jmill
(Full Shrike)
04/23/19 05:09 PM
THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Now that the Democratic Party has finally pulled back the curtain to reveal its true self, we need to get serious about letting everyone know where they are trying to take this country. This article is a good start. ( https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/lee-edwards-socialism-failures )

Lee Edwards: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism
By Lee Edwards

Published April 23, 2019

Fox News

Some conservatives may be discouraged by the latest surveys confirming that nearly one-half of millennials are receptive to living under socialism and regard capitalism as a captive of greed. In fact, they present us with a golden opportunity to educate all Americans about the manifold failures of socialism and the miraculous advances the world has made under free enterprise.

For example, the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson revealed at a Heritage Foundation event that between 2000 and 2012, “the rate of absolute poverty in the world fell by 50 percent.” That is, “the poor in the world are getting rich at a rate that is absolutely unparalleled in all of human history.” Heritage’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom reported that the greatest advances came in African and Asian countries (such as Botswana and Taiwan) that limited rather than expanded the role of government. More than 100 countries, many of them with less developed or emerging economies, showed marked advances in economic growth and individual prosperity.

Such good news is seldom reported by the mainstream media, Dr. Peterson said, because of the technological revolution that’s occurring in every form of media. All the broadcast networks, leading newspapers and magazines exist in a shrinking market with dwindling margins of profit. To attract attention they are turning to an old journalism axiom: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The news media obsess over the latest school shooting and bloody street riot. And yet, Dr. Peterson pointed out, the rates of violent crime in the United States and in most places “have plummeted in the last 50 years.” The U.S. is now safer than it has been since the early 1960s, but the reporting of violent crime in America has materially increased as the mainstream media, in pursuit of ratings and revenue, have highlighted the dark side of society.

Conservatives must step forward to tell the truth about capitalism: the better life it has brought to billions of people, the diversity and freedom of choice it celebrates, the individual responsibility it encourages, the continuing miracle of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” its rejection of government planning that always leads to dictatorship.

Which brings us to the urgent task of exposing the chimera that socialism is just another political system. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and their fellow socialists carefully omit any mention of the principles laid down by Karl Marx, the founding father of Socialism, such as the abolition of private property and the centralization of the means of production and of decision-making. But make no mistake: there are radical socialists waiting in the wings to promote these extreme initiatives.

It’s up to us to tell the truth. Socialists promise a classless society but create the prison camps of the Gulag and the Isle of Pines. They assure peace but engage in wars of national liberation. They abolish private property but depend upon the underground economy. They stamp out religion but worship Big Brother. They bring down corrupt dictators but institute a dictatorship of the Party.

Here are some of the most telling failures of socialism.

One, socialism has never succeeded anywhere, including the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union, the National Socialism of Nazi Germany, the Maoism of Communist China, the Chavez-Maduro socialism of Venezuela. It has never come close anywhere to Marx’s ideal of a classless society.

Two, Karl Marx has been wrong about nearly everything he predicted. The nation-state has not withered away. Capitalism didn’t break down as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Workers haven’t become revolutionaries but capitalists. The middle class hasn’t disappeared; indeed, it has expanded exponentially around the world (see the above about the sharp decline in global poverty). Marx’s attempt to use Hegel to create a “scientific socialism” has been an abject failure.

Three, socialism denies the existence of an essential human trait – human nature. Marx borrowed from the Enlightenment to declare that human nature was malleable, not constant. Christian theology with its idea of a fixed God-given nature infuriated Marx. The socialist state established by Lenin tried for seven decades to create an entirely new human being – Soviet Man. In December 1991, Michael Gorbachev gave up trying and dissolved the world’s most spectacular failure in human engineering.

Four, socialism depends not upon the will of the people but on the dictatorship of the Party to remain in power. In “The God That Failed,” six famous Western intellectuals describe their journey into socialism and their exit when they encountered the gigantic gap between their vision of a socialist utopia and the totalitarian reality of the socialist state.

After visiting the Soviet Union, the French Nobel Laureate writer Andre Gide said: “I doubt where in any country in the world – not even in Hitler’s Germany – have the mind and spirit ever been less free, more bent, more terrorized and indeed vassalized than in the Soviet Union.”

What price socialism? The Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang listed the “little terrors” that prevailed in China – making children of 12 subject to capital punishment, sending women to work in underground coal mines, harassing workers during their lunchtime with threats of prison if they were late returning to work. A Soviet defector said of the perpetual surveillance: “We lived in a world swarming with invisible eyes and ears.”

Given the ignorance of so many of our fellow especially young Americans, telling the truth about socialism has become an imperative. If we do not, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and their fellow travelers will fill the vacuum with their misleading rhetoric. This is the truth about socialism: It is a pseudo-religion founded in pseudo-science and enforced by political tyranny.

Dr. Lee Edwards is The Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought and chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation


Silence
(enthusiast)
04/28/19 08:17 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Here is an interesting take

https://youtu.be/W-6nrAnDGyU?t=295


Enright
(Super User)
04/28/19 01:48 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Thanks for that. I see state capitalism (communism) as having been superseded by international capitalism, with no turning back. Marx wrote Das Kapital between 1867-1883, using the term "modern" on many pages, but it's 2019, and many points would seem to be obsolete now. We know in science that theories are judged as reliable if their predictions turn out to be verified. However, based on his theories, Marx made predictions involving certain inevitabilities that never came about. His materialist view of society and history was perhaps too narrow and one-sided, as well. Certain societies in which people professing to be socialists or neo-socialists have gained the upper hand – e.g., The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Syria, Iraq (the latter two when run by the "Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party"), Red China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, Venezuela, Vietnam, etc., – have turned out to be suppressive of individual rights, tyrannical, and murderous of their own citizens in operation. Economically over the long run, the most successful economies in the world have generally been more of the free enterprise type rather than socialist, at least as I see the record. I believe that people inevitably find more creative uses for capital when it is dispersed over many businesses, corporations, and individuals, than when it is more concentrated and dribbled out by the decision makers in some socialist government. So those are some of my thoughts.

ETA: As for this guy's example of greedy capital going overseas for the lowest wages, he misses the point that we are living in an international economic system now. Take one of the great companies in the world, Honda, a Japanese company. How are you going to compete in the world market against a company like that by limiting your manufacturing and hiring to North America? If American companies had not gone overseas to some extent for additional, skilled workers and their expertise, and the benefits that an ever-expanding knowledge base brought to them by doing so, they would have inevitably lost out in the world-wide competition. That was one of the major reasons for the collapse of Soviet Russia: it didn't quite fit in as part of the international capitalist system.


Silence
(enthusiast)
04/28/19 03:35 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Hi Enright,

 Originally Posted By: Enright
Marx wrote Das Kapital between 1867-1883, using the term "modern" on many pages, but it's 2019, and many points would seem to be obsolete now. We know in science that theories are judged as reliable if their predictions turn out to be verified. However, based on his theories, Marx made predictions involving certain inevitabilities that never came about.

Do you have a specific example?


 Originally Posted By: Enright
His materialist view of society and history was perhaps too narrow and one-sided, as well.

I agree

 Originally Posted By: Enright
I believe that people inevitably find more creative uses for capital when it is dispersed over many businesses, corporations, and individuals, than when it is more concentrated and dribbled out by the decision makers in some socialist government.

Is the capital in capitalist societies not becoming ever more concentrated, though, to the point that individuals own more than entire countries? That small businesses have been wiped out by huge corporations sometimes paying little to no taxes like Walmart or Amazon? That someone like Jeff Bezos also owns one of the most influential newspapers in the country, has deals with the CIA and controls government officials via donations so that they represent him instead of the people they are supposed to, and allow him to pay little to no taxes in the first place?


Enright
(Super User)
04/28/19 03:56 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Thanks, I'll be responding to this later. For now, I'll just draw your attention to something I added to my original post after "ETA," edited to add.

jmill
(Full Shrike)
04/30/19 09:59 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Never having heard of it before, I'm suspicious of this term "state capitalism". Here's a quick definition from Google: "a political system in which the state has control of production and the use of capital."

