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Author Topic: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread  (Read 3015 times)

redwallzyl

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2018, 11:06:42 pm »

☑ Drastic checks on the fourth branch of government (Eliminate popular vote for presidents is step one. There's a reason we have the electoral college).  Going by my experience teaching, the need for every person to be an informed civic actor is a big chunk of educational bandwidth.  Which leads to 2.
God no. The electoral college is the problem not a solution. We need to get rid of first past the post not set have a system that disenfranchises people.
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Cthulhu

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #46 on: June 15, 2018, 11:46:49 pm »

Both alternatives swing the balance in favor of certain sectors of the population, which is why opinions on the electoral college tie almost 1:1 with which sector of the population a person thinks will vote for the candidate they want.

Why is it a moral imperative that citizens decide the President at all?  He's the leader of one branch of the government.  The clash between electoral and popular vote exists because they weren't supposed to coexist. 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 11:50:13 pm by Cthulhu »
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Baffler

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2018, 11:50:44 pm »

☑ Drastic checks on the fourth branch of government (Eliminate popular vote for presidents is step one. There's a reason we have the electoral college).  Going by my experience teaching, the need for every person to be an informed civic actor is a big chunk of educational bandwidth.  Which leads to 2.

☑ Descope school.  You spend 30-some hours a week for your entire childhood in Kid Prison and going by remedial course rates in college it was all a big waste of time, not even considering that it makes kids go insane.  School shootings aside, basically everyone I've ever known is hindered in some way in their adult life by issues arising from shit that happened in school.
Both alternatives swing the balance in favor of certain sectors of the population, which is why opinions on the electoral college tie almost 1:1 with which sector of the population a person thinks will vote for the candidate they want.

Why is it a moral imperative that citizens decide the President at all?  He's the leader of one branch of the government. 
For the first point I think you've got the problem right but not the solution. The office of president was never intended to be so powerful, but it was probably an inevitable consequence of the greater freedom of action and quicker decision making that made the framers include one in the first place that they would be able to consolidate power. That's what needs a reset. The legislature has been much too meek in allowing the executive branch to consolidate power within itself where they once fiercely guarded their independence. That's the paradigm we need to restore, not a move to constitutional monarchy or a parliamentary system with an unelected chancellor as the executive that's even less answerable to the people. The problem with that is that the legislature (and to a certain extent the voters as well) has realized that control of that strong executive is the most effective way of pushing their agenda through, which is a problem I'm not sure how to solve.

The second point I could possibly agree with, but again I think you've identified problem but proposed the wrong solution. It's obvious that our school system is not functioning as intended, but I don't think the reason for that is information overload. Curricula are less involved now than they were in the past, and still test scores are dropping both in general and in relation to other countries. Some say that it's just not up to the task of competing for attention with highly addictive and ubiquitous technology like videogames and smartphones. Kids not having their phones in class would certainly help, and videogames are a serious distraction for some kids (although it's doubtful that in a world without them they would become studious and not just be distracted by something else,) but I think that's only part of the problem. Others say that there's too much focus on sports, but that seems like a red herring. You need good grades to play sports, and even if some teachers will let the school's top quarterback coast by here and there that can't possibly be a statistically significant phenomenon. Hell the athletes at my high school (with just over 200 students at each grade level) consistently stood among the best students because to stay on the team they had to put the work in off the field and they actually had some personal discipline because of it; and that's a trend that holds true in other schools as well. This is well-trod ground on Bay12, but I think the problem ultimately is that the system is overly concerned with reviewing old material to ensure everyone is up to speed and not concerned enough with actually moving forward, and the majority end up jaded and disinterested because of it and even if they don't they're still behind where they ought to be and universities are having to pick up the slack. I won't write a whole fucking essay about that since, again, it's well-trod ground around here, but fixing that is the way to make our country educated enough to lead the modern world as it once did without having to rely on importing the massive numbers of opportunistic foreigners that we're told are necessary just to keep the institutions we set up running, and as knock-on effects go fixes (or fuckups) in the educational system are very powerful indeed.

