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Author Topic: comrades, is bitcoin a great leap forward for international socialism?  (Read 6763 times)
hugolp
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September 05, 2011, 02:04:51 PM
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stevendobbs what would you say to someone who argued that its the lack of competitiveness of Western economies that is causing the huge burst in inequality.  The jobs that kept the working classes going are now being done in China and there is simply not need for their labour.  Naturally the rentier classes (doctors, public servants, lawyers and so on) are able to carry on getting paid as there is no way their work can be outsourced to China.  And the guys at the top are global players - there is little link between them and the country they live in.  The net effect is that the bottom 50% or so is scrabbling around for jobs and their wages are being inexorably driven to Chinese levels.  And this is bigger than any 1 country and certainly bigger than any 1 party; I can't see any escape from it.

The thing is that what you call the "rentier classes" are getting hammered as well, so your theory does not hold. Obviously they suffer less because they were in a more relax position but they are getting punished by the policies that are being applied.
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September 05, 2011, 02:13:06 PM
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stevendobbs what would you say to someone who argued that its the lack of competitiveness of Western economies that is causing the huge burst in inequality.  The jobs that kept the working classes going are now being done in China and there is simply not need for their labour.  Naturally the rentier classes (doctors, public servants, lawyers and so on) are able to carry on getting paid as there is no way their work can be outsourced to China.  And the guys at the top are global players - there is little link between them and the country they live in.  The net effect is that the bottom 50% or so is scrabbling around for jobs and their wages are being inexorably driven to Chinese levels.  And this is bigger than any 1 country and certainly bigger than any 1 party; I can't see any escape from it.

The thing is that what you call the "rentier classes" are getting hammered as well, so your theory does not hold. Obviously they suffer less because they were in a more relax position but they are getting punished by the policies that are being applied.

I take your point.  Life is harder for the rentiers as the educated working class is after the same jobs.  But they still have secure well paying jobs for life.  If we are talking about inequality, a few years unemployment will push a man well below the median lifetime earnings.  My central point is that wages in Western societies for unskilled workers will be driven down and that is driving inequality.  And its been going on since the 1970s in all our societies so its probably bigger than 1 party's 4 year election pledges.

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September 05, 2011, 02:16:09 PM
 #63

stevendobbs what would you say to someone who argued that its the lack of competitiveness of Western economies that is causing the huge burst in inequality.  The jobs that kept the working classes going are now being done in China and there is simply not need for their labour.  Naturally the rentier classes (doctors, public servants, lawyers and so on) are able to carry on getting paid as there is no way their work can be outsourced to China.  And the guys at the top are global players - there is little link between them and the country they live in.  The net effect is that the bottom 50% or so is scrabbling around for jobs and their wages are being inexorably driven to Chinese levels.  And this is bigger than any 1 country and certainly bigger than any 1 party; I can't see any escape from it.

The thing is that what you call the "rentier classes" are getting hammered as well, so your theory does not hold. Obviously they suffer less because they were in a more relax position but they are getting punished by the policies that are being applied.

I take your point.  Life is harder for the rentiers as the educated working class is after the same jobs.  But they still have secure well paying jobs for life.  If we are talking about inequality, a few years unemployment will push a man well below the median lifetime earnings.  My central point is that wages in Western societies for unskilled workers will be driven down and that is driving inequality.  And its been going on since the 1970s in all our societies so its probably bigger than 1 party's 4 year election pledges.

But I think you are wrong. Inequality and worse production system is what is driving low-skilled workers to go under the level of subsistance, not the other way around.
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September 05, 2011, 02:26:19 PM
 #64

hugolp - inequality was not lower in the 60s because people were kinder.  It was because all of society's labour was needed.  Now it isn't needed at the unskilled end of the labour market and naturally that drives down the price of labour and creates inequality.

I know you disagree with something but I don't know quite what part you think is wrong? 

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September 05, 2011, 02:35:37 PM
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hugolp - inequality was not lower in the 60s because people were kinder.  It was because all of society's labour was needed.  Now it isn't needed at the unskilled end of the labour market and naturally that drives down the price of labour and creates inequality.

I know you disagree with something but I don't know quite what part you think is wrong? 

