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Mon Jan 21, 2013, 10:50 AM

I Love You Two

Last edited Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:41 PM - Edit history (2)

Having once looked to Europe for the answers to contained capitalism, I can see that they, too, are losing the battle. The global economy so astutely engineered by corporate powers through the patient buy-out of governments and the creation of organizations like the WTO will eventually make even the social democracies of Europe an abstract dream that no one will remember when waking to the new world order. But there is a very remote chance that we can empower the people and corporations in a balanced way.

The idea came to me with the President's original health care plan with a public option -- a plan where people could choose between a government-run plan or one controlled by corporations. Taking this idea a step further, our government should start building businesses to compete with those that are privately-run. We could start out small with people-companies in hard-hit areas of high unemployment, making things like carpets out of the surplus of recycled plastics or anything that the private market place can't make a profit manufacturing. We could also have high-tech companies like pharmaceuticals run by the people in our universities, which we are already sinking tax dollars into for research. Alternative energy people-companies involved with all the things that private energy businesses indicate that are not profitable like tidal generators and algae bio-fuel -- energy that really would slow global warming -- would also be a good thing.

In order to make this happen, we the people of the U.S. and other democracies would have to dismantle parts of the global economy that tell countries what they may and may not subsidize. We would also need to move money from the military-industrial complex to the people by pulling out of all foreign bases and operations, but this could also provide good people-run jobs by bringing troops home and building military border stations and high-tech surveillance measures for our ports and airports. We can also still produce new weapon systems; we just wouldn't be deploying them. Finally, we absolutely need to nationalize health care, which despite all we pay into it through our paychecks and co-pays is still one of the lowest in effectiveness in the civilized world. Only through socialization of health care can we halt the constant rise in inflation connected with a private run system.

Could it happen? Yes, even if we have to raise taxes on the middle class to where they were under Clinton for additional money, I believe a co-capitalist/socialist economy is very doable. Running government industries might cost more up front, but getting people working at good-paying jobs and paying taxes would cut those costs. And, channeling the hundreds of billions of dollars of military adventures back into our country would also help off-set costs. And, with the marriage of socialism and capitalism, corporations would be kept in check by the competition from government. I'm not an economist, but, damn it, there's got to be a way; otherwise, we are headed to a place where there won't be enough jobs (at least decent ones, anyway), and the country and world will be using all its resources and destroying the environment in an ever-increasing downward spiral for the impossible search of ever-increasing profits at any cost.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply I Love You Two (Original post)
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 OP
socialist_n_TN Jan 2013 #1
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #3
white_wolf Jan 2013 #2
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #4
white_wolf Jan 2013 #7
TBF Jan 2013 #5
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #6
TBF Jan 2013 #8
limpyhobbler Jan 2013 #9
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #10
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #11
socialist_n_TN Jan 2013 #12
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #13
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #14
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #15
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #16
TBF Jan 2013 #17
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #18
TBF Jan 2013 #19

Response to Left Turn Only (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:13 PM

1. It'll never work.........

Although I agree that it would be a sensible idea to rein in unemployment and also to get low cost, American made goods to the people of this country. Especially if the companies supported were co-ops. Without the profit, just paying worker's costs and not bloated upper management and dividends, you could have lower priced commodities available for the public.

But the reason it'll never work is because the capitalists won't LET it happen. THEY DON'T WANT TO ACTUALLY COMPETE! And they for sure don't want to compete against worker owned co-ops. Because they don't want to compete is the reason they fought so hard against the PO during the health insurance reform debate. They knew that a Medicare For All type of option would run them out of business once people had some experience with it.

The only way you'll see this type of thing actually happen is after a socialist revolution.

Edited to add: BTW, welcome to DU and to our little Classic Red corner of it.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:11 AM

3. Never is a big word

Granted, I, too, doubt we will ever pull out of the global suicide we are nearing, but with the right leaders, the internet, and the system of government left to us by the founding fathers, a social/economic revolution is possible.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:19 PM

2. Have you ever read John Rawls?

He wrote of a concept called the Veil of Ignorance where he argued that the only way to create a just and fair society would be to make it so that the people in charge of setting up the society had no idea of what their role in society would be. They would not near if they were rich or poor, male of female, black or white, etc. Because of those they would organize society in a way that would most benefit the least advantaged members of society because for all they know they could be least advantaged. It was just a thought experiment of course and can't happen in real life, but that's the only way I could see your idea working is if we organized society behind a veil of ignorance.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:33 AM

4. Hobbs view of humanity?

I've never read Rawls, but I like the utopian idea you put forth; I don't think we will need something quite so drastic. As we move toward a more chaotic world, the 97% will become less like the cattle then the 3% hope we will remain. My hope is that it won't take a total collapse to start making changes that will benefit us all.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:54 PM

7. Hobbs view of humanity was the state of nature.

It is different from Rawl's Veil of Ignorance. I thin the point of the of the Veil of Ignorance as a thought experiment is to show just how difficult it would be to reform society along just lines when you have such inequalities already present. Here is short except from the article below:

"No one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like". The idea then, is to render moot those personal considerations that are morally irrelevant to the justice or injustice of principles meant to allocate the benefits of social cooperation."

