I have had fun on YouTube. It seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. On and on I get embroiled in conversations I probably ought no to. But I can’t help myself! As long as there is still someone wrong on the internet I will comment onwards and upwards until I finally gain the highest of possible praises; getting responses that don’t have the word ‘retard’ in them. Recently I had the dubious pleasure of learning from some wise soul that family and friendship are microcosms of socialism. This perked my eyebrow almost into orbit, and I could not help but rebut. The other guy(ette) made some other rather tepid and silly points about worker-run industry and the USSR not being socialist. I pounced.

 

FAMILY

Normal socialism? The family bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything resembling socialism for one desperately important reason;

you know everyone in your household; they are part of your individual social network, part of the real kind of society that underpins all healthy human social behaviour.

Socialism is not an exercise in social networking. It’s a holistic political project to unite ownership of the means of production under the populace as a whole.

That means that if the whole world was one socialist society you would be one of 4 to 5 billion voters on every issue facing every enterprise providing every good and service in existence.

Obviously this puts you in an impossible position with regards to the specialised knowledge required to do any of the jobs that the bureaus actually do day to day. This is the knowledge problem, and one of the downfalls of all government or undirected programs. Ever seen how fouled up the development cycles for new distros of Linux can get? I except RHEL and Ubuntu, but they’re made by profit-making corporations Red Hat and Canonical, respectively.

Presumably the division of labour that exists up to the preent day you would be willing to preserve and not regress? I’m assuming you’re not an anarcho-syndicalist like Noam Chomsky ( more below ).

So no, your family (kin) and friends and associates (kith) are not a micrcosm of socialism, but rather are your society or community, and that’s that.

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WORKER-RUN INDUSTRY

That’s not socialism. That’s syndicalism, which is even worse. Here we go, baby!

The worker-owned business, or syndics, operate under the practical command of all their worker-controllers. Now bear in mind, Cupcake, we are completely free to create businesses with this exact model right now. So why are there no huge syndics today?

It seems a good question to ask seeing as there were loads of them in Anarcho-Syndicalist Catalonia in the 1930s nd in Yugoslavia from the 70’s t the early 90’s, when they all turned into the vastly more efficient and practical kind of manager-directed businesses we are familiar with in the West.

 

This is a silly idea that is debunked completely by Mises and Rothbard in detail. Indeed I drew my examples from Syndical Syndrome by Rothbard and a 2003 article by James Ostrowski on Noam Chomsky’s politics and economics. Admittedly I’m making an awfully strong case by separating syndicalism from its neighbour socialism, but I asserted this because of the difference in how the ownership of means of production, distribution and exchange are held in these two theoretical societies. One is social ownership, a term which, to have any meaning, must mean ownership by society as a whole, which basically means the state, and renders anarcho-socialism an oxymoron.

Syndicalism is all about direct worker ownership of the enterprises where they work. Anarcho-syndicalism is just the same absent the state but swiftly degenrates – as must anarcho-communism for the same reason – into semi-feudal communes with an ever-shrinking division of labour as the co-ordinating force of market prices is forced out of existence by whoever is in charge of those communes. As you can probably tell, a majority of people in a given territory need to want this specific system to attain it, because once it’s attained it’ll quickly become obvious that people are no longer working to satisfy emergent wants in a market, but rather the wants of whatever commune they happen to be in. Anarcho-syndicalism; it’s feudalism for all the family!

 

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BOSSES

Further to the above syndic point, the diffusion of accountability brought on by worker control of firms throws into stark relief the raison d’etre of the employing organisation in the first place; it doesn’t exist to give its employees something to do.

It exists to serve its customers and to enrich its owners through the medium of peaceful, consenting trade. Why anyone would take offence to this is bizarre because you’re literally taking offence at peace.

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DEMOCRACY

I have no sympathy with democracy; it is, fundamentally, two rapists and a potential victim voting on whether to legalise rape. The end, pretty much.

I actually bothered to read the history of democracy as a concept – a brilliant history book (which is pro-democracy) called The Life and Death of Democracy.

You forget that voting is a way of giving people orders. What if you disagree with the decision, bearing in mind in this socialist world you would be one of 4-5 billion voters?

This is where socialists traditionally give up talking to me or repeat themselves by coughing up nonsense like social contracts.

 

It’s true. I get ad homs as well, flying my way like haymakers. But democracy, for all its vaunted strengths does nothing it is advertised as doing. If the government in a democracy is the people, and vice versa, then as per Rothbard those of us who should incur the governing folks’ wrath for whatever reason have only ourselves to blame when they use state power to get others to kill us, thus rendering the Holocaust an example of mass suicide. If that’s the most distasteful thing you’ve heard all day, good! You still have a conscience. I ridicule democracy along the two normal lines, though not very effectively.

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner, yes, but I should have explained tyranny of the majority and the fact that what makes the government ‘limited’ – and barely that – is its checks against democracy. I am referring to the election of representatives rather than direct democracy, split between two houses elected by different means. Indeed the House of Lords in the UK remains an unelected body, though unlike the US Senate it is vastly less powerful than the House of Commons, for shame. If the Lords could be stuffed with young ancaps and made equal with the Commons we would never see a new piece of regulation again. But that is wishful thinking, the desire to harness democracy to realise one’s own goals.

And therein is democracy’s fatal flaw. For all that it takes the fangs out of the game of thrones it keeps the game in play and keeps the stakes – this’ll mean pork barrel politics to any American conversant in Federal and State politics. This is welfare just as much as bailouts to Big Business, handouts to Big Labor, and the funding of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and food stamps.

 

USSR NOT SOCIALISM
The nomenklatura were not rich, they were assigned priveleges bureaucratically, the same way that politicians and celebrities are given priority by the socialised healthcare system here in the UK.

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CAPITALISM vs. SOCIALISM

If these words are in opposition to each other then they literally mean private / personal / voluntary ownership of the means of production (Capitalism) versus social / state / coerced ownership of those same means (Socialism).

Remember that social ownership has to mean ownership by the whole world citizenry. You could subdivide things into ethnically based regional social units, but technically that would be National Socialism…. ouch.

If the road from that definition to the inevitable outcome already seen in the USSR, Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland, East Germany, Ethiopia, Somalia – and currently underway in Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Zimbabwe – is not evident to you then you have left your conscience elsewhere and have no desire for knowledge or to enlarge or better yourself.

This has been very invigorating – you have interesting and creative things to say. I hope you keep on your journey, dude(tte)!!

 

Sadly I forgot to mention economic calculation. But when you’re composing 700-word YouTube comments in the heat of the moment you forget such frivolities as bringing all the tools. I certainly could have done with describing the dysfunctional supply chains and horrid over- and under-supply of goods that resulted from the simple fact that the plans the industries were working to were arbitrary. Bread lines, no toilet paper, rampant black markets; the universal bliss of the socialist future it was not. But it definitely was socialism, since the main mechanisms of capitalism were abolished, such as private ownership of capital goods, or free prices to show the enterprises where to invest, who to sell to, who to buy from, and so on.

Capitalism is literally the magic that emerges from entrepreneurship, markets and finance ( this latter category consisting of lending and investment ), and results in increased labour productivity and increased division of that labour. Ergo, if there’s no private property in the means of production, distribution and exchange, and if prices are being set entirely by a government body, and if capital goods investment is entirely a component of government spending, then there ain’t much capitalism going on. Oh well. Onwards and upwards, I believe I said.