T Nation

Required Reading List for Practicing Socialism

Just a few pieces that you can review and absorb before our next go around. I want you to better able to articulate your points and tie then in with other like thinkers in this particular are of thought.

Enjoy, and let me know when you need more.

http://jim.com/econ/chap06p2.html

http://jim.com/econ/chap06p2.html

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5455

So the required reading list is composed entirely of anti-socialist pieces? What if I gave you a required reading list for capitalism, and on it put volumes I-III of Capital, The Communist Manifesto, The State and Revolution, and The Condition of the Working Class in England?

I’m not accusing you of doing something wrong, I’m just curious: what exactly are you doing?

[quote]Ryan P. McCarter wrote:
So the required reading list is composed entirely of anti-socialist pieces? What if I gave you a required reading list for capitalism, and on it put volumes I-III of Capital, The Communist Manifesto, The State and Revolution, and The Condition of the Working Class in England?

I’m not accusing you of doing something wrong, I’m just curious: what exactly are you doing?[/quote]

Jogging your memory and messing with you a bit. I was surfing on another site and caught where a gentleman there posted the above links for you. I wondered if you would recognize the source.

I find myself often starting to address one of your posts, only to change my mind and move to another. You are still an enigma to me. I have no doubt you are intelligent, yet I detect a lack of wisdom (experiential knowledge). Your posts often devolve into emotional hyperbole just before it appears you could say something substantive. We’ve talked of this.

I find it difficult to understand how you could become so emotionally attached to a concept that you have neither lived nor witnessed. For that matter, I am not sure that you could even come up with a valid example of the successful implementation of socialism for a period of time that could support its sustainability. The few I remember you giving as examples barely had the shelf life of a banana. Those that have lasted you call by another name or “ism.” By our conversation, you have only been a student of it for approx two years. I don’t understand the fervor.

When you describe free market capitalism, I am often reminded of a scene from “The Princess Bride” where Vizzini keeps describing the actions of Wesley as INCONCEIVABLE!
Finally, Inigo Montoya says “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

You keep referring to free market capitalism as though it is something that we have been operating under for some time, when in fact the closest we ever came to it is well over 100 years in our past.

What you refer to as capitalism appears to me to be more closely akin to “corporatism” of some form. If you were to use corporatism to describe what we have had for the last 50 to 100 years, I would be more inclined to agree with you. At least I would know where you are coming from.

Either way, the cure or the poison that you seem to focus on have one thing in common. They both put your well being, your life, you existence into the hands of some other entity. At least those that would chose free market capitalism have the courage and life force to ask only that others leave them alone to take care of themselves.

I sense an intelligent and capable person in you. I only wish you would direct it toward more constructive ends. If that is exactly what you feel you are doing, then learn to express yourself in a less combative way.

I remember reading about NLP one time and coming across the following statement.
The content of your message is found in the response that you elicit in another.
In other words, if you do not get the response you are looking for, the fault lies in you and your message, not the person you are trying to communicate with. Regroup and try again in a different manor.

Right, and “we’ve” also noticed that your observations are not really very accurate. My posts are really not very emotional (it really doesn’t take much emotion to return insults), and yet you don’t seem to notice any of the numerous responses I get full of screaming and/or sobbing, and of course lots of insults. Is this OK as long as they agree with you? If so fine, but just admit your double standard.

According to the libertarians, we have never lived nor witnessed proper free market capitalism either, and yet surely you don’t expect me to agree that several members of this forum become exceedingly emotional when it is criticized? Again, why the double standard?

Again, the double standard you employ while pretending to be objective is pretty ballsy. It’s once again strange that you require none of the support for capitalism that you require for socialism. And yet, according the general consensus on this forum, we’ve never experienced capitalism. You’re ready to implement one “sight unseen” but full of doubt and reservation about the other, despite having nominally no more information about the one than about the other. Again, I don’t care if you disagree with me, but stop pretending to be objective in any way.

Where? On the contrary, if you read half as many of my posts as you purport to, you would immediately notice the pains I take to point out that the “free market” is basically impossible. You are no doubt mislead by your constant tendency to attach the “free-market” modifier onto “capitalism,” to attempt to deflect criticism. I am not criticizing free market capitalism. There is no need to do that, as no one takes the idea seriously anymore.

