Small business in a Marxist economy

Well, one could point to von Mises, Hayek and Розенбаум as advocates for a quasi-purist vision of capitalism (I think there is a poster here who directly references von Mises with his username). But the reality is that capitalism is no more practiced in the US or EU than Communism was ever practiced in the Soviet Union or China. Both systems are fundamentally similar, save for a detail here and there.

It should be noted that every nation is nominally democratic, if there is enough significant dissatisfaction with the government, it will fall. Soviet citizens grumbled a fair bit, but most of them were reasonably satisfied with their situation, I have heard that many felt that their way of life was better than other countries. Americans grumble a fair bit, but are reasonably satisfied and think their country is superior.

Also, the Soviet Union fell not because the people rose up against it but because the leader of the CPSU pulled out the pins. And it is not altogether obvious that life in those countries has improved a lot for the people living there, apart from the lack of anxiety over nuclear war.

No.

Not at all.

That is that is the exact opposite of true.

Here’s a minor half-suggestion - instead of just saying “wrongo!”, why not relate some information from your accumulated knowledge and experience, which I’m sure is awesome and extensive and such.

[quote=“Robert163, post:20, topic:683737”]

Is this saying that Marxism is largely the idea of one person and therefor easier to criticize a philosophy that has been assembled from many sources? why does that matter? why not judge Marxism piece by piece?/quote]

There would be several reason, not that I speaking for the other poster.

Because Marx’s writings rely on a rather simple-minded sleight-of-hand. He proudly declares that his utopian vision, which was completely derivative, was based in science. He then proceeds to effectively declare himself a prophet of the future, more or less, and that he can scientifically derive what will happen. His economics are farcical and his understanding of economics deeply flawed, so even his reasoning isn’t very good. But his basic problem is that he has nothing else. He declares it inevitable - but it doesn’t seem to be.

But even leaving that aside, Marxism requires that human beings will (A) Kill all everyone above the proletariat, and then (B) Spontaneously organize itself into a global community where life will be perfect, all resources perfectly allocated, and no hard choices need be made. This is why Marxism isn’t the answer: Marxism can only work if all the problems have already been worked out. Marx has nothing that early utopians did not have, except that he was even more successful in spreading pseudoscientific nonsense.

This is why I object so strongly to people who applaud Marx as an “economist”. The man was a cult leader who presumed to handwave all economic problems away, and his later behavior presiding over the Internationale foretold the nastiness that Communists would soon be working up. Mass purges, irrational party dogmaticism, and double-dealing to preserve personal power were part and parcel of Communism well before it ruled nations.

And, for that matter, this is why Steely Dan Fan doesn’t understand Communism despite his shallow defense of it. Actual Communists were completely incapable of making Marx’s vision work because it was a fantasy and not an actual coherent plan, or even a concrete goal. No matter how dedicated the disciple, you can’t turn lead into gold even though your alchemical recipe claims to be flawless. The only way to approximate it was to force society into the Marxist mold and hope it would somehow work itself out.

It didn’t, and that won’t change.

Revised post:

There would be several reasons, not that I am speaking for the other poster.

The first s that Marxism is the product of one mind (well, two if you count Engels). But more than that, there is no such thing as “Capitalism”. There is no such theory. It’s not officially written down anywhere and there aren’t any proponents for Capitalism per se. There are free markets, and in free markets capital may be allowed to accomplish certain things with the legal permission of government. And there are many supporters of free market in a wide array of ways, with somewhat different views on how they ought to function, and none of whom are even consistent with their own selves.

Free markets are an ecosystem. They don’t necessarily give you what you want, but they generally give you what you ask for - and they give it to you good and hard if you don’t ask for the right thing. But they are effectively extensions of the actions and decisions of millions of living creatures Communism is always a specific theory expounded by a certain person, and as Steely Dan Fan demonstrates the theory can never be tarnished by reality in the mind of the believer. But free markets are the reality; the theories come afterward only to describe and can never completely do so. Like an ecosystem, learning more about it simply opens up new questions, and the more you interact with it the more it changes in response to your choices.

