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BS: Changes?

Stephen L. Rich 20 Sep 05 - 10:42 PM
Peace 20 Sep 05 - 10:44 PM
Tannywheeler 21 Sep 05 - 12:24 AM
John MacKenzie 21 Sep 05 - 04:11 AM
jacqui.c 21 Sep 05 - 06:29 AM
Piers 21 Sep 05 - 07:15 AM
Wolfgang 21 Sep 05 - 08:52 AM
Stephen L. Rich 21 Sep 05 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 21 Sep 05 - 09:07 AM
Rapparee 21 Sep 05 - 09:08 AM
Piers 21 Sep 05 - 10:23 AM
Charmion 21 Sep 05 - 11:23 AM
Paul Burke 21 Sep 05 - 11:27 AM
beardedbruce 21 Sep 05 - 11:34 AM
Piers 21 Sep 05 - 11:37 AM
Bill D 21 Sep 05 - 11:38 AM
M.Ted 21 Sep 05 - 01:42 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Sep 05 - 02:28 PM
Piers 21 Sep 05 - 02:37 PM
katlaughing 21 Sep 05 - 02:43 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Sep 05 - 02:53 PM
beardedbruce 21 Sep 05 - 03:08 PM
Piers 21 Sep 05 - 04:59 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Sep 05 - 05:45 PM
Stephen L. Rich 21 Sep 05 - 07:15 PM
Bill D 21 Sep 05 - 10:55 PM
Bobert 21 Sep 05 - 11:03 PM
Bill D 21 Sep 05 - 11:05 PM
dianavan 22 Sep 05 - 12:35 AM
Stephen L. Rich 22 Sep 05 - 02:00 AM
Piers 22 Sep 05 - 04:43 AM
John MacKenzie 22 Sep 05 - 05:10 AM
Piers 22 Sep 05 - 06:24 AM
John MacKenzie 22 Sep 05 - 07:04 AM
Bill D 22 Sep 05 - 11:14 AM
Rapparee 22 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM
Piers 22 Sep 05 - 05:34 PM

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Subject: BS: Changes?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 10:42 PM

We're all in this together. We are each part of the great whole of humanity. I have always believed this. Whatever changes happen in or to the world this remains true.

    My maternal grandmother, Genevieve Bullen, passed away in January of 2004. She was born in November of 1901. It is almost frightening to contemplate the number of changes that she saw in her lifetime. She saw the world go from horses and buggies to re-usable spacecraft. When I was thinking about that a couple of days ago it dawned on me the changes I've seen in my lifetime, though not of the staggering scope that Grandma saw, is still considerable.

    I grew up in the 1950's. Despite nostalgic claims to the contrary, it was an era, which was every bit as prone to the sociological equivalent of mutiple personality disorder as we are now. On the one hand we were the country that slapped Hitler down! We had gone toEurope and kicked some major butt. Of course we didn't dare express the thought in quite those terms. It would have been considered dangerously close to swearing in those days. On the other hand we lived in fear of the legacy of W W II's other "great dictator", Josef Stalin. The cold war was a going and highly profitable concern. It was the former attitude, however, with which I had the most experience as a boy.

    We felt that we could go anywhere and do anything. There was no acievement beyond our reach. Thousands of people delighted in trying to predict how far we could go with it all. They would tell us of the wonders to be found decades hence in the early years of the 21st century. Some of them seemed absurd. Some of them seemed like nearly impossible miracle. Some of them were more accurate than others.

    What was accurate? Well, when I was in the fourth grade, in our science class, they taught us about the great plans scientists had for putting a man on the moon. Now third-graders learn the same thing in their history class.
We have instantaneous, worldwide communication. At a moment's notice we can access a nearly limitless menu of entertainment and information. This has been a particular boon to the buisness of news
gathering. Of couse, about half of it goes by so fast that you don't have time to make sense of it all but, you can't have everything. Even if you could, where would you put it? Computer technology has become part and parcel of almost everything we do. Back in the 50's the very idea of being surrounded by computers scared us half to death. Now, what in the world would we do if we couldn't call up our e-mail on our cell phones? We can clone things. As a matter of fact we're cloning anything that can't run away fast enough: sheep, goats, cats, dogs, rabbits. As for that last one,"WHY?" Talk about hauling coal to Newcastle!

