour of trying to spend the way of the crisis. But that’s just an alternative policy for the profit system to the one favoured by the Adam Smith Institute. It’s not a negation of capitalism.

Butler proffers his own explanation for the crisis: “excessive regulation” (of course). This assumes that, without this, the crisis would not have occurred. He rather undermines this approach by concluding his article by saying that “occasional crises are the cost of the prosperity that entrepreneurial capitalism brings”.

So, crises are going to occur anyway, even in his ideal, unregulated capitalist world! And what, without excessive regulation to blame, would they be caused by if not by the pursuit of profits leading to overproduction in some sector in relation to the market, from which the only way out is a crisis to eliminate the lame ducks and the deadwood, as capitalists like to refer to their inefficient colleagues? In this sense, Boettke is right. This and other crises don’t represent the “failure of capitalism”, but capitalism working normally.
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37 comments:

stella said...

"Capitalism is a system of production for sale on a market with a view to profit. Ideologists such as Butler and Boettke are assuming that there is some irreconcilable conflict between the profit system and government intervention. But there isn’t."

There is if you define it as "spontaneous operation of production for profit and the market."

Mondialiste said...

But how could production for profit operate if there wasn't a government to guarantee property rights? Capitalism without the state has never existed and never could. See this article on "The end of 'neo-liberalism'" at http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/nov08/text/page12.html

Jim said...

Boettke seems to mean the spontaneous operation of production for profit and the market. But that’s not really capitalism . . .

Capitalism is a system of production for sale on a market with a view to profit.


WTF?? You've just completely contradicted yourself in the space of only a few sentences, by claiming that "capitalism" both is and is not production for profit on a market. Why should anyone take this post seriously?

Londonsocialist said...

Read the article again, mate. The 2 definitions are not the same. Boettke says that capitalism is the so-called "free" market (only) (which has never existed). The article says capitalism is wider than that. That it's anywhere where there's production for sale with a view to profit, even if regulated by the government (which is what happens everywhere). In fact, even if organised by the government as in the old USSR. Haven't you heard of State capitalism?

stella said...

"But how could production for profit operate if there wasn't a government to guarantee property rights?"

Private property has, in fact, existed without a state. Some examples are the post-civil war Catelonia, Icelandic Commonwealth, Celtic Ireland, etc...
Boettke and others argue that modern-equivalents of the various non-state institutions from history could do the job, "spontaneous operations" such as land groups, ownership societies, insurance, etc...

"Capitalism without the state has never existed and never could. See this article on "The end of 'neo-liberalism'" at http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/nov08/text/page12.html"

Capitalism is fairly new and since private property is at the root of capitalism, and has existed without the state, its plausible. The author of the article you link clearly has a different conception of capitalism than Boettke. - "The essence of capitalism is not any form of ownership" - Wrong.

Norbert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norbert said...

Stella Anonymous,

Whether property has existed or not without the support of the state is acodemic in it's groans; with all due respect to you; we are are concerned with the here and now!

Having had a 'Stella Aretois' or two this evening I can see without doubt or question that the two faces of capitalism are split like a heartwood trunk the main stem of the tree right down the middle.

What ever the essence of capitalism is the worker as woodsman will chop it up and cut it into pieces, for the reason it is rotten to it's very root's.

stella said...

Norbert Blogger,

While we are concerned with the here and now we still must address concerns about the past.

The worker would be best advised to listen to people like Boettke and chop the suffocating vines of the state off of the free market.

Mondialiste said...

Try this one then, Stella. The main form of profit-seeking, capitalist enterprise today is the corporation. Corporations are artificial legal creations guaranteed -- and enforced -- by the State. If they weren't there'd be nothing to stop workers taking over the factories and other workplaces and running them for themselves. In any event, Boettke's definition of capitalism would seem to mean that capitalism has never existed. Unfortunately it has, but his kind of capitalism would be even worse. Imagine having to pay for literally everything and being able to sell everything including your grandmother. What a nightmare. No wonder they call people like him Mad Marketeers.

Norbert said...

