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I've just read this article with interest and I thought I would share it:

[centerforneweconomics.org]

If you don’t like corporate capitalism and you don’t like state socialism, what the hell do you want, and why should we listen to you if you don’t know? Seriously: what do you want? And if you don’t know, what are you talking about?

I have just given you a design principle for a radically decentralized community-building cooperative system. Were you to apply this principle—substantial stability of community markets in a community-sustaining system—linking worker ownership to a design of this kind, you would have a design that doesn’t look like corporate capitalism and doesn’t look like state socialism but begins with community as the dominant principle and works backward from there.

Naomi 8 Apr 4
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3

I would argue that there are no bad ideas... try them all, let natural selection weed them out.
Have a ball, as long as participation is not coerced... then it's nobody else's business.
The moment you suggest coerced participation, you're wrong.
If your idea is based on coerced participation... then your whole idea is wrong.

The economy exists within the private sector.
"Managing" the economy, is not a legitimate function of Government.
In the U.S. anyway, we explicitly did not create a government to dictate the terms of our individual financial interactions. Economically: our Congress has a duty to regulate Interstate commerce, and the value of the national currency... and that's it.
With that in mind, and instead of trying to devise a system, based on what we don't want it to look like; why don't we focus on what we do want it to look like... and try to keep that discussion constrained within the context of what we have a right to dictate to others in the first place?

You (and I) do not have any right to dictate the terms of any transaction between any two-or-more other people, or "legal entities".
If any particular matter is really, really important... in your view... then you still don't have that right.
Your opinion about what's important does not give you any extra rights; that's not where rights come from.
Using the Force of Government to impose your priorities on others, where you have no right to do so, is called "Tyranny"... nothing more "noble" than that, no matter how good your intentions.

The only economic approach that does not violate that simple principle, is a "Free Market".
That does not mean "no regulations". Corporations don't have any right to violate your natural rights, any more than any individual does. In the hypothetical event that existing law is insufficient to protect your rights from the Corporation, then specific regulation would be appropriate to establish that protection.
That does not, however, mean that you have some imaginary right to be protected from your own recklessness, ignorance, gullibility, or timid reluctance to stand up for yourself at work or in the marketplace.
If you feel out-gunned by the big, evil corporation... you're free to do whatever you can dream up to mitigate that perceived imbalance.
Just do it in the private sector. That's not what Government is for.

1

Where do you sit Naomi? On the fence playing devil's advocate for the sake of argument?

Hello there. Not sure what you mean. If you think I'm a stirrer or something, just ignore me. Meanwhile, look at these inputs made by various members. They are all decent comments that reflect the contributors' knowledge and serious thoughts. That's what I enjoy when I come to this site. And where do I sit? Must I define myself as left or right if that's what you mean? I simply don't do that. The reason why I don't do that is in my bio.

@Naomi no, not implying anything, just wondering. I've seen posts by you that make me wonder if you have a particular stance or just enjoy the argument. Some things you say I can agree with, some seem contradictory - which makes me wonder if you believe in anything in particular or just enjoy throwing shit in for people to argue over
I'm neither left or right either, btw.

@Tom81 I'd like to be aware of the other side of the coin when there is a conversation worth having. There are many occasions where I can appreciate both sides. I don't see anything wrong with that. It's much better than having opinions so fixed that you won't allow yourself to consider any different views from yours. Contradictions are also a good thing from which I can find facts/truth - well sometimes. I ponder a lot but that doesn't make me a indecisive person.

@Naomi l don't go to extemes of everything being black and white. I see the complexity of issues and the grey inbetween. I also see how things should be based on individual merit/circumstance rather than a blanket rule. What I don't like is wishy-washy, neutral stance that avoids any real decision/responsibility. Or being the devil's advocate for no other reason than academic argument. Where does it end? Would you for example find it ok if a 10 year old had 'consensual' sex with a 50 year old? I realise that's an extreme example, my whole point is that anyone could play devil's advocate - or they could take a firm stance. That's all I'm really wondering - do you have firm stances or do you just enjoy philosophical arguments and have no real firm stance on much (and I don't mean being 'left' or 'right'. I don't like labels myself, and don't belong to any).

