Tag Archives: socialism

Socio-Economics Is Like Soccer

economics is like soccer

We understand and accept this fact in sport. I tell my kids all the time “every member of the team is important”.

The same is true in socio-economics. The CEO can’t run a billion dollar company without the rest of the employees. The brilliant entrepreneur can’t bring that new gadget to market without the people who sweep the streets, pick up the garbage, grow the food, staff the supermarket, wait tables, and manage the petrol station. It’s all a giant web of interrelation. If we all need each other to make the whole damn thing work, then we should share the profit as well. This whole bizarre idea that the people who run companies or invent something deserve the 1% because they worked harder or are smarter is complete bullshit and easily falsifiable. I love Ayn Rand’s book, but the premise of Atlas Shrugged works both ways. Yes – when the entrepreneurs pack their bags and move to an island, society feels their loss. But if the rest of society up and left the entrepreneurs alone on the mainland, how long do you think they would survive on their own, without anyone to sweep the streets, grow the food and, by the way, BUY THEIR WONDERFUL PRODUCTS?

We all need each other. As Lester Freamon might say “All the pieces matter”.

Tagged ,

No Illusions Podcast #45

On this episode, I talk about socialism, Iran, quantum computing, faster-than-light neutrinos and how to make bad memories disappear forever.

Tagged ,

No Illusions Notes 20/06/2011

  • Iraq hunting $17 billion missing after U.S. invasion - “The missing money was shipped to Iraq from the United States to help with reconstruction after the ouster of Saddam Hussein….. All indications are that the institutions of the United States of America committed financial corruption by stealing the money of the Iraqi people, which was allocated to develop Iraq, (and) that it was about $17 billion,” said the letter sent to the U.N. with a 50-page report.”  That’s what these wars are about, folks – theft. Plain and simple. Theft of money from the U.S. taxpayers and theft of the natural resources of the Iraqi and Afghani people. Everything else they throw at you – Saddam, Bin Laden, the Taliban, etc – is just smoke and mirrors. It’s all about the rich stealing from the poor and the gullible. It’s the oldest trick in the book, a magnificent sleight of hand even Hypnotist Kenny would be proud of.
  • Another day another pedophile Catholic priest & cover-up by the Church - remembering, of course, that the key message here isn’t about the pedophiles themselves, it’s about the Catholic Church’s systematic and deliberate cover-up of the crimes to protect their cash. (See my earlier posts on the topic – GDay World 382 – Dr Wayne Chamley on Catholic Sexual Abuse in Australia, G’Day World Video – Peter Kennedy, Rebel Priest, part one, The Irish “Child Abuse Commission”).
  • WSJ has a brain aneurism when it learns the The Dalai Lama is a Marxist – “Earlier this month, the Dalai Lama told a group of Chinese students at the University of Minnesota, “I consider myself a Marxist . . . but not a Leninist.”” The author, philosopher Carlin Romano, then goes on to say “It’s an old, familiar position in Western secular intellectual life: Marxism wasn’t a God that failed, and the Soviet Union and Mao’s China don’t count against it, because Marxism was never tried—Communism perverted it.” That’s actually not the argument at all, Carlin.  The argument is that the Bolshevik’s perverted socialism. Had the Menshevik’s managed to wrest control of the Communist Party, we might have seen a very different 20th century Russia.
Tagged , , ,

No Illusions #12 – Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance #AusVotes

Ewan Saunders is the Socialist Alliance’s Brisbane candidate in the upcoming federal election. I caught up with him recently to talk about socialism, climate change, indigenous communities, and the Socialist Alliance’s policies on subjects like Iraq, Afghanistan and immigration.

As I mention during the show, if you’re interested in hearing more about “participatory democracy”, then listen to my 2008 interview with Richard Moore.

Tagged , , ,

Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein

In 1949, 16 years after he migrated to the USA, Albert Einstein, probably the most brilliant mind the human race developed in the 20th century if not of all time, wrote a pamphlet endorsing socialism.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Read the rest of his pamphlet here.

Those people who think socialism is bad, need to put together a better case against socialism than Einstein put forward FOR it. Who are the leading intellectuals that have spoken out against socialism and what were their arguments?

Instead of these simplistic rants that I’m seeing bandied about, I’d love to see some intelligent discussion, IF you’re all capable of it.

Tagged ,

Is Socialism Inherently Flawed?

Another criticism I have of Michael Moore’s “Capitalism” is that nowhere in the film did he discuss the alternatives to capitalism. There is one very short segment that discusses the attitudes of Americans about socialism in the lead up to the 2008 election, but there was no detail on what socialism is.

