Socialist AMA

Credit Karma Johmy
Nov 30, 2017 93 Comments

This post might be a mistake... but what the hell. Since socialism has been getting more attention lately but is generally explained in the media and press by people who are opposed to it, I’m happy to answer any sincere questions people have.

I can only speak for myself as socialism is a diverse tradition. I do not view socialism as a series of policies or reforms and I do not view economically nationalized states as socialism. I see it as a popular movement of wage-earners, the majority, to build full social and economic democracy in society.

Questions or respectful disagreement are welcome. I’ll probably just ignore disingenuous or trollish posts.

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TOP 93 Comments
  • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
    Oh no. This is the less commonly talked about but equally bad form of political correctness. Establish a definition that is more palpable in order to reduce the negative reaction to the original word.

    I don’t care what you think socialism is. The definition is right here:

    Noun - a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    If you want to defend it. Defend the common definition of it. Not “your” version.

    Nice try comrade.
    Nov 30, 201718
    • Facebook >🐜 🐶 <
      Btw about authoritarianism: socialism always devolves to dictatorship of the bourgeois. No matter how you look at it.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Facebook >🐜 🐶 <
      A good read on this topic is ‘Wealth of Nations’
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Aww IBM deleted his insightful post. Sharp guy when he can’t tell the difference between a pro and anti capitalist position but just flails at anything that flashes before his eyes. Lol.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Expedia Mega-don’t
      You realize that you’re literally the result of years of anti communist propaganda ? I am from a. Communist country, and make no mistake, it is nothing like socialism that exists in europe
      Nov 30, 2017
    • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
      Johny. My reply makes sense because Facebook replied to me by starting off and saying “No” but in reality he was saying no to you.

      So in the context of his “no” I thought he was talking about socialism not having anything to do with Marxism. Which, as it turns out, he wasn’t asserting because he was in fact saying no to you. Which changes how I would interpret his comment.

      But go ahead. If you count this as some sort of moral victory, that just shows how pathetic your argument is.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Lol, you’re hilarious.

      I keep telling you friend, you could take advantage of hearing a different opinion and respectfully disagreeing and we could have an actual exchange which doesn’t mean you have to agree. Just don’t imply that I’m a liar right off the bat like you did in your first post and I’ll answer you straight. Treat me with respect and you’ll get the same back. Remember the golden rule!✊
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Facebook 🐢🐙🐷!
      ^ no. You can’t claim to support socialism if it’s different from the accepted definition. It’s deception. Define your term and then stand behind it.
      Dec 1, 2017
    • BMO Bvnq30
      Op if you're so into socialism why don't you move to Venezuela to be with the rest of your kind? Oh wait no true Scotsman.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Facebook: Read Hal Draper if you are really curious about my definition of socialism. “Socialism from below” is a good place to start.

      There’s not much to discuss if you don’t accept my own description of my own point of view. It’s as though I walked in and said “hi my name is James” and you replied, “no, technically you are called a human - stop misrepresenting yourself”.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      BMO: Workers democratically control production and society in Venezuela? If not, then it’s not socialism that I aim for and advocate.

      If you want examples of scotsmen: read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.

      Nationalization of an industry does not make something socialist... if that were the case then capitalism has never existed in any country and all countries are socialist. The UK probably had more nationalized industry in the 1970s than Venezuela today has.

      Love it or leave it... imaginative straw-argument you got there, innovator :D
      Dec 2, 2017
  • Amazon / Eng
    Hooliganss

    AmazonEng

    BIO
    Engineer at AWS
    Hooliganssmore
    Socialism only works when a large segment of society is willing to contribute to support a smaller segment of society. Good examples are Finland, Norway, Sweden, etc. Once the contributing segment of society gets smaller than the leaching segment, you get widespread problems. I think socialism is a temporary socialism that will inevitably lead to a growth in government fueled by the leaching segment of society becoming more and more comfortable with their circumstances.
    Nov 30, 201716
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      We were primitive, that’s how. Socialism and communism works in small groups. If everyone is willing to contribute equally, I’ll be the first person in line to implement socialism or communism. The reality, is that it works for a short time until the freeloaders consume all of the shared wealth and havoc breaks out.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Facebook >🐜 🐶 <
      ^ They’re still better off and wealthier than a socialist US over ~50 years.

      In Socialist US everyone would be working their asses for basic bread and coal powered buses.

      50 years of capitalism did indeed increase inequality but the bottom of the stack Americans have become wealthier. Not in terms of money, but in terms of wealth. The poorest American eats better food than the average American 50 years ago, has better healthcare, has much cheaper and more convenient travel options and much better access to low price goods (Amazon). Soon you will have free basic income and self driving cheap car rides. So what if it makes a few people very wealthy in the process- the pie is growing and benefits us all. Equality is less important than wealth generation.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Americans have become wealthier in terms of what... reverse-mortgaging baby-boom homes, debts... lol, it is empirically evident that people in the US have less wealth than a generation ago, less share of the wealth they create and work longer hours than in the past.

      American productivity per worker has increased, profits have increased, wages have stagnated and services cut or atrophied.

      A dvd on Amazon.com =\= getting a essentially free UC education and an affordable home like people two generations ago.