    What was inaccurate? Well, we're not all dressed like Flash Gordon. This is a good thing. No great super computer has arisen to take over the world and enslave us all. We did that all by ourselves with a whole bunch of little computers. This is maybe not such a good thing. The Cold War, which dominated the back half of the 20th century, did not end in a world shattering nuclear holocaust. Philosophers and social engineers have had endless hours of fun debating whether or not that was a good thing. We have not colonized other planets or set up mining operations on asteroids. I won't kill a lot of time listing the woes of the space program in America. You know the drill. You've heard the list. Suffice to say that, optimistic observers not withstanding, I doubt that we'll be seeing manned mission beyond our own moon until, at least, the time when our grandchildren are old enough to be setting the agenda and allocating the funds.

    So here we are on an ever shinking planet with an ever increasing population of diverse peoples, cultures and ideas which we are unlikely to leave any time soon. In short, we're stuck with on another on this wretched, little mudball. There is, therefore, no intelligent reason that we should not be spending a lot more of our time and energy than we do just trying to get along with one another. We're all in this together. We are each a part of the great whole of humanity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Peace
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 10:44 PM

Meditation XVII (Donne)

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

You agree with a great thinker, Stephen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 12:24 AM

Donne, the poet/philosopher/theologian/preacher--all around fascinatin' individdle. Wordsmith extraordinaire. Where do you suppose he found the idea?          Tw


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 04:11 AM

I would respectfully point out that you may have had a bit of help regarding the Hitler slapping down thing!!
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 06:29 AM

Giok - It was a joint effort that slapped down Hitler and just goes to show that, when the chips are down, humanity can sometimes put their differences behind them and work together.

It's a shame that there is so much 'us and them' between continents, countries, states and even families. I think a lot of that comes down to ego but I wonder when, if ever, humanity will be able to rise above individual concern and work for the benefit of all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 07:15 AM

The British government accomadated Hitler's regime until British interests were threatened, then it decided to go to war. It was nothing to do humanity coming together, or closing down the death camps, or democracy (though that was what inspired many to fight).

Humanity is divided into classes with opposing interests, with the productive resources controlled by small section of society and the rest enslaved to that economic power. These material differences cannot be reconciled. Hitler was bankrolled by German industrialists to gain more resources by building an empire (their's had been taken in WWI). The British ruling class, and later the American, were not fighting Hitler for any noble reason but to preserve the productive resources under their control. For the vast majority who don't own productive resources it matters not one jot whether the resources are owned by Britons, Americans, Germans or Indian - the class antagonism remains. As long as productive resources are controlled by the few they will fight over them (but they themselves don't do the actual fighting). Working people should struggle only against the ruling class to gain the power and resources that they have and use it democratically, equitably and sustainably (the ruling class will never do this) and put an end to wars. They are outnumbered by billions so it should be the easiest struggle ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 08:52 AM

Fine thoughts, Stephen.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 09:02 AM

Quite right about WWII. That wa s a very large joint effort. What I was refering to was the way that the United States thought of itself during the 1950's. Sadly, the rest of the world very nearly ceased to exist when seen through that lense.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 09:07 AM

That's a pretty simplistic argument, Piers, for an event as large and copmplex as World War II. Events of that magnitude have many causes, many motivations, and many results. I don't deny that threats to the control of important resources were a large part of the Allies' motivations in fighting Nazi Germany. I also don't see anything inherently wrong with that.

