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2020-05-11
Newsletter 319 - The Aftermath of Covid-19 - For the sake of our children!


FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN – THE AFTERMATH OF COVID-19

The ravages of capitalism are experienced by the poor on a daily basis. Marxist philosophy implies that there simply is no progress (development?) without struggle (sacrifice?). It is sad that the rise of the few is based on the constant misery of the majority...and we dare call that progress.

The failures of the market economy and monopoly capitalism have been evident and repeated. If research is too believed capitalism is not good for humanity. Its features of failure is evident, observed and replicable...Covid-19 has been our latest collective/global experience of how capitalism has and will continue to fail us.

We need an alternative! An alternative reset in the aftermath of Covid-19. All we must do is to be bold enough to seize the moment...let’s hear the democratic union movement representing the left articulating these alternatives...why are they so quiet?

SOCIALISM - Wikipedia

Criticism of capitalism

  • Socialists argue that the accumulation of capital generates waste 
  • They also point out that this process generates wasteful industries and practices that exist only to generate sufficient demand for products to be sold at a profit (such as high-pressure advertisement), thereby creating rather than satisfying economic demand
  • Socialists argue that capitalism consists of irrational activity, such as the purchasing of commodities only to sell at a later time when their price appreciates, rather than for consumption, even if the commodity cannot be sold at a profit to individuals in need and therefore a crucial criticism often made by socialists is that "making money", or accumulation of capital, does not correspond to the satisfaction of demand 
  • The fundamental criterion for economic activity in capitalism is the accumulation of capital for reinvestment in production, but this spurs the development of new, non-productive industries that do not produce use-value and only exist to keep the accumulation process afloat (otherwise the system goes into crisis), such as the spread of the financial industry, contributing to the formation of economic bubbles
  • Socialists view private property relations as limiting the potential of productive forces in the economy.
  • According to socialists, private property becomes obsolete when it concentrates into centralised, socialised institutions based on private appropriation of revenuebut based on cooperative work and internal planning in allocation of inputs—until the role of the capitalist becomes redundant.
  • With no need for capital accumulation and a class of owners, private property in the means of production is perceived as being an outdated form of economic organisation that should be replaced by a free association of individuals based on public or common ownership of these socialised assets.[340][341] Private ownership imposes constraints on planning, leading to uncoordinated economic decisions that result in business fluctuations, unemployment and a tremendous waste of material resources during crisis of overproduction.
  • Excessive disparities in income distribution lead to social instability and require costly corrective measures in the form of redistributive taxation, which incurs heavy administrative costs while weakening the incentive to work, inviting dishonesty and increasing the likelihood of tax evasion while (the corrective measures) reduce the overall efficiency of the market economy.
  • These corrective policies limit the incentive system of the market by providing things such as minimum wagesunemployment insurance, taxing profits and reducing the reserve army of labour, resulting in reduced incentives for capitalists to invest in more production.
  • In essence, social welfare policies cripple capitalism and its incentive system and are thus unsustainable in the long-run. 
  • Marxists argue that the establishment of a socialist mode of production is the only way to overcome these deficiencies.
  • Socialists and specifically Marxian socialists argue that the inherent conflict of interests between the working class and capital prevent optimal use of available human resources and leads to contradictory interest groups (labour and business) striving to influence the state to intervene in the economy in their favour at the expense of overall economic efficiency.
  • Socialists have taken different perspectives on the state and the role it should play in revolutionary struggles, in constructing socialism and within an established socialist economy.

Reform versus revolution

  • Revolutionary socialists believe that a social revolution is necessary to effect structural changes to the socioeconomic structure of society.
  • Among revolutionary socialists there are differences in strategy, theory and the definition of "revolution".
  •  Leninists advocate that it is historically necessary for a vanguard of class conscious revolutionaries to take a central role in coordinating the social revolution to "overthrow the capitalist state" and eventually the institution of the state altogether
  • "Revolution" is not necessarily defined by revolutionary socialists as violent insurrection but as a complete dismantling and rapid transformation of all areas of class society led by the majority of the masses: the working class.
  • Reformism is generally associated with social democracy and gradualist democratic socialism.
  • Reformism is the belief that socialists should stand in parliamentary elections within capitalist society and if elected use the machinery of government to pass political and social reforms for the purposes of ameliorating the instabilities and inequities of capitalism.

