Capitalism vs socialism and God forbid communism. What about colonialism, hegemony, imperialism, neoliberalism and totalitarianism? Isnt totalitarianism another word for dictatorship? Listening to personal views unfold I see some activists remain divided on this front. Who is the bad guy? Capitalism, no …you dont want equality, says Yeonmi Parks. Thats communism, which intentionally murdered millions of its own citizens, and continued to do so in places like North Korea and USSR….
As I explore this subject deeper answers surface. I now think Yeonmi with all her good intentions, doesn’t understand capitalism. Her experience in dictator run North Korea was not communism or socialism, because, despite the mainstream misconception, neither ideology calls for a strong authoritarian government, especially not communism. Ive listened to several of Yeonmi’s interviews. North Korean dictatorship sounds like a hell sent experiment that could easily be setting in motion now in capitalist US if we dont wake up! Capitalism has spilled out and is literally murdering the world one country at a time via its toxic one directional all for profit dogma.
Capitalism… What to be said about tens of millions of civilians murdered at the hands of the American forces, brutal sanctions and coup d’etats in the name of war on terror? Thats.. foreign policy. So in plain sight, United States and Israel have ordained themselves with the exclusive right to defend themselves in reverse order, preemptively or proactively, thereby redefining “defend” as the total cultural, economic and infrastructural annihilation of a foreign nation as a proactive measure safeguarding national security?
OK so lets just imagine we couldn’t think of any other solution to protecting national security, except to obliterate all other nations. What about all the internal censorship based on intolerance to divided views within the country? Well, those censored are wrong because. Says who? The news, and what’s the big deal, its not like those people are murdered?! Also wrong, its well documented by recent and increasing personal accounts that job and life are on the line. Doctors, professors, journalists, grass roots representatives and independent influencers are fired, silenced by social media and fired at for their exercise of free speech. Thats capitalism, and yes its totalitarian . Are you thriving now?
As I hold these mental debates with people who refuse to see reality, questions remain unanswered…
1.What is the difference between western capitalism now and dictatorships of USSR 30 years ago, for the average person? Good question.
2.Why do both systems funnel, sooner or later, into this authoritarian monopoly, drowning the 99.9% of its constituents? Answer: they dont. Dictatorship of USSR was not built on principles of communism, where community participates equally in decision making of production and surplus allocation. It was socialism at its best, where basic needs were provided for by government, but socialism does not imply an authoritarian government. Its the people that come to power that can take virtually any ideology and spin it for selfish gains. Its especially easy to do when the country is being attacked by foreign forces and all people want is a strong leader. During time of war, things that seemed necessary fade as people brace themselves in fear. Thats Stalin’s era and atrocities that came with it. It has nothing to do with socialism or communism. No country has practiced communism yet at a national level. Although Mondragon Corporation of almost 100,000 employees in Spain has done so successfully since 1956, using Marxian co-operative model.
Once I got turned onto Richard Wolff, light bulbs went off , followed by new questions. I saw a light, skies parted and my questions were being heard. Where have you been all these years Richard? LOL its me. Im the one who got interested in boring politics only now about 12 months agoish…
3. Does Marxism also lead to usurpation of human rights and dignity, withering of democratic principles and fear mongering? Not at all. People who claim that simply have Marxism upside down. Not surprising since communist ideology was heavily censored especially in America, where capitalists wanted nothnig to do with social good and used their money and networks to brainwash with mixture of communism fearmongering and self exultation.
4. What does democracy at the workplace actually look like?? Yes I understand how everyone shares equally in development and profits in cooperative structure, but what if someone has this brilliant idea for a business? it makes sense for that person to steer development of this idea( assuming its benevolent) rather than to succumb to work ethics of democracy of all involved, especially since that person likely invests all the capital to get it off the ground?? After all , some hierarchy naturally would exist simply due to differences in abilities and expertise, so from that stand point alone, not everyone would be able to contribute ideas of equal value in all aspects. Everyone involved should have a say in wages, benefits, work hours, and work environment and to be able to participate in product related discussions. Such discussions wouldn’t be equivalent to a democratic vote, but rather more comparable to pubic forums where ideas are exchanged freely. Such participation would allow creative input, thereby build community and interest in the product beyond simple pay grade. Fair wages would be ensured as well as some percent of profit for everyone involved. It has been recently acknowledged in the corporate world that employees find deep satisfaction in having their voice heard and a sense of community, and prioritize that over the exact dollar amount earned. Employees satisfied by their work environment tend to hold onto their position, even when another job offers better pay and will communicate their desire for a raise rather than quit suddenly. Obviously, that’s generally applicable when livelihood isn’t at stake.
5. How does China keep capitalist from getting government seats? make bribing of representatives via contributions illegal and punishable, don’t allow corporations in the gov, probably. Would need to research that more.
6. Assuming we are following China’s state capitalism model, and we also try to get closer to communism by keeping businesses fairly small. China has a built in system to discourage business buy outs and monopolies, by assessing higher taxes to companies that become conglomerates of various trades, thereby helping business diversification. Such system rewards smaller businesses with lower taxes. Does that avoid business coalition and how are coalitions a bad thing? Not sure yet.