But to go the next step and say that it makes no difference to working people who controls those resources, is ridiculous. [It certainly mattered to the millions who were being enslaved and murdered by Nazi Germany.] And to suggest that the working people can wrest control of those resources without themselves becoming a "ruling class" is incredibly naive, and goes against all of human history.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 09:08 AM

Piers, my study of history shows, at least to me, that when the underclass has risen and overthrown the ruling class a new, and often worse, ruling class arises. Just as in "Animal Farm." The American Revolution, the French Revolution, Garibaldi, the rebellions in Japan during the 19th Century, the Irish Rebellion of 1916, the Russian Revolution -- to name but a few -- all eventually substituted one ruling class for another and the change wasn't often for the better.

This is not to say it shouldn't be done, just an observation on what happens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 10:23 AM

Well the British workers were and are enslaved to the British ruling class as the German workers to the German ruling class. The British workers were murdered by the British ruling class by sending them to war to fight for something that they would never own. And the British ruling class would most likely kill British workers should they try to take power by armed force, like Hitler killed communists and socialists, as well as Jews, the disabled and travellers.

The revolutions/wars mentioned above are not socialist revolutions (none of them resulted in socialism) and could not be because it is necessary that the forces of production be developed enough to satisfy all the basic needs of humanity as they are now.

Orwell's Animal Farm is a fictional tale loosely based on the upper echelons of the Russian Revolution, which saw Russia then a fuedal, agrarian based, society become a state capitalist industrial economy (like Chinese revolution).

The Irish, Japanese and Italian wars you mention were merely nationalist/anti-imperialist wars over resources - the bosses changed the workers were still workers.

The French Revolution was one against the aristocratic ruling classes. The American Revolution was one of the industrial north against the agricultural south.

All wars have used populist and even socialist rhetoric to get workers to lay down their lives for the ruling (or wanna be ruling) class.

You will find that centralised bureacracy, private ownership of the means of production, the social relations of capital and the inequailties of wealth and power are the odd factors out of human history as for many thousands of years we did without them.

There is nothing naive about ending wageslavery. Socialism is a practical alternative to capitalism. When ideas about how the socialism could be applied to a modern industrial economy were first discussed in the 19th century it was clear to the most notable thinkers of the time (E.g. Marx, Engels, William Morris) that a society based on direct democracy, common ownership and free access must be built by all its participants - the concept of working-class self-emancipation. The so-called 'communists' and 'socialists' who have been in power were leaders, part of a hierachy, who made promises, like our present politicians. Socialism is dependent on direct democracy of individuals, there is no short-cut it requires majority of people to understand and want it. You don't need leaders if you know where you are going.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Charmion
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:23 AM

It's normally a waste of time to argue about religious or ideological tenets, but today I just feel like it. So here goes:

Traditional socialism, such as you describe, assumes that everyone should have the same idea of what society should be like. It also assumes that everyone understands poverty and prosperity the same way, and that envy can be conquered. Alas, like the other deadly sins, envy is always with us.

You do need leaders if the goal is reach the objective together, with nobody robbed, trampled or shoved aside on the way. Leaders remind people what the objective is, and co-ordinate effort to ensure that those who are more capable help those who are less capable. They also direct community efforts to control the less admirable inclinations to which humans yield all too eagerly.

Socialism is one big counsel of perfection. Perfection is not part of the human condition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:27 AM

Who was it said (Terry Pratchett?) that the only truly evil people are those who see other humans merely as things?


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:34 AM

"The American Revolution was one of the industrial north against the agricultural south."

That's the American CIVIL War...


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:37 AM

In which case it comes in the nationalist heading. Thank you for the correction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:38 AM

"... odd factors out of human history as for many thousands of years we did without them."

WE did without them? Some did without them...but the world was quite different for many of those thousands of years. When population centers grew, as they inevitably had to, centralised bureacracy also had to grow. Witness Rome, Carthage, Egypt, etc. Sure, the power was abused....but under attempts at socialism many of the abuses just came from different directions.