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☑ UBI.  Basically a bribe.  Robot-based UBI is basically robots paying to put their senile parents in a home while they wait for the inheritance.  Which brings us to 4

☑ Human extinction and replacement by synthetic life.  All problems go away.  It doesn't matter if the world is fucked because robots don't need a biosphere.

Why would we want this? It's as though you've forgotten the whole point of organized society in the first place - to improve the lives of the people living in it. The means of production are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. Leaving the machines we built to make things easier to run the whole thing to keep churning away by themselves, for themselves, is tragic at best and masturbatory at worst. It would frankly be better if we turned our energies to slowly disassembling everything and turning Earth back into a wilderness but even that's still a lose condition, no different from suicide, unless it's becoming a nature reserve and we're sitting in big orbital habitats or something.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 11:52:48 pm by Baffler »
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Even if you found a suitable opening, I doubt it would prove all too satisfying. And it might leave some nasty wounds, depending on the moral high ground's geology.
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Cthulhu

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #48 on: June 16, 2018, 12:06:59 am »

My teaching experience was mostly the opposite as regards sports.  There are plenty of schools that let student athletes coast or worse.  The athletes at my school didn't give half a fuck about classes.  I don't think that's the problem though.  It may give some insight though.  If a kid doesn't plan on going to college, what is he getting out of school?  Certainly nothing worth 30 hours a week for twelve fucking years.  And even if he does, my first year of college (as it is for a lot of people) is catching up on all the necessary foundation that high school failed to build.

I think there's some merit to a powerful executive and knee-capped legislature and vice versa.  I'd say legislature is more out of date than executive.  It's parochial by-design, no term limits means porkbarreling is the optimal strategy.  Like a lot of things, it wasn't made with 50 states and 300 million people in mind.

The means of production are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

The means of production disagree.
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Egan_BW

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #49 on: June 16, 2018, 12:44:31 am »

We still haven't make those smart enough to disagree yet. Honestly if the means of production disagree, it's because someone made them to disagree.
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Baffler

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #50 on: June 16, 2018, 12:51:23 am »

My teaching experience was mostly the opposite as regards sports.  There are plenty of schools that let student athletes coast or worse.  The athletes at my school didn't give half a fuck about classes.  I don't think that's the problem though.  It may give some insight though.  If a kid doesn't plan on going to college, what is he getting out of school?  Certainly nothing worth 30 hours a week for twelve fucking years.  And even if he does, my first year of college (as it is for a lot of people) is catching up on all the necessary foundation that high school failed to build.
Well, I guess if you actually were/are a teacher you're closer to the issue than I am. Or maybe my county is just unusually well run, which I suppose is also a possibility. But anyway the point of it on paper is to equip them with the skills and knowledge required to function in a modern society, but without the specialist intellectual training that college (on paper) is supposed to provide, with trade schools existing to provide other specialist training. That system has broken down somehow, as high school diplomas count for less and less and college diplomas more and more serve as a signal to businesses that the person they're hiring isn't a fuckabout rather than training specialists, but that too is a very complicated problem.

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I think there's some merit to a powerful executive and knee-capped legislature and vice versa.  I'd say legislature is more out of date than executive.  It's parochial by-design, no term limits means porkbarreling is the optimal strategy.  Like a lot of things, it wasn't made with 50 states and 300 million people in mind.
I can't really disagree, except to wonder if parochialism and pork in politics is actually a bad thing. As long as every division has a serious seat at the table it's a much more efficient and transparent way to ensure that local needs are met than lobbying an executive who's dividing his attention across the whole country. Which, incidentally, our legislature is explicitly designed to ensure and prevent the common problem of a country's government caring about the capital and surrounding region and nothing else - see Argentina and to a lesser extent the UK for particularly egregious examples of this. Given the choice to kneecap congress or the office of the president I'd choose the latter any day, but like I said before people seem to be more interested in exploiting that particular problem (if they even see it as such!) than correcting it so the decision has sort of already been made.
 