      Besides, 1) the socialist argument is not that capitalism doesn’t create commodities, lol. It’s that it does so in a chaotic and wasteful way that tends towards economic crisis and destruction of jobs and capital in order to re-start the investment process. Failing that, war to destroy the surplus commodity production of competing countries and capturing their trade and markets. 2) stalinists could much more factually convincingly argue that life for Russians in the 50s and 60s was greatly improved over being a peasant at the turn of the century... it was still an oppressive and exploitative system with no democratic control of the economy or politics that deserved to be overthrown.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • BMO Bvnq30
      You realize that all these capitalists and rich people you despise would just relocate to a different country (taking their jobs with them) the second you implemented your vision? Take a look at France and how well that's been working out for them.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Lol, France is a capitalist country.

      Or do you mean Paris during the commune? The capitalists split town during a siege and left the working class to fend for themselves more or less. The Parisians ended up creating their own decision-making bodies and ran the city. The rich and former city government freaked out and needed to re-take the city with the military. Parisian workers fought block by block in resistance to the return of their rule.

      Think about the difference if every investor magically disappeared for a week... well it would be disorienting, but nothing would technically stop working immediately. We could all still do necessary jobs. Now imagine that all workers magically disappeared... capital holders could what, sit in their houses and make themselves meals out of whatever was in their fridge prior to this magical hypothetical event.

      You know the common argument defending US slavery was, right: the slaves won’t know what to do without the masters.

      We’ll be fine making democratic decisions about planning development of our towns and jobs. Capitalists are as necessary to production as plantation slave masters were to cotton being produced. They are only “necessary” within a social-political framework where they monopolize the all the ownership and decision-making about production.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Facebook 🐢🐙🐷!
      “lol, it is empirically evident that people in the US have less wealth than a generation ago, less share of the wealth they create and work longer hours than in the past.”

      False. Americans have better goods, services and lifestyles than even the upper class of 1900s. Everyone has more connected better roads, heating, much better wholesome food at lower cost, more access to transportation, better health (longevity and effectiveness of treatments). You will soon have dramatically cheap transportation due to self driving cars in next decade. That is also a form of wealth. Agriculture and meat production will soon be automated, lowering prices for quality food even more. What is this if not wealth for the masses?

      All of this is wealth that would’ve been missing if we had 50 years of ‘socialism’. Yes everyone would be equal but they’d be equally miserable. Today things are unequal but everyone is much more wealthy.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      “False. Americans have better goods, services and lifestyles than even the upper class of 1900s.”

      Bwahaha! Please write this quoted statement down on a t-shirt and wear it on a tour of Hearst Castle so that children can mock your plainly ridiculous assertion.

      Lol, no workers have personal servants and drivers and planes like the upper class of the 20th century! The Kennedys literally had more than any worker today does in every aspect outside of technological developments that NO ONE had back then.

      But moving on to you other points: Life expectancy is DECLINING in the US. Personal debt is INCREASING - driven by medical and education costs that did not exist in the recent past. In 2016, the home ownership rate in the US was at the same level as 1965!

      It’s painful seeing you state opinions and conjecture that are in direct opposition to facts and statistical trends. You’re in tech?

      Besides even if we lived 50 years ago when your argument would have been correct (life expectancy, health, home ownership were all on the rise) this is a ridiculous argument to justify a system. People under the USSR 50 years ago also had more goods and services than their parents and grandparents did - but that does not mean it was a good system! Yet that’s the exact argument made by apologists for the USSR. Congrats you’re like the capitalist version of a cartoonish Stalin-supporter.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      Personal servants and drivers/planes don’t divert life style, don’t be dumb. The day-to-day things that you and I use, things like cars, microwaves, etc make a far larger impact than a servant or a plane. Additionally, the Kennedys are at the very end of said spectrum, further proving that you have to really reach to make any kind of point.
      Further, life expectancy in the 50’s was mid 60’s, and today it’s mid 80’s with a constant, never dipping growth. Personal debt is increasing largely because of a “I want it now” culture and lending rules allowed by banks to allow consumers to buy shit they don’t need. Expensive cars, liberal arts degrees, etc. A much smaller proportion, about 15% of US consumer debt, is related vaguely to medical.
      Interesting you reference facts, because you’ve yet to state any.
      Life expectancy, health, home ownership have all been on constant rise since well before the 50s.
      Interesting as a socialist you bring up the USSR, I hear that county was a great place to be for the average joe. I’m not sure you know who Stalin was if you’re comparing the guy in the comments section to him. Wouldn’t be surprised if you call people you disagree with a n azi. All the more irony as a devout socialist.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Hooli@ do you agree with the argument I was replying to: “poor Americans today live better than upper class Americans in the 1900s”? Or are you goal-post moving?

      My argument is not that living standards can’t go up (again, they did after WWII,) it’s that there isn’t an automatic trickle-down. Living standards for workers are more connected to times and countries where there is a dynamic and grassroots labor movement (as opposed to most contemporary labor unions who operate more like NGOs). This is why I advocate and work towards helping popular and independent movements of workers.

      As for current trends, The decline or general stagnation in quality of life indicators (debt, health, home ownership, adjusted wages) info is all from mainstream, even conservative news sources. The US government and WHO put US life expectancy at 78 years. In many places (ie working class counties) life expectancy is declining. The US ranks 30th or 50th among life expectancy by country. It currently ranks about equal to Cuba and is projected to have parity to Croatia in the next two decades based on current trends.

      If US profits and productivity were down, then you might still reasonably argue that capitalist economic growth determines the living standards of US workers... yet productiveness per worker and profits have increased. Americans are working harder for a smaller piece of the wealth they collaboratively produce. It’s pretty basic capitalist economics... if someone can produce more for the same or less labor-cost, then that’s good business despite being bad for workers.