You can decry some of the problems all day, and even be right about them, but extolling socialism as a solution ignores the different problems it brings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 01:42 PM

If Piers has confused the American Revolution with our Civil War, Bill, we can't really count on him to have a very good understanding of any of the rest of history.

He also has some serious problems with logic, because if this is true:

>Humanity is divided into classes with opposing interests, with the productive resources controlled >by small section of society and the rest enslaved to that economic power. These material differences >cannot be reconciled.

And this is true:

>common ownership and free access must be built by all its participants - the concept of >working-class self-emancipation.

Then Socialism is impossible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 02:28 PM

Socialism sets out to raise everybody UP to the same level, but instead it only succeeds in bringing everybody DOWN to to lowest level. When union leaders cease to drive Jaguars and get paid the same as the people they represent you MAY get something approaching equality, but as long as A. is 90lbs dripping wet, and B. is 120lbs and aggressive, equality will remain a theory, and Socialism will remain the politics of envy.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 02:37 PM

We call generally call it the American War of Independence in the UK, I apologise. Socialism has never been tried so how do you know what problems it brings? However, the problems it might bring (e.g. allocation of scarce resources) can be solved through democratic decision making, making a sensible solution to please as many people as possible. What problems that might occur are speculation because the details are not pre-ordained plans written out by some committee of experts the socialist society will be built by its citizens. Compared to the mass starvation, environmental destruction, anxiety and depression epidemics, wars and alienation that capitalism it is a worthwhile project.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 02:43 PM

When union leaders cease to drive Jaguars... I wonder if our Big Mick has his Jag, yet?


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 02:53 PM

China..........Socialism
Cuba...........Socialism
USSR...........Socialism

How am I doing so far? Is it necessary to mention John Prescott for instance?
G..


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 03:08 PM

Piers,

"Socialism has never been tried so how do you know what problems it brings? "..." Compared to the mass starvation, environmental destruction, anxiety and depression epidemics, wars and alienation that capitalism it is a worthwhile project. "


Then I can claim that Capitalism has never been tried, either, since I don't like the results you have listed.

If you want to say that the systems that failed were not socialist because they failed, there really is no point of discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 04:59 PM

Socialism in its original conception was a system of common (social) ownership (de facto possession - control, not just legal title), direct democratic control of production and free access to goods and services - the so-called socialism and communism systems of Asia and Eastern Europe had none of these attributes. Production was/is controlled by centralised state authority (as state-owned industries in mixed economies). The purpose of production in these countries was to create surplus (as in the west) for the bureaucratic elite who constituted the ruling class. In real socialism there is no state, no centralised bureaucracy, and no classes because there is common ownership and free access to all goods and services. The economic system of the USSR has much more in common with the mixed economies of USA and UK. The USA so hated the USSR and other state capitalisms (and fought militarily, ideologically and economically against them) not because of a clash of civilisations but because they were in competition. The USA does have state-owned industries and services and controls markets, therefore if Russia was socialist then so is the USA and UK by your definition.

Capitalism is the system of production for profit, minority (state, corporation or individual) ownership of the means of production and allocation of goods and services according to ability to pay. Capitalism is the main mode of production throughout the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 05:45 PM

And how is the kibbutz system in Israel?
G.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 07:15 PM

China..........Socialism
Cuba...........Socialism
USSR...........Socialism
kibbutz.......Socialism



Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 10:55 PM

"Capitalism is the exploitation of man by his fellow man, in socialism, it is the other way around."

an old line, but it hits close to the truth.

" In real socialism there is no state, no centralised bureaucracy, and no classes because there is common ownership and free access to all goods and services." .....piffle! Talk about pie-in-the-sky! Unless you have a way to control minds, you will **ALWAYS** have some who seek to be 'more equal then others'. Free access works until some commodity is in short supply...and when ISN'T that happening?
    We can't even provide food and housing 'equally', and we couldn't MAKE them equal even if all the rich folks agreed give up their position,,the problems of measurement and distribution would not allow it.