That does not sound like capitalism of any sort to me. In fact, it sounds like a subtle attempt to link the word the word "capitalism" with socialism (or communism) so as to hide the socialism. Kind of like hiding the dog's antibiotic pill in a piece of cheese so the dog will swallow the medicine and not know the difference. It sounds like disinformation.

State capitalism seems like an attempt to turn an M.C. Escher painting of an eternally ascending staircase into reality. Looks great on paper, but can't be done in reality.

Intellectually, one can probably split enough hairs to artificially conceive of a state capitalist system that should theoretically work, but in practice, at least in the examples I can find, it's really just a disguise for state-run economies. It's not really private enterprise when President Bernie Sanders can tell private enterprise what to do, beyond ensuring simple regulation for honesty and safety: how much to produce, when to produce it, what price to sell it for, what to pay the workers, what the CEO can make. There is little practical difference between that system and socialism or communism. If government can set prices, control what profit can be taken from the business, then it is no longer private enterprise.

Noam Chomsky applies the term to the United States because of the bailouts in 2008. I think that's too convenient. It may have smacked of that system, but try and get a bail out today. Not a chance. It was a public relations disaster, and besides, bailing someone out for fear of a market collapse is not the same thing as controlling the means and strategies of production from top to bottom.


Enright
(Super User)
04/30/19 10:23 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
Hi Enright,

 Originally Posted By: Enright
Marx wrote Das Kapital between 1867-1883, using the term "modern" on many pages, but it's 2019, and many points would seem to be obsolete now. We know in science that theories are judged as reliable if their predictions turn out to be verified. However, based on his theories, Marx made predictions involving certain inevitabilities that never came about.

Do you have a specific example?

Thanks. This is only what I have heard, but I heard that he predicted that first the workers would strike, and then they would take over the factories. When you look at countries generally, this has not happened, but should have happened, particularly in the U.S.

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: Enright
I believe that people inevitably find more creative uses for capital when it is dispersed over many businesses, corporations, and individuals, than when it is more concentrated and dribbled out by the decision makers in some socialist government.

Is the capital in capitalist societies not becoming ever more concentrated, though, to the point that individuals own more than entire countries? That small businesses have been wiped out by huge corporations sometimes paying little to no taxes like Walmart or Amazon? That someone like Jeff Bezos also owns one of the most influential newspapers in the country, has deals with the CIA and controls government officials via donations so that they represent him instead of the people they are supposed to, and allow him to pay little to no taxes in the first place?

It could be that this “concentration thing” of private industry is something like the tide. Industrial wealth seems to grow ever more concentrated at times, particularly at inflection points, and then it relaxes, to be repeated again. Speaking roughly just of the U.S., first it was the railroad and coal-mine businesses (e.g., the "railroad barons"), then it was the steal and auto companies ("the big three" auto companies) then the airlines, then IBM and Microsoft, and now it’s the Internet companies. Of course there were the banking and finance industries too. Given that this sort of thing has not provoked a revolt in the past, it seems unlikely to do so now. It would appear to be more of a political talking point than anything. Far more likely to cause real angst and difficulties all through society is the trillion dollar student-loan crisis, for example. Young people in their most productive years starting out with this huge, built-in debt. Now there is a problem.

I remember back in the 50s when all the talk was that the U.S. , with just 5% of the world’s population, had 20% of the world’s wealth. Perhaps the U.S. then should have cut its standard of living by 3/4ths, and given the money back. Somebody had to be cheating, and obviously it was us.

Actually, there is a pretty good rival to Marxist theory to account for these kinds of inequalities. It is called Pareto’s Principle: “In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country. Pareto observed that 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the nation's wealth. He could not know it, but in time that rule would be found to apply with uncanny accuracy to many situations and be useful in many disciplines, . . .” [ F. John Reh. Actually, I believe it was 20% of the land owners owned 80% of the land.]

Pareto’s rule pops up frequently in nature as well, e.g., something like 20% percent of the earth’s forests account for 80% of the vegetation. In business, 80% of customer complaints are filed by 20% of the customers. Often around 20% of a company’s employees do about 80% of the work. 79% of NBA players come from 13% of the population, and so on. It appears that almost all of the mathematical innovations that led to modern mathematics were created by European or American men.

I like Pareto’s rule because it seems to explain the inequalities we see in socialist regimes, something that might be more difficult to do under Marxist theory. In the heyday of the Soviet Union for example, about 5% of the population, the members of the Communist Party, controled vast amounts of the political, military, and econmic power of the country.

Anyway, given that Chicago alone has a gross domestic product of something like $940 billion a year, I think there is plenty of wealth in the country independent of Amazon.


Silence
(enthusiast)
05/05/19 10:34 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill

Never having heard of it before, I'm suspicious of this term "state capitalism". Here's a quick definition from Google: "a political system in which the state has control of production and the use of capital."

That does not sound like capitalism of any sort to me. In fact, it sounds like a subtle attempt to link the word the word "capitalism" with socialism (or communism) so as to hide the socialism. Kind of like hiding the dog's antibiotic pill in a piece of cheese so the dog will swallow the medicine and not know the difference. It sounds like disinformation.

State capitalism seems like an attempt to turn an M.C. Escher painting of an eternally ascending staircase into reality. Looks great on paper, but can't be done in reality.


Isn't state capitalism coined to describe China? The most efficient poverty-eliminating economic system ever created?

Not saying either that life is all honky dory in China, but if we want to stay honest, we have to give them that.


ScottSA
(CEO of the Hegemony)
05/06/19 05:03 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: jmill

Never having heard of it before, I'm suspicious of this term "state capitalism". Here's a quick definition from Google: "a political system in which the state has control of production and the use of capital."

That does not sound like capitalism of any sort to me. In fact, it sounds like a subtle attempt to link the word the word "capitalism" with socialism (or communism) so as to hide the socialism. Kind of like hiding the dog's antibiotic pill in a piece of cheese so the dog will swallow the medicine and not know the difference. It sounds like disinformation.

State capitalism seems like an attempt to turn an M.C. Escher painting of an eternally ascending staircase into reality. Looks great on paper, but can't be done in reality.


Isn't state capitalism coined to describe China? The most efficient poverty-eliminating economic system ever created?

Not saying either that life is all honky dory in China, but if we want to stay honest, we have to give them that.

No we don't. It's simply not true.


Silence
(enthusiast)
05/06/19 07:05 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: ScottSA
 Originally Posted By: Silence
if we want to stay honest, we have to give them that.

No we don't. It's simply not true.


Well, last time I checked, that's what the World Bank says

http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/country/CHN


ScottSA
(CEO of the Hegemony)
05/06/19 04:17 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: ScottSA
 Originally Posted By: Silence
if we want to stay honest, we have to give them that.

No we don't. It's simply not true.


Well, last time I checked, that's what the World Bank says

http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/country/CHN
That means very little.


Enright
(Super User)
05/06/19 05:12 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Silence said, "Isn't state capitalism coined to describe China? The most efficient poverty-eliminating economic system ever created?"

The term "state capitalism" was first coined in Europe in 1898 to describe theoretical Marxist systems, and had nothing to do with China (1898).

As an argument for modern China's economic system, the "poverty-eliminating" attribute ascribed to it is less impressive when we learn that poverty all over the world (as defined at $1.90 a day, upper limit) has been declining at a phenomenal rate in the 21st Century. Take India, which had a poverty rate of 31% in 2009, declining to 21% by 2011, just two years later. Three or four more years, and its poverty rate was around 13%. India still has problems of course, but China's experience of a sharp decline is not unique.

If state-capitalist systems are more efficient, why was it that China's poverty level was still 66% in 1990, after decades of state-enterprise economics under Mao and others? This was China, with one of the most intelligent and productive workforces in the world.

In 1933 Korzybski predicted that state-capitalist economies like that of the Soviet Union would eventually be replaced by international capitalism. With that in mind, we could attribute China's current success to allowing international companies to come in to the country and produce foreign goods in China, and other measures that inseparably linked China with the international capitalist system.