      Again I’m not saying the US or capitalism always or inevitably have these trends... South Korea is doing pretty good for health. Health in the US greatly improved in the post-world-war boom. I am countering the myth that what’s good for industry and finance automatically means life is better for everyone.

      I understand that Hilary supporters may believe that “America is great already” but things have been getting leaner and tougher for the majority of people for the past few decades. That was the grain of truth to the Trump campaign... not that he cares or that the scapegoats he points to are really the cause.
      Dec 2, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      I don’t think anyone would claim that whatever is good for a company or its stockholders is automatically good for the workers or the general populace. If that were true, we’d be much closer to modern day China.
      How are you measuring productivity? By sheer number of hours? I would argue that workers worked harder, more dangerous jobs in the 20s than they do today. This is in large part due to labor unions, but also automation consuming many jobs.
      Dec 2, 2017
  • Apple rAiP64
    Nothing can be purely capitalist or socialist. A good mix of both models will work wonders. There are some industries where socialist models suits better like security, law & order, transportation (debatable), healthcare (debatable), education (debatable), etc. But some areas are better managed by private sector. Although a booming private sector makes a country rich the quality of lives of the people does not directly correspond to this. Also, private sector should be regulated well which requires a strong government otherwise it will end up being crony capitalism which is what is happening in the Trump administration today.
    Nov 30, 20174
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      Agree with most of why you said, but do you have an example of your final statement?
      Nov 30, 2017
    • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
      “Also, private sector should be regulated well which requires a strong government otherwise it will end up being crony capitalism”

      I think you got this almost right. Let me add this. We need a strong (ability to enforce good regulations) yet limited and accountable government.

      Limited - implies that the scope of regulations should be limited to a set standard (consumer/freemarket-helping/environmental/etc.)

      Accountable - implies accountability to the people. Not the lobbyists.

      But I think that’s what you meant. Correct me if I’m wrong.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Apple rAiP64
      You nailed it
      Nov 30, 2017
    • FireEye |||[[]] <>
      Crony capitalism was occurring well before the Trump administration.

      Bush... Clinton... Bush.... Obama.... Trump.

      Crony capitalism under all of them.
      It's silly to imply that crony capitalism is only a problem now that Trump is in office.
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Microsoft top kek
    Why do you think socialism is more fair or more democratic than capitalism? If I'm in a group of 30 people where everyone has $10, but I spend $5 to write a book which I then sell to 15 people in the group for $2 each, I will effectively have more capital (and effectively more influence) than everyone else. But what is unfair about that scenario? Did I steal from anyone? Why do you feel that this scenario needs to be rebalanced back to everyone having $10?
    Nov 30, 201710
    • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
      Most socialists don’t understand the concept of “voluntary exchange of goods” and believe that wealth is zero-sum.

      They can’t see that wealth is created.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      I’m not really concerned with fairness. I want people to win more power for themselves and mutual control over the man-made conditions that impact their lives. Capitalism is a barrier to this - destroying the environment for profits and leaving the rest of us to deal with the consequences is a good example. Democratic control of the economy by the actual producers (workers) and society is the best way to balance different needs and wants to achieve equal power as far as I can see.

      Regarding the example though: If you sell your home-made zine on a street corner, this is artisan production like a shepherd in the Middle Ages who makes some rugs with leftover wool and sells or trades it for things of more or less equal value. Trade for use is pretty universal, capitalism or not.

      Trade based on profit-accumulation is one of the unique things about capitalism. This only existed on the margins in feudalism (when it happened at all) and was sometimes outright banned.

      What’s “unfair” about this is that it required armed power and repression to establish and then once established relies on maintaining populations that have to seek work to survive. Historically capitalism removed all the peasants, created vagrancy laws to compel the newly landless to seek employment. If they couldn’t they could be arrested and then forced to work or sent to a colony to make up for their crime of being poor.

      That’s capitalism as it develops and similar things are happening in China and Africa today, just different methods and details.

      People claim it’s fair because investors take a risk but first of all, where’s they get that capital? Family if you’re rich or banks if you’re not. Where’d the families and banks get that wealth? In the us it was from cotton and slavery that provided the start-up capital for industry.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
      Wow. You really are indoctrinated. You have no clue what capitalism and free market is all about.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Microsoft top kek
      What do you mean "win more power"? The US has the highest income mobility in the world. You can be broke in this country yet make a ton of cash off of a good idea or hard work mixed with fiscal responsibility. You are reducing many people's power for "the actual producers" which I assume you mean lower income workers. Low income workers already have the advantage of paying next to nothing in taxes.

      Your theories seem like textbook Marxism. The "you work, I eat" attitude rather than the "you keep what you earn" attitude.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Facebook >🐜 🐶 <
      “Democratic control of the economy by the actual producers (workers) and society is the best way to balance different needs and wants to achieve equal power as far as I can see.”

      False. Not all labor is equally valuable. The only way to incentivize valuable impactful work is reward capital investment in the profitable areas. The workers working on coal mines are out of job rightfully displaced by capitalist investments in natural gas.

      In a socialist state, there would be more coal laborer voters voting for their jobs than natural oil laborers voting for disruption. It would easily be a failed state as you can see.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Micro: producers are low wage and high wage workers.