Economics

  • Socialist economics starts from the premise that "individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another.
  • Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members".
  • The original conception of socialism was an economic system whereby production was organised in a way to directly produce goods and services for their utility
  • In a fully developed socialist economy, production and balancing factor inputs with outputs becomes a technical process to be undertaken by engineers.
  • The ownership of the means of production can be based on direct ownership by the users of the productive property through worker cooperative; or commonly owned by all of society with management and control delegated to those who operate/use the means of production; or public ownership by a state apparatus.
  • Public ownership may refer to the creation of state-owned enterprisesnationalisationmunicipalisation or autonomous collective institutions.
  • Some socialists feel that in a socialist economy, at least the economy must be publicly owned.
  • However, economic liberals and right libertarians view private ownership of the means of production and the market exchange as natural entities or moral rights which are central to their conceptions of freedom and liberty and view the economic dynamics of capitalism as immutable and absolute, therefore they perceive public ownership of the means of production, cooperatives and economic planning as infringements upon liberty.
  • Management and control over the activities of enterprises are based on self-management and self-governance, with equal power-relations in the workplace to maximise occupational autonomy.
  • A socialist form of organisation would eliminate controlling hierarchies so that only a hierarchy based on technical knowledge in the workplace remains.
  • Every member would have decision-making power in the firm and would be able to participate in establishing its overall policy objectives.
  • The policies/goals would be carried out by the technical specialists that form the coordinating hierarchy of the firm, who would establish plans or directives for the work community to accomplish these goals.

Planned economy

  • A planned economy is a type of economy consisting of a mixture of public ownership of the means of production and the coordination of production and distribution through economic planning.
  • A planned economy can be either decentralised or centralised. 
  • Some socialist provided a comprehensive theoretical framework for a planned socialist economy.
  • In his model, assuming perfect computation techniques, simultaneous equations relating inputs and outputs to ratios of equivalence would provide appropriate valuations in order to balance supply and demand.

State-directed economy

  • State socialism can be used to classify any variety of socialist philosophies that advocates the ownership of the means of production by the state apparatus, either as a transitional stage between capitalism and socialism, or as an end-goal in itself.
  • Typically it refers to a form of technocratic management, whereby technical specialists administer or manage economic enterprises on behalf of society (and the public interest) instead of workers' councils or workplace democracy.
  • A state-directed economy may refer to a type of mixed economy consisting of public ownership over large industries, as promoted by various Social democratic political parties during the 20th century.
  • This ideology influenced the policies of the British Labour Party during Clement Attlee's administration.
  • Nationalisation in the United Kingdom was achieved through compulsory purchase of the industry (i.e. with compensation). British Aerospace was a combination of major aircraft companies British Aircraft CorporationHawker Siddeley and others. British Shipbuilders was a combination of the major shipbuilding companies including Cammell LairdGovan ShipbuildersSwan Hunter and Yarrow Shipbuilders, whereas the nationalisation of the coal mines in 1947 created a coal board charged with running the coal industry commercially so as to be able to meet the interest payable on the bonds which the former mine owners' shares had been converted into.

Democratic socialism

  • Modern democratic socialism is a broad political movement that seeks to promote the ideals of socialism within the context of a democratic system.
  • Some democratic socialists support social democracy as a temporary measure to reform the current system while others reject reformism in favour of more revolutionary methods.
  • Modern social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative modification of capitalism in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the theoretical end goal of building a socialist society is either completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist way.
  • The two movements are widely similar both in terminology and in ideology, although there are a few key differences.
  • The major difference between social democracy and democratic socialism is the object of their politics:
    • contemporary social democrats support a welfare state and unemployment insurance as a means to "humanise" capitalism,
    • whereas democratic socialists seek to replace capitalism with a socialist economic system, arguing that any attempt to "humanise" capitalism through regulations and welfare policies would distort the market and create economic contradictions.
    • Democratic socialism generally refers to any political movement that seeks to establish an economy based on economic democracy by and for the working class.
    • Democratic socialism is difficult to define and groups of scholars have radically different definitions for the term.
    • Some definitions simply refer to all forms of socialism that follow an electoral, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism rather than a revolutionary one.

Sally Ryan in an article "Education and Socialism" (2000) wrote that;

  • changes that socialism would bring, for in no department of social activity shall we see a greater or more vital revolution than in the methods and object of education
  • education not only means adapation to an individual's environment but the ability to understand and change it
  • schools should emphasize the importance of work with tools and materials
  • nature studies and trips into the wild in important
  • physical and mental development should be embraced
  • study production
  • school should unify knowledge, not compartmentalize it - a unity or synthesis
  • schools should do maths, science and technology - emphasize human development and progress