Why? Corporatism is a wholly inappropriate way to describe the US economy, at least. Government direction of the economy is almost wholly absent. True, there are of course GSEs, federal programs, and as always, regulations, but these are in no way at odds with the system of relations of production which we refer to as capitalism. Private ownership of capital and wage labor are still the unchallenged foundation of the system. On the contrary, the impurities you bemoan typically have the effect of stabilizing the capitalist system, which would have (and did) spin out of control without them. Your mistake is to have believed capitalism’s mythology. Indeed, if you were right, and I was criticizing something else, this would render you still more irrelevant, as you would be defending a system that had become obsolete and inadequate nearly 100 years ago.

More bad reasoning from bad premises, and again mythology is to blame. You delude yourself into thinking that you are responsible for your own welfare. In actuality, you depend on society for virtually everything, as does every member of society. “Society,” in this sense, is a team sport, it requires cooperation. I don’t have to paint a vivid picture for you of what our lives would be like if we had to obtain our own food, spin our own cloth, make our own clothes, build our own houses, and manufacture our own tools. In addition to these dependencies, the capitalist system renders you subservient to your employer’s profits.

The dependencies in a socialist system are different only insofar as socialism properly recognizes the social nature of our existence, and does not make our production contingent upon the profits of an employer. In other words, you still depend on others, you just don’t recognize it under capitalism. There is nothing about socialism which seeks to subject the individual to the authority of the state within the realm of individual decisions. In other words, the state has no interest in telling you where you must work, for how much, etc. Furthermore, the state is not interested in maintaing high levels of taxation, either. With no empire to maintain, and less entitlements, you save a lot of money.

This goes only for me, eh?

JEATON, you give this idiot way to much credit. He doesn’t understand even basic economics. He is a spoiled child, once he goes out into the real world and begins to see a lot of his wealth stolen he will change his mind.

He doesn’t realize he is describing slavery when he talks about socialism. And even better he doesn’t realize that a government with the power to give you everything has the power to take it away.

[quote]John S. wrote:
JEATON, you give this idiot way to much credit. He doesn’t understand even basic economics. He is a spoiled child, once he goes out into the real world and begins to see a lot of his wealth stolen he will change his mind.

He doesn’t realize he is describing slavery when he talks about socialism. And even better he doesn’t realize that a government with the power to give you everything has the power to take it away.[/quote]

Doesn’t understand basic economics, from a Ron Paul supporter. Classic.

And please, do tell how socialism is slavery (hopefully with fewer emotional outbursts and more substance), and be sure to also make your case that capitalism is not slavery (which it very obviously is for many people [and until last century, continued to be in a very literal sense]).

And you persist in the same fallacy, pretending the government and private enterprise are in opposition, and that government is necessarily any worse than private enterprise. You don’t want to give power to a body that at least must keep up the pretense of operating for the good of the public, and give it to a group of people that seek only profit and personal gain? Wow, good choice, dumbass. It’s obvious you know nothing about history.

[quote]John S. wrote:
JEATON, you give this idiot way to much credit. He doesn’t understand even basic economics. He is a spoiled child, once he goes out into the real world and begins to see a lot of his wealth stolen he will change his mind.

He doesn’t realize he is describing slavery when he talks about socialism. And even better he doesn’t realize that a government with the power to give you everything has the power to take it away.[/quote]

No, he does not understand basic economics. But I do not think he is an idiot. As for the rest, you are correct.

I guess the reason that I take an interest in Ryan is that, at least in my mind, he could be the forward guard of things to come. You know that I think we are in for a wild three to five years. Ryan, and you for that matter, will experience this at a very formative time and will play a very big role in how things come out on the other side. I have a five and eight year old that will be coming behind you. I don’t want you guys screwing it up for them.

[quote]Ryan P. McCarter wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
JEATON, you give this idiot way to much credit. He doesn’t understand even basic economics. He is a spoiled child, once he goes out into the real world and begins to see a lot of his wealth stolen he will change his mind.

He doesn’t realize he is describing slavery when he talks about socialism. And even better he doesn’t realize that a government with the power to give you everything has the power to take it away.[/quote]

Doesn’t understand basic economics, from a Ron Paul supporter. Classic.

And please, do tell how socialism is slavery (hopefully with fewer emotional outbursts and more substance), and be sure to also make your case that capitalism is not slavery (which it very obviously is for many people [and until last century, continued to be in a very literal sense]).

And you persist in the same fallacy, pretending the government and private enterprise are in opposition, and that government is necessarily any worse than private enterprise. You don’t want to give power to a body that at least must keep up the pretense of operating for the good of the public, and give it to a group of people that seek only profit and personal gain? Wow, good choice, dumbass.
[/quote]

Alright, to accept socialism you must first accept that society owns you. Second that you are nothing more then a tool of society. Society tells you what you can have and what you can’t. Society tells you where to live, what to do. Socialism is everything slavery is just wrapped up in a nice red bow. You have no individuality, you are just a drone, stuck forever with no way to improve yourself.