      Re: taxes. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, paying less in total taxes is still a much bigger burden than for big business. Still corporate taxes shares have been reduced since WWII while the tax gap is covered by cities through collecting parking fines, increases to bus and subway fares, having to pay out of pocket for things that used to be covered by taxes such as education.

      Facebook: Coal jobs were eliminated by automation. Coal workers only fight to protect their jobs because it’s the only industry in some areas. If coal workers ran the shit and could decide to work to create other kinds of energy sources or if the wealth they dig from the ground was theirs they could create services for their communities. Coal and timber towns are a feature of capitalism: extract the resources blindly as long as it turns a profit even if it ends up creating an energy glut driving down profits. The investors and company just move on when it’s no longer profitable and leave the local economy and communities in ruin.

      Automation could be used to make our lives easier but in capitalism it ends up making our working lives more regimented while driving down wages through deskilling while increasing competition.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Facebook 🐢🐙🐷!
      ^ Nope. Even today if you even provided free training to those Coal workers to move to oil producing regions, most won’t. They will furiously argue that government should protect their jobs and bring back coal or other factories in their region. That’s why they aren’t capital owners in the first place.

      We need capitalism to close down coal factories and move investments to natural oil factories. It looks like the investor is evil, but it’s the pure truth - money flows to where wealth is generated. No bs politics or corruption.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Lol, sorry Facebook I didn’t know you were an Appalachia-psychic.

      People in West Virginia aren’t capital holders because when they’re unemployed they didn’t decide to move away from their support structures and homes and loved ones?

      The funny thing is that’s exactly what people in the rust belt have been economically forced to do. The other funny thing is that there are tons of coal country people in Detroit because they went there to find jobs in auto when coal mines got shut down.

      The other funny thing is that moving when capitalism destroys the local economy is exactly what rural people in southern Mexico and Central America are doing.

      None of these groups as a whole became “capital holders” and a lot of people with your views shit on immigrants and migrants for doing exactly what you blame coal miners for refusing to do.

      Lol, but I’m sure you know better.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Facebook 🐢🐙🐷!
      So what? If others who hold my views in one area hold other views on other topics, I’m not obliged to agree with them. I agree on this policy with Republicans. I disagree with them on religion, immigration and abortion. Can it not be as simple as that?
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Sorry I wasn’t implying that you are anti-immigrant - I have no idea what your view is. My point was that people do and are often forced to migrate to find work - so much so that they are commonly scapegoated.
      Dec 1, 2017
  • Apple rAiP64
    If you want to look at a failed capitalist model read about private healthcare in India. You would be horrified about the attrocities that these privately run hospitals have done.
    Nov 30, 20172
    • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
      Oh please. Don’t conflate free market capitalism with cronyism and corruption. There are many problems in that system that have nothing to do with free market.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      Also there’s virtually no competition India as a result of widespread corruption involving private companies and the government. Not a good comparison at all.
      Nov 30, 2017
  • AT&T / Ops
    DDM2K

    AT&TOps

    PRE
    Windstream
    DDM2Kmore
    I don’t think I have to worry about you ignoring trollish posts, because this AMA is one.

    It’s extremely biased to define socialism through the eyes of someone who was motivated to promote it, and practically dedicated his life theorizing what a socialist utopia would be. Karl Marx’ greatest accomplishment occurred on March 14, 1883.

    When the working people, or proletariat, completely overthrow a company’s leadership, there is no company. If left in complete control, they’d simply bankrupt the company and stop working there because there was no more money to appear on their paychecks. There is a balance.

    Even modern union-organized workplaces acknowledge that they don’t want to BE management, they want management to do the “right thing.” (I know, I know...)

    In a mature, capitalist economy, hourly labor has organized in some, perhaps not all corporations. Free market forces are at work in one direction or another - depending on whether there is a labor shortage or surplus.

    Take healthcare for example. We know it’s its own part of our economy, so the ACA couldn’t simply outlaw or otherwise cut off customers from all private insurance companies.

    Health insurance is a PRODUCT. It is packaged and sold to individuals and as group policies to employers. To be profitable it must manage a risk pool. It must also take in more money in premiums than it pays in claims. ACA basically said we’re going to shit in your nice clean risk pool and you’ll still be responsible for staying afloat.

    Because we’re capitalist, government doesn’t pay outright for medical care of the average working stiff. They can throw you a subsidy, but the premiums are still higher than they were before the legislation.

    Health Insurance’s job isn’t to give you 100% coverage. It would incentivize policyholders to submit frivolous claims, especially if their employer had a solid disability income plan. It’s a hedge against unexpected medical costs so you can minimize your outlay if you have a health emergency and not wreck your budget plan as badly. Claims are actually disincentivized by copays and deductibles.

    That being said. The average customer profile of any insurance company, health or auto, home or umbrella policy, is someone who pays a steady premium with years between claims. Perhaps one or two major claims per lifetime. Too many, and you’re dropped. It’s still a business. If you’re too accident-prone, or just plain bad luck, you’re pulling down their good risk and driving up rates. Sorry. This ain’t no soup kitchen, boy.
    Nov 30, 20176
    • IBM / Eng👁🐝Ⓜ️
      ^this. Well said
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Lol, again so socialism can only be explained by people opposed to it? What defect of logic is this? So when a celebrity does an AMA they are illegitimate if they talk about their experience in a movie or show? If a tech exec does an AMA about their experience, it’s illegitimate? And to think that right-wingers in tech complain about lack of diversity of politics!

      Anyway, should the military, police and prisons be privatized? I mean they killed all those American Indians and sold the land for cheap, what part of free-market theory is that?