Because Marx’s writings rely on a rather simple-minded sleight-of-hand. He proudly declares that his utopian vision, which was completely derivative, was based in science. He then proceeds to effectively declare himself a prophet of the future, more or less, and that he can scientifically derive what will happen. His economics are farcical and his understanding of economics deeply flawed, so even his reasoning isn’t very good. But his basic problem is that he has nothing else. He declares it inevitable - but it doesn’t seem to be.

But even leaving that aside, Marxism requires that human beings will (A) Kill all everyone above the proletariat, and then (B) Spontaneously organize itself into a global community where life will be perfect, all resources perfectly allocated, and no hard choices need be made. This is why Marxism isn’t the answer: Marxism can only work if all the problems have already been worked out. Marx has nothing that early utopians did not have, except that he was even more successful in spreading pseudoscientific nonsense.

This is why I object so strongly to people who applaud Marx as an “economist”. The man was a cult leader who presumed to handwave all economic problems away, and his later behavior presiding over the Internationale foretold the nastiness that Communists would soon be working up. Mass purges, irrational party dogmaticism, and double-dealing to preserve personal power were part and parcel of Communism well before it ruled nations.

And, for that matter, this is why Steely Dan Fan doesn’t understand Communism despite his shallow defense of it. Actual Communists were completely incapable of making Marx’s vision work because it was a fantasy and not an actual coherent plan, or even a concrete goal. No matter how dedicated the disciple, you can’t turn lead into gold even though your alchemical recipe claims to be flawless. The only way to approximate it was to force society into the Marxist mold and hope it would somehow work itself out.

It didn’t, and that won’t change.

Oh, god no.

This isn’t even close to being true.

And it certainly doesn’t account for non-Marxist communists such as myself.

ok, but, what about your own bias? are you just as critical of the ills of capitalism or do you speak from a bias? or maybe you just have a small bias? maybe none. just trying to see what your perspective is.

but i seem to recall that people who defend communism often say Marx was right but got corrupted. so how/why is it that you are a non Marxist communist???

This line alone goes along long way toward undermining the large amount of blinkered garbage you posted. There are no free markets, anywhere, not even Somalia. The economy never stands on its own, there are always forces managing and constraining it, that is part of the overall picture. There is no evidence that free market capitalism would ever work, as it has not been tried. Which is exactly what one could say about communism.

If you do this one more time I will dismiss everything you ever say.

Saying “wrong! wrong! wrong!” three times in the first page of a thread with no elaboration is as irritating as it gets.

“How is the owner” - this is a good way to show how alien Marxist thought really is. There is no bloody owner. Owners maybe, and they would be the ones doing the work. They would reap the benefits from the products of their labor. The only owner (singular) would be a single person, with no employees, trying to do something alone.

To the OP, my understanding is that you and your comrades would get together, formulate a business plan, map out your resource requirements, and submit a proposal to a relevant committee at the local commune. The commune would have two choices: allocate available resources to the most promising plans, or requisition additional resources to expand the available pool from a higher commune.

If your business plan was accepted, you’d get conditional and temporary control over sufficient means of production and resources to carry out your business plan. Because you are using the people’s means of production, part of the fruits of your labor would be turned over to the state (this might, in some systems, make up the aforementioned resource pool). In addition, no enterprise would be approved that didn’t provide something beneficial to the people at large (this can mean a lot, anything from “nothing Stalin central planning doesn’t tell you to make” to “anything anyone might agree to buy”). You and your comrades would split the remainder however you all agreed to - almost certainly by vote.

No stockholders, no dividends, no owners who aren’t workers, and everyone decides everyone’s wage (not that “everyone gets equal pay” baloney).