All of this is not to say that certain subsidized state enterprises may not have given certain advantages to China (I wouldn't know either way). But I would doubt that such are more efficient, per se. I've read that these Chinese state companies are less profitable than public corporations, for one thing.


AuntJobiska
(enthusiast)
05/06/19 05:50 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Comparing what to what? If course when one eases up on pure communism (particularly when following a cataclysmic event like Mao's Cultural Revolution) there is bound to be a dramatic improvement. Apples, oranges.

jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/06/19 05:56 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

You've hit the nail on the head, Enright. It isn't any kind of communist/socialist/"state capitalist" (c/s/sc) system that is causing reduced rates of poverty around the world. It's the interface of those systems with capitalist systems that is enriching the c/s/sc countries. It is excess wealth that capitalist countries are capable of producing that reduces poverty rates. Excess wealth is not a technical term (that I am aware of), just my way of talking about the incredible efficiency and productivity of capitalist systems, eclipsing s/c/sc economies by a mile. C/s/sc systems simply don't produce enough excess wealth to reduce poverty rates. In a sense, you could say that s/c/sc systems 'parasitize" capitalist systems.

AuntJobiska
(enthusiast)
05/06/19 05:59 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Enright, I suspect what we currently have here is "state capitalism" (aka "crony capitalism"!) by your definition. Endless snarls of regulations and bloated beauracracy, coupled with the legal system favoring huge corporations over small businesses and individual entrepreneurs and artists/creators/etc. Time for a little trust busting?

AuntJobiska
(enthusiast)
05/06/19 06:43 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Oh, sorry, Jmill! I was typing at the same time you were posting and did not see this before. Oops!

All you old-timers here know how much I hate communism. For any new folks, I should explain i have lived in several newly post-communist countries and seen first-hand its lasting corrupting influence. Man, I hate it! So much injustice, so much insane waste, so much unnecessary sickness and death, so much wanton destruction, so much ugliness (seen their architechture?) and so much despair. On the flip side, the victims manage to create a rich body of truly funny humor and excel in that most noble form of humor -- irony. They are masters of it. This is a great testament to the human spirit, no?


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/06/19 07:45 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


No sweat, Auntie. I don't know about trust busting, but I would like to see someone put the kibosh on crony capitalism, Democrat or Republican. It's unfair, and it distorts the economics of certain markets.


Enright
(Super User)
05/06/19 07:57 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill
You've hit the nail on the head, Enright. It isn't any kind of communist/socialist/"state capitalist" (c/s/sc) system that is causing reduced rates of poverty around the world. It's the interface of those systems with capitalist systems that is enriching the c/s/sc countries. It is excess wealth that capitalist countries are capable of producing that reduces poverty rates. Excess wealth is not a technical term (that I am aware of), just my way of talking about the incredible efficiency and productivity of capitalist systems, eclipsing s/c/sc economies by a mile. C/s/sc systems simply don't produce enough excess wealth to reduce poverty rates. In a sense, you could say that s/c/sc systems 'parasitize" capitalist systems.


By accounting generally for what is happening in so many countries with regard to falling poverty rates, that makes sense to me.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/06/19 09:02 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


To bolster this idea on why poverty rates are declining, even in socialist and communist countries (albeit at a much slower rate in those kinds of states) try a thought experiment: pretend ALL economies on the globe are socialist/communist/"state capitalist". Have you seen any indications that any economies of those types are capable of powering the world's economic engine to the same degree that capitalism has? No. They have all failed where they have been tried, particularly if they remained insular. Conversely, s/c/sc economies have benefited when they have stepped out into the capitalist market with some sort of concessions to the realities of economics. A world of nothing but socialist economies would fail as surely as the planned economy of the old Soviet Union failed.


AuntJobiska
(enthusiast)
05/07/19 12:35 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

In other words, a rising tide floats all boats?

Silence
(enthusiast)
05/07/19 07:36 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill

poverty rates are declining, even in socialist and communist countries (albeit at a much slower rate in those kinds of states)


Again, the world bank disagrees:

 Quote:
The world as a whole has made impressive strides on poverty reduction. Since 1990 in fact, nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty, which means that the number of people living on 1 dollar and 90 cents per day, or less, has reduced dramatically.

From 2012 to 2013 alone, nearly 100 million people escaped extreme poverty. That’s a quarter of a million people per day; or 200 people per minute.

China and many of its neighbors in East Asia have largely driven the world’s progress. In China alone, nearly 800 million people have escaped poverty since the 1980s.

And while East Asia was home to around half of the world’s extreme poor in 1990, today just over 9 percent of the extreme poor live in the region.

But the challenge is far from over. According to our estimates, we know that nearly 800 million people in the world still live in extreme deprivation. 25 million of those people live in China.


https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech...-of-development


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/07/19 02:18 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: jmill

poverty rates are declining, even in socialist and communist countries (albeit at a much slower rate in those kinds of states)


Again, the world bank disagrees:

 Quote:
The world as a whole has made impressive strides on poverty reduction. Since 1990 in fact, nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty, which means that the number of people living on 1 dollar and 90 cents per day, or less, has reduced dramatically.

From 2012 to 2013 alone, nearly 100 million people escaped extreme poverty. That’s a quarter of a million people per day; or 200 people per minute.

China and many of its neighbors in East Asia have largely driven the world’s progress. In China alone, nearly 800 million people have escaped poverty since the 1980s.

And while East Asia was home to around half of the world’s extreme poor in 1990, today just over 9 percent of the extreme poor live in the region.

But the challenge is far from over. According to our estimates, we know that nearly 800 million people in the world still live in extreme deprivation. 25 million of those people live in China.


https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech...-of-development


Did you not read Enright's statistics about declining poverty in China (communist and socialist) versus India (democratic republic and capitalist)? But the point isn't the speed with which poverty is declining in communist countries versus capitalist countries, it's that communist and socialist countries COULD NOT end their poverty issues without a thriving world economy to tap into, and that thriving world economy is courtesy of capitalism, not socialism. Anyone who thinks socialism is the answer to anything is either ignorant of history or purposely in favor of a failed economic system for their own obscure reasons.


Lasombra
(Terror)
05/07/19 04:03 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

No one at the world bank, or anywhere else outside of dogmatically ideological Marxist-Leninist-Maoist circles, would attribute China’s economic success to anything other than what has been essentially the embrace of market capitalism. Deng Xiaoping dropped the inflexible and utterly immune to reality central planning that characterized the economic and humanitarian disasters of the Mao years, and replaced that system with state owned enterprises that, unlike their Soviet counterparts, focused on commercial success rather than meeting production quotas set by a government ministry. The CPC than cleared the way for the birth of an amazingly vigorous private sector. This bizarre public/private hybrid was just what was necessary to launch China into the global economy, and this arrangement was, and remains, uniquely suited to China’s demographic and political dynamic. Countries like Vietnam have had success with a similar roadmap, however such an arrangement would never have worked for the Soviets, or for African and South American communist regimes; outside of Asia, such reforms haven’t even been attempted. As unpopular as it is to claim these days, the system is not everything; markets are not insulated from the culture, language, and history of their participants. This is an important, if inconvenient, truth to point out when debating economic and social policy with someone who claims “it works in the Netherlands, why can’t we do it here?”.

China’s government is still arranged along communist lines. The military is an organ of the party, not the people, propaganda ministries have total control over all media outlets, even those that are part of the private sector, for that matter any part of that prosperous private sector could be seized overnight by the CPC if they wished, for any reason. This is one of many reasons why the idea of the RMB replacing the USD as global reserve currency is silly; there are no real legal, political, or cultural restrictions in place to prevent the CPC from doing whatever they want. Domestic capitalists and their international business partners are given access to a structure of labyrinthine arbitration laws and vaguely defined legal rights when dealing with the CPC, but the Party is the ultimate authority. Something to think about next time you want to invest in that hot new Chinese IPO.


Enright
(Super User)
05/07/19 05:09 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: jmill

poverty rates are declining, even in socialist and communist countries (albeit at a much slower rate in those kinds of states)


Again, the world bank disagrees:

 Quote:
The world as a whole has made impressive strides on poverty reduction. Since 1990 in fact, nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty, which means that the number of people living on 1 dollar and 90 cents per day, or less, has reduced dramatically.