The means of production are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

The means of production disagree.

Heh, as I see it these two sentences may well be the best soundbite succinct description of what the OP talks about that this thread will ever achieve. But I reckon that too is a problem to be corrected rather than compensated for (iPrez timeline) or embraced (AI Jesus.)
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Even if you found a suitable opening, I doubt it would prove all too satisfying. And it might leave some nasty wounds, depending on the moral high ground's geology.
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scourge728

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2018, 01:02:12 pm »

I know that over in Wisconsin, all an athlete has to do is get a D- (Which in the states is the lowest grade that isn't an F, because we don't use the E grade for some reason) or higher, and then they can still do sports (atleast in the districts I've seen/heard about)

Kagus

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2018, 05:53:34 am »

Then there are fun things like athlete-only courses that offer an easier path to graduation, so the school can benefit from the student playing for them without having to bother with distractions like schoolwork or exams.

At least that's what it's like at the college level, don't know if high school has similar programs set in place.

Cthulhu

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #53 on: June 22, 2018, 11:42:58 pm »

So, since it seems like Marx is a popular guy around here, what's your take on the calculation problem?  That should be worth an essay or two.
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Ispil

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #54 on: June 23, 2018, 12:08:56 am »

The what?
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Reelya

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #55 on: June 23, 2018, 12:37:02 am »

It's not really in line with Marxism at all. Marx's version of communism is a post-nation-state theory. With no state, there can be no state planning. Central planning is an industrial-era model, and thus it's not compatible with how Historical Materialism works: future changes happen because of future tech.

Historical Materialism is Marx's cornerstone theory. The basics of the theory are that sociopolitical organization naturally follows from economics and technological change. The modern nation-state arose out of the industrial revolution / capitalism. Communism, being a proposed successor state in the Historical Materialism model, will only arise out of changes in technology that fundemantally disrupt the nation-state political order itself. Marx held that in the communist phase, the state itself with "wither" and that the link between labor and production would break down. Things like the internet and automation are top contenders for how that could happen.

Here's something Marx wrote on the subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_needs

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In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners

The bourgeois are intrinsically linked with the modern-era nation states that arose out of the industrial revolution. Marx is saying that their day will end, only when productivity is so high that working is a desire instead of a demand, and that the fruits of increased productivity are so abundant that people will be able to focus on what they want to do, rather than survival.

e.g. Marx was talking about centuries in the future, when we reach near-automation levels, and when you do stuff because you want to do it, instead of have to do it. It's not an "everyone must work or else!" philosophy, or even a "100% employment" philosophy, it's the exact opposite of that.

If they bring in UBI, people work if they want to work, doing stuff they care about, and national borders start to become meaningless then that fulfills all the main criteria for Marxist communism.

EDIT: BTW some argue that one of the big current schisms isn't labor vs capital, but it's between nationalists vs cosmopolitans. Trump and other nationalist leaders represents the conservative nationalists, and a backlash against an ever more connected world where borders don't matter, while the cosmopolitans represent the growing core of people who see themselves as "world" citizens. This growing conflict is in line with Marx' theories of the erosion of the state in the post-industrial world. The power of nation-states will erode not because of uprisings or other "events", but because it's not competitive against more modern forms of economic organization.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 01:06:35 am by Reelya »
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WealthyRadish

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #56 on: June 23, 2018, 01:48:50 am »

The what?

The "calculation problem" is a debate comparing the effectiveness of centrally planned and market economies, focused on how resources could be allocated efficiently without the use of prices. The basic idea is that prices perform a signaling function to communicate information that would otherwise be extremely difficult to calculate centrally, and markets succeed by spreading the computations out over the decentralized network of individuals making decisions based on self-interest.