The logical conclusion is that capitalism regulated or otherwise is best summed up by a quoition that I borrow from an article that I've just looked up in an old 1993 Socialist Standard, and seems appropriate it's application here, under the heading Capitalism's Intellectual Bankruptcy; and focused in particular on the Thatcher years', that some of you hunger after; it say's:

"They not only robbed workers blind, but they robbed blind workers, their faces straight as they lied, their hands bloodstained as they celebrated the freedom of the jungle."

For a time in the 1980s I stayed a while in Manchester, and in Old Trafford, where they had a saying that I often use, 'when Dick Turpin decided to rob people he wore a mask'. In the last 31 years the see-through mask of capitalism has slipped to such an extent that the chances are more likely than ever; that workers will question rather than meekly be bent to the wishes of capital!

stella said...

"Try this one then, Stella. The main form of profit-seeking, capitalist enterprise today is the corporation. Corporations are artificial legal creations guaranteed -- and enforced -- by the State. If they weren't there'd be nothing to stop workers taking over the factories and other workplaces and running them for themselves."

Workers are perfectly free to buy shares of corporations and "take over." Putting aside the complexities share-holding, your reasoning for the existence of the corporation obviously isn't correct, as non-incorporated firms aren't being rapidly taken over by the workers. Further, the corpus was actually first created as a means to battle slavery. As the state would imprison debtors, their offspring, their offspring's offspring, etc... until the debt had been re-payed. Limited-liability protected innocent people.

"In any event, Boettke's definition of capitalism would seem to mean that capitalism has never existed."

Yes, I've already mentioned that. Which is why so many objections are completely moot.

"Unfortunately it has, but his kind of capitalism would be even worse. Imagine having to pay for literally everything and being able to sell everything including your grandmother."

You've contradicted yourself; it either has or hasn't not both. (Hint: It hasn't!) But your objections just show a lack of understanding, as Boettke and others have explained, slavery is incompatible with capitalism for a large number of reasons that have been explained ad nauseam, so, don't worry grandma! For the most part you already pay for everything, Boettke and others are trying to make everything cost effective and efficient, unlike now. Nor does such an arrangement rule out any sort of "commons."

"What a nightmare. No wonder they call people like him Mad Marketeers."

Only people who are ill-informed.

stella said...

"They not only robbed workers blind, but they robbed blind workers, their faces straight as they lied, their hands bloodstained as they celebrated the freedom of the jungle."

I'm not sure how that is the logical conclusion of capitalism, as workers simply aren't robbed.

For a time in the 1980s I stayed a while in Manchester, and in Old Trafford, where they had a saying that I often use, 'when Dick Turpin decided to rob people he wore a mask'. In the last 31 years the see-through mask of capitalism has slipped to such an extent that the chances are more likely than ever; that workers will question rather than meekly be bent to the wishes of capital!

I'm not really sure of the point of a see-through mask or why it would matter if it slipped at all (since its see through and all)... At any rate your metaphor isn't apt.

Mondialiste said...

Partially re-assured about grandma but I wasn't thinking about people selling their grandmas into slavery but rather about selling her body for scientific research. And I'm still not re-assured about the sale of body parts or about having to pay for air to breath!
Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Your esoteric definition is refuted by its absurd conclusion that capitalism has never existed. Of course it has and that's the problem and why we need a world of common ownership, democratic control and production for use not profit instead.

Norbert said...

Stella,

They do say that 'there are none so blind as those who will not see.' ...

You may unfortunately fall amongst them I fear!

"Workers simply aren't robbed."

No? Is that what you think, or is it what you 'like' to think?

During this world recession, millions have lost their jobs and homes all over the World. I would argue that they have indeed been robbed! Because something has been taken away from them that they very much need, and forcefully backed by capitalist law if need be, such as a bailiff turning a family out of their home, it's legal it happens and nevertheless it's impoverishing, It's robbery!

Workers are robbed all the time when they are forced to sell their labour in order to live, feed and support their families and so on! I wouldn't expect you to agree; having noted your haughtiness as contained in your posts.