This morning I read this rant about the evils of socialism on “American Thinker” which claims:

“…the Achilles heel of collectivist dogma: for a planned economy to succeed, there must be central planners, who by necessity will insist on universal commitment to their plan.
How do you attain total commitment to a goal from a free people? Well, you don’t. Some percentage will always disagree, even if only for the sake of being contrary or out of a desire to be left alone. When considering a program as comprehensive as a government-planned economy, there are undoubtedly countless points of contention, such as how we will choose the planners, how we will order our priorities when assigning them importance within the plan, how we will allocate resources when competing interests have legitimate claims, who will make these decisions, and perhaps more pertinent to our discussion, how those decisions will be enforced. A rift forming on even one of these issues is enough to bring the gears of this progressive endeavor grinding to a halt. This fatal flaw in the collectivist design cannot be reengineered. It is an error so critical that the entire ideology must be scrapped.”

This guy obviously doesn’t realize that capitalism also requires a “total commitment to a goal from a free people”. We have laws in a capitalist society, just as they do in a socialist society. We even have laws (a LOT of them) that dictate how we operate economically. For example – try setting up a bank in your town without getting a banking licence from some government authority. Watch how long you last.

If the so-called “Achilles heel” or “fatal flaw” of socialism is that they have laws then capitalism has the same fatal flaw.

We have “central planners” in capitalist countries as well. They are called “government departments”.

This kind of stupid argument demonstrates how blinded many Americans are by the ideological programming they have been receiving for the last century.

Tagged , ,

a “debate” confined between two false poles

There’s a fascinating post on Dissident Voice about the battle going on in the UK between the BBC and corporate media who are apparently threatened by the breadth of the Beeb’s online offerings.

Quotes:

"The Murdochs of this world are naturally unable to conceive that corporate sponsorship compromises news reporting, showering pound and dollar-shaped sticks and carrots that inevitably cause journalism to slither in corporate-friendly directions."

"In his dystopian novel, 1984, George Orwell described the art of thought control called “Newspeak”:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

We are offered a “debate” confined between two false poles: the claim that the BBC is a threat to the “independent news” provided by commercial interests, and the claim that the BBC is a rare source of “independent, truthful” reporting. Modern journalism acts to “narrow the range of thought”, thus serving the powerful interests that control the mass media."

This idea about "a debate confined between two false poles" is something that Chomsky has been talking about for decades. In the West, we’re told that we have a ‘free press’ but, in reality, we have a press that’s owned either by wealthy individuals (Packer, Murdoch, Stokes, et al) or the Government… whose hold on power is often regulated BY those wealthy individuals and their control over the way the population thinks due to their media assets. And so what tends to happen is that our media discusses the happenings of the day in a limited fashion, always confining the debate between two false poles, making it LOOK like we have choice and healthy debate, where in reality we’re only given a small range of options to discuss.

My favourite example in Australia is to look at our election coverage. What is the range of debate and discussion given in the Australian media, during election cycles or any other time for that matter, to alternatives to our consumerist capitalist economic model? Where is the open discussion about the benefits of Socialism or Communism? It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the aforementioned wealthy owners of the media companies don’t want the people thinking about Socialism or Communism unless, of course, it’s to talk about the failures of those alternative models. The reason they don’t want us thinking about these alternatives is that if we moved towards them, they would lose their wealth, power and privilege.

This is why we need a NEW media that isn’t controlled by corporate interests.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Monbiot: “the bailout is as American as apple pie and obesity”

On the US bailout, George Monbiot writes:

According to Senator Jim Bunning, the proposal to purchase $700bn of dodgy debt by the US government “is financial socialism, it is un-American”. The economics professor Nouriel Roubini calls George Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke “a troika of Bolsheviks who turned the USA into the United Socialist State Republic of America”. Bill Perkins, the venture capitalist who took out an advertisement in the New York Times attacking the deal, calls it “trickle-down communism”.

They are wrong. The banking subsidies Congress rejected last night are as American as apple pie and obesity. The sums demanded by Bush and Paulson might be unprecedented, but there is nothing new about the principle: corporate welfare is a consistent feature of advanced capitalism. Only one thing has changed: Congress has been forced to confront its contradictions.

One of the best studies of corporate welfare in the United States is published by my old enemies at the Cato Institute. Its report, by Stephen Slivinski, estimates that in 2006 the federal government spent $92bn subsidising business. Much of it went to major corporations like Boeing, IBM and General Electric.

Read more.

Tagged ,

Best Analysis of Freddie Mac / Fannie Mae bailout I’ve read

I just read this analysis by Michael Hudson, a former Wall Street economist. It’s worth reading.