@Tom81 Not sure why you appear to be bothered by devil's advocates. A devil's advocate is a "a person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate or test the strength of the opposing arguments" - Oxford Dictionary. Freethinkers are devil's advocates in their heads all the time. I'm not clever enough to play a devil's advocate but I like thought-provoking topics whoever raise them. Incidentally, looking at something from multiple angles is different from being wishy-washy.
Anyway, have you read the article? Drop a comment if you are interested in the topic.

@Naomi sure I read the article. Having lived in a socialist/communist system previously and living in a capitalist one now, I can say with certainty that whilst both have flaws - there is nothing worse than socialism/communism.
Under that system, you wouldn't even be allowed to pose the sort of questions that you do. And I find it ironic that the only people arguing for, or defending that system (socialism/communism/marxist trashism), have never had to live under it or have any experience with the reality of it.
As for my previous statements/questions - there's seeing both sides of the coin, and then there's arguing for the sake of arguing.

4

Hmmm ...
There’s an awful lot here about “Co-Operatives” and that might sound great but, its been my experience over the years, that Co-Operatives simply don’t “Co-Operate”.

Not often within themselves and almost never among themselves.

What seems to be the biggest hurdle is that even the “Best” of them ... the “Best” Ideas ... the “Best” Situations ... refuse to Agree ... Acknowledge ... even Consider ... a Unity of Purpose ... and that’s among Co-Operatives that are Topically Similar in Nature.

When you get to the concept of “Co-Operatives” that are Not Topically Similar in Nature (say Agriculture and Energy) I rarely see anything that even approaches Cooperation.

Please note I use “Co-Operative” and “Co-Operate” deliberately to make a point.

Yep, Worked for a large cooperative some years ago and got it very twisted by management to maximise bonuses and not do at all what the cooperative was originally created for.
Really knocked my view of social cooperation in a capitalist world.

@Hanno
Yeah. Bummer because they seem like such an incredibly good idea ... until you realize they simply aren’t.
Kind of like the concept of Socialism... though I never tried it ... there have always been too many examples that failed ... or none that succeeded ...

You've hit the nail on the head. That's why socialism doesn't work. Collectives start of like socialism with the greater good in mind but end up in mob rule (and that includes 'democracy' ) - can easily be twisted and coerced into authoritarianism that crushes anyone not part of the 'group think'. Like all things left - starts of with good intentions but gets more evil the bigger the group and the more power there is. In politics the cream gets pushed to the bottom, not rises to the top. The old adage - power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely is on point.
Like Ayn Rand noted - The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
The bigger the group, the dumber it gets and the bigger the thug that rules it. Exactly so with co-operatives.

3

I do not begrudge the innovative, the hard-working, the creative (and let's face it, the fortunate) their having more money than the average individual, but they also must pay their fair share of the services provided by government. Why could one person in a family in the 1950s make enough to take care of all the members allowing one adult to provide constant care to children and manage the complex needs of the household, and today not able to make ends meet with both adults working multiple jobs? The fact that the large majority of people have lost significant money during the pandemic, and the wealthiest have increased their wealth by 400 billion dollars is proof enough of the present inequity.

You make good points. But also remember that people today have a lot more things than people in the 1950s did. The average new home built in the 1950s was under 1,000 sq ft. the house had 2 or 3 tiny bedroom and children shared rooms. The average family had 1 car. There was no Air Conditioning. Mom probably had a washer, but not a dryer. She had to hang the laundry Eating out was something that rarely happened. My mom never ate out until she was 18, not even once. My dad didn't eat out until he was 12 in the 1960s. Today, the average home built is over 2200 sq feet with central air. The average family has 2 or more vehicles of which are SUV or minivan. Nowadays the kids all have $500+ iphones on a monthly plan, and don't forget the iPad. Something Steve Jobs sold everyone who didn't' even know htey wanted one.. It is possible to live on one income today if you live in a modest home that's in an older part of town. Maybe the yard is small and the driveway only holds one car. Many families need two incomes because of lifestyle choices. Going on vacations, eating out, $53,000 Chevy Tahoe etc.

@kwg2005 I am referring to people living in homeless camps, under bridges and in their cars. One of the effects of globalization was forcing American labor to compete with foreign labor. Those people are in no way living in American luxury. Yes there are a lot of people (like me) who have been economically fortunate, But if someone wants to work they should be paid a living wage.

0

Any thoughts, @TheHerrDark? @Pand0ro? @WilyRickWiles? (I don't mean to put you on the spot, honest!)

