Pope Slams Capitalism, Inequality Between Rich And Poor In New Years Message
#41
(01-02-2013, 11:24 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote:
(01-02-2013, 11:13 PM)PeterII Wrote:
(01-02-2013, 10:53 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: A little like capitalism in that way, eh?

Not at all. The exchange of private property is the most rational way to allocate goods. 

But, we could say that, whether Mises likes it or not, the state must intervene in capitalist economies. This is true not only because capitalism depends upon the modern unitary state to crush social institutions and customs that interfere with market logic and the "rational allocation of goods," but also because the state, through welfare programs, covers up some of the worst abuses of the system without fundamentally challenging it.

If two people exchange private property, why do you think the state should intervene?
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#42
Management decides the allocation of resources. Of course, the means of management depend on the type of cooperative we're talking about. Ideally all decisions are made democratically but this is often impractical in a larger enterprise. In a traditional workers cooperative, the workers are the shareholders so they elect their own managers. Structures vary widely however. There really are many kinds of cooperative enterprise but what defines them is a democratic approach to decision-making that takes all human stakeholders into account.

They are very common in Southern Europe and this is due as much to a Catholic as to a socialist heritage. The world's largest and most successful cooperative, the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, was founded by a priest and is one of the biggest companies in the country. You also have the global credit union movement which is a wonderful alternative to the financial tyrants who dominate international finance. Substantial parts of the agricultural sector are run on something approaching socialist lines, e.g. the dairy sector in Ireland (admittedly, the cooperative ethos here has been seriously diminished in recent years). You should look into this. It's very uplifting to know that more humane approaches to economic relations are possible.
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#43
(01-02-2013, 08:49 PM)FleetingShadow Wrote:
(01-02-2013, 07:55 PM)PeterII Wrote:
Fleeting Shadow Wrote:You seem to have ignored the end of my post.

It is possible to conceive of any economy in which all commerical enterprises are cooperatives (i.e. a socialist economy) but in which the government does very little to regulate the competition between them and has no anti-trust laws etc.

On the other hand, capitalist economies do not necessarily have to experience much - or any - competition. This may drive you crazy, but many left-wing Marxists disparagingly refer to the system of the old USSR as 'state capitalist'. This is because the capitalist (i.e. capital provider) in every enterprise (in this case, the USSR government) owned the fruit of the labourers in that enterprise. There was no worker ownership or self-management.

True, a capitalist economy does not need to experience competition, but that's only when consumers are satisfied with a product and price thanks to market forces, and see no need for alternatives. That's a good thing.  Socialism tries to achieve the same thing, but it cannot, because there is no rational price mechanism!  It necessarily end ups in the hands of the state.

No. What I'm trying to point out, Peter, obviously very inarticulately, is that there is no reason to assume that a free market and a capitalist mode of production go hand in hand. They often don't. And when they don't, this doesn't make the market any less free or the mode of production something other than capitalist.

For example, let's say a small publicly listed corporation develops a successful business model (be it based on a genuinely good product, an shrewd expansion strategy, a clever marketing campaign involving lots of naked women, whatever). It gains a serious foothold in the market, becoming bigger. It starts to corner the market, eventually not only neutralising competitors but tying contractors and service providers into a bind, and buying up all the primary resources required to make its product. It establishes a virtual monopoly for itself (without the aid of wicked bureaucrats). The ensuing absence of competition has arisen in a relatively 'free market' scenario. Result: happy shareholders. On the other hand, let's say that by the edict of some government agency, this company was just singled out as the only entity with the right to provide the product in question. The ensuing absence of competition has arisen in the context of government intervention. Result: happy shareholders. A company doesn't suddenly become 'socialist' because its owners have cronies in high places. Both scenarios take place in a capitalist context.

Secondly, I am suggesting that socialism does not mean centralised control of everything. Socialist ideas preceded Marx by quite a long time. (And even Marx himself - who had very little to say about socialism at all - was attracted to socialism because he hated the state and ultimately wanted to destroy it. I'm always amazed by the confidence with which people say things like 'Marx wanted state control of everything' and was 'collectivist'. Such people have never bothered to seriously examine the thinker they are criticising.)

Yes, the USSR called itself socialist. The USSR also called itself democratic. It also called itself republican. Modernist heretics call themselves Catholic. Does anyone take those claims seriously? Either words mean something or they don't. The fact is that the first thing the Bolsheviks did upon seizing power was to destroy the only real socialist insitutions that actually existed: the soviets. An economy run entirely on cooperative lines is a socialist economy as the first socialists would have understood it. So I won't apologise for using the word to mean what it originally meant, however disconcerting this may be to those whose support for laissez-faire capitalism demands that alternatives be demonised.
Excellent post!
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#44
(01-03-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: If two people exchange private property, why do you think the state should intervene?

As a consumer, when I purchase a product I believe I have a right to certain information:  to know that a piece of real estate or an automobile has a clear title, to know the ingredients in a packaged food, to know the country of origin of a product (especially food products), to know that a building has been constructed according to common codes of good construction, to know which fibers were used in an article of clothing, to know that perishable products (especially food products where my health might be affected) have been harvested, processed, transported, and stored in a safe manner ... the list could go on and on.