I dont think the inequality is growing because the evil asians are stealing from us. Its because the production system in the USA and in Europe has changed. The asian development could have happened without affecting us.

The main reason for the increase in inequality is the increase of the monetary inflation since the 70's coupled with the changes in the way the CPI gets calculated. If you understimate the CPI (like Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, etc... did) the people that earn a wage will suffer because their wages are not getting actualized.

This is why during the 80's and specially during the 90's started appearing so many low-cost services. It was the market reaction to the empoverisment of the middle classes and trying to provide the services they wanted but at a price they could afford.
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September 05, 2011, 02:43:00 PM
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hugolp - inequality was not lower in the 60s because people were kinder.  It was because all of society's labour was needed.  Now it isn't needed at the unskilled end of the labour market and naturally that drives down the price of labour and creates inequality.

I know you disagree with something but I don't know quite what part you think is wrong? 

I dont think the inequality is growing because the evil asians are stealing from us. Its because the production system in the USA and in Europe has changed. The asian development could have happened without affecting us.

The main reason for the increase in inequality is the increase of the monetary inflation since the 70's coupled with the changes in the way the CPI gets calculated. If you understimate the CPI (like Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, etc... did) the people that earn a wage will suffer because their wages are not getting actualized.

This is why during the 80's and specially during the 90's started appearing so many low-cost services. It was the market reaction to the empoverisment of the middle classes and trying to provide the services they wanted but at a price they could afford.

Asians aren't evil.  I assume you were being ironic.

If your view is US-centric, I think you'll find that the US had been financing a trade deficit since 1975 or so.  That's 36 years of US workers not being able to compete and the US borrowing money to cover that lack of competitiveness. 

What I am interested in is the question of what impact you think unskilled labour being priced out of the market had.  Do you really believe it had no effect? 

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September 05, 2011, 02:49:14 PM
 #67

Asians aren't evil.  I assume you were being ironic.

Yes, I am refering to the language governments and some "intelectuals" and "economists" (not so curiously from conservatives to communists) about the evil asians that are stealing urrrjubs!

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If your view is US-centric, I think you'll find that the US had been financing a trade deficit since 1975 or so.  That's 36 years of US workers not being able to compete and the US borrowing money to cover that lack of competitiveness.

What I am telling you is that it is the other way around. The USA financing its deficits through inflation is what has caused the discoordination in the economy and the lower oportunities for workers, while it has benefited politicians and also to a degree the financial system.

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What I am interested in is the question of what impact you think unskilled labour being priced out of the market had.  Do you really believe it had no effect?

What I am telling you is that the problem with the unemployment and lowering of real wages of unskilled workers has almost nothing to do with the development of Asia, but it has to do with the policies that have been followed in USA and in Europe. The asians are just being used as scape-goat so people dont look at the ones at home that have benefited from the situation.
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September 05, 2011, 03:04:38 PM
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Asians aren't evil.  I assume you were being ironic.

Yes, I am refering to the language governments and some "intelectuals" and "economists" (not so curiously from conservatives to communists) about the evil asians that are stealing urrrjubs!

Quote
If your view is US-centric, I think you'll find that the US had been financing a trade deficit since 1975 or so.  That's 36 years of US workers not being able to compete and the US borrowing money to cover that lack of competitiveness.

What I am telling you is that it is the other way around. The USA financing its deficits through inflation is what has caused the discoordination in the economy and the lower oportunities for workers, while it has benefited politicians and also to a degree the financial system.

Quote
What I am interested in is the question of what impact you think unskilled labour being priced out of the market had.  Do you really believe it had no effect?

What I am telling you is that the problem with the unemployment and lowering of real wages of unskilled workers has almost nothing to do with the development of Asia, but it has to do with the policies that have been followed in USA and in Europe. The asians are just being used as scape-goat so people dont look at the ones at home that have benefited from the situation.