In my experience it's a discussion that is rarely done in good faith, and usually starts off as a battle between armies of strawmen headed straight for semantic pits of hell, but I'll give some attempt to condense my views on it.

Firstly, considering the "free market side" of the debate, I think it's very important to recognize that this question is grounded solidly in the context of Hayekian neoliberalism, which has a tendency to overestimate the efficiency of the market. There are zillions of assumptions that exist at every minute stage of analysis that don't reflect reality, particularly when applied to the modern form of state-administered corporate capitalism. In particular, the competitiveness of the market is overestimated, the extent to which the biggest actors and historical developments influence the basic structure of the market is underestimated, the legal mutability of the system is underestimated, and the metrics of efficiency themselves are ill-defined and somewhat deficient in meaning. In Hayekian neoliberalism there is also a particular tendency to look at our present institutions and seek positive social functions that may not exist; confirmation bias is everywhere, but in neoliberalism particularly it seems obvious (for example, I always feel a creeping sense of this bias towards existing institutions when reading economists struggling to come up with positive social justifications for modern increasingly differentiated and speculative financial instruments). Some other deficiencies in the Hayekian model include the questionable claims of objectivity (an illusionary effort to excise politics and ethics from economic thought while simultaneously strongly promulgating the obvious political ramifications externally), the weak frameworks for looking at market failures (attempts to view everything wrong with reality as either distortion or an externality), a tendency bordering on the absurd to play fast and loose with assumptions and the "long-run", and the reliance on imaginary metrics such as "consumer surplus" to inform policy (with little rigor in what these metrics really mean and whether they're meaningful enough to do things like inform policy).

Secondly, looking at the "socialism side", the issue is confounded by every person and their dog having a different idea of what socialism is, so the debate ends up confining it to a simplified vision of strict central planning. Here the argument to me doesn't feel interesting, in part because my personal conception of the One True Socialism doesn't include extensive central planning, but also because the argument usually seems constrained to only consider the issue within the context of the stated objectives of capitalism (objectives which the debaters take the liberty of stating on capitalism's behalf) when in reality any socialist economy would have many divergent objectives (and consequently demand different metrics of success). In other words, it feels like the whole question is posed as a challenge sounding like "how can socialism possibly do what capitalism does?" when a critical point is that most socialists don't want the economy to do what capitalism does in the first place. I feel like if you were to give central planning a fair shake, you would need to consider these other metrics of success that wouldn't be comparable to the metrics of Hayekian capitalism. I personally don't think central planning is a good economic model, but it seems deliberately set up for failure in how this question is posed, which may be misleading.

If you can get past all this and focus on the problem itself, there might be an interesting discussion to be had about the flow of information and so on.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 01:55:32 am by UrbanGiraffe »
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George_Chickens

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #57 on: June 23, 2018, 02:12:24 am »

The what?
[you're a big guy]

The calculation problem is not simply centered around a criticism of central planning, a key facet of it is the claim (I think Hayek's claim? It has been multiple years since I've actually read on it) that socialism inherently requires centralization to prevent petty squabbles and political disagreements from derailing the entire economy, which would inherently lead to centralization of political power and abandonment of democratic means of planning, which would inherently lead to totalitarianism.

If I recall correctly, earlier proponents indirectly say similar things, claiming, for example, that transport would be inefficient under socialism because it would be necessary for democratic decision on the building of roads and railways rather than economic choice. Hayek and Pals built upon this by claiming that it would thus need centralization and political separation to act effectively.   

This is not an argument for or against it, I only want to clarify I think it has a bit more depth than what has been said. In general, I feel it's a topic pretty much undiscussable on forums due to the enormous levels of bad faith it seems to bring. On top of that, I've never seen an argument for or against it online that did not devolve into "NO U!" "NUH UH, NO U!", and it almost always ends in bans, so I'd rather sit this one out.
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