1

Corporatism is neo-feudalism. What we need is Nordic style, socially responsible, classical liberal capitalism.

And which model represents a Nordic style, socially responsible, classical liberal capitalism?

2

To be honest, there is a difference between capitalism, a straw-man invented by Marx, and free enterprise, the economic system that destroyed European feudalism. In capitalism the lords and ladies are replaced by the capitalists who serve the same parasitic function. Either capitalism or feudalism leads to economic and political tyranny. Free enterprise, on the other hand, puts everyone in the marketplace on an equal footing, allowing the free exchange of goods and services to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth based on the amount of effort each individual is willing to invest in it. Just as there are checks and balances built into the Constitution of the United States to protect from political tyranny by the government, there ought to be checks and balances built into the marketplace to protect from economic tyranny by the corporations who have gathered wealth to themselves.

There are some people that for various reasons have the ability to accumulate money. They will accumulate more than the majority and then use that extra wealth to gain influence and advantage that will allow them to do what they are doing today. There is no such thing as free enterprise. It will always be dominated by wealth. The only way out is to have an equitable taxation structure that is not controlled by the wealthy.

My understanding is that Marx was describing an existing, dominant system, one which you've acknowledged, rather than a theoretical one. Therefore, not really a straw man.

@Pand0ro Do not make the mistake of equating money with wealth. If I have all the money in the world, and no one respects the value of it, I have a pile of paper and electronic digits that is worth it weight in trash. Wealth is the corn grown on a farm or the products produced by a factory. Wealth is generated by labor. Money is just an agreed upon medium of exchange to make it easier to distribute that wealth. Keyness had the same mistaken belief that wealth and money were the same. but a banker who only hoards money and grows it by usery is not generating wealth, but squelching it. Unless the huge sums of money accumulated by the individuals is used to increase the production of others, it is wasted, and so is the life of that rich person.

@FuzzyMarineVet Same as money being generated today with derivative trading, short selling, high frequency trading and all the other non-productive tricks done by these respected financial institutions. I agree that money and wealth are not the same thing, but in today's economic structure you can get away with using money as wealth.

@WilyRickWiles The problem with all -isms is that they are developed by human beings, any of whom are incapable of envisioning systems that are complex enough to actually work. Marxism is probably the most glaring of them. The state own everything so there is no reason for anyone to fight over property. (You pack a lunch for work and it is my right to eat it?) Workers paradise where everyone passes responsibility to someone else. From each according to their ability to each according to their need. Now who's going to figure that out? Be assured that the people who do will find themselves very needy. The human being is too tied to their genetically established survival strategies to ever be able to have an equitable governing system.

@Pand0ro But then again, Marx made a lot of criticisms and prescriptions that influenced what you are discussing. So why are we debating an extreme, historical version of Marxism when we know the moderate, present-day version we both are currently aiming for (leaving room for some relative differences)? Not that it isn't a debate worth having, but it's not a very practical one, and not one I'm particularly interested in having. I'm more interested in understanding our political economy (like Marx did) so that I can take action to bring about something closer to social democracy.

@FuzzyMarineVet, @Pand0ro Yes, I would say money, real estate, and intellectual property amount to wealth these days. Labor has taken a back seat. And many workers have become mere servants. The law has much to do with this state of affairs. And the power accumulated through capitalism makes it sticky. I ask myself, what will it take to make any policy changes happen? Are there any examples from history?

One idea: collectively don't go back to the office after COVID (causing commercial real estate shock that necessitates a change in political economy).

Another: good old organizing of the working class (but is that feasible especially since there are really no sympathetic elites worldwide?).

@WilyRickWiles Today a large number of citizens support the extreme right. The right tells them they are free if they do what the right tells them to do. So we have lockstep obedient freedom.

@Pand0ro Sad to say. And the rest will try to ally with oppressed minority groups (if they are not members themselves) to build the institutions mentioned in the article (which I'm finally reading)--if not out of moral imperative then out of necessity.

@WilyRickWiles Most of the people suffering discrimination are guilty of discriminating against some other group. It is genetically built into us. The problem is most people complaining about it are saying "It's all your fault and you better do something about it." , when the first question should be "What can I do to make things better?" The most common right wing's complaint is "The government is taking away all my freedoms." when their freedoms include suppression of anyone they feel is a threat.

3

We want hierarchies based on competence restored. We want the silly networking monkeys pushed aside.

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