Here are a few articles on Rawl's theories if you want to read them:

Justice as Fairness, which is Rawl's concept of justice. It's also the title of his most accessible book on his philosophy I suggest you check it out. It's very interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_as_fairness

Veil of Ignorance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veil_of_ignorance

Original Position. This is Rawl's answer to "State of Nature" proposed by Hobbs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_position

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Response to Left Turn Only (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:45 AM

5. It won't work and that's not because of socialism.

The goal of capitalism is profit. We've gotta get rid of the profit motif entirely. We see how well it works to try to reign it in ...

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Response to TBF (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 05:33 AM

6. I Only Wish

While I agree that the greed involved in the idea of profit is flawed, it does have its positive points. Like adding poisonous ingredients in small amounts to medicine, it just wouldn't work without them. Without any profit motive, many humans tend to get lazy; one only has to look at the examples of Soviet era cars to get an idea of what happens without some element of profit.

But, if private enterprise and non-profit government companies had to compete with each other, we could have the best of both worlds. Private enterprise would have to raise salaries and benefits to compete for the best workers while trying to prove that people-run businesses are as bad as they've been saying for the past century. On the other hand, the people involved in government-run industries would have to work hard at innovation and quality control to prove that things could be run in a way that would treat workers as people and the environment as important to all life on the planet.

However, whether it involves my ideas or something totally different, I think we can all agree that something has to be done. The high-tech world is one in which fewer and fewer workers will be needed while the population keeps rising and the environment continues to deteriorate.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:52 PM

8. What it involves is getting the money out of the hands of the few

who control everything both here and abroad.

We can solve all the issues you have mentioned. Workers could have shorter work weeks and more leisure time. Population can be controlled - I see no reason for families to have 20 kids .. there could be incentives to keep families smaller. Climate change is very serious, but we could take steps to do no further damage and start remediation efforts. However, we will not do that as long as capitalism is the economic system.

It was an interesting sociological experiment in this country from the end of WWI to roughly 1980 (so about 50 years) in which there was an attempt to reapportion wealth to level the playing field a bit (much higher taxes on the top levels for example) - and it couldn't last because that was not enough for the capitalists. When greed is the motivator it takes over. So regulations were cut, jobs were outsourced, unions were broken ... and now here we are with the Walton family controlling more wealth than 40% of the rest of the country. Just think about how crazy that is ...

We've seen what happens when private enterprise competes with government entities. Take the post office for example - they are being deliberately run out of business. Soon Pitney Bowes will take over and that will be more decent jobs lost - replaced with low cost employees and likely robots down the road.

It probably is pie in the sky to think that this can be done peacefully, sure, but I think eventually people will have so little to lose that they won't care (and that's when revolutions occur).

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Response to Left Turn Only (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:24 PM

9. What's the post title mean?

"I love you two", what's that mean?

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:27 AM

10. Sorry for the ambiguity

I feel that having a better blend of both socialism and capitalism would be the answer to a lot of our economic problems. Both systems have their good and bad points, so we need to stop thinking in terms of one or the other.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:40 PM

11. We are at a phase where corporate power

has already arranged the power of the government for its own benefit. They aren't going to compete with the government, they already are the government, to a large extent. Capitalism is not just an economic system, but is also a political and social system.

While more socialistic programs built into our present society is never a bad thing, while capitalism is in the captain's chair, we are always going to be in peril from the need of monopolies to expand. At this point in time, they are running out of fresh resources and are starting to cannibalize the existing public resources we have.

Who is stopping them? No one, it's normalized in our society as part of the process.

The "marriage" that we have now has already resulted in socialism being the spouse taken advantage of and cheated on.

Socialist societies have dealt in different ways with motivating people to want to get things done. Capitalism isn't the only system that creates motivation, it's just the worst today.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:52 PM

12. I love my little aphorism about this.......

Regulating capitalism is like riding a tiger. It's hard to do and you're always in danger of being eaten.

It goes back to what I said in the first reply and what you said in the second paragraph about capitalism being in the captain's chair. No matter how good the program is for the people, if it doesn't work toward maximizing not only overall profit, but also the RATE of profit, it won't happen under the dictatorship of capital.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:49 PM

13. Exactly!

Plus it is so tricky to ride the tiger, why not ride something else?