      What part of the free market created the internet? Oh public funds created it and now the “evil anti-market” government hands it over to companies to rule and profit.

      The free-market arguments are a fairy tale of the last few decades because it treats capitalism like it exists in a bubble outside of society and history. People attribute economic success to “free market” but then when the boom ends they blame “cronyism” or “corruption” or government interference. It’s pretty absurd and a recent development because 40 years ago yall’d be defending kensianism and saying depressions have been solved instead of touting the “free market” since that was keansianism welfare states were the common sense pro-capitalist view back then.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&TOps

      PRE
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      DDM2Kmore
      There are arguments for and against privatized prisons, police, and military.

      We’re one step away from it with so many military contractors I’m sure their aggregate payroll is comparable to that of our entire active duty roster.

      Private prisons I wouldn’t do because of their tendency to overpopulate, and the requirements of occupancy guarantees going directly against the politicians’ promises to lower crime.

      I think what makes the U.S. unique is that no matter the party of our current president, we all don’t blindly change to match his platform. Countries with less freedom may not have a choice (North Korea).

      You might see me as a staunch conservative, but I like to say I see the value in conservative input in the equation when even the most progressive bills are passed.

      Progressives do the same thing when we try to pass bills that are too right-leaning for their liking. (TrumpCare)

      Example: “Lets define full time labor as 30 hours of regularly scheduled work instead of 40. More people need benefits.”

      Conservatives would object, and perhaps not get it vetoed, but they’d fight for the part that exempted tax penalties for companies under 50 FTE.

      We don’t have a perfect system, no one does, but an astute person can recognize the push-pull forces of our economy and make himself a good living as either an employee or an investor. Regardless of stance.

      Right now, the economy is strong and opportunities are plenty.

      I am not anti-labor. I am a member of the CWA. But I did not blindly follow my union reps calling me at election time instructing me to vote for Hillary.

      Read up on the Polish vote. Socially conservative but pro-labor. Old school democrats, which are evidently still not good enough for modern progressives.

      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Well ok, I don’t support liberalism or conservatism. The push and pull is over how to manage the explicitly capitalist economy. In the Keynesian era where US industry needed the US government to push and maintain US trade, the dominant political tendency was Keynesian liberalism. The US was supplying or forcing half the world to be supplied with US goods. Internationally this meant government loans (with strings attached to buy US commodities) to Europe, military power to keep the competition out of US industry turf.

      Domestically, there was a big strike-wave right after the war ended, so capitalists were happy to pay high taxes for US bombs while paying high wages to US workers and breaking bread with the unions.

      In the 70s, the post-war expansion slowed and profits dropped so first Jimmy Carter then, less equivocally, Regan began the dismantling on the post-war expectations and began telling workers that they will have to make sacrifices. Republican and conservative Democrats became the new dominant political force because industry needed to make up for declining expansion by moving investments to other countries while lowering pay and speeding up work output to get more profit for their labor dollar.

      Liberal and conservative institutions and politicians treat workers as objects. Working people need to represent themselves through their own institutions and popular movements or we will always be disposable or fodder for their profits and wars.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&TOps

      PRE
      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      I haven’t heard a peep about US manufacturing jobs in a while. Do you think this is still important? Have the ex-factory employees reskilled and/or left the sector completely?
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Yes, US manufacturing output is something like 35-40% of us gdp. I’ve read things in mainstream economic journals that suggest that US manufacturing is growing, but i don’t feel confident enough on the subject to try and give an authoritative answer.

      I’ve read more about the impacts of automation on this sector which has allowed for greatly reduced workforce numbers.

      But while manufacturing workers have a lot of potential economic power, “the working class” is not hard-hats and blue collar only. It’s agricultural workers, tech workers, gig economy, public sector jobs, and on and on.
      Dec 2, 2017
  • Uber NVcxz
    Are you more interested in increasing the wealth of the poor or closing the gap between the rich and poor?
    Nov 30, 20173
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      I’m interested in working people building political independence as well as winning more control and power at work.

      One of the effects of that, even within capitalism, would no doubt be a narrowing of inequality and increases in living standards for low-wage employees as well as the jobless.

      Given the option I think most people would rather not work under the threat of homelessness or have to see human economic misery in their neighborhoods constantly.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • FireEye |||[[]] <>
      But within a heavy socialist system, you're going to have more government regulations, higher taxes, and more government control generally.

      Those things typically make it harder and more costly for people to start and run businesses. So how would socialism actually give people more control and power at work? What I'm seeing is that it will give them less control and power, and simply shift that power and control to the state.

      Tell me where I'm going wrong here.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      This is a “top down” view of socialism, and the common way to think about it if the reference point is social democracies like in Europe or the dictatorships of Stalinist type states. In this view, the government hands down reforms to the people and manages the economy for growth and social stability. They are similar, one is the “nice kind” and one is the crappy totalitarian kind.

      But there is also a “bottom up” tradition in socialism that rejects all that. This is the tradition I advocate. In this tradition state-like functions and also the beurocracy major industries under direct democratic control. Instead of small groups of “the party” or small groups of powerful developers or executives or banks controlling priorities, planning of development, logistics etc could be set through democratic means.

      So in a sense “the government” would be enlarged in democratic ways, but in other ways the government would seem quite noninvasive and small by today’s standards because rather than professional cliques, there’s be more ground level democratic decisions and any representatives could be subject to popular recall.