I know from personal experience that UK manufacturers fought tooth and nail to survive the impact of Chinese imports.  I've actually been in an extrusion plant in 2001 waiting for the liquidators agents to take the machinery (which was immediately shipped to China ironically enough).  The MD set up a "consultancy" from his back bedroom.  Maybe Americans didn't fight that hard but at least in the UK, there is a direct link between trade with China and the removal of low skilled manufacturing.  I can't help but feel that the loss of those jobs affected the workers incomes.  Spread that over the country and you have a huge number of people who have reduced income.  To say this doesn't affect income inequality seems a little bizarre. 


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September 05, 2011, 03:16:55 PM
 #69

I know from personal experience that UK manufacturers fought tooth and nail to survive the impact of Chinese imports.  I've actually been in an extrusion plant in 2001 waiting for the liquidators agents to take the machinery (which was immediately shipped to China ironically enough).  The MD set up a "consultancy" from his back bedroom.  Maybe Americans didn't fight that hard but at least in the UK, there is a direct link between trade with China and the removal of low skilled manufacturing.  I can't help but feel that the loss of those jobs affected the workers incomes.  Spread that over the country and you have a huge number of people who have reduced income.  To say this doesn't affect income inequality seems a little bizarre.

No. There is a link between the loosing competivity of the western countries and that they loose industry. And this industry obviously goes somewhere else. But we have seen in history many nations with higher, much higher, wages outcompete nations with lower wages. Wage is only one factor of the cost of production.
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September 05, 2011, 03:34:50 PM
 #70

That is a very strange thing to say? the left wing has not been setting the direction of our economies since the late 1970's. We've seen now 30 years of free trade direction and associated ideas. The democratic state has been rolled back, central banks and other agents have filled that power vacuum

Hahahaha. Was this ironic or you really believe it? If you do I recommend that you go and check the data (at least only for mental health).

whats all this hahaha padding about? Are you the kid who thinks he knows everything sniggering at the teacher from the corner?

In UK political economy, there have been two major Primeministers since world war 2.

Clement Atlee and Maggie Thatcher.

Unlike other leaders, these PM's set the direction that the nation would follow for decades. Clement took us to the left, and the nation stayed left despite conservative victories at elections. They maintained the basic approach clement applied, and the economy continued to recover, with debt as a % of GDP shrinking rapidly.

then came Thatcher.

In the USA, a similar thing happened. From pretty rational economic policy, the USA went bizarre with Reagan's wreckenomics. US debt then surged as Reagan laughably followed the laffer curve - the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of low taxes which doesn't exist.

Both nations suffered in comparable ways. The USA's fiscal stance collapsed and has never recovered. The UK's huge assets, built up by socialist policies prior to thatcher were spent on tax cuts funded by privatisation and asset stripping of housing stock.

Steven Dobbs, co founder of thunderworks ltd
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September 05, 2011, 03:36:43 PM
 #71

whats all this hahaha padding about? Are you the kid who thinks he knows everything sniggering at the teacher from the corner?

In UK political economy, there have been two major Primeministers since world war 2.

Clement Atlee and Maggie Thatcher.

Unlike other leaders, these PM's set the direction that the nation would follow for decades. Clement took us to the left, and the nation stayed left despite conservative victories at elections. They maintained the basic approach clement applied, and the economy continued to recover, with debt as a % of GDP shrinking rapidly.

then came Thatcher.

In the USA, a similar thing happened. From pretty rational economic policy, the USA went bizarre with Reagan's wreckenomics. US debt then surged as Reagan laughably followed the laffer curve - the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of low taxes which doesn't exist.

Both nations suffered in comparable ways. The USA's fiscal stance collapsed and has never recovered. The UK's huge assets, built up by socialist policies prior to thatcher were spent on tax cuts funded by privatisation and asset stripping of housing stock.

Again, check the data. You are going to be surprised about how the stories that have explained you dont fit what really happened.

You could also define what you mean by "left economics" and "right economics", just to be sure.
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September 05, 2011, 03:39:34 PM
 #72


If your view is US-centric, I think you'll find that the US had been financing a trade deficit since 1975 or so.  That's 36 years of US workers not being able to compete and the US borrowing money to cover that lack of competitiveness.  

What I am interested in is the question of what impact you think unskilled labour being priced out of the market had.  Do you really believe it had no effect?  

I largely agree, and I would add - I think they justified this sustained trade deficit by way of saying.. "Its ok, look we have inward investment."