Workers the World over are then robbed of the means of living when made unemployed.

You may be familiar with the US I think , which I would like to use as an example because it's the richest country in the world. Millions without job's and homes, and this year unemployment is predicted to rise "significantly", if so then more workers will be robbed of the means of living and their homes repossessed; this will only add to the tide of misery sweeping US workers into poverty, joining the the millions that receive food stamps or having to go to food banks. Newspapers report that families are moving in with other families because they can't survive in their own households, and working poor are feeding their children in shop kitchens as the cost of living for them sours, and this will be made worst as food prices rise due world weather conditions and other factors.

I don't wish to be unkind to you, because for one thing I'm a 'socialist' and for all I know you may even be a nice person. But lets be straightforward here and not pedantically silly, if a man's living is taken away; he's been robbed and for many the worst sort of crime, far worst than the mugging one receives in employment!

Gene Callahan said...

Wow! I didn't know there still were socialists! It's like finding a little discussion group of Ptolemaic astronomers.

stella said...

"No? Is that what you think, or is it what you 'like' to think?"

By your preceding comments its clearly what you'd 'like' to think.

"During this world recession, millions have lost their jobs and homes all over the World. I would argue that they have indeed been robbed! Because something has been taken away from them that they very much need, and forcefully backed by capitalist law if need be, such as a bailiff turning a family out of their home, it's legal it happens and nevertheless it's impoverishing, It's robbery!"

People tried to buy homes they couldn't pay for, them keeping them is in fact robbery. And the entire housing boom was created by the state. The U.S. Federal Reserve lowered the interest rate below market levels. GSE's were mandated to purchase a certain percentage of the mortgages that banks originated with the credit created by the Fed. Particularly those of lower-income households, thereby increasing the demand for, and price of housing.
None if this is the product of capitalism, just the state.

"Workers are robbed all the time when they are forced to sell their labour in order to live, feed and support their families and so on! I wouldn't expect you to agree; having noted your haughtiness as contained in your posts."
They simply aren't forced. Nobody makes them work, its all voluntary. Should people who refuse to work be paid for and taken care of their entire lives?

"Workers the World over are then robbed of the means of living when made unemployed."
That makes no sense, you aren't a worker at all until you find employment (or employ yourself).

"You may be familiar with the US I think , which I would like to use as an example because it's the richest country in the world. Millions without job's and homes, and this year unemployment is predicted to rise "significantly", if so then more workers will be robbed of the means of living and their homes repossessed; this will only add to the tide of misery sweeping US workers into poverty, joining the the millions that receive food stamps or having to go to food banks."

All thanks to the state.

"Newspapers report that families are moving in with other families because they can't survive in their own households, and working poor are feeding their children in shop kitchens as the cost of living for them sours, and this will be made worst as food prices rise due world weather conditions and other factors."

None of this is the fault of capitalism.


"I don't wish to be unkind to you, because for one thing I'm a 'socialist' and for all I know you may even be a nice person. But lets be straightforward here and not pedantically silly, if a man's living is taken away; he's been robbed and for many the worst sort of crime, far worst than the mugging one receives in employment!"

That's not at all correct, but at least your heart seems to be in the right place. Please read more Boettke for your head.

stella said...

"Partially re-assured about grandma but I wasn't thinking about people selling their grandmas into slavery but rather about selling her body for scientific research. And I'm still not re-assured about the sale of body parts or about having to pay for air to breath!"

Scientific research is very beneficial, but again, her offspring have no say over her beyond what she has already permitted. There is currently a crisis over body parts, many people are in desperate need of transplants, if people were allowed to sell them, millions of people would be saved. And air is a commons, you wouldn't have to pay for it.

"Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Your esoteric definition is refuted by its absurd conclusion that capitalism has never existed."

Again, "Capitalism" as in Boettke's meaing.

"Of course it has and that's the problem and why we need a world of common ownership, democratic control and production for use not profit instead."

Again Mondialiste, you are contradicting what you have said prior.