This has never existed, but that’s how the theory goes.

that sounds like an awful lot of trouble to go to split up profits by vote…

Utter crap. You are just projecting a familiar contemporary model onto a communistic social order. Not sure where you are getting this “theory” from, but it sure does not sound like a reputable source to me (especially if it resorts to tired clichés like “taking the fruits of your labor”).

We can only guess how a communist economic system would function, based on what we know and what we can imagine. We have had kibbutzes in Israel, and individual communes in the US and some other countries, but these only give us the vaguest hints about how a real, national communist system would be structured.

And given that this thing we call “capitalism” is just a prettified form of feudalism but with a touch of class mobility, one would have to assume that purist communism based on theory is itself unrealistic. A practical system requires a certain amount of compromise in order to be stable, discussing theoretical communism is as ridiculous as discussing libertarian theory without trying to explain how it would actually work.

Missing is the idea that enterprise could begin with one or two people and grow organically from there. I would think that would be the most common thing, because, you see, proper communism shucks off the enormous overhead of capitalism (the financial sector), which means people would only have to work half as much, or even less, because they are not working to support wealthy parasites. Hence, the average person would have a lot more free time on their hands to explore alternative ideas and processes.

Again it is all guesswork, one has to look at how our current society functions (in detail) and speculate on what we would change in order to improve it. Using raw theory is simply unrealistic, because if some form of communism could become stable, I can guarantee you it would not look like theory or prior example.

As far as actual realized Marxian Communist utopia…Marx and his followers were usually kinda vague about that. But, Marx did at one point write that:

I admit I’m having some trouble imagining how that would work out in practice. I kind of get a mental picture of a sort of Star Trek-style “post-scarcity” society, in which a talented cook or dressmaker might open a restaurant or fancy dress shop for the sheer pleasure of it (though presumably basic food and clothing would be available at the communal mess halls/clothing stores). Whether that’s actually what old Karl really had in mind, though…?

I have no idea what “Old Karl” had in mind as a practical matter. Sounds more like a Utopian daydream (I go fishing whenever I want, or fuss in my garden, or write novels).

Not really, it’s just a possible answer to your question:

Marx is a sort of father of communism (with the same caveats as my previous post); capitalism has no such father. It’s not that it makes Marxism easier to criticize (though there is some merit to the idea that a system that evolved over time to meet the needs of society might be inherently superior to an untested, clean-sheet rebuild, an Hayek makes that argument in The Fatal Conceit), it’s that it makes Marx easier to criticize, which is what you asked about.

It doesn’t, or at least not much (see above re: Hayek’s take).

I’m fine with doing that, Marx wrote a lot of material, and some of his ideas have value. Others are objectively wrong. I don’t see the need to accept it all or reject it all in toto.

That poster sounds like a cool guy.

I see your point, here, with the caveat that von Mises and Hayek’s version of capitalism is just a revision of what was already being practiced in their era. Both see the state as being essential, to create and enforce the “rules of the game”, correct externalities, and so forth, for instance.

Rothbard is closer to being Marx parallels, in that his proposals are more like a radical tear-down of the existing order, and its replacement by a new system of his creation. Rand would be somewhere in the middle.

No, wrong.

(Wow, that is easier than debate! Far less productive, but much easier!)

Seriously, though, am I supposed to guess at your objection? Is it that Marx believed communism to be a historical inevitability? Because it’s rather hard to read his work and not come away with the impression that he was proposing and cheerleading for communism, not merely discussing it as an encroaching inevitability.

Most Communist societies today kinda downplay Marx in favor of Lenin and the individual founders of particular Communist states.

Also the ideology is not so anti-Western and anti-Capitalist as it is anti-greed and anti-corruption. At least that is my impression.

ok, thanks, i am just learning about this topic. would you say Marx’s basic criticism’s of Capitalism are valid but his solution is faulty or are his criticisms just as faulty as well?

Why not for rubles/yuan?

“The trouble with socialism is that it take too many evenings.”

– Oscar Wilde