      People would likely set up some kind of investment gatekeeping. This is done buerocratically today through government and banks who prioritize investment based on potential return. Instead, communities could review investments based on use factors or priorities set through democratic processes.

      People would likely reduce the amount of “shit-work” or unnecessary or undesirable tasks - the incentive for innovation and automation being “making life easier” rather than profit. People would also probably expand education since instead of most workers being drones, everyone would have input and would therefore want to know more about operations etc.

      So more democracy, more direct participation, more education and more free-time would likely result in people wanting to create something useful, grouping together to work on a project based on affinity etc.

      This may seem like more than a stretch from the standpoint of today where people are cynical, disengaged, and feel powerless for the most part. But there are many examples of people working like this from the Paris Commune to even within capitalism in rare moments like the early years of the internet where innovation was often driven by curiosity or the desire to solve a common problem.
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Google / Eng
    (❍ᴥ❍ʋ)

    GoogleEng

    PRE
    Amazon
    (❍ᴥ❍ʋ)more
    "socialism is when the government does stuff, the more stuff it does the more socialismer it is"

    - carl marks
    Nov 30, 20170
  • Verathon / Eng
    naw

    VerathonEng

    BIO
    💅 Seattle
    nawmore
    This post was cancer as soon as it was posted
    Nov 30, 20170
  • Apple rAiP64
    To end this thread on a good note "Capitalism is unequal sharing of benefit but socialism is equal sharing of misery".
    Dec 1, 20170
  • FireEye |||[[]] <>
    -- Does your vision of correctly implemeted socialism require a very large, powerful, centralized government?

    -- if I am a person that builds decks for residential homes.. It's a small business, just me (the sole proprietor) + 2 employees
    .... How would I run my business NOW (under current conditions in the US) as compared to a US that had correctly implemented your vision of socialism.
    What would change?
    What would not change?
    Regarding the profits I earn from my business.... How would things change under your vision of Socialism?
    Do I have the same right to those profits?
    Would I NOT have the same rights?
    How would the relationship of my 2 employees with my business be impacted?
    Apr 15, 20189
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      The implication of “correctly implemented socialism” is that socialism is a what, a blueprint, not a who. “Correct implementation” in my view is working class democratic organization of work and production.

      Size of government: this is a strange metric because it assumes that government exists in the abstract outside of society. Were feudal governments smaller than capitalist nation states? It’s an apples and oranges question because in some ways yes and in other ways no - the functions and mechanisms of these kinds of states are too different. So if we look at the Paris commune or Spanish revolutionary areas, for example, were these management forms larger or smaller than the Spanish state or Paris government? In some ways they were larger because there was more popular involvement, more committees, more as hoc volunteer groups and they all had various levels of centralization or localization. On the other hand they had no standing professional political officialdom (think lobbyists and all the talking heads and staffers etc) and no permanent military beurocracy. So I think it’s safe to predict that it would be larger in terms of popular participation and in the scope of what falls under democratic influence, but smaller in terms of needing permanent structures and permanent bureaucracies.

      Deck builders: if you were skilled at building decks and liked doing it, then I’m pretty sure people’d want you to build a deck for them. If you are a small time contractor, your debts to the banks would probably be eliminated, but if you wanted to hire Day laborers to help you, you’d probably have a hard time finding anyone to accept being ordered around for low wages when better options are available. But if you had partners or apprentices that learned from working with you or shared your interest or skill in deck-building, then I’m sure you could convince them to join your deck-building partnership.

      People tend to think of socialism like a set of policies. But really it makes more sense to think of it like the abolition of slavery. Could planters conceive of a world where they had no slave labor? No: “how could we thrive, what are the slaves even going to do with freedom?” Did the US revolutionaries write the constitution before declaring independence? Did they know how everything would work out? No, independence was the goal. A blueprint is impossible, the goal is worker’s democracy, so many people would need to be involved in working that out.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • FireEye |||[[]] <>
      Regarding a sole proprietors deck builder.
      You're answer is not sufficient. It's too vague..

      I'm asking you specifically.... If I want to start a sole proprietor business (a deck builder as an example), what regulations regarding employees would I be REQUIRED to comply with (that I don't need to comply with under the current system).
      What would payroll taxes look like?
      What about requirements regarding PTO for my employees?

      And what happens to my after taxes profits? What regulations will I be REQUIRED to comply to regarding my after taxes profits?

      What kinds of tax rates would I be looking at?

      What if I am very successful and I build a lot of respect in my community. And my brand name has high value?
      What if I want to just sell my business to somebody else..... So what if I do this and make a wind fall profit?
      How will taxation work regarding that profit?
      What regulations will I be REQUIRED to comply with?

      Thesr are all critically important questions because it's these little things that separate a shitty system from a good one..... These are the types of things related to incentivizing and motivating talented people to work hard and produce good products and services.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      So you believe that slavery should not have been abolished until all details were worked out in advance? You think that the Americans should not have declared independence without working out tax and trade laws for a hypothetical US in advance? Your request for the tax code of a potential democratic society is absurd. I am not a dictator of the future and am opposed to some small group or individual implementing a plan for everyone else. It is impossible for an individual to give details of the end result of a democratic process by definition.

      My guess is that you would not have employees, wage slavery would likely be abolished in a situation where erstwhile wage-slave run the show. There are incentives without bosses or profits or government coercion. Just like cotton can still be grown without chattel slavery.