"In any event, Boettke's definition of capitalism would seem to mean that capitalism has never existed."

Either Boettke's Capitalism has existed or it hasn't. If it has please point out where, as blaming the current system (disaster) on Boettke Capitalism is clearly disingenuous as its easily demonstrated as false.

A world of common ownership, democratic control, and production for use not profit is simply impossible. For starters, common ownership contradicts democratic control. A commons cannot be controlled, otherwise it becomes just another form of private property. And without profits you lack necessary incentives.

Mondialiste said...

This is becoming an argument over definitions. Most people agree that capitalism as a social system (based on minority ownership of the means of production and production for the monetary profit of that minority) exists. You and Boettke say "capitalism" does not exist but you mean some social system in which there is no or minimal government but where we all make commercial buying-and-selling contracts with each other. I still say that what you are offering is a nightmare, an even worse form of society than we've got now. Selling body parts, what next!
Democratic control does not contradict common ownership. It's the same thing from another angle. It means that the means of production are no longer controlled by a tiny minority, but are controlled by us all, democratically and used in our interests not of some privileged minority.
"Without profits you lack necessary incentives." Not a very original objection. Of course there'll be an incentive: producing what we need. Food to eat, clothes to wear, houses to live in, etc, etc. What better incentive could there be? The profit system stands in the way of this because its basic economic laws are "no profit, no production" and "can't pay, can't have"

Londonsocialist said...

Gene, it's more surprising that people can still be found to defend capitalism after it's once again plunged the world into an economic depression, with idle factories alongside unmet needs. Which is no doubt why less and less people in the US are seeing "socialism" as a dirty word.

Gene Callahan said...

'Gene, it's more surprising that people can still be found to defend capitalism after it's once again plunged the world into an economic depression, with idle factories alongside unmet needs.'

Unlike, say, the USSR, which socialism plunged into only a single depression, which unfortunately lasted from 1917 to 1991. Of course, that wasn't "real socialism," by which is meant "fantasy socialism."

'Which is no doubt why less and less people in the US are seeing "socialism" as a dirty word.'

Ah yes. That must by why the Socialist Party's share of the vote in the last election soared to a robust .005%. (That's the actual figure, by the way.)

Mondialiste said...

Russia socialist? What's your next joke? The Pope's a Protestant? Of course it wasn't socialist. They had a minority privileged class, production for the market, and a working class exploited for profit just like over here. Because this was all organised by the State the best name for it was State capitalism.
As to the attitude of people in the US towards the word "socialism", did you see this -- http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/april_2009/just_53_say_capitalism_better_than_socialism ?

Norbert said...

“People tried to buy homes they couldn't pay for, them keeping them is in fact robbery.”

This statement is pure fantasy and an untruth that should not be not allowed to go through here! Instead I would suggest that the greed of the system forced up the costs of housing provision for workers; and they in turn out of necessity took on mortgages’ many times more than their yearly incomes, because the markets demanded it!” This is daylight robbery and extortion with intent, which has led a century and a half after the Californian gold rush, when prospectors pitched tents along the river banks looking for gold, to tents reappearing once again but this time it is for people with no hope and no prospects; and grafted dexterously Stella, that is criminal!”

You can blame the sate or whatever you like until you are blue in the face, but capitalism in whatever form it comes is responsible for much of the world’s affliction, and let’s not forget its wars as well!”

stella said...

"This is becoming an argument over definitions. Most people agree that capitalism as a social system (based on minority ownership of the means of production and production for the monetary profit of that minority) exists. You and Boettke say "capitalism" does not exist but you mean some social system in which there is no or minimal government but where we all make commercial buying-and-selling contracts with each other. I still say that what you are offering is a nightmare, an even worse form of society than we've got now. Selling body parts, what next!"

Call it a nightmare if you like, just don't confuse/conflate the two very different concepts. But I really don't see how more sick people getting the treatment they need as being a nightmare. But, hey, thats just me.

"Democratic control does not contradict common ownership. It's the same thing from another angle. It means that the means of production are no longer controlled by a tiny minority, but are controlled by us all, democratically and used in our interests not of some privileged minority."