From 2012 to 2013 alone, nearly 100 million people escaped extreme poverty. That’s a quarter of a million people per day; or 200 people per minute.

China and many of its neighbors in East Asia have largely driven the world’s progress. In China alone, nearly 800 million people have escaped poverty since the 1980s.

And while East Asia was home to around half of the world’s extreme poor in 1990, today just over 9 percent of the extreme poor live in the region.

But the challenge is far from over. According to our estimates, we know that nearly 800 million people in the world still live in extreme deprivation. 25 million of those people live in China.


https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech...-of-development


I think the question would be “What specifically happened in China during the last 40 years that brought millions of people out of poverty?” 40 years ago millions of people in China lived in extreme poverty in the countryside where there were no jobs to speak of, and over the course of the decades, hundreds of millions of people migrated to the cities for a better life. This had a huge stimulating effect on certain industries domestic to China, such as construction, and so on.

If you have anything on the ball at all, just by moving to a city you can likely escape a standard of living of $1.90 a day.

Later on in this continuing migration, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the decline of Maoism, international companies looked at China and its labor force as a good place to set up shop. I doubt that they looked at the state-run companies and said, "Being state-run, these factories should be more efficient than the factories you usually get with corporations like Honda or whatever, so this is going to be fun."

International companies were allowed to manufacture their goods in China, but strong barriers were put in place to prohibit foreign companies in general from selling their goods in China. Now the migration from the countryside became a flood fueled by the increased demand for more workers to man the city factories.

As a condition for access to the cheap and efficient labor market of the country, China required many companies to share their proprietary product knowledge and manufacturing techniques with the Chinese companies. So there was a tremendous influx of sophisticated and diverse engineering knowledge from all over the world flooding into China. Also, China set up a highly efficient, international corporate spying operation to gain even more knowledge. And many Chinese companies played fast and loose with international copyright laws and other restrictions.

Psychologists say that the two traits most predictive for success in life are IQ and industriousness. IQ is more predictive for this than even being born into a rich family. The average IQ for a white American is arbitrarily set at 100. The average IQ in China on our American scale would be an equivalent score of something like 106 here. The Chinese and Japanese do better than any other group in this department but Askhenazi Jews, who I think score around 110 on average. Can you imagine how productive a nation of 1.3 billion Ashkenazi Jews might be if they were, on average, as industrious as the Chinese?

Some attribute this supposed industiousness trait of the Chinese to China’s rice culture. As I understand it, to do well in rice growing you have to work 7 days a week for about 340 days a year. You can’t be much of a slacker and succeed very well as a rice farmer in China.

In any event, we in the West normally associate cradle to the grave entitlements with “socialism,” but do the Chinese? As I understand it, there is little to no “safety net” for old people there. Thus you must work and save your money for retirement. This is one major reason why it is so difficult to develop more domestic demand in China. People are accustomed to saving their money rather than spending it. So there are customs and policies in effect there that tend to support the industriousness trait.

All of these factors that I have mentioned seem unique to China as a member of the “state capitalist” set, rather than traits necessarily common to the set of "all state capitalist countries.” So I don’t know what “state capitalist” lessons we can draw from China.

One thing I should mention is that China lags far behind the U.S. – about 40 years behind – in terms of GDP per person. It is projected that the U.S. GDP per person will be around $67,082 in 2020, whereas China’s will be $10,971. The U.S. GDP per person was $12,553 in 1980.


Silence
(enthusiast)
05/08/19 04:49 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill

Did you not read Enright's statistics about declining poverty in China (communist and socialist) versus India (democratic republic and capitalist)?


I didn't, but personally I'd rather trust researchers for example from Oxford University:

https://ourworldindata.org/the-global-decline-of-extreme-poverty-was-it-only-china

 Quote:
To see whether it was China alone that was responsible for this decline in extreme poverty, we recalculated the share of people living in extreme poverty and disregarded China entirely. This allows us to compare a planet with China to a planet without China. (At the end of the post it is explained how poverty for the non-Chinese world population was calculated.)

The chart below shows the results. In blue is the decline of global poverty, in red the decline of poverty excluding China.

We see that the reduction of global poverty was very substantial even when we do not take into account the poverty reduction in China. In 1981 almost one third (29%) of the non-Chinese world population was living in extreme poverty. By 2013 this share had fallen to 12%.


Silence
(enthusiast)
05/08/19 04:51 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
No one at the world bank, or anywhere else outside of dogmatically ideological Marxist-Leninist-Maoist circles, would attribute China’s economic success to anything other than what has been essentially the embrace of market capitalism. Deng Xiaoping dropped the inflexible and utterly immune to reality central planning that characterized the economic and humanitarian disasters of the Mao years, and replaced that system with state owned enterprises that, unlike their Soviet counterparts, focused on commercial success rather than meeting production quotas set by a government ministry. The CPC than cleared the way for the birth of an amazingly vigorous private sector. This bizarre public/private hybrid was just what was necessary to launch China into the global economy, and this arrangement was, and remains, uniquely suited to China’s demographic and political dynamic. Countries like Vietnam have had success with a similar roadmap, however such an arrangement would never have worked for the Soviets, or for African and South American communist regimes; outside of Asia, such reforms haven’t even been attempted. As unpopular as it is to claim these days, the system is not everything; markets are not insulated from the culture, language, and history of their participants. This is an important, if inconvenient, truth to point out when debating economic and social policy with someone who claims “it works in the Netherlands, why can’t we do it here?”.

China’s government is still arranged along communist lines. The military is an organ of the party, not the people, propaganda ministries have total control over all media outlets, even those that are part of the private sector, for that matter any part of that prosperous private sector could be seized overnight by the CPC if they wished, for any reason. This is one of many reasons why the idea of the RMB replacing the USD as global reserve currency is silly; there are no real legal, political, or cultural restrictions in place to prevent the CPC from doing whatever they want. Domestic capitalists and their international business partners are given access to a structure of labyrinthine arbitration laws and vaguely defined legal rights when dealing with the CPC, but the Party is the ultimate authority. Something to think about next time you want to invest in that hot new Chinese IPO.


So is China a communist or a capitalist country? If it's not purely capitalist, how can one explain that China outperforms purely capitalist countries? Is it evidence that pure capitalism is less efficient than whatever China is doing?


Lasombra
(Terror)
05/08/19 06:21 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
No one at the world bank, or anywhere else outside of dogmatically ideological Marxist-Leninist-Maoist circles, would attribute China’s economic success to anything other than what has been essentially the embrace of market capitalism. Deng Xiaoping dropped the inflexible and utterly immune to reality central planning that characterized the economic and humanitarian disasters of the Mao years, and replaced that system with state owned enterprises that, unlike their Soviet counterparts, focused on commercial success rather than meeting production quotas set by a government ministry. The CPC than cleared the way for the birth of an amazingly vigorous private sector. This bizarre public/private hybrid was just what was necessary to launch China into the global economy, and this arrangement was, and remains, uniquely suited to China’s demographic and political dynamic. Countries like Vietnam have had success with a similar roadmap, however such an arrangement would never have worked for the Soviets, or for African and South American communist regimes; outside of Asia, such reforms haven’t even been attempted. As unpopular as it is to claim these days, the system is not everything; markets are not insulated from the culture, language, and history of their participants. This is an important, if inconvenient, truth to point out when debating economic and social policy with someone who claims “it works in the Netherlands, why can’t we do it here?”.

China’s government is still arranged along communist lines. The military is an organ of the party, not the people, propaganda ministries have total control over all media outlets, even those that are part of the private sector, for that matter any part of that prosperous private sector could be seized overnight by the CPC if they wished, for any reason. This is one of many reasons why the idea of the RMB replacing the USD as global reserve currency is silly; there are no real legal, political, or cultural restrictions in place to prevent the CPC from doing whatever they want. Domestic capitalists and their international business partners are given access to a structure of labyrinthine arbitration laws and vaguely defined legal rights when dealing with the CPC, but the Party is the ultimate authority. Something to think about next time you want to invest in that hot new Chinese IPO.