   Did you ever try to divide a piece of cake between three kids, each of which is sure the others are getting the biggest slice? Make that gasoline, or street paving, or health care and just watch 'socialism' become anarchy in about 17 minutes flat!

sheesh!@


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:03 PM

Hear, hear, Stephen...


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Sep 05 - 11:05 PM

tell ta' what.....you agree to reduce the Earths population to less than 1 (one) billion, and I'll have serious talks with you about a serious attempt at an experimental socialist state somewhere....


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: dianavan
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 12:35 AM

Piers - Like most political theories, socialism works until it becomes a reality. Personally, I don't disagree with Capitalism as long as there are socialized institutions that are supported by the capitalists and meet the basic needs of the people.

Besides that, what do people like me do in a totally socialized state if they just want to paint or read? What happens to most of the artists and intellectuals for that matter?

First I studied political systems, then I studied bureaucracy.

No matter what the political system, the bureaucracy is usually its downfall. No system is perfect or infallible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 02:00 AM

dianavan, well said.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 04:43 AM

I will say it again, in socialism there is no state. The idea of a socialist state is one of state capitalism. Socialism has not yet become a reality, it requires a conscious majority of people to make it a reality.

Capitalism is an extremely wasteful society, vast amounts of labour are spent in just keeping it together (finance, accountancy, police, military, insurance, cashiers, taxmen, lawyers). Socialism will negate these pointless tasks freeing up vast amounts of time for us not to need to be spent full-time doing one job as most of us do now. Marx said something along the lines of socialism would allow me to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon and criticise after dinner, without ever becoming a huntsman, a fisherman or a critic. There is no need for such a great division of labour, but this is an essential for capitalist efficiency (that is profitability for the capitalist). If people want to do one task all day then it wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

I don't know where Bill D. got the idea of dividing things up equally between people, people have vastly different wants and needs and abilities. The socialist slogan is 'From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs'. The short supply of goods is an fatcor of capitalism because its purpose is to maximise profit (not to meet needs, which is why it doesn't (not even basic ones, in the most advanced countries)) and plentiful goods don't command high prices.

I envisage there will be much less bureacracy is socialism. It some cases it might increase, e.g. for democratic decision making: referendums, polls and the like. But electronic communication makes this really easy.

You guys portray countries that are mostly state-capitalist, such as Cuba, and used to be, such as Russia, as hell-on-earth (I believe living conditions have actually got worse in many places since they started privatising their industries) but I have been watching the recent events in New Orleans on the TV, I would describe that as hell-on-earth. Capitalism is redundant wherever it is, and whichever minority owns the means of producing the things that we all depend on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 05:10 AM

Well it's nice to know that starry eyed idealism is still alive and kicking!
This 'From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs' stuff, what happens to the greedy, the pemanently needy, and the bone idle?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 06:24 AM

The bone idle can stay bed all day for all I care, if they want to waste their lives away then they can. The permanently needy (I presume you mill through illness or disability) will begin to have their needs met because meeting needs will be the purpose of production and distribution of goods and services.

Greed, is in many ways a product of capitalist society - all human behaviours are to some degree a result of historical and immediate conditions - the competitive nature of the job market and competition for goods and services, the richer you are the more stuff you can get irrespective of physical need and often real desire. For humans to advance this needs to be recognised and we need to go beyond it.

If we are using idealism in the derogatry sense I say right back atcha. It is idealism in this sense that capitalism can ever become humanised (peaceful, most needs met) it never has been so why do you think it will be one day?


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 07:04 AM

Well it's a likely as socialism becoming the universal system of government.
G..


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 11:14 AM

light reading

as to where Bill D got his idea about 'dividing', Bill D now RE-posts Piers' remark....

" In real socialism there is no state, no centralised bureaucracy, and no classes because there is common ownership and free access to all goods and services."