It does, as a commons cannot be owned. However you are still incorrect, as democratic control only means that the particular workers control the means, not all of us. Its still capitalism in the end.

"Not a very original objection. Of course there'll be an incentive: producing what we need. Food to eat, clothes to wear, houses to live in, etc, etc. What better incentive could there be? The profit system stands in the way of this because its basic economic laws are "no profit, no production" and "can't pay, can't have"

You are overlooking the extreme complexity (and necessity) of market interaction. Why would I do back-breaking farm labour instead of comparatively easier manufacturing. Why would anyone work in municipal waste? When I could work in a less foul-smelling occupation? Why innovate when it doesn't matter? Why even work if I don't need money? You are going to need more incentives if you don't want a society composed primarily of subsistence farmers.

stella said...

This statement is pure fantasy and an untruth that should not be not allowed to go through here! Instead I would suggest that the greed of the system forced up the costs of housing provision for workers; and they in turn out of necessity took on mortgages’ many times more than their yearly incomes, because the markets demanded it!”

Your suggestions don't counter the facts that I have given. The very obvious fact. Blaming the market is just silly. A market is a process - nothing more - therefore it simply cannot make demands. People didn't need the homes they were purchasing by any means, its very obvious by the facts that people were purchasing ARMs and not 30-year-fixes. The only reason to buy an ARM is either tax reasons or because they only planned to live in the homes for a few years and planned to "flip" the houses for a... profit! Honestly, would you say a stock-trader who lost money was robbed?

"This is daylight robbery and extortion with intent, which has led a century and a half after the Californian gold rush, when prospectors pitched tents along the river banks looking for gold, to tents reappearing once again but this time it is for people with no hope and no prospects; and grafted dexterously Stella, that is criminal!”

Like the failed prospectors, nobody has been robbed. (except for taxpayers)

stella said...

"You can blame the sate or whatever you like until you are blue in the face, but capitalism in whatever form it comes is responsible for much of the world’s affliction, and let’s not forget its wars as well!”

What makes more sense: Blaming something that currently doesn't exist or blaming something that does exist and can be proven to have interfered? Blaming "capitalism" (Boettke's at least) at this point is like blaming mutualism, syndicalism, Georgism... none of them exist! Its simply impossible for them to be responsible. Grabbing pitchforks and torches and hunting bogey-men may be fun but it definitely isn't productive.

stella said...

Mondialiste,

Thanks for the link. The reports at the bottom have raised my spirits. That 70% of American's prefer a free-market economy, just because the word "capitalism" has been dragged into the mud by the state, doesn't mean its underlying foundations are still understood. And only 15-20% actually prefer socialism.

Norbert said...

"Your suggestions don't counter the facts that I have given."

Stella you have given no FACTS that I can see, even to support your very unsavoury dogma!

In December just past Bloomberg.com reported on what the US call foreclosures, they had climbed 28 percent and that a brewing "storm" of new failures and job losses may force up to 1 million homeless and possibly onto the streets.

It is a fact that in New York alone, during 2009 937,840 homes received a foreclosure letter, whether a default notice, auction notice or bank repossession.

Just a peek at the criss you will see that Nevada had 10.17% homes take back by the banks or California with 4.75% or Florida 5.93%, as I say just a peek, and with many saying 'No end in sight any time soon'. Government actions may have delayed some filings but the crisis will not go quickly!

In fact I would suggest that the so-called "Big Apple" has a bloody great maggot gormandising it's innards!

In the box said...

And one further point to our last posting here. The process, market, capitalism whatever you call it is a straitjacket on mankind that needs to be ripped off and burnt once and for all! We can recycle Boettke's books via the bathroom and the World will be a place of much happiness!

Anonymous said...

Great blog this and may I offer the following information.

A record 2.82 million homes faced foreclosure foreclosed in 2009, according to RealtyTrac, a web-based firm that tracks and markets foreclosed homes. It is anticipated that at least 3 million more homes will enter foreclosure in 2010.