You want to laugh at Ron Paul on economics? He was the only politician to call the bubble. Where were your socialist on that one, oh wait that’s right they where saying that everyone has a “right” to a house. They caused it, free market saw it, and free market will fix this mess.

If government takes over they control it for ever(or until it goes bankrupt). When a company creates/produces/distributes a good I have the choice to buy from them, if they do something I disagree with I can go somewhere else. I have much more choices in a free market and due to the invisible hand and humans desire to compete, you will always have a higher quality product and a lower price then ever imaginable with government. Choice is freedom.

I would get a refund from wherever you are going to school at. They obviously are setting you up for failure.

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
JEATON, you give this idiot way to much credit. He doesn’t understand even basic economics. He is a spoiled child, once he goes out into the real world and begins to see a lot of his wealth stolen he will change his mind.

He doesn’t realize he is describing slavery when he talks about socialism. And even better he doesn’t realize that a government with the power to give you everything has the power to take it away.[/quote]

No, he does not understand basic economics. But I do not think he is an idiot. As for the rest, you are correct.

I guess the reason that I take an interest in Ryan is that, at least in my mind, he could be the forward guard of things to come. You know that I think we are in for a wild three to five years. Ryan, and you for that matter, will experience this at a very formative time and will play a very big role in how things come out on the other side. I have a five and eight year old that will be coming behind you. I don’t want you guys screwing it up for them.[/quote]

We won’t screw it up, this guy is nothing more then a fringe element. Take a look at Campaign for liberty, it is mostly college kids. We are going to fix the problems that our parents created.

[quote]John S. wrote:
We won’t screw it up, this guy is nothing more then a fringe element. Take a look at Campaign for liberty, it is mostly college kids. We are going to fix the problems that our parents created.[/quote]

Good luck with that. When the boomers decided to “fix” the world, they left one hell of a mess behind. You have a full time job ahead of you.

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
We won’t screw it up, this guy is nothing more then a fringe element. Take a look at Campaign for liberty, it is mostly college kids. We are going to fix the problems that our parents created.[/quote]

Good luck with that. When the boomers decided to “fix” the world, they left one hell of a mess behind. You have a full time job ahead of you.
[/quote]

Well with idiots like Ryan around we will always have to be careful. Once we return to sound money most of the mistakes will correct themselves automatically. Get a balanced budget amendment in there(I think we can do it after this crash that’s coming), and make sure we buy American made good we should be fine.

You should’ve just told me you were too busy to read one fucking page about socialism, other than what Glenn Beck or the RNC tells you. That’s not even remotely accurate. Capitalism, on the other hand, requires that you acknowledge that your employer owns you for 8 hours a day (and it used to be longer than that, if not for those pesky unions!)

The taxpayers just bailed Wall Street out. Are you sober?

I would really love to know where you’re getting this stuff, as I don’t know of a single socialist that advocates any of this. You’re straight out of some Red Scare propaganda piece. “Did you know that Communists are undead Satan-worshippers?!”

Well, not necessarily, but a lot of the time I can’t help it.

Wow, really? You mean a lot of fucking lawyers missed the bubble? Who cares? Politicians are usually not economists. Lots of economists, however, saw the bubble.

I seriously don’t know where the socialists were, but they were definitely not in Congress, saying everyone has a right to a house. That’s completely asinine. Again, this is not a principle of socialism.

Keep saying that, but say it louder, it works better to block out reality.

You do know that this was entirely a market failure, right? Thunderbolt tried this tack too, and got nowhere. No one forced banks to make loans (yeah, while they were making billions of dollars, I’m sure they all said “I don’t know guys, I don’t know if this is right, it just feels like it’s risky, ya know?”), they were all too eager to do that without being told. Furthermore, subprime mortgages were not the problem, and were just as profitable as prime loans with virtually the same rate of default. In addition, Fannie and Freddie bought or originated 15% or less of the eventually-bad loans. The private sector was responsible for over 75% of them. Moreover, the Fed actually slowed the growth of the monetary base over the course of the bubble, and it was down to 5% by 2005. Game, set, match. You lose.

More orthodoxy from the Austrians, whom even the capitalists they support have thrown into the trash. By the way, while you’re telling me about your freedom to choose which companies you deal with, I’ll get you a drink: Coke or Pepsi?

This nice narrative is totally unable to deal with the fact of the dominance of state-guided and controlled economies over freer ones in terms of performance.