So is China a communist or a capitalist country? If it's not purely capitalist, how can one explain that China outperforms purely capitalist countries? Is it evidence that pure capitalism is less efficient than whatever China is doing?


Is China communist or capitalist? Has a dog the Buddha-nature?



Silence
(enthusiast)
05/08/19 07:28 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

What about my second and third questions, though?

Enright
(Super User)
05/08/19 11:41 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
No one at the world bank, or anywhere else outside of dogmatically ideological Marxist-Leninist-Maoist circles, would attribute China’s economic success to anything other than what has been essentially the embrace of market capitalism. Deng Xiaoping dropped the inflexible and utterly immune to reality central planning that characterized the economic and humanitarian disasters of the Mao years, and replaced that system with state owned enterprises that, unlike their Soviet counterparts, focused on commercial success rather than meeting production quotas set by a government ministry. The CPC than cleared the way for the birth of an amazingly vigorous private sector. This bizarre public/private hybrid was just what was necessary to launch China into the global economy, and this arrangement was, and remains, uniquely suited to China’s demographic and political dynamic. Countries like Vietnam have had success with a similar roadmap, however such an arrangement would never have worked for the Soviets, or for African and South American communist regimes; outside of Asia, such reforms haven’t even been attempted. As unpopular as it is to claim these days, the system is not everything; markets are not insulated from the culture, language, and history of their participants. This is an important, if inconvenient, truth to point out when debating economic and social policy with someone who claims “it works in the Netherlands, why can’t we do it here?”.

China’s government is still arranged along communist lines. The military is an organ of the party, not the people, propaganda ministries have total control over all media outlets, even those that are part of the private sector, for that matter any part of that prosperous private sector could be seized overnight by the CPC if they wished, for any reason. This is one of many reasons why the idea of the RMB replacing the USD as global reserve currency is silly; there are no real legal, political, or cultural restrictions in place to prevent the CPC from doing whatever they want. Domestic capitalists and their international business partners are given access to a structure of labyrinthine arbitration laws and vaguely defined legal rights when dealing with the CPC, but the Party is the ultimate authority. Something to think about next time you want to invest in that hot new Chinese IPO.


So is China a communist or a capitalist country? If it's not purely capitalist, how can one explain that China outperforms purely capitalist countries? Is it evidence that pure capitalism is less efficient than whatever China is doing?


I already explained certain factors in China's performance in reducing poverty (which is what you were talking about) that are unrelated to "state capitalism" per se, so what's the problem?:

"I think the question would be “What specifically happened in China during the last 40 years that brought millions of people out of poverty?” 40 years ago millions of people in China lived in extreme poverty in the countryside where there were no jobs to speak of, and over the course of the decades, hundreds of millions of people migrated to the cities for a better life. This had a huge stimulating effect on certain industries domestic to China, such as construction, and so on.

"If you have anything on the ball at all, just by moving to a city you can likely escape a poverty standard of living of $1.90 a day.

"Later on in this continuing migration, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the decline of Maoism, international companies looked at China and its labor force as a good place to set up shop. I doubt that they looked at the state-run companies and said, "Being state-run, these factories should be more efficient than the factories you usually get with corporations like Honda or whatever, so this is going to be fun."

"International companies were allowed to manufacture their goods in China, but strong barriers were put in place to prohibit foreign companies in general from selling their goods in China. Now the migration from the countryside became a flood fueled by the increased demand for more workers to man the city factories.

"As a condition for access to the cheap and efficient labor market of the country, China required many companies to share their proprietary product knowledge and manufacturing techniques with the Chinese companies. So there was a tremendous influx of sophisticated and diverse engineering knowledge from all over the world flooding into China. Also, China set up a highly efficient, international corporate spying operation to gain even more knowledge. And many Chinese companies played fast and loose with international copyright laws and other restrictions.

"Psychologists say that the two traits most predictive for success in life are IQ and industriousness. IQ is more predictive for this than even being born into a rich family. The average IQ for a white American is arbitrarily set at 100. The average IQ in China on our American scale would be an equivalent score of something like 106 here. The Chinese and Japanese do better than any other group in this department but Askhenazi Jews, who I think score around 110 on average. Can you imagine how productive a nation of 1.3 billion Ashkenazi Jews might be if they were, on average, as industrious as the Chinese?

"Some attribute this supposed industriousness trait of the Chinese to China’s rice culture. As I understand it, to do well in rice growing you have to work 7 days a week for about 340 days a year. You can’t be much of a slacker and succeed very well as a rice farmer in China.

"In any event, we in the West normally associate cradle to the grave entitlements with “socialism,” but do the Chinese? As I understand it, there is little to no “safety net” for old people there. Thus you must work and save your money for retirement. This is one major reason why it is so difficult to develop more domestic demand in China. People are accustomed to saving their money rather than spending it. So there are customs and policies in effect there that tend to support the industriousness trait.

"All of these factors that I have mentioned seem unique to China as a member of the “state capitalist” set, rather than traits necessarily common to the set of "all state capitalist countries.” So I don’t know what “state capitalist” lessons we can draw from China.

"One thing I should mention is that China lags far behind the U.S. – about 40 years behind – in terms of GDP per person. It is projected that the U.S. GDP per person will be around $67,082 in 2020, whereas China’s will be $10,971. The U.S. GDP per person was $12,553 in 1980."


steele,rick
(Super User)
05/08/19 01:23 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

"Some attribute this supposed industriousness trait of the Chinese to China’s rice culture. As I understand it, to do well in rice growing you have to work 7 days a week for about 340 days a year. You can’t be much of a slacker and succeed very well as a rice farmer in China."

I know an environmental engineer who had connections to China. The government hired his company back in the early 2000 to help with a massive industrial spill in western China. A copper smelter was built out in the vast un-populated lands of China. Thousands and thousands of workers were brought in to run the smelter. They built their own little village near the smelter. Some of the workers wanted to grow their own rice. But the site was so far from everything, and out in the desert, so not much water available. The rice workers noticed that the smelter plant had some large water ponds next to the plant. So they went over there and cut open the pond dikes and let the water flow into their rice fields. The rice grew and absorbed the toxins that were in the industrial waste water from the plant. Many of the workers got sick. The government had to go in and cleanup the rice fields. I don't know if the plant is still making copper, but that's how they do things in China.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/08/19 02:20 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Enright
"Some attribute this supposed industriousness trait of the Chinese to China’s rice culture. As I understand it, to do well in rice growing you have to work 7 days a week for about 340 days a year. You can’t be much of a slacker and succeed very well as a rice farmer in China."

Every farmer and rancher on the planet has to work every bit as hard as a rice farmer in China. It's not a Chinese cultural trait, it's a trait of ALL agrarian cultures. Think about all the dairymen who have to work that hard 365 days a year, because milk cows don't take vacations, or the ranchers who have cattle that need tending year round, or the corn farmers, or the wheat farmers, if rice growers work harder and longer than they do. They all have to work almost non-stop to make their farms and ranches productive. This isn't some cultural or Asian characteristic, it's a matter of necessity. America was a largely agrarian society for many years, and that produced generations of hard-working, ambitious, tough citizens. It's a shame that the family farm is disappearing because of technology and the profitability of large agricultural companies, because people who have to bust their ass physically for their daily bread usually turn out to be pretty fine citizens. We could use a lot more of them, especially now. I, as a non-farmer and consumer of the fruits of their labor, certainly appreciate their hard work and dedication.