Last year saw an increase of 21 percent in the number of homes in foreclosure from 2008, in spite of President Barack Obama’s much-vaunted “housing rescue.” In all, 1 in 45 US homes was subject to at least one foreclosure filing, or 2.21 percent of all homes, compared with 1.84 percent in 2008, 1.03 percent in 2007, and 0.58 percent in 2006, according to RealtyTrac’s “Year-End 2009 Foreclosure Market Report.” The report compiles the number of separate homes that received default notices, faced foreclosure auctions, or were repossessed by banks.

Londonsocialist said...

I don't what paper Stella reads, but she seems to have missed this:
"That insecurity is becoming more common in the suburbs these days. Officials say that homeless shelters are suddenly filled to capacity, with some suburban communities resorting to housing families in motels, for the first time in years. On Long Island, Nassau County officials have seen the number of people seeking shelter rise by 40 percent compared with this time last year, while in Suffolk, the number of families seeking shelter for the first time rose by 20 percent. In Connecticut, in an annual one-day survey taken in January, the number of people in emergency shelters was 33 percent higher than the year before." (New York Times, 11 December)
In her nightmare society some of these would be prosecuted for robbery for taking out a mortgage they couldn't afford while the rest would have to rely on charities like the Starvation Army. No thanks! Much better to have a society where we'd produce houses directly for people to live in, not just for sale at a profit.

Mondialiste said...

"Why would I do back-breaking farm labour instead of comparatively easier manufacturing. Why would anyone work in municipal waste? When I could work in a less foul-smelling occupation? Why innovate when it doesn't matter? Why even work if I don't need money? You are going to need more incentives if you don't want a society composed primarily of subsistence farmers."
After "go back to Russia" and "without profit there'd be no incentive", here comes another stock "objection" to socialism: Who will do the dirty work? All the jobs you list are essential but if your theory is right you'd expect them to be highly paid to attract people. In fact they are amongst the lowest paid jobs, taken by people faced with the choice: work for money or starve. That's your capitalist incentive. These essential jobs could be done in socialism by volunteers working short hours, if they couldn't be automated. Anyway, who cleans the toilet in your house?

stella said...

Norbert, anonymous, and Londonsocialist,

Pointing the number of foreclosure's only strengthens the point I was making. None of the stats show how capitalism was responsible. So thanks.

I certainly have given facts, it makes me question what you'll read (or simply ignore). All of the points I've made are easy to verify, you can quite easily look up the fed rates and see how from June 2003 until June 2004 the federal funds was lowered and kept at one percent. However, I see potential here so I'll give a few easy to follow links:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/30/business/fannie-mae-eases-credit-to-aid-mortgage-lending.html?pagewanted=1
http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/10/what_really_happened_in_the_mo.htm
http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/economists/mccarthy/athens_bubble_paper.pdf
http://www.independent.org/pdf/policy_reports/2008-10-03-trainwreck.pdfhttp://www.bos.frb.org/economic/wp/wp2007/wp0715.pdf
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1072304&rec=1&srcabs=889322

So its on you to show how all of that ^ wasn't responsible. Just blaming "capitalism" is no different than blaming "mutualism" the bogeyman, or god.

stella said...

"And one further point to our last posting here. The process, market, capitalism whatever you call it is a straitjacket on mankind that needs to be ripped off and burnt once and for all! We can recycle Boettke's books via the bathroom and the World will be a place of much happiness!"

That isn't a point, its pure nonsense. Nobody here has even given an reason why the market "capitalism" is responsible for the housing bust. Let alone how capitalism is a "straight-jacket" on mankind. I didn't know more people being able to live longer, healthier lives was so awful.

stella said...

"After "go back to Russia" and "without profit there'd be no incentive", here comes another stock "objection" to socialism: Who will do the dirty work?"

Couple points: Even the average Russian doesn't want to go back. Asking "who will do the dirty work" is an incentives question.

"All the jobs you list are essential but if your theory is right you'd expect them to be highly paid to attract people.