      The main incentive in our society now, let’s be real, are having to pay debts and rent and hoping for enough money that you can retire or support a family and maybe take nice vacations - maybe even super-young if you want - and use your time in ways you see as most valuable. Again, how did the early internet work when no profits were available? Why did people make open source code, try to improve it etc?
      Apr 15, 2018
    • FireEye |||[[]] <>
      Really? You just want to slavery dude?
      Apr 15, 2018
    • FireEye |||[[]] <>
      I was asking legitimate and critical questions... And you bring up slavery in that manner.

      You just ended the discussion.


      .... So basically we're just supposed to believe that socialism will "just work" but these critically important details will just be worked out later. We should just have trust and sign onto it.

      F**k. That. S**t.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Haha, you’re arguing in bad faith anyway. Yes, I brought up slavery because that’s an example that most people in the US know about of a time when a whole mode of how work is accomplished was transformed. Workings as a wage-slave is much better than being a chattel slave, so I’m not making an equivalency, I’m making a comparison of social change at a similar pitch.

      We can’t conceive of people working when debt or rent isn’t forcing them to - likewise southern planters couldn’t conceive of free labor.

      I can’t tell you how people would democratically organize things in any great detail because you can’t dictate a democratic process by definition! If I were to lay-out a blueprint, then I’d rightfully be criticized for being a totalitarian.

      If I were to tell you my personal wishes and present them as “this is how it’ll be” I’d be a liar. So I’m being totally upfront in saying that working out a future democratic decision in advance is impossible - the best guesses are based on what people did in the past.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Since the goal of socialism is working class democracy, not tax code, the more relevant questions about how it will work are things like: “how to ensure that democratic mechanisms are not undermined like in Russia?” “How will millions of people coordinate?” “What would be the division between local planning and resources and larger-scale processes that can’t be done locally alone like transportation (we would need centralized air traffic control etc) power grids, etc?”

      I don’t know the for-sure result of that either, but ensuring democracy is the number one fundamental factor in “socialism [from below] working” or not.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • FireEye |||[[]] <>
      You shouldn't be a salesman for Socialism if you can't explain it clearly without taking our current system and drawing comparisons to slavery.

      If you're going to do that you'll get very few buyers.

      Making a move toward Socialism is a HUGE risk with many lives at stake. Your "best guess" is woefully insufficient.

      You really expect me to bet my life on somebody's "best guess" on how this shit will actually work?

      I'll keep our current system, along with all of its flaws.
      Capitalism has worked out fairly well for my family.

      I was raised middle class.
      One of my parents was low wage blue collar.
      And the other was a modestly paid school teacher whose highest life time salary was around 55k.

      ... But now my oldest sibling makes more than 125k (in a low cost area) and owns a huge house.
      ... My youngest siblings makes North of 75k (in a low cost area) and also owns a very nice house.
      ... I make north of 80k in a low cost area and own a fairly nice home. I have very low debt.

      We worked hard, got educated in demanded and well paying skill sets.
      So for us the current system has allowed us to become significantly more wealthy than our parents.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Well there you go, then. I grew up in a depressed area where I saw good people with potential waste it by just struggling to make ends meet, or waste it by being disengaged and no longer caring about things.

      I think the status quo is too risky no to try and fight for more power and control over our lives. Things just don’t “get better” - it’s a fight and always has been.

      I don’t think socialism as an idea or a fully-formed set of policies on all things is really what is “on sale”. Day to day, it’s more about advocating for things that I think will help working class people gain more power for themselves: rank and file organization within unions, agitating for higher minimum wages In communities, debt absolution, housing, more democracy within the current government, etc. No massive social transformation had ever started with a specific blueprint - and be wary of anyone trying to sell one: they are a snake-oil salesman or a would-be cult leader. What I try to “sell” is people taking things into their own hands, participating to make their interests a force in society that can push back against interests of industry or the state, independent politics for workers, not charity from liberals or trickle-down from the rich.

      So at best I can propose broad strokes. With this many people, there’s probably need to be democratic structures to set priorities: workplace and community councils who can elect or recall reps on an as needed basis with limited mandates. Any legislation bodies would need to be transparent and accountable to the democratic bodies that sent them. They would have to work out the fine details via democratic processes with the given conditions of this hypothetical time we’re discussing.

      Socialism would be a product of massive democratic developments, not soldiers carrying out a plan that was made in advance. At best that’s Stalinism which is pretty crappy.
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Salesforce / EngDufenshmrz
    In a free world which does not prevent you from moving anywhere (unlike some socialist countries did) why do you choose to suffer under capitalism instead of moving to a beautiful socialist place?
    Nov 30, 20177
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      What place is that?

      Workers ran things in Spain until the USSR sabotaged it and Franco crushed it.

      Worker councils ran Russia until 14 other countries sent the military to crush it. They failed but destroyed enough that someone like Stalin could bury it. Worker militias and council ran Paris until the French government and Prussians called a truce to drown the working class quarters in blood.

      If socialism is so impossible, you’d think governments would make less of an effort to crush or co-opt it every time it emerges.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Salesforce / EngDufenshmrz
      I hear Venezuela is nice. Though some weaklings prefer Sweden.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Wow, IKEA is run by the workers? Good to know. I assumed both countries were capitalist since, you know they engage in trade and capitalist industry and have capitalist economies.

      So according to your view the UK was a socialist country because of nationalized steel? The US was socialist during WWII because the government nationalized some industry and managed parts of the economy?

      Hell the US must still be socialist since the military is one of the largest employers.