Enright
(Super User)
05/08/19 02:28 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

You are certainly right, and I thought about mentioning that agricultural work is demanding across the board. I have heard however, that rice farming is the most intensive and time-consuming of all, not to mention back-breaking. Regardless, I'm just a city guy with no personal expertise in any of that stuff, except that I enjoyed eating fresh apricots grown on my Uncle Allen's farm when I was a child.

jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/08/19 03:32 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Any decline in China's poverty rates cannot be considered in a vacuum. There wasn't enough economic power in China to drive the improvement of their economy because you have to have a thriving middle-class with disposable income, and China is only just beginning to develop a middle-class. Their improvement comes primarily from their engagement with the West (capitalist countries). If China had become capitalist instead of communist/socialist after WWII, they would have a much higher per capita GDP by now. Their economic efforts were stunted by their original communist economic programs. Only when they let a little capitalism into their economy did they start to flourish. Their per cap GDP starts to rise about the year 2000 (isn't that about the time they gained control of that capitalist economic dynamo Hong Kong? I wonder if that could have something to do with it). Had Mao not led the Chinese down the road to socialist hell, they would have had the opportunity to be on par with Japan, or perhaps even eclipse Japan in terms of per cap GDP. As of 2017, though, Japan had a per cap GDP of $38,430, and China had a per cap GDP of $8,827, and that's from Mr Silence's vaunted WorldBank website. China has a long way to go. They wasted decades pursuing socialist/communists follies.


AuntJobiska
(enthusiast)
05/08/19 05:57 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

I'm so happy to see Lasombra weighing in so ably (and then with such wise wit!). Yes, dear JMill you have it right, too.

Enright, we are old enough to remember our mothers admonishing us to clean our plates because there were starving children in China after the Great Leap Forward turned out to involve a cliff. Remember all those Care Package commercials? I loved those as a little tyke. So I was ecstatic when my mother told me the starving children in China would love to have whatever it was on my plate that I did not want to eat when I was just shy of four years old. I tried to hand her the plate saying "on yes! I want to give it to them!" I imagined that exciting silver Care Package plane landing on our street, propellers whirling, and whisking my boxed-up plate off to those poor little Chinese kids. That would be so cool! And what a deal! Of course the pilot would the very same one as in the commercial, whisking off his goggles while taxiing up to our driveway. Kids can be so funny!

For the younger ones who cannot remember and have not studied twentieth-century China:

https://www.britannica.com/event/Great-Leap-Forward

https://www.britannica.com/event/Cultural-Revolution

https://www.britannica.com/place/China/Economic-policies

Your writing about population shift from countryside to city made me remember a grad school chum from China. Her parents both had advanced degrees and were forced from city to countryside by way of what I suppose was some sort of brutal re-education camp, to be pig farmers. (she was not happy about what happened to her parents, to put it mildly.) So I was scratching my head, thinking, was it not the other way round until recent decades? Yes it was! Eventually, even the Red Guards were hounded off to the country in their millions when they began to argue amongst themselves and proved an embarrassment.

Speaking of the Red Guards, I could not help thinking how the Khmer Rouge also whipped up the young to do much of their dirty work in Cambodia. Well, Stalin had his Komsomal and Hitler his Jugend. Typical socialist tactic, I suppose.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/08/19 06:36 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Auntie, in 1968 Anthony Quinn starred in a movie called THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN. A Russian bishop is released from the Soviet Gulag, and allowed to go to Rome. He get's elected pope. His big problem in the movie is the imminent invasion of Russia by tens of millions of starving Chinese, who have no other option but to go north to find food, which will precipitate a nuclear war between China and Russia.

This premise seems ludicrous today. It wasn't in 1968. That's a smidge more than 50 years ago, and it tells you how China was perceived by the world then. There was more than a grain of truth in that scenario at the time. Twenty-three years after the end of WWII, the Chinese were having trouble feeding themselves. So much for socialism.


Enright
(Super User)
05/08/19 10:42 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: AuntJobiska
I'm so happy to see Lasombra weighing in so ably (and then with such wise wit!). Yes, dear JMill you have it right, too.

Enright, we are old enough to remember our mothers admonishing us to clean our plates because there were starving children in China after the Great Leap Forward turned out to involve a cliff. Remember all those Care Package commercials? I loved those as a little tyke. So I was ecstatic when my mother told me the starving children in China would love to have whatever it was on my plate that I did not want to eat when I was just shy of four years old. I tried to hand her the plate saying "on yes! I want to give it to them!" I imagined that exciting silver Care Package plane landing on our street, propellers whirling, and whisking my boxed-up plate off to those poor little Chinese kids. That would be so cool! And what a deal! Of course the pilot would the very same one as in the commercial, whisking off his goggles while taxiing up to our driveway. Kids can be so funny!

For the younger ones who cannot remember and have not studied twentieth-century China:

https://www.britannica.com/event/Great-Leap-Forward

https://www.britannica.com/event/Cultural-Revolution

https://www.britannica.com/place/China/Economic-policies

Your writing about population shift from countryside to city made me remember a grad school chum from China. Her parents both had advanced degrees and were forced from city to countryside by way of what I suppose was some sort of brutal re-education camp, to be pig farmers. (she was not happy about what happened to her parents, to put it mildly.) So I was scratching my head, thinking, was it not the other way round until recent decades? Yes it was! Eventually, even the Red Guards were hounded off to the country in their millions when they began to argue amongst themselves and proved an embarrassment.

Speaking of the Red Guards, I could not help thinking how the Khmer Rouge also whipped up the young to do much of their dirty work in Cambodia. Well, Stalin had his Komsomal and Hitler his Jugend. Typical socialist tactic, I suppose.


Hey Auntie, good to see you posting. Actually in my childhood, it was the starving people of India, and the hungry children of Europe in the aftermath of World War 2 that were the topics at our dining-room table.

I'm thinking that the flows you were talking about above in China were likely proportional rather than either-or. In 1960, in the midst of the Great Leap Forward, there were 106 million people living in the cities, providing plenty of bodies to be shipped off to the countryside if desired. At the same time, other people from the rural areas were migrating to the cities, so that by 1970, in the midst of the Cultural Revolution, there were 142 million people living in the cities. (Meanwhile there were 560 million people living in the countryside in 1960, and 670 million living in the countryside in 1970.)

Recently, just in one decade, 2007 to 2017, over 200 million Chinese have moved to the cities, a sure recipe for explosive economic growth.


ScottSA
(CEO of the Hegemony)
05/09/19 03:33 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Enright
Recently, just in one decade, 2007 to 2017, over 200 million Chinese have moved to the cities, a sure recipe for explosive economic growth.
Wait. Huh? People move to cities BECAUSE of explosive economic growth. When that growth slows down or dies, the cities explode. 10% growth has fallen steadily to a twenty year low now, and still collapsing. That's not sure anything, because history never really repeats, but it rarely bodes well and often ends in chaos. Especially when it's being economically pressured externally.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/09/19 03:44 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Does anyone know if China, should it collapse as the old USSR did, will come apart into separate entities? I can't seem to find much online that has any solidity to its speculations about that possibility.


Silence
(enthusiast)
05/09/19 05:10 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

It's funny to watch Americans trash China, even as China has started taking over world leadership. China holds America's balls in its hands. And it hurts.

jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/09/19 01:58 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Silence, that was a stupid remark. China hasn't got anybody by the balls except its own people and others dumb enough to buy into the claptrap that China is just on the edge of taking over the world. China has some pretty big problems, and where they shake out no knows.


Enright
(Super User)
05/09/19 04:21 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: ScottSA
 Originally Posted By: Enright
Recently, just in one decade, 2007 to 2017, over 200 million Chinese have moved to the cities, a sure recipe for explosive economic growth.
Wait. Huh? People move to cities BECAUSE of explosive economic growth. When that growth slows down or dies, the cities explode. 10% growth has fallen steadily to a twenty year low now, and still collapsing. That's not sure anything, because history never really repeats, but it rarely bodes well and often ends in chaos. Especially when it's being economically pressured externally.


I was reading in the Oxford Encyclopedias of Economics and Finance that rural-urban migration has long been recognized as one of the key factors in China's "growth miracle." That's because agricultural sectors are far less productive than industrial sectors. So when people migrate to the cities from the countryside, if they can get jobs at all they just naturally become more productive on average, with aggregate output increasing and economic growth accelerating.

People migrate to the cities for all kinds of reasons. Medical facilities are much better in the cities, for one thing. Most of the universities are located in the cities, so that's where the young people come for an education. Marriage prospects are much better because society is richer there and more educated. The arts and cultural activities are much more available, and so on. But I imagine that many people in China move to the cities for the same reason that my father left his dad's small rural farm in Nebraska and headed for California in the 1920s. There was no future for him there.