I love it when America, currently run by Republicans, the ones who keep demanding the rest of the world stop propping up their industries and embrace “free market economics” if they want to become part of the WTO, the same America that equates socialism with pure evil, spends hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money bailing out a publicly-listed company. Will those taxpayers end up shareholders in the respective companies? No. The money is going into a black hole, to pay the exorbitant salaries of the same greedy fat executives (like the CEO of Freddie Mac who got $20 million last year) who ran the companies into the ground in the first place. And the ones who ran the companies while they lied about the balance sheet don’t even go to jail.

When I talk with American friends about the bailout, they say the same thing – “it’s the best thing for the economy”. I always ask the same question – “why?”. And then they go… “ummm…..”. They don’t know the answer. They are just regurgitating what they’ve been told by the elite media.

Of course, if another country, say Venezuela, wanted to prop up one of it’s industries for “the good of the economy”, the US State Dept would declare them evil commies and threaten them with economic or military intervention. But oh, it’s okay when it happens in the US o’ A.

Hudson doesn’t agree that it’s the best thing for the economy. He says it’s the best thing for the big fish:

The looming defaults threaten financial institutions holding mortgages on such properties, moving up the economic pyramid to reach investors and creditors at the top. Somebody must take a loss. But who? Big fish or little fish?

Of course, the elites at the top want protection of their investments. They don’t care if $100 or $200 billion of little fish’s money disappears in the process. The people get screwed again and they smile while it’s happening.

Hudson, in his conclusion, says:

America’s $13 trillion in domestic real estate debt is no more payable than is the government’s $3.5 billion dollar debt to foreign central banks, or the public debt itself for that matter. Adam Smith remarked over two centuries ago that no government ever had repaid its debts. At that time the aristocracy – the heirs of the Viking warlords who conquered Britain and other European countries and turned their common lands into private property – held most of the land free and clear. Today, real estate has been “democratized,” but this has been done on credit. Mortgages are the major debts of most American families. In this role, real estate debt has become the basis for the commercial banking system, and hence the basis for the wealthiest 10 percent of the population who hold the bottom 90 percent in debt. That is what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and “the market” are all about.

Tagged ,

Why Did The CIA Get Involved In Afghanistan?

If you’ve seen the recent Hollywood blockbuster “Charlie Wilson’s War”, you probably think you know why the CIA decided to lend support to the mujahadeen in Afghanistan in 1980. It was to help defeat the evil invading Soviet army – right?

Wrong.

According to former CIA director Robert Gates and President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezinski, the CIA were involved in Afghanistan at least six months before the Soviet’s invaded. Okay, I know this isn’t new news, but I’m just catching up.

The CIA, with Presidential approval, were illegally supporting terrorist forces within the country to help them attack and overthrow the pro-Soviet government run by Nur Muhammed Taraki. Taraki, who had taken power via a coup from Mohammed Daoud Khan, a member of the Royal Family, was upsetting Muslims by trying to modernize the country – including the establishment of full women’s rights and the implementation of land reform. These are things you’d think the USA would support, right?

Wrong.

The USA was doing everything they could to prevent the spread of Communism. But why?

I’ve often wondered where this American fear of communism comes from. I know we’ve all been programmed from birth to believe “communism = evil, capitalism = good”, but why? If communism is just another political idea, like being a Democrat versus being a Republican, why not just let “the people” decide what they want? Why the massive scare campaign about the ‘red terror’?

I finally figured it out. Okay, I know, I must be dumb. It’s because the powers than run the USA are wealthy white men, otherwise known as the bourgeoisie. They are, by definition, anti-Communist. They have money and power and communism would take that power away from them and disperse it amongst the people. The success of socialism or communism around the world would encourage the people inside the USA to think about the benefits of Marxism and this would run contrary to the self-interest of the American upper classes. In fact, it is probably the last thing they want the people to think about. Think about football, celebrities, game shows, Saddam Hussein, New York Governors and their expensive hookers, ANYTHING – just don’t think about a different political system which would stop protecting the position of the privileged and the wealthy.

So anyway, back to Afghanistan. When the civil war, funded and supported by the CIA, was getting out of control, President Taraki asked the Soviets to help. They told him that sending troops in would be a VERY BAD IDEA. They knew what would happen. They knew the USA would use it as a pretext for further support.

After Taraki was assassinated, allegedly by a member of his own Government, then the Soviets invaded. And the rest is history.

Why is all this important? Because it goes to show, yet again, how you can’t just believe the official version of events.

If you believe the official version of events, the CIA stopped meddling in the affairs of other countries after the Church Committee Report came out in 1975. Yeah, right.

Tagged , ,