Socialism Leads to Higher Physical Quality of Life


#21

You don’t have to focus on that industrialiation though, or at least not at any cost. It is just a demonstration that socialist societies are capable of substantial production. Like I said, violent authoritarianism is a problem, and I don’t believe the state should own all industry. I believe that a large public sector that belongs to the state is good, but I think aspects of market socialis are also warranted. A good majority of that starvation was also acts of violent authoritarianism, and due to the study here and the calorie consumption in the USSR, I would say some of that starvation is the result of lack of economic development rather than the economic system, as there is also frequent starvation every year under capitalism, namely in third world countries, yet this is not the case in more developed capitalist countries (although they have various other issues aside from starvation, even things like hunger, even if it not fatal).


#22

The reason why I like this study is because it compares countries at similar levels of economic development, which to an extent controls for economic development and the subsequent material inadequacy experiences by both socialist and capitalist countries. Human needs don’t greatly change with level of economic development, so with more development, the differences in physical quality of life decrease, yet are still something to be considered in comparing socialist vs capitalist economies.


#23

“Given similar levels of economic development, socialism leads to higher PQL.” =/= “socialism leads to higher physical quality of life”


#24

I would disagree. The sudden industrialization shifted a large amount of the population away from agriculture. Since the agricultural economy was only lightly modernized it relied on a large pool of manpower for adequate production. When that manpower was no longer available in the necessary quantities, combined with bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption there wasn’t enough food to go around. In the case of China this was mostly by accident. In the case of the Soviet Union, especially the Holodomor, this was only partially accidental. Hungry people are easier to control after all.

Sudden and rapid shifts in production without an equal or greater increase in efficiency to make up for lost manpower and resources creates a gap wherein those resources are not being produced at the rate required to maintain a stabilized economy. If you progressively change then it is possible to avoid that; however, that’s rather uncommon among socialist nations (only one I can think of that didn’t have a food crisis is Vietnam, since they remained agricultural through and through)


#25

What does it mean then lol


#26

As you alluded to, this sudden shift in resources and disregarding of the capacity of certain sectors will lead to adverse outcomes. However, I don’t think that revolution will inherently lead to this outcome, but is rather a result of the leadership at the time, as it is certainly possible with the technology we have today to organize an economy so that such disparities in production won’t come to be (yet this also assumes transition to authoritarian socialism, and the circumstance would be different with libertarian socialism). This does depend on the leadership though, but even with poor leadership, this problem should be greatly diminished in a post-industrial society. I’m fact, technology and industrial forces would likely be able to more directly serve the needs of the population than a capitalist economy, in which isolated and destitute areas are often ignored due to lack of profitability.
I would once more like to reiterate that I do not propose total state control, but primarily libertarian socialism, and worker ownership of the means of production for a good portion of the economy.


#27

The paper supports the idea that at similar levels of income socialist countries will have better PLQ than capitalists countries, let’s sum this up as : “X>Y given A”. You have claimed “X>Y”. There is no evidence for this. Furthermore, if we compare X against Y excluding A, we see that actually there is evidence to support Y>X (highest PQL is seen in capitalist countries).


#28

The issue there is that a revolution encourages and almost always ends up as an authoritarian system. That’s why I think that a progressive and democratic method would be safer


#29

Just watch this and you’ll get a good idea of my perspective


#30

A more democratic method would almost certainly be better if it were possible, and while I suppose the possibility exists, the capitalist elite will resist to the very end. While gradual change into a social democracy could be possible, I find it hard to imagine socialism could be voted in. While I don’t ferverently advocate revolution, and am open to the possibility of reform, the chances of the latter working are unlikely, and would require immense amounts of time.


#31

The issue with a revolution is it creates a power vacuum. It’s very hard to prevent that vacuum from being filled by a demagogue. And lets remember that worker unions are often quite corrupt as well. Where I live the teacher’s union makes it essentially impossible to replace bad teachers once they have tenure, which fucks up the school system. There’s a reason I’m not going to the local school: I can’t. And that poor education just enforces the entrenched poverty all around me. Is it all the union’s fault? No, but they certainly don’t help to say the least.


#32

And ironically the only times where a revolution does not result in a power vacuum are revolutions organized by the elites.


#33

I do agree that successful reform is preferable to successful revolution. I think revolution, if incurred, does require structure and a plan. While I would say that revolution difficult to preform correctly, it can be done, and can be warranted in certain situations. On your point about unions; while they are corruptable, any human institution is. However, they are a force for the people, and since they are formed on the basis of protecting workers, which are a majority in society and the workplace, and are therefore fundamentally more democratic than more top-down institutions such capitalist lead business, and would be much better than traditional business at running the workplace.


#34

The issue with unions is that they are a force for the workers in that specific workplace. However, unlike a democratic govt., unions don’t have to work together. They only care about their own workers, not other unions. This can lead to massive infighting and wasted resources.


#35

Right, that is why if they or the workers were to own the means of production, they would control just that, and not the government. A sufficiently democratic state is fine in my opinion, but it must be very well structured, and be highly democratic, and minimize the chance for corruption and consolidation of power in the hands of more elite groups of individuals.


#36

The title I gave to the thread assumes that the countries are of similar levels of development, as it would be silly to claim that socialism leads to higher PQL if it were examining a socialist country with substantially higher income than a capitalist country. I figured that was a given, but perhaps I should have been more specific. I haven’t seen any substantial evidence that may imply that socialist countries can’t achieve comparable levels of economic growth when compared to capitalist countries, if that is what you are trying to get at. Even if they didn’t, that is still preferable to capitalist economies, as even though it may take more time, you would see improved physical quality of life once higher levels of eocnomic development were reached.


#37

Directly and democratically elected legislature with an elected supreme court. Semi-elected monarch as executive; however, the monarch holds no power unless there is an unresolved gridlock in the legislature, at which point the monarch can break the tie. Instead of a president you have consuls, who are elected directly from a pool of existing senators/representatives. When voting for a consul, you may choose a primary (counts as 1 vote) and a secondary (counts as 0.5 votes). This encourages moderate candidates, as while different people might have vastly different primary picks, they are likely to agree with a moderate as a secondary pick, discouraging divisive elections. Non-citizen permanent residents (such as immigrants with green cards) may only choose a secondary pick, giving them some voice in the government while still enabling citizens to have a majority voice.

Unlike consuls in Rome, however, there would be a primary consul and two secondary consuls elected. Consuls would function more as super-senators than executives, having the ability to propose a public assembly (which would allow a proposed bill to be directly voted on by the citizen body) and their votes count as three or five times as much as that of a regular congressman (3 for secondary, 5 for primary consul).


#38

While I do believe in a system in which people are able to vote for more than one candidate, the people must have even more control over such a system. While the system you proposed sounds like a good beginning framework, the power must ultimately fall on the hands of the people: so things like holding a referendum by direct vote for a bill, the ability to recall politicians if they do not serve the public (with some limitations), and to be able to effectively propose legislation to the legislature.
But I mean, as long as there are some additional democratic measures included, the system you propose doesn’t strike me as having any glaring flaws, and seems like a relatively sound system of government.


#39

Spasibo!