China's GDP is so large that it's rate of growth has been slowing since 1999, reaching a low of 6.6% last year, a rate still over twice as fast as our GDP of 2.9% for 2018. I imagine that China's rate of growth will continue to slow, and someday, perhaps soon, they may start experiencing recessions and other pauses the way we do. But still, other things being equal, they are likely to be adding untold billions to their GDP over the years to come because there are still hundreds of millions of people living in the rural areas.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/09/19 05:05 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


China's 2018 GDP: $13,407,400,000,000
......US 2018 GDP: $20,494,100,000,000


Enright
(Super User)
05/09/19 05:15 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill

China's 2018 GDP: $13,407,400,000,000
......US 2018 GDP: $20,494,100,000,000


Yes, and should China's GDP ever reach $20 trillion it is highly likely not to be growing at 6.6% then.


Silence
(enthusiast)
05/09/19 07:38 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Indeed China will face the same problems with automation than countries like USA have started facing. It looks like the world could become multipolar by then. When the world abandons trading in dollars, it is likely the USA's leadership will fade.

Enright
(Super User)
05/09/19 09:30 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
Indeed China will face the same problems with automation than countries like USA have started facing. It looks like the world could become multipolar by then. When the world abandons trading in dollars, it is likely the USA's leadership will fade.

From my perspective, which sees China and the USA occupying major nodes in an international-capitalist network or system, I would agree with what you have said above. However I'm not as sure that the world will abandon the dollar as its international standard currency in the foreseeable future, say the next 40 years.

The situation with the dollar standard may be something akin to the situation with English as the international standard language in science and mathematics. Various alternative languages to English, such as Esperanto (a much simpler language) have been proposed, but the world continues to embrace English, which is much more difficult to learn. Approximately 90% of all science and engineering papers published in the world are written in English, so they say. So if you want to be a published scientist or mathematician, you would do well to learn English, not only to publish in your field, but even to understand it.

The situation with the dollar as a financial standard may be similarly entrenched. At least I am wondering if there are not many creditors in the world holding billions in debt denominated in dollars who would not like to see the currency weakened in favor of an alternative.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/09/19 09:50 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


America is not preeminent because the dollar is the international standard currency. If that were the case, all you would have to do to make a country economically preeminent would be to make that nation's currency the international standard.

It's exactly the other way around. The dollar is the international standard currency because America is economically preeminent.

This is a relatively new way of backing currency, starting in 1944 when the Bretton Woods agreement moved the Allies away from the gold standard and to using the US dollar at fixed exchange rates with other currencies as the banking standard. It was no accident that the dollar was chosen.

Should America ever fade, then another currency might well replace the dollar. I don't see that happening anytime soon, and certainly not at the hands of the Chinese economy, not as long as they are socialist.


Enright
(Super User)
05/10/19 12:12 AM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

jmill, I wasn't making the argument that America became preeminent because the dollar-standard made it so, or that America's economic preeminence in 1944 didn't lead to the dollar's elevation to the standard. That's nowhere in my text. I was saying that it might be more difficult to remove the dollar as the standard than some might imagine just because it has become so entrenched. Say at some point, the GDP of China reaches 33 trillion, and the U.S. 28 trillion. I don't necessarily see everyone rushing to switch from the dollar to the Chinese currency, even so. The country is enormously corrupt; it has a record of cheating; many of its more powerful state corporations are subsidized by the government (so it is more difficult to know how really productive and sound they are); it doesn't have the American record of political stability based on representative democracy; and so on.

jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/10/19 02:45 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


I didn't think you were making that argument, Enright. I was just remarking on the conditions for any currency to become an international standard and connecting it to China, the current socialist subject du jour. My argument, of course, assumes a capitalist, free-market economy where the strongest currency (in terms of the best/most useful international standard) "wins".

I'm more reacting to a general notion that has pervaded certain segments of the American public (and other countries as well) that China is poised to eat our lunch somehow. That simply cannot happen with a socialist economy. They are ultimately parasitic, and as such depend on a stronger host. For a while now China has been trying to do a mixture of capitalism under the thumb of socialism. The Soviets made that work for a few years (remember glasnost and perestroika?), but it ultimately collapsed. China's economy will either transition almost completely to Western-style capitalism like that of the West, or it too will ultimately collapse.


Enright
(Super User)
05/10/19 04:40 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill

I didn't think you were making that argument, Enright. I was just remarking on the conditions for any currency to become an international standard and connecting it to China, the current socialist subject du jour. My argument, of course, assumes a capitalist, free-market economy where the strongest currency (in terms of the best/most useful international standard) "wins".

I'm more reacting to a general notion that has pervaded certain segments of the American public (and other countries as well) that China is poised to eat our lunch somehow. That simply cannot happen with a socialist economy. They are ultimately parasitic, and as such depend on a stronger host. For a while now China has been trying to do a mixture of capitalism under the thumb of socialism. The Soviets made that work for a few years (remember glasnost and perestroika?), but it ultimately collapsed. China's economy will either transition almost completely to Western-style capitalism like that of the West, or it too will ultimately collapse.


My point would be that they do have such a stronger host, which is not going away anytime soon, namely the international capitalist system, China being just one node of it, although a powerful one indeed. Just very recently, for example, Donald Trump blamed China's 21st Century spurt on the WTO, with some justification. Also, we cannot assume that the weaknesses of "socialism" (1920-1980) in the Soviet Union and China, with their top/down planning and setting of prices, etc., – teetering like the Tower of Pisa – is identical with the "socialism" of China now, where such things are determined by the international capitalist market. China can still to an extent set prices in effect by being a price leader in certain commodities and a powerful economic force within the system. So I believe that the latter "socialism" is inherently a much more stable economic system than the old Soviet top/down style. The old style collapsed, but as I see it, we can't assume that the latter will too just because we can call both "socialist."

None of that is to say, of course, that China's current socialist system, with its state-run factories, etc., and its autocratic political and ideological rule, does not have inherent weaknesses that will cause it too to fail at some point.


AuntJobiska
(enthusiast)
05/19/19 04:59 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill

Auntie, in 1968 Anthony Quinn starred in a movie called THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN. A Russian bishop is released from the Soviet Gulag, and allowed to go to Rome. He get's elected pope. His big problem in the movie is the imminent invasion of Russia by tens of millions of starving Chinese, who have no other option but to go north to find food, which will precipitate a nuclear war between China and Russia.

This premise seems ludicrous today. It wasn't in 1968. That's a smidge more than 50 years ago, and it tells you how China was perceived by the world then. There was more than a grain of truth in that scenario at the time. Twenty-three years after the end of WWII, the Chinese were having trouble feeding themselves. So much for socialism.


I didn't see the movie, but read the book long, long ago in my teens. I didn't remember that part! Ah, maybe the movie will show up on Prime or NetFlix and I can see it. Now I am recalling a scene at the end of THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS where the Red Army is facing hordes of starving Chinese about to pour over the border into the USSR.

At the same time, we should remember Sino-Russian relations were at a centuries-long nadir at the time both books were written. The Russians and Chinese, while always wary of each other, have historically got along quite well with their "good fences make good neighbors" policy (both strictly regulate their borders with each other).


Dan SimmonsAdministrator
(CEO of the Hegemony)
05/21/19 03:28 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
No one at the world bank, or anywhere else outside of dogmatically ideological Marxist-Leninist-Maoist circles, would attribute China’s economic success to anything other than what has been essentially the embrace of market capitalism. Deng Xiaoping dropped the inflexible and utterly immune to reality central planning that characterized the economic and humanitarian disasters of the Mao years, and replaced that system with state owned enterprises that, unlike their Soviet counterparts, focused on commercial success rather than meeting production quotas set by a government ministry. The CPC than cleared the way for the birth of an amazingly vigorous private sector. This bizarre public/private hybrid was just what was necessary to launch China into the global economy, and this arrangement was, and remains, uniquely suited to China’s demographic and political dynamic. Countries like Vietnam have had success with a similar roadmap, however such an arrangement would never have worked for the Soviets, or for African and South American communist regimes; outside of Asia, such reforms haven’t even been attempted. As unpopular as it is to claim these days, the system is not everything; markets are not insulated from the culture, language, and history of their participants. This is an important, if inconvenient, truth to point out when debating economic and social policy with someone who claims “it works in the Netherlands, why can’t we do it here?”.

