RUSSIAN ONLINE DATING
“Man with PhD seeks woman with tractor” (joke)
I was motivated recently to read what I could find on the ideas behind the political philosophy of Socialism. (Thanks, Jeanne.) Why is it attractive to so many people—especially young people—and why is it, at least partially, the form of government in so many countries today?
Also, I wondered if the people who are attracted to it really understand it.
This is some of what I read: (bolding mine)
“…Notable non-Marxist and Marxist socialist theorists alike have argued that the most significant argument for social ownership of the means of production is to enable productivity gains to ease the work burden for all individuals in society, resulting in progressively shorter hours of work with increasing automation and thus a greater amount of free time for individuals to engage in creative pursuits and leisure.
Criticism of private ownership
See also: Socialist critique of capitalism
Social ownership is contrasted with the concept of private ownership and is promoted as a solution to what its proponents see as being inherent issues to private ownership. Market socialists and non-market socialists therefore have slightly different conceptions of social ownership. The former believe that private ownership and private appropriation of property income is the fundamental issue with capitalism, and thus believe that the process of capital accumulation and profit-maximizing enterprise can be retained, with their profits being used to benefit society in the form of a social dividend. By contrast, non-market socialists argue that the major problems with capitalism arise from its contradictory economic laws that make it unsustainable and historically limited. Therefore, social ownership is seen as a component of the establishment of non-market coordination and alternative “socialist laws of motion” that overcome the systemic issues of capital accumulation. [???]
The socialist critique of private ownership is heavily influenced by the Marxian analysis of capitalist property forms as part of its broader critique of alienation and exploitation in capitalism. Although there is considerable disagreement among socialists about the validity of certain aspects of Marxian analysis, the majority of socialists are sympathetic to Marx’s views on exploitation and alienation. Socialists critique the private appropriation of property income on the grounds that because such income does not correspond to a return on any productive activity and is generated by the working class, it represents exploitation. The property-owning (capitalist) class lives off passive property income produced by the working population by virtue of their claim to ownership in the form of stock, bonds or private equity. This exploitative arrangement is perpetuated due to the structure of capitalist society. From this perspective, capitalism is regarded as class system akin to historical class systems like slavery and feudalism.
Private ownership has also been criticized on ethical grounds by the economist James Yunker. Yunker argues that because passive property income requires no mental or physical exertion on the part of the recipient and because its appropriation by a small group of private owners is the source of the vast inequalities in contemporary capitalism, this establishes the ethical case for social ownership and socialist transformation.”
[More:] These links work, by the way, if you are interested.
“Karl Marx’s theory of alienation describes the social alienation (Entfremdung, “estrangement”) of people from aspects of their human nature (Gattungswesen, “species-essence”) as a consequence of living in a society of stratified social classes. The alienation from the self is a consequence of being a mechanistic part of a social class, the condition of which estranges a person from their humanity.
The theoretical basis of alienation within the capitalist mode of production is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realized human being, as an economic entity this worker is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie—who own the means of production—in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value in the course of business competition among industrialists.”
[Somehow, I find this idea “backwards,” and more appropriate to the relationship of the worker to the collective.]
“In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1932), Karl Marx expressed the Entfremdung theory—of estrangement from the self. Philosophically, the theory of Entfremdung relies upon The Essence of Christianity (1841) by Ludwig Feuerbach which states that the idea of a supernatural god has alienated the natural characteristics of the human being.”
I started reading a MUCH LARGER Wikipedia article on SOCIALISM, but quickly got bogged down in historical definitions and variations—felt that I was in over my head, as someone who did not major in Political Science in college…and frankly do not care that much about the fine points—and started looking for the meat of the ideas behind the politics.
I came out with the same conclusion that I have held for all of my adult life: IT DOESN’T WORK!!!!! (at least, not for everyone.)
My notes, jotted down as I read:
Collective ownership of means of production:
Breaks the spirit of man—becomes a beast of burden.
No ambition to improve the product
Shortages or waste of excess product
Work at what is needed, not what one wants to do
Love for fellow man cannot be legislated or inspired by patriotic speeches
Abortion and euthanasia of defectives is accepted
No pleasure in work or art
All decisions by committee or vote
Would anyone WANT to live like that?
-Sis G ❤
PS: Happy bird-day* to me last Monday—I was 82!
*I got a fold-out card containing a beautiful pop-up blue jay (among other things!)