I was talking to another comrade last weekend, and he said something that I really liked too. Capitalism and socialism are both like metabolisms. They do different things in different areas of the body, but you have to think about which one is least supporting all the areas, and damaging more areas, by the way it is designed to function.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:54 PM

14. 1st step is saying that it can be done

Yes, corporate power already runs our government; wealth has always been power. But, at present, the elite have not yet dismantled all the mechanisms of our government that can put the people in power. What we need are strategies and leaders that will put an end to the nightmare that the apathy of the people has created. A marriage of a healthy blend of socialism and capitalism has worked well in places like France, Germany, and Scandinavian countries, and it is only lately that the long arm of corporate power has been seriously chipping away at the power of the people in those countries.

We can't throw up our hands and wait for the end; we need ideas and ultimately answers, and most of all, leaders that can capture the minds and energy of the people if we want our government to really represent the people. There will always be a high proportion of people who will not respond or even listen to negativity; we need positive progressive/socialist ideas that can be see as possible by the majority of people, and I believe that means blending them with what they already understand. Besides, capitalism in and of itself is only bad when it is unchecked as would be any other system where a small group can gain unlimited power. Capitalism has the power to built fantastic eco-friendly societies that a pure socialist system would have trouble doing on a large scale. Since people don't seem to realize just how much trouble our earth is in due to everyone's greed and ignorance, we now, more than ever, need systems of government that can quickly harness the best human and financial power to effect change.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 10:20 PM

15. Step one, IMO, for the US, is going to have to be to dismantle the power of the monopolies.

When the Koch brothers can turn on a firehose of money and turn states back in time into right to work states, then we need to drain that giant ball of wealth. You are correct, we do still have some non-corporate mechanisms in the government, and I'm totally against making anyone feel helpless and that there is no way forward.

We've been in the circle the wagons mode in the labor movement, and that needs to change too. We need more tactics to make anti-corporate allies in areas that have not always been served by industrial unionism but suffer greatly from the ravages of capitalism.

I think those are things that need to happen and are starting to happen. But we need capitalism to feel way way more grassroots fight and pain from battle before we talk about sharing the sand toys. The US has the distinction of being the government where many of these corporations have their home base. In other countries that have more socialism they don't have that power base and have to be a little less assholish. We don't get that consideration closer to home.

Let's look at Mexico, much closer to home here. They had workers rights written right into their constitution, now gone under direct attack, almost a stroke of the pen, by an election that was won by a corporate backed power. I'm sure there are powerful American corporations that have their lunch-hooks in that too. We need to get processes like that stopped, so we have more room to work forward, rather than always being in crash-paddle mode with our democracies.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:00 AM

16. Total agreement!

The question now is how do we come up with the money to inform the people of their own best interests. We also need the people like John Stewart, Bill Moyers, Robert Reich, etc to be the attention getters and to create the bumper sticker information for the greatly reduced attention spans of the American electorate. The internet can be of great help but it would be good to have more radio stations and TV programs to counter the Limbaugh/Fox News info.

By getting socialist/progressive candidates to win primaries and elections starting with 2014, we can start planning effective legislation that would protect workers' rights and limit corporate power. While finding the leaders to organize these and other ideas is difficult, I won't believe the problem is insurmountable. I'm hoping that with places like this and organizations like Public Citizen, American Prospect, Mother Jones and others, someone will come to the fore and unite all these forces for the people into one coherent power.

"Don't mourn, organize."

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:10 PM

17. I'm curious as to your age -

not as a put-down in any fashion. Just wondering if you are younger and therefore more optimistic from that perspective.

Those of us who are a little older and still remember strong unions may be more pessimistic on the subject simply because we've seen capitalism at work a little longer. I simply don't believe the owners are going to give an inch - they are going to keep going until all the unions are gone (they are working on privatizing both public schools and the post office - which drives down salaries in 2 large segments). When everyone is minimum wage they'll just start eliminating that as well.

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Response to TBF (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 03:57 PM

18. age

I am 62, but I am in favor of having socialized jobs to supplement and compete with private ones. Government run jobs would be union jobs, but without the private industry to provide competition, government run industry tends to get lazy, producing inferior products. And, with good government jobs, private industry will have to compete for the best workers, which means better pay, benefits, and working conditions. The only problem with any of this is that corporations with the help of our government have created the global economy, so that they no longer need American workers or even American markets. We would have to return to isolationism, and I don't think Americans are ready to pay twice as much for the things they buy like they do in countries like Norway. However, by starting small and only starting government industries that take on things corporations aren't willing to do because profits would be too low, we could start providing good government jobs in areas the hardest hit by globalization.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:34 AM

19. Isolationism -

Sadly that is what I see as well - with the globalization we are in a downward trend. The only upside is that if we can keep control of the Internet we have a chance at organizing on a global level as well.

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