Unlike perhaps some earlier eras, typically I am not able to trade exclusively with a local person whose integrity I can be personally familiar with and trust without reservation for every product I may need or use.  Regardless of their ethical orientation, most business persons at least pragmatically realize that if they trade too many shoddy products too often they will eventuall be found out and the market will turn against them.  However, until that happens there can be some serious damage done to individuals, especially with tainted or unsafe food products.

The state has intervened with consumer protection and safety statues, which have often been passed by public demand.
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#45
(01-03-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: If two people exchange private property, why do you think the state should intervene?

Without government regulation we end up with a financial crisis, you know like what happened in 2008 because US banks weren't regulated.

Privatization, deregulation and free trade/globalization are the hallmarks of laissez-faire Austro-libertarian capitalist thought that got us into the pickle that we are in right now.
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#46
(01-03-2013, 12:45 AM)FleetingShadow Wrote: Management decides the allocation of resources. Of course, the means of management depend on the type of cooperative we're talking about. Ideally all decisions are made democratically but this is often impractical in a larger enterprise. In a traditional workers cooperative, the workers are the shareholders so they elect their own managers. Structures vary widely however. There really are many kinds of cooperative enterprise but what defines them is a democratic approach to decision-making that takes all human stakeholders into account.

They are very common in Southern Europe and this is due as much to a Catholic as to a socialist heritage. The world's largest and most successful cooperative, the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, was founded by a priest and is one of the biggest companies in the country. You also have the global credit union movement which is a wonderful alternative to the financial tyrants who dominate international finance. Substantial parts of the agricultural sector are run on something approaching socialist lines, e.g. the dairy sector in Ireland (admittedly, the cooperative ethos here has been seriously diminished in recent years). You should look into this. It's very uplifting to know that more humane approaches to economic relations are possible.

In socialism, resources are owned collectively.  How do people know who the managers should be to start a cooperative?

I wouldn't use any country in southern Europe as an example of a successful business model, especially now.  It's a wreck.
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#47
(01-03-2013, 01:36 AM)moneil Wrote:
(01-03-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: If two people exchange private property, why do you think the state should intervene?

As a consumer, when I purchase a product I believe I have a right to certain information:  to know that a piece of real estate or an automobile has a clear title, to know the ingredients in a packaged food, to know the country of origin of a product (especially food products), to know that a building has been constructed according to common codes of good construction, to know which fibers were used in an article of clothing, to know that perishable products (especially food products where my health might be affected) have been harvested, processed, transported, and stored in a safe manner ... the list could go on and on.

Unlike perhaps some earlier eras, typically I am not able to trade exclusively with a local person whose integrity I can be personally familiar with and trust without reservation for every product I may need or use.  Regardless of their ethical orientation, most business persons at least pragmatically realize that if they trade too many shoddy products too often they will eventuall be found out and the market will turn against them.  However, until that happens there can be some serious damage done to individuals, especially with tainted or unsafe food products.

The state has intervened with consumer protection and safety statues, which have often been passed by public demand.

What incentive does the government have to protect consumers though?  Since there is a desire for this service, any number of private entities could handle it, staking everything on reputation.  One bribe or illegal move and they're ruined.  Government officials on the other hand, as anyone from southern Europe can attest, are very corrupt, and you can't get rid of them easily!  You're asking for law enforcement from people who make more money breaking the law, and you have no other recourse!
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#48
(01-03-2013, 02:42 AM)mikemac Wrote:
(01-03-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: If two people exchange private property, why do you think the state should intervene?

Without government regulation we end up with a financial crisis, you know like what happened in 2008 because US banks weren't regulated.

Privatization, deregulation and free trade/globalization are the hallmarks of laissez-faire Austro-libertarian capitalist thought that got us into the pickle that we are in right now.

Worst economic assessment ever. 
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#49
@OP: more of the "social justice" wool-gathering (in truth evidence of conciliar infiltration by Liberation Theology) so popular in the Vatican....the hordes of middle class catholic sheeple who voted for Obama this last election (again) will have a field day.
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#50
(01-03-2013, 03:22 AM)PeterII Wrote:
(01-03-2013, 12:45 AM)FleetingShadow Wrote: Management decides the allocation of resources. Of course, the means of management depend on the type of cooperative we're talking about. Ideally all decisions are made democratically but this is often impractical in a larger enterprise. In a traditional workers cooperative, the workers are the shareholders so they elect their own managers. Structures vary widely however. There really are many kinds of cooperative enterprise but what defines them is a democratic approach to decision-making that takes all human stakeholders into account.

They are very common in Southern Europe and this is due as much to a Catholic as to a socialist heritage. The world's largest and most successful cooperative, the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, was founded by a priest and is one of the biggest companies in the country. You also have the global credit union movement which is a wonderful alternative to the financial tyrants who dominate international finance. Substantial parts of the agricultural sector are run on something approaching socialist lines, e.g. the dairy sector in Ireland (admittedly, the cooperative ethos here has been seriously diminished in recent years). You should look into this. It's very uplifting to know that more humane approaches to economic relations are possible.

In socialism, resources are owned collectively.  How do people know who the managers should be to start a cooperative?

I wouldn't use any country in southern Europe as an example of a successful business model, especially now.  It's a wreck.

I would never use a country as an example of a business model, successful or otherwise. A country is not a business. And I hardly think that the government tendency towards fiscal irresponsibility is confined to nations that happen to have a notable cooperative subculture.
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