arbiteroftruth wrote:Given that you've also said that everything that defines capitalism is inherently negative, am I correct in understanding that in your view, socialism is *by definition* beneficial to the people? That is, suppose an economy doesn't have private ownership, and the means of production are *ostensibly* run to the benefit of the people, but the system attempting to do so happens to be incompetent. Would that system fail be to be considered socialist, because it's not *actually* run to the benefit of the people?
Mismanaged socialism is still socialism. It's about the objective itself. The Soviet Union I would not consider to be socialist, because the Soviet Union was focused on growing the wealth and power of the state, making it state capitalism. I don't see how you can have socialism without something resembling a democracy.
I personally support market socialism in which the businesses are ran as co-ops. Technically, you can run them exactly the same as a capitalist corporation, and get the exact same results. However, the goals of workers, consumers, and capitalists are different and different incentives lead to different decisions. All three groups are in conflict, but there are bigger conflicts between both the capitalist and consumer and the capitalist and worker than there are between the worker and consumer, which is especially bad when there is high inequality and absentee ownership.
The best economy is the one that is, by my definition best for the consumers. In an efficient market what's best for the workers is best for the consumers, but this is never true for the capitalist.
EDIT: Also, relevant details from another thread:
Thesh wrote:Productivity: A matter of perspective
What does it mean to have a productive economy? What productivity is intended to measure is whether we get more benefit for our scarce resources. The measure we use to judge productivity is dollars produced per hour worked; it is assumed that if we spend more money on something, it's more beneficial. However, we need to ask "to whom is this more beneficial"? In general, every dollar you spend gives you less benefit than the last. People at the bottom of the economy have vastly different priorities than people at the top - a wealthy person might spend $500,000 on a car for pure novelty, while a poor person might use just one percent of that money to buy a car.
What if the distribution of income was different? Would not our prices themselves be different? Imagine you had two groups of ten people with a transportation budget; the first has a distribution of spending similar to the wealth inequality in our economy, and the second has an equal distribution of spending. In the first group, you might see that the spending on transportation is five bicycles, five economy cars, a bus, speed boat, and a small single engine plane distributed among the first nine people, and a luxury sedan, sports car, private jet, and yacht for the last person. In the second group you might find ten bicycles, five mid-priced vehicles, two luxury sedans, three sports cars, a passenger rail network, and a commercial passenger jet.
Assume that these collections of goods were sold at auction. Assume that the members of each group bids 100% of their budget on their own preferences, with some individuals profiting off of vehicles shared by others in the group. Now imagine each group had to bid on the goods from the other group's preferences; you should expect some people to pocket some of the money rather than spend on transport - at equal pay, no one will feel the yacht or private jet is worth it at the price it costs to make. Thus, change the distribution of income, you change how productive our current economy is viewed to be.
So productivity, as we measure it, is not actually a measure of the efficiency of our economy, per se, it's a measure of the ability to get money from people who have money. As inequality grows, the usefulness of productivity as a measure of our economic efficiency goes down, and as the actual relationship between spending and benefit becomes weaker. After a point, wealth doesn't add to your quality of life at all. We may literally have spent the last thirty or forty years, and on net gaining nothing as there are no gains in real income for the average worker. We may even be less productive than we were, from the perspective of the average person.