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Author Topic: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread  (Read 3841 times)

Kagus

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #45 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 #46 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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Reelya

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #47 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

Quote
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 #48 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 #49 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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you sir, deserve a medal. this is the dawn of a new age of child trauma.
also George_Chickens quit fucking my sister
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