      I understand this thread is long, but as I described earlier, this is not “socialism” that’s part of my political tradition. At best you are describing social-democracy I.e. capitalism with a welfare state and some reforms.

      Some Venezuelans might say that their country is aiming of socialism (if they are a chavez supporter) but really Chavismo follows out of a Latin American tradition of progressive military generals with probably some Cuba influence.

      But what I support is a tradition called “socialism from below” which is a view of some marxists and anarchists and other kinds of socialists. It’s based in socialism being the popular movement of working people to control their own lives destiny. Not some elected or unelected figure handing reforms down from on high. DIY socialism.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Salesforce / EngDufenshmrz
      I actually lived in the USSR. Please tell me more about beauty of socialism.
      Oh, you'll probably tell me how it was not the right kind of socialism. And of course you know how to build the right kind. Lenin did too. Same shit, different pile. As you step in it, it smells the same.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Well correct me if I’m wrong but the USSR was not an economy let alone a government run democratically by the working class. Ruling in the name of working people isn’t quite the same thing. So, no, I do not support or defend that regime or all the bastard versions that modeled themselves off it in order to rapidly develop national industry while wearing red hats.

      Nationalist regimes blocked-up with the USSR and were socialist about as much as the UNited kingdom is actually ruled by a monarch or North Korea is a Democratic republic.

      Well since it’s AMA, someone should ask questions.

      1. What was your job in the USSR? What was it like working there? I assume this was the 80s? I grew up in the US, so our impression at that time was that it was like a lot of cheerleading awards for most productive worker and odd things like that.

      2. Is Russia more democratic now that it’s formally capitalist? How are living standards for non-oligarchs right now? Any political repression happening under Russia’s free-market democracy?
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Salesforce / EngDufenshmrz
      "working people" do not rule anything anywhere. There is always some group of delegates/... doing the ruling.
      One can claim that employee at most of the high tech companies actually ruling the company via stocks that provide proxy vote.

      Also changes if such scale (to socialism or from) historically accompanied by civil wars or similar unrests that results in completely different group of people ruling.

      I was a student. I graduated after USSR split.
      Guaranteed employment. Very limited opportunities to change the job. graduated assigned to jobs and in many cases had no choice, could be sent to remote provincial shithole and it would take a decade to get a job at more civilized place. This disappeared before I graduated, I lucked finding decent job working at offshore development company.

      Russia is more capitalist than the US now.
      Living standards are better for people who actually work and proactive. Worse for retirees and less protected groups thou Yeltsin and his liberals did their best to make sure fewer people from these groups survive "liberal rule".
      I left Russia before Putin became president. I do visit every couple of years, kids love it there even though bthey were born and grew in the US.
      Cannot say anything specific on political stuff. All my friends and relatives mostly concerned with their work, business etc.
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Interesting, thanks for sharing.

      As for the first bit, working people do not rule anywhere. Exactly - this is why I support the development of grassroots working class efforts to develop independent and internally democratic movements, politics, and organizations in order to defend themselves (rather than hope the rich take pity or politicians do the right thing).
      Dec 1, 2017
  • Amazon Gfjzg
    I have questions.

    1. How much money do you have in savings right now?
    2. What do you do that is socialist while living in a capitalist society?
    3. Do you see the irony of a socialist working at credit karma?
    Nov 30, 20175
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Hooray, questions.

      1. about 5k
      2. Community organizing, participating in local activism that I think may have the best chance at mobilizing more grassroots working class involvement and activity or improve the ability for people to fight for themselves such as raising minimum wages, resisting evictions, challenging police abuses that have gone unaccountable. All fairly modest stuff in case you were wondering if I just run around breaking windows or whatever.
      3. No, I’m not independently wealthy and help support my elderly parents and a wife with chronic health problems. So a job is necessary. Yeah, the credit system needs to go and Credit Karma makes money from those companies, but it’s rather harmless for the general public. Probably worse on employees than users. But I’d work for a credit company if I had to - “moral consumption” or trying to work at some “pure” company is not a luxury me or most people have the privilege to hold out for. I also worked for a telecom company, and many shit jobs for awful companies in high school and college. I guess I’d never be able to stomach being a cop or prison guard, but otherwise I’ll take the best pay and benefits I can get (not that other considerations like company culture are irrelevant).
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Amazon Gfjzg
      So what you’re saying is you’re not a socialist at all and just like to preach something that you don’t practice.
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      How’d ya figure that? How does an individual be “socialism” lol.

      Socialist = one who advocates for socialism, i.e. a society collectively and democratically run by working people. Hence my efforts in community organizing. Practice and preach.

      Do you own a factory and wear spats and a monocle? No? And you call yourself a capitalist! Feeer shaaame! Lol. You guys are too easy!
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Amazon Gfjzg
      Socialist = one who practices socialism. Going out and advocating for socialism without practice doesn’t make you a socialist, it makes you an advocate.

      Why haven’t you formed a commune with a group of socialists where you all pull your money together? Why haven’t you started your own group healthcare plan where instead of purchasing insurance, you create a group fund?
      Dec 1, 2017
    • Credit Karma Johmy
      OP
      Ok, I’m “an advocate for mass democratic working class political and economic power”. Socialist is much shorter to say and write.

      Ok, how about this: my family and I split up house chores and I don’t charge my wife or children rent. Am I a “socialist” now?

      Also I think you’re confusing socialism and being a catholic monk or Quaker or something.
      Dec 1, 2017

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