No, not necessarily. You'd expect them to attract people who found the incentives of the job to be worth it.

"In fact they are amongst the lowest paid jobs, taken by people faced with the choice: work for money or starve.That's your capitalist incentive. These essential jobs could be done in socialism by volunteers working short hours, if they couldn't be automated."

No. My own father cleaned porta potties for a living and he earned a very nice wage. Hardly at the brink of starvation. And once again, you've contradicted yourself:

"Of course there'll be an incentive: producing what we need. Food to eat, clothes to wear, houses to live in, etc, etc. What better incentive could there be?"

That incentive is fundamentally no different than the one you just attributed to capitalism.

Now you've gone to assuming people will volunteer to clean porta-potties. Seriously.

"Anyway, who cleans the toilet in your house?"
My maid. (And she doesn't do it for free)

Mondialiste said...

Yes, in any society humans have to work as that's the only way we can obtain what we need to live and enjoy life (incidentally, the basis of Adam Smith's and Karl Marx's labour theory of value). The question is how is this necessary work to be organised. Under capitalism (and all previous class societies) a privileged minority own and control the means for producing wealth, so forcing the rest to work for them. In socialism (as in early tribal classless communistic societies) work will be the co-operative effort of equals. As money (the basis of the cold cash nexus between people that you want to apply to everything) won't exist all work will be unpaid and done because it's seen as socially necessary.
One last (killer) question: Do you think that those helping dig out and bury the dead, tender to the injured in Haiti are doing it for the money?

stella said...

Yes, in any society humans have to work as that's the only way we can obtain what we need to live and enjoy life (incidentally, the basis of Adam Smith's and Karl Marx's labour theory of value).

No. Smith said the whole produce of labour does NOT belong to the labourer. It was Ricardo who contended that value of an item was Proportional to the total amount of labour input. While still maintaining that it wasn't a very good explanation. Marx introduced the tautology of it being "socially necessary."

And if you agree that people have to work to live, then your prior complaints about "capitalism" cease to exist or also apply to socialism.

"The question is how is this necessary work to be organised. Under capitalism (and all previous class societies) a privileged minority own and control the means for producing wealth, so forcing the rest to work for them."

This is incorrect. Unless you are tautologically defining "privileged" individuals from different classes have owned and controlled the means of production. And never have they forced anyone to work for them.

"In socialism (as in early tribal classless communistic societies) work will be the co-operative effort of equals. As money (the basis of the cold cash nexus between people that you want to apply to everything) won't exist all work will be unpaid and done because it's seen as socially necessary."

Any advanced society needs a high-degree of specialisation, division of labour and co-ordinated distribution of resorces. Simply impossible without money. There is a reason why mankind evolved from primitive tribal society you know.

"One last (killer) question: Do you think that those helping dig out and bury the dead, tender to the injured in Haiti are doing it for the money?"

No doubt that they are doing for profit. (Hint: Profit isn't limited to money) Burying the dead is still a selfish act.

Norbert said...

"Yes, in any society humans have to work as that's the only way we can obtain what we need to live and enjoy life (incidentally, the basis of Adam Smith's and Karl Marx's labour theory of value)."

Oh but Society, is and remains in latent hostility to the overwhelming interests of the majority, so much so that a few gorge themselves 'felonious' on the labour of others; who do not always have the a life to enjoy even its very basic necessity's.

The housing crisis in the US or here in Britain and in many our parts of the World stands on its own as evidence condemning the system!
And in the Worlds poorer countries' where food or medical care do not exist in sufficient quantity; reminds me that life is a struggle between those who possess and control but do not produce, and those who produce but do not possess and have no say.

I'm not interested in hitting the Ping-Pong of your posts Stella, when clearly your reactionary capitalist brand of dogma is steadfast. The message that this blog sends to workers of the world is that all our immediate needs can only be fulfilled by the speediest possible establishment of Socialism not to control but to liberate:

" it is a new society that we are working to realise, not cleaning up of our present tyrannical muddle into an improved, smoothly-working form of that same order.."

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