"Every time one person amasses a fortune worth a billion pounds, we are witnessing a policy failure."
I'm a capitalist in general, as in I see no advantage to having the state own the means of production.
However having a cap on wealth makes sense IMHO. What that cap should be I'm not sure. A billion is clearly absurd.
@sillystring exactly. I would not want the government to own the means of production, just like I would not want a single corporate behemoth to own and control them.
It doesn't really matter which behemoth owns it all. Power corrupts.
We must avoid behemoths owning it all (or a large part of it all), regardless if they happen to be governments, companies, individuals, NGOs, or, you know, cats.
@sillystring just to clarify: I am not against governments, companies, individuals, NGOs, or cats existing or owning *some* of the means of production and having *some* influence.
But that influence needs to be checked and that ownership needs to be limited in the scope. Owning a few bakeries? Fine. Owning a substantial enough number of bakeries to influence health policy in a negative way? Very much not fine.
And yes, "substantial enough" and "negative way" are vague. Because life's vague.
We've tried full-blown "communism", and it didn't work. We've tried full-blown (neoliberal, almost libertarian) capitalism, and that didn't work. Perhaps we have to agree the world is a bit more complex, and we need something with elements of both.
What is commonly referred to as "communism" (as in "the system upheld by the USSR and its satellite states) was not communism *at all*, but state capitalism.
The USSR was a giant corporation:
-it had a CEO
-it had a board of directors that was both unquestionable and all powerful (it resided in the Kremlin)
-hierarchy was strictly enforced
-management was exclusively top-down
-disagreeing with the management was punished by any means available (including death by gulag)
-marketing was used extensively to present a smiling face and hide the true nature of the monster
There were of course tiny differences, but the core is the same
However, there is a wider question on whether or not a full-blown communist system (whether we're talking Marxism, or anarcho-communism) is, in fact, practically possible without dropping into some kind of dystopia.
My personal feel is that it might not be. But I also might be wrong.
@rysiek we need to define what "dystopia" means in this context. Of course an an-com world where the nation-state no longer exists as a political construct will be percieved as a nightmare by statists, but would that be proper dystopia as in "a place where human life is made miserable to the point where non-existence is preferable"? Stateless societies have existed for millennia and some (like the Iroquois Confederation) reached considerable wealth and stability without ever creating a state as we know it. Recent examples include the Free Territory in Ukraine organised following Makhno's theories, anarchist Spain during the civil war and, lately, Rojava. Interestingly enough, all these examples share the same fate: they were destroyed by statists, not by famine, poverty of in-fighting...
That said, at least Rojava seems to have had certain tenets of a state. There was a governing body, courts, and units responsible for enforcing local bylaws. A constitution was in the works.
My point being, people will self organize, and eventually they will come up with certain familiar structures. Question is not if we call it a "state" or not, but how power is distributed and checked.
@rysiek that is a very common objection that relies on what I believe is a false assumption. Certain aspects of social life are constant across cultures and ages (food production, justice, care for the ill etc..). The statist trick lies in the false statement that you can't have administration without a state, which is obviously not the case. Historical and recent evidence proves that a federation (or any other way you want to call it) of self-administering communities can and will take much better care of people and land than a centralised government sitting in a capital far far away would ever be able to.
But you will have to explain to me what is the difference between a "self-administering community" and a "state".
Especially that we seem to agree that judiciary is involved. Are bylaws a thing there? What is the enforcement mechanism for bylaws?
@rysiek if you ask me, the difference lies in the way power, wealth and property are distributed. States all share a tendency to centralise power, to favor the accumulation of wealth and to strictly enforce the protection of property (be it corporate or state-owned). Those self-administered communities i mentioned in my previous toots, on the other hands, all share traits that are in stark opposition to the aforementioned:
- power is meant to stay in the hand of the workers
- wealth is distributed and accumulation is forcefully removed
- private property is replaced by common goods
in an attempt to break what Chomsky calls the "concentration of wealth and power", which leads to entrenched elites that, over time, become a self-serving ruling class
> Patents were designed initialy to share scientific knowledge to the maximum extend workdwide.
- I'm sorry, but the best way to spread scientific knolwedge is to *not* patent it (see: the polio vaccine). The very act of patenting something implies the will to profit off it
@rysiek "Labour is no longer intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich because we now know that inequality costs us all economically."
This ruined it a bit for me at the last second.
When did it happen that helping people in need is not enough of an argument to stand on its own anymore – Why do privileged people need to gain an advantage when helping people with less for it to become a valid political perspective? :F
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