But I think they will count anything as inward investment: Is a foreign take over of a PLC because business taxes are low a valid way of saying we have inward investment, likewise for credit investment and real estate - which was us ultimately funded by the winners of the trade imbalance.

Steven Dobbs, co founder of thunderworks ltd
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September 05, 2011, 03:41:47 PM
 #73


Again, check the data. You are going to be surprised about how the stories that have explained you dont fit what really happened.


the data supports my position. Perhaps you have misunderstood?

Steven Dobbs, co founder of thunderworks ltd
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September 05, 2011, 03:57:22 PM
 #74

Wow, no one here knows what socialism is at all.  To answer the OP post, bitcoin is a free market based mechanism for exchanging value and is in essense the very opposite of socialism since it eschews state controls and socialism can only be achieved through the state.  Marx was not a socialist but if he were around he would probably describe bitcoin as a progressive petite bourgiouse subversion of global capitalism due to its universal and international acceptance but ultimitaly a distraction to workers struggle for liberation from capital.  But the main benefit of bitcoins is that it makes ideology irrelevant.  But in the market place of ideas socialism and communism failed to achieve its goals (at a massive cost in lives, over 100 million) and has been fundamentally rejected by all human societies even where Communism is at the helm for the simple reason that it goes against human nature and no statist project that goes against human nature will last for long.

Socialism need not be state control - and even so, thats ok if it has democratic mandate. Most socialists are very relaxed about cooperatives - worker owned enterprises which compete in the market place.

People continue to confuse markets with capitalism only. There will always be markets, how ever production priorities are set.


Steven Dobbs, co founder of thunderworks ltd
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September 05, 2011, 04:15:29 PM
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Again, check the data. You are going to be surprised about how the stories that have explained you dont fit what really happened.


the data supports my position. Perhaps you have misunderstood?

I have some more time to loose, so come on, state what do you think is this left wing economic policy that happen before the 70's and how is this right wing policy that happened after the 70's. Please be concise and avoid rethoric.
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September 05, 2011, 04:18:56 PM
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Wow, no one here knows what socialism is at all.  To answer the OP post, bitcoin is a free market based mechanism for exchanging value and is in essense the very opposite of socialism since it eschews state controls and socialism can only be achieved through the state.  Marx was not a socialist but if he were around he would probably describe bitcoin as a progressive petite bourgiouse subversion of global capitalism due to its universal and international acceptance but ultimitaly a distraction to workers struggle for liberation from capital.  But the main benefit of bitcoins is that it makes ideology irrelevant.  But in the market place of ideas socialism and communism failed to achieve its goals (at a massive cost in lives, over 100 million) and has been fundamentally rejected by all human societies even where Communism is at the helm for the simple reason that it goes against human nature and no statist project that goes against human nature will last for long.

Socialism need not be state control -

you don't know what you're taking about.

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September 05, 2011, 04:22:01 PM
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I know from personal experience that UK manufacturers fought tooth and nail to survive the impact of Chinese imports.  I've actually been in an extrusion plant in 2001 waiting for the liquidators agents to take the machinery (which was immediately shipped to China ironically enough).  The MD set up a "consultancy" from his back bedroom.  Maybe Americans didn't fight that hard but at least in the UK, there is a direct link between trade with China and the removal of low skilled manufacturing.  I can't help but feel that the loss of those jobs affected the workers incomes.  Spread that over the country and you have a huge number of people who have reduced income.  To say this doesn't affect income inequality seems a little bizarre.

No. There is a link between the loosing competivity of the western countries and that they loose industry. And this industry obviously goes somewhere else. But we have seen in history many nations with higher, much higher, wages outcompete nations with lower wages. Wage is only one factor of the cost of production.

I agree.  They move up the value chain.  In the UK, manufacturing output has risen constantly.  What has fallen is manufacturing employment.  And within that fall, you see its the low skilled workers are at the greatest disadvantage.  Their work can be done elsewhere and thus they are no longer needed.