China’s government is still arranged along communist lines. The military is an organ of the party, not the people, propaganda ministries have total control over all media outlets, even those that are part of the private sector, for that matter any part of that prosperous private sector could be seized overnight by the CPC if they wished, for any reason. This is one of many reasons why the idea of the RMB replacing the USD as global reserve currency is silly; there are no real legal, political, or cultural restrictions in place to prevent the CPC from doing whatever they want. Domestic capitalists and their international business partners are given access to a structure of labyrinthine arbitration laws and vaguely defined legal rights when dealing with the CPC, but the Party is the ultimate authority. Something to think about next time you want to invest in that hot new Chinese IPO.


So is China a communist or a capitalist country? If it's not purely capitalist, how can one explain that China outperforms purely capitalist countries? Is it evidence that pure capitalism is less efficient than whatever China is doing?


Is China communist or capitalist? Has a dog the Buddha-nature?



Dan S. comments:

For the most part, this has been a delightful and invigorating dialogue, but -- as faux-sensei to this forum -- I'm forced, by Lasombra's brilliant final question, to mutter . . .

"Mu." Unask the question.

Then again -- don't. Onward. (This all feels like the powerful forum of yesteryears.)

DS


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/21/19 03:56 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Labels are important. Words matter. The first thing apologists do when they want to excuse bad behavior is to change the terminology, make it sound milder, lessen the impact on peoples' perceptions by switching to an innocuous-sounding term. So China is called state capitalist instead of communist/socialist. Does it change their actions, or make life better for the people living under their system to give it a different name? No. the only thing it does is turn people away from the reality, allow them to sigh in relief and say “Oh, good, I thought their system might abuse peoples’ natural human rights to self-determination, but the word capitalist is in their title, so it must be okay.” Does calling it state capitalist lessen the impact of the bullets they fire into their dissenters’ heads, or make their imprisonment in reeducation camps less than prison? Did being called state capitalist magically stop the tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square in the 1980s? Does it make their rules limiting child birth, enforcing abortion, telling people where they can live, or how they can make a living any less onerous? No, it only gives people an excuse to ignore the hard choices that stand before them. China is a problem, just as Russia continues to be a problem, and it all stems from their lack of freedom. Never lose sight of that key fact. I don't care what kind of diplomacy we practice, the bottom line is the Chinese (and the Russians) would love to destroy us so they can be preeminent. Not because it would make the world a better place, but because that is the fundamental nature of megalomaniacal, totalitarian governments.


Enright
(Super User)
05/21/19 10:49 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: jmill
Labels are important. Words matter. The first thing apologists do when they want to excuse bad behavior is to change the terminology, make it sound milder, lessen the impact on peoples' perceptions by switching to an innocuous-sounding term. So China is called state capitalist instead of communist/socialist. Does it change their actions, or make life better for the people living under their system to give it a different name? No. the only thing it does is turn people away from the reality, allow them to sigh in relief and say “Oh, good, I thought their system might abuse peoples’ natural human rights to self-determination, but the word capitalist is in their title, so it must be okay.” Does calling it state capitalist lessen the impact of the bullets they fire into their dissenters’ heads, or make their imprisonment in reeducation camps less than prison? Did being called state capitalist magically stop the tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square in the 1980s? Does it make their rules limiting child birth, enforcing abortion, telling people where they can live, or how they can make a living any less onerous? No, it only gives people an excuse to ignore the hard choices that stand before them. China is a problem, just as Russia continues to be a problem, and it all stems from their lack of freedom. Never lose sight of that key fact. I don't care what kind of diplomacy we practice, the bottom line is the Chinese (and the Russians) would love to destroy us so they can be preeminent. Not because it would make the world a better place, but because that is the fundamental nature of megalomaniacal, totalitarian governments.

The whole Marxist argument is based on the implicit and explicit premise that "capitalism" is one thing, and its proposed replacement "socialism" is another. Without that separation, it doesn't make much sense to talk about "abolishing capitalism." That is why the argument that "socialism" is really just "state capitalism" was so resisted by the Marxists, and so popular among its critics, historically.

It seems to me that if we look at various economic systems in a series, i.e., private capitalism (individual owners), group capitalism (corporations), state capitalism, e.g., China, and international capitalism, we leave little or no room conceptually for utopian "socialism" as such.

It is true that the "state capitalism" terminology still leaves people free to admire such systems for their posited superiority, as some people admired the Fascist economies of the 1930s for their efficiency (FDR even sending his brain trust to Italy to see how Mussolini did it), but compared to the classical Marxist ideal, that's a much less motivating argument for, say, killing people in a revolution to bring a new world about.


ScottSA
(CEO of the Hegemony)
05/22/19 06:25 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

 Originally Posted By: Silence
 Originally Posted By: Lasombra
No one at the world bank, or anywhere else outside of dogmatically ideological Marxist-Leninist-Maoist circles, would attribute China’s economic success to anything other than what has been essentially the embrace of market capitalism. Deng Xiaoping dropped the inflexible and utterly immune to reality central planning that characterized the economic and humanitarian disasters of the Mao years, and replaced that system with state owned enterprises that, unlike their Soviet counterparts, focused on commercial success rather than meeting production quotas set by a government ministry. The CPC than cleared the way for the birth of an amazingly vigorous private sector. This bizarre public/private hybrid was just what was necessary to launch China into the global economy, and this arrangement was, and remains, uniquely suited to China’s demographic and political dynamic. Countries like Vietnam have had success with a similar roadmap, however such an arrangement would never have worked for the Soviets, or for African and South American communist regimes; outside of Asia, such reforms haven’t even been attempted. As unpopular as it is to claim these days, the system is not everything; markets are not insulated from the culture, language, and history of their participants. This is an important, if inconvenient, truth to point out when debating economic and social policy with someone who claims “it works in the Netherlands, why can’t we do it here?”.

China’s government is still arranged along communist lines. The military is an organ of the party, not the people, propaganda ministries have total control over all media outlets, even those that are part of the private sector, for that matter any part of that prosperous private sector could be seized overnight by the CPC if they wished, for any reason. This is one of many reasons why the idea of the RMB replacing the USD as global reserve currency is silly; there are no real legal, political, or cultural restrictions in place to prevent the CPC from doing whatever they want. Domestic capitalists and their international business partners are given access to a structure of labyrinthine arbitration laws and vaguely defined legal rights when dealing with the CPC, but the Party is the ultimate authority. Something to think about next time you want to invest in that hot new Chinese IPO.


So is China a communist or a capitalist country? If it's not purely capitalist, how can one explain that China outperforms purely capitalist countries? Is it evidence that pure capitalism is less efficient than whatever China is doing?
It's evidence that when one starts at ground zero economically, and is fed a virtually bottomless market to sell into, the growth rate is going to be much higher than the growth rate of the market you are selling into. Labour and capital inputs were free flowing into cities in China for years, and now they're not, which explains why 10% growth has become 6% over the past few years and is still slowing. Further, technology - the only economic driver left to China - as firmly in the grasp of the capitalist west, and all China can do is keep stealing it or fall behind.


jryan
(Hardcase)
05/23/19 12:59 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism

Sorry to dumb this down a bit, but the easiest argument for capitalism is to use the very argument against capitalism by those who dream of socialism:

Capitalism has a tendency, when left unchecked, to create hugely powerful, corruptible, giant mega-corporations with the power and money to buy off those whose job it is to police them.

Socialism from the start is one powerful, corruptible, giant mega-corporation in charge of the police.


jmill
(Full Shrike)
05/23/19 02:28 PM
Re: THESE are the most telling failures of socialism


Haha, that's a great way to put it, jryan.