[quote]John S. wrote:

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
We won’t screw it up, this guy is nothing more then a fringe element. Take a look at Campaign for liberty, it is mostly college kids. We are going to fix the problems that our parents created.[/quote]

Good luck with that. When the boomers decided to “fix” the world, they left one hell of a mess behind. You have a full time job ahead of you.
[/quote]

Well with idiots like Ryan around we will always have to be careful. Once we return to sound money most of the mistakes will correct themselves automatically. Get a balanced budget amendment in there(I think we can do it after this crash that’s coming), and make sure we buy American made good we should be fine.[/quote]

Be sure not to read any financial history, as you might look like a fucking idiot saying things like that if you did.

[quote]JEATON wrote:No, he does not understand basic economics. But I do not think he is an idiot. As for the rest, you are correct.

I guess the reason that I take an interest in Ryan is that, at least in my mind, he could be the forward guard of things to come. You know that I think we are in for a wild three to five years. Ryan, and you for that matter, will experience this at a very formative time and will play a very big role in how things come out on the other side. I have a five and eight year old that will be coming behind you. I don’t want you guys screwing it up for them.[/quote]

Blah blah blah, responses to my previous post are conspicuously absent and this post is, shall I say, devoid of substance? You know, JEATON, I sort of “took an interest” in you as well. You seemed like you might actually be interested in discussion, but you’re not. You ask questions, and then don’t want to talk about the answers. I constantly correct people here (usually with accompanying documentation), and yet you accuse me of being light on facts. Do you see what a joke you are?

I have a few questions for you, Ryan. Though I’m no fan of socialism, I’m curious as to what type of socialist system you’d like to see here in the U.S.

Socialism is basically public ownership of the means of production but, in order to distribute ownership “fairly” and feasibly, the federal government would have to play the role of administrator, thus actual ownership would have to belong to the government.

Would you prefer government ownership of all industry, or just certain key industries? If the latter, which ones and why? Or would government control, through tighter regulation, be preferable to actual ownership? What permanent role would be appropriate for the government?

How much control would the public/workers actually have? How would they exercise this control at the procedural level?

These questions aren’t meant to put you on the spot or play “pin the tail on the commie”. I’m actually curious as to why socialism looks so promising to you. For all I know, there might actually be some valid points coming from the left that can be used to maximize the benefits of a capitalist system without completely dismantling it.

[quote]Ryan P. McCarter wrote:
This nice narrative is totally unable to deal with the fact of the dominance of state-guided and controlled economies over freer ones in terms of performance.[/quote]

Did you really just…

How old are you? Have you ever been in a history class by any chance?

I completley agree with the reading list. However Socialist texts should be included in that as well. While one school of thought, such as Mises or Rothbard has excellent rebuttals, you should also read the other side to gain perspective at the very least.

There are many things I disagree with strongly in this world, religion, socialism, and others… but I find it important to understand that which you disagree with.

[quote]John S. wrote:

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]John S. wrote:
We won’t screw it up, this guy is nothing more then a fringe element. Take a look at Campaign for liberty, it is mostly college kids. We are going to fix the problems that our parents created.[/quote]

Good luck with that. When the boomers decided to “fix” the world, they left one hell of a mess behind. You have a full time job ahead of you.
[/quote]

Well with idiots like Ryan around we will always have to be careful. Once we return to sound money most of the mistakes will correct themselves automatically. Get a balanced budget amendment in there(I think we can do it after this crash that’s coming), and make sure we buy American made good we should be fine.[/quote]

Just curious, not to be nit-picky, but why would we want to buy American made goods if someone makes it cheaper? Seems like the same scenerio as minimum wage. I do not do business with America, I do business with individuals that may or may not be citizens of America.

[quote]mcdugga wrote:
I have a few questions for you, Ryan. Though I’m no fan of socialism, I’m curious as to what type of socialist system you’d like to see here in the U.S.

Socialism is basically public ownership of the means of production but, in order to distribute ownership “fairly” and feasibly, the federal government would have to play the role of administrator, thus actual ownership would have to belong to the government.

Would you prefer government ownership of all industry, or just certain key industries? If the latter, which ones and why? Or would government control, through tighter regulation, be preferable to actual ownership? What permanent role would be appropriate for the government?

How much control would the public/workers actually have? How would they exercise this control at the procedural level?

These questions aren’t meant to put you on the spot or play “pin the tail on the commie”. I’m actually curious as to why socialism looks so promising to you. For all I know, there might actually be some valid points coming from the left that can be used to maximize the benefits of a capitalist system without completely dismantling it.[/quote]

I would not hold my breath.