The reason this matters is that these unemployed low skilled people create a huge inequality.  Its not just that they earn less themselves.  The move from an economy where there was a labour shortage to an economy where there is a constant desperate supply of surplus labour puts those who buy labour in a very strong negotiating position.  While there may be other factors, this long term trend of having a permanently insecure labour force with constant unemployment and low wages has the be a big factor in the growing inequality in all our countries.

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September 05, 2011, 04:30:52 PM
 #78

I agree.  They move up the value chain.  In the UK, manufacturing output has risen constantly.  What has fallen is manufacturing employment.  And within that fall, you see its the low skilled workers are at the greatest disadvantage.  Their work can be done elsewhere and thus they are no longer needed.

The reason this matters is that these unemployed low skilled people create a huge inequality.  Its not just that they earn less themselves.  The move from an economy where there was a labour shortage to an economy where there is a constant desperate supply of surplus labour puts those who buy labour in a very strong negotiating position.  While there may be other factors, this long term trend of having a permanently insecure labour force with constant unemployment and low wages has the be a big factor in the growing inequality in all our countries.

Again, I am telling you the reason there is high unemployment is not due to the chinese taking the jobs, its due to the policies that the western countries have followed. The chinese "taking the jobs" is just a consequence. If we would have followed different policies there would not be this unemployment.
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September 05, 2011, 04:33:57 PM
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I agree.  They move up the value chain.  In the UK, manufacturing output has risen constantly.  What has fallen is manufacturing employment.  And within that fall, you see its the low skilled workers are at the greatest disadvantage.  Their work can be done elsewhere and thus they are no longer needed.

The reason this matters is that these unemployed low skilled people create a huge inequality.  Its not just that they earn less themselves.  The move from an economy where there was a labour shortage to an economy where there is a constant desperate supply of surplus labour puts those who buy labour in a very strong negotiating position.  While there may be other factors, this long term trend of having a permanently insecure labour force with constant unemployment and low wages has the be a big factor in the growing inequality in all our countries.

Again, I am telling you the reason there is high unemployment is not due to the chinese taking the jobs, its due to the policies that the western countries have followed. The chinese "taking the jobs" is just a consequence. If we would have followed different policies there would not be this unemployment.

OK give me a clue.  What policies would have prevented Chinese manufacturing from replacing unskilled "Western" manufacturing?

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September 05, 2011, 05:24:47 PM
 #80

Once upon a time there was a brilliant man named J. Orlin Grabbe. He said the following:

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Your first responsibility is to take care of yourself, so you won't be a burden to other people. If you don't do at least that, how can you be so arrogant as to think you can help others? You make progress by adapting to your own nature. In Rabelais' Gargantua the Abbey of Theleme had the motto: Fay ce que vouldras, or "Do as you will." Rabelais (unlike the Book of Judges) treats this in a very positive light. The implication is: Don't go seeking after some ideal far removed from your own needs. Don't get involved in some crusade to save the human race--because you falsely think that is the noble thing to do--when what you may really want to do, if you are honest with yourself, is to stay home, grow vegetables, and sell them in a roadside market. (Growing vegetables is, after all, real growth--more so than some New Age conceptions.) You have no obligation under the sun other than to discover your real needs, to fulfill them, and to rejoice in doing so.

In this approach you give other people the right to make their own choices, but you also hold them responsible for the consequences. Most social "problems", after all, are a function of the choices people make, and are therefore insolvable in principle, except by coercion. One is not under any obligation to make up for the effects of other people's decisions. If, for example, people (poor or rich, educated or not) have children they can't care for or feed, one has no responsibility to make up for their negligence or to take on one's own shoulders responsibility for the consequent suffering. You can, if you wish, if you want to become a martyr. If you are looking to become a martyr, the world will gladly oblige, and then calmly carry on as before, the "problems" unaltered.

One may, of course, choose to help the rest of the world to the extent that one is able, assuming one knows how. But it is a choice, not an obligation. Modern political correctness and prostituted religion have tried to turn all of what used to be considered virtues into social obligations. Not that anyone is expected to really practice what they preach; rather it is intended they feel guilty for not doing so, and once the guilt trip is underway, their behavior can be manipulated for political purposes.

For some reason this always come to mind when I hear/read socialists talking about their personal utopias.

Anyways, don't mind me Wink
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