I dont think a country would plunge into an overwhelmingly Marxian co-operative model of economy. Instead, a variety of business enterprise models should also be available. All of them would include the well-being of all players , not just the business owner.
- Business owner provides all the capital or secures a loan for startup and operation of company:
- Things to consider: profit inconsistency or lack of profit over a several months or more.
- are workers willing to take on the risk of sharing those losses or would they prefer a set wage?
- another option is shared profits on specific projects. each contributing worker would earn a predetermined percentage of profit. Regular meetings will be held to grade each worker’s performance.
- Co-op: everyone involved pulls money together to start and run an enterprise. Everyone shares equally in profits and losses. Everyone gets to speak at regularly scheduled meetings and everyone’s votes are counted real-time so that decision is made by end of meeting. Decisions include: capital allocation, production
6. machinery/automation: how that is dealt with is one of the main differences between established capitalist model and Marxian model. A Marxian business would view machine/automation as a positive for all involved: reduced working hours or extra profits/benefits to share.
7. competition: Capitalist model allows businesses to buy out competition, leaving monopolies as a result. Marxian business model would discourage or outlaw buy outs, encouraging
In all company decisions, transparency should be ensured and safeguarded, and open to community forum. Democracy at work implies transparency especially when it comes to distribution of wealth. Financial discussions currently held behind closed doors by board of directors, would be replaced with staff meetings much like quarterly earnings announcements with public stock shareholders, or perhaps a lot more frequent, since everyone involved is an active part of the business itself, not simply a shareholder.
Share holder model at the work place means everyone takes on percentage risk of losses, not only profit. Therefore at first many people might opt for a higher salary in place of profit sharing as a viable option. In the end those who sign up for sharing financial risk would be the ones voting on decisions effecting company cash flow, aka put your money where your mouth is.
Someone having a stake in company profits would be considerably disincentivized to disclose sensitive information, trade secrets with competition. Ofcourse the relevance of competition in a communism aspiring society is also being questioned by Richard Wolff and that would need to be explored and some middle ground must be the answer.
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Notes for further exploration:
Associations with capitalism:
intolerance of divided views or solutions
Politicians and politically correct
make people feel expendable
fatalistic mindset- loss of appreciation for life
lack of respect: Summit of the Americas-non interest in integration vs
suppression of government accountability
laws applied arbitrarily
laws passed to suppress free press free speech
no say in government spending or budget
Related current events and topics:
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Chen Ping and Chen Yi two Chinese leaders who established current Chinese economy
China- common prosperity concept
Marxism-analysis of how capitalism shapes culture and vice versa
Antonio Gramsci – Italian
Vasile Luca – Hungarian
Stuart Hall (cultural theorist) – Great Britain
Louis Althusser French
Walter Benjamin German: member of Franfurt school(Marxist school)-reaction against narrow Marxism which focused on economics and politics, but left out cultural dynamics shaping and shaped by capitalism
Walter Benjamin and Frankfurt school therefore called themselves cultural Marxists, completely different from today’s cultural Marxist synonymous with Name calling
reform vs revolution: A reform is easily undone. Revolution is wat makes the reform stick.
Marxits : is how you fight: a step towards a fundamental change, a reform is not simply and end in itself
Reforms take a long time, and achieve an isolated benefit that doesn’t address the whole picture of issues due to a system that is fundamentally flawed
Marxist school: a strike is an important battle: develops solidarities, to gain strength to fight for revolutionary change
1930’s: Roosevelt conceded to revolutionaries: so long as they stopped pushing for revolution. Approved New Deal
New deal was undone next 50 years: social security, minimal wage,(1997 last time it was increased and inflation effects face value), unemployment, 50 mil gov jobs
USSR, China, Combodia: did Marx influence atrocities in those countries ? No, Marx died 40 years before these regimes
Marx took very careful detailed notes of thinkers he read. what he liked and didnt like
1.Theories of surplus value: he thought labor theory of value (taken from Smith and Ricardo) in figuring out value can explain price, but it doesnt. These are Different things. People still think Explaining prices is economics.
2. thought Europe was most developed part of world. Eurocentric
3. 1864 organized with anarchist Bakunin International working Men Benevolent Organization.
Lenin tried to accomplish withering away of the state,.
May day- solidarity of workers celebrated all over the world, but not in US due to anti-communism. moved to September Labor Day. Although May Day origin was in Chicago. demonstration in Chicago for 8 hr working day, but couple police got killed, and bunch of anarchists were executed.
Every community takes portion of members and assigns them function to do specific work, who have to produce more than what they consume, but each society organizes that differently: who produces, and who decides what its going to be and who determines what to do with it. This effects basis of culture, art and music.
Any group doing the work and sharing their profits or co-op is communism. Americans prefer to call it entrepreneurial innovation. Happier, more productive, sharing ideas, biggest breakthrough came after leaving the big company, not working under big boss
Communism caricature is whats being feared
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