(I didn't SAY divide equally, I said (in a cute manner) divide among those whose perception is that others are getting an unfair amount)

The point still being that IF you try to have a pure socialismm you WILL have those who try to be 'more equal', and you WILL need a way to deal with that, and that means a bureaucracy.
   I know, you said " I envisage there will be much less bureacracy is socialism".....but prior to that you said "
I will say it again, in socialism there is no state" ....sorry, but in my book ANY bureaucracy implies **state**, and that means dispute over how to run **state** and over who is benefiting.....and, Piers, you implicitly recognize that in your own statement...

"Socialism has not yet become a reality, it requires a conscious majority of people to make it a reality."

Indeed it does! Do you have a system of education and/or mind control to achieve this idealistic Nirvana? Will it be administered by a state? Do you enjoy circular reasoning, or is your circle so large you haven't noticed yet?


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Rapparee
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM

The early monasteries were socialistic, in that everyone supposedly worked for the common good and no one owned anything (See the original Rule of St. Benedict or the original rule of Francis of Assisi, etc.).

Likewise, the early Christian communities were (as far as we know) socialistic as well -- by the definitions of Piers.

In both cases, people arose within the groups who had their own agenda and rammed it down the throats of others. In the case of Christianity, Constantine made it the state religion and well, that was that.

There have also been sporadic attempts at Utopian communities. These too failed.

Change people first, and then socialism might work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Changes?
From: Piers
Date: 22 Sep 05 - 05:34 PM

Well you are correct Bill D. in that it is perhaps the most difficult job in the world ever, to overcome the capitalist propaganda machine and its religious and political mouthpieces. I do not pretend that it will be easy particularly as we are so few now. However, myself and many others have managed to become socialists. At school, church and in the media everyone is constantly told that what problems there are a result of bad leadership or bad luck, the rich are rich because they are clever and work hard and the poor are poor because they are lazy and stupid, if they even acknowledge there is rich and poor. The system is never challenged, alternatives are never discussed.

The old "it'll never work because people are greedy" line is an absraction from society as it is now constituted. It is not in doubt that people wish to accumulate at the expense of others, but the idea that this is an immutable human attribute is questionable. We can all give examples of (other) people being greedy, but do people in general accumulate to no purpose, do we hoard things we will not need, do we gluttonise at every meal? I don't and I don't know anyone that does. It is easy to throw a piece of meat to a group of hungry dogs and watch them fight over it and say 'look they are only out for themselves and are not willing to share things equally, its their nature'. Most goods and services do not need to be in short supply, most estimates of the world's carrying capacity are vastly in excess of the current population.

There is a good paragraph (If the abolition of the . . .) in the link you provide which does explain what the state is, and why merely bureacracy does not constitute a state (they do refer to the outdated (as the means of production are developed enough for all basic needs to met) idea of a higher and lower phase (Lenin wrongly described the lower as socialism and the higher as communism, whereas Marx et al. had used the terms interchangebly)). The idea that all bureacracy constitutes the state is untenable. Socialism will inherit an integrated world economy with complex production of goods and provision of services, though we can get rid of vasts amounts bureacracy, it will of course involve some administration but this I would argue should be decentralised (unlike the state as we know it now) and be of a direct democratic nature (unlike the state now), these things define the state. If we are to a society where all needs are met there needs to be away of communicating those needs, a way for workers to decide what hours they want to work, a way to co-ordinate that work, a way to decide what the work should be, etc, etc? Democracy is the essence of socialism, anarchists who believe bureacracy = the state are very anti-democratic, they often believe that revolution is seizure of power and destroying capitalist property rather than revolution using the existing political structure where possible. I can understand why people dislike political democracy as it currently stands, but not why you should be disparaging about actually being involved in democratic decisions that really do affect your life - this is individualism gone mad.

I do not think communes can be accurately termed socialism because socialism aims to replace capitalism which is world system. OK development happens unevenly but capitalism is now the dominant world system, production and distribution is integrated between countries, as it necessary for socialism.


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Mudcat time: 2 July 3:13 AM EDT

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