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    Thread: A Key Question About Socialism

    1. #1
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      A Key Question About Socialism

      If the profit incentive is removed from an economy, what can effectively take its place?
      Are you dreaming that you are dreaming?

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      UniversalMind, Iíll have to get back to you on this. Iím not a person whoís ever had much to do with politics, but in just a couple weeks, Iíll be starting a long-put-off deep dive into political and economic thought, starting with the communists because theyíre the best about open-sourcing. And because all the kindest, most open-hearted people in my life have been either communists or anarchists, and that does count for something.

      But itís an interesting question: if I picture a world inhabited entirely by people who think like I do, capitalism as itís practiced today just plain wouldnít be functional there. And while itís true that most people donít think like I do and never will, Iím not essentially different from others. Although it may very well be that itís the differences between people that are the sticking point Ė or the lack of trust that often results from them. And when you say ďremoved from an economy,Ē that makes things much trickier: it assumes a situation in which people are already used to thinking of themselves as being in competition with others, and thatís not a habit thatís going to go away just because of a change to the economy.

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      In theory people deliver what they can, and they get what they need.

      In reality the dictator (or more precisely the bureaucracy established by the ruler/s) dictates to the producers how much to produce of the different types of goods and service, and hands out the chosen amount of money to the consumers. Then the consumers choose what to buy for their money, subject to the availability of goods and services.

      This system would work if the ruler/s knew everything that the population knows. But of course they don't, and therefore the system fails in two ways: some goods and services will be in short supply, and there will be long waiting lines to get them (with many going home empty-handed), and some goods and services will be over-abundant, and there will be massive waste as a consequence. We know from the many socialist experiments in Eastern Europe how things work out in the long run.

      EDIT: I should add this point: There have been formal attempts at establishing mathematical formulae to calculate the specific amounts to be produced, and the specifik prices to be charged for them. But it was shown already back in the 1920's that this cannot be done correctly. In reality the economies in Eastern Europe looked to the western world to know roughly what to charge for different things and services, and how many of them to produce.
      Last edited by Voldmer; 08-18-2020 at 04:52 PM.
      So ... is this the real universe, or is it just a preliminary study?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      If the profit incentive is removed from an economy, what can effectively take its place?
      This is a moot question at best, I think. The profit incentive is buried very deeply into the human psyche, and pretty much the entire world has fully adapted that incentive into their social systems. I think we would need to transcend into a different kind of being before questions like "what's in it for me?" or "how much more than I put in can I get out of this product?" fade from our collective instinct... it's who we are -- even Bernie Sanders. In other words, greed is foundational to the human condition, and not something that can be removed from all our minds with a couple of laws or clever systems (as Voldmer noted above).

      That said, if your question is based on concern that the democrats are going to convert the U.S. economy to a full-on socialist system should they gain power, don't worry about it; the power of capitalism will not be magically erased, especially when most congressional members -- Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- have not abandoned those two questions above, among others. They might manage to tax the rich again, or even bring about universal health care, but they just don't have the will, the energy, and especially the support of their own constituents to bring on a Soviet-era socialist system (which failed miserably, BTW, and partially because their people got no valid answer to "what's in it for me?") Also, they've controlled Congress and the White House many times in the past, and removing profit, much less the incentive to gain it, from the equation has never been realistically considered, much less implemented. And no one, no one, will ever manage to impoverish Jeff Bezos, or erase the American Dream Fantasy that "That could be me." The Trump party might scare people into voting for them by calling all Democrats socialists --and that somehow they have the magical power to get 300 million people to change their mind about making money -- but this, to me, is just another Big Lie.

      tl;dr: Nothing needs to replace the profit incentive (capitalism), because it is too deeply buried in the roots of almost all of human society, and, if that's where you were going, the Dems will never/would never try to erase the profit incentive from our systems and our minds, because they really don't want to, and they just don't have the power anyway. The only thing that can take the profit incentive's place is a moment of transcendence shared by all humanity that elevates us above it, but that ain't happening anytime soon, I think.
      Last edited by Sageous; 08-18-2020 at 05:27 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Voldmer View Post
      In theory people deliver what they can, and they get what they need.

      In reality the dictator (or more precisely the bureaucracy established by the ruler/s) dictates to the producers how much to produce of the different types of goods and service, and hands out the chosen amount of money to the consumers. Then the consumers choose what to buy for their money, subject to the availability of goods and services.

      This system would work if the ruler/s knew everything that the population knows. But of course they don't, and therefore the system fails in two ways: some goods and services will be in short supply, and there will be long waiting lines to get them (with many going home empty-handed), and some goods and services will be over-abundant, and there will be massive waste as a consequence. We know from the many socialist experiments in Eastern Europe how things work out in the long run.

      EDIT: I should add this point: There have been formal attempts at establishing mathematical formulae to calculate the specific amounts to be produced, and the specifik prices to be charged for them. But it was shown already back in the 1920's that this cannot be done correctly. In reality the economies in Eastern Europe looked to the western world to know roughly what to charge for different things and services, and how many of them to produce.
      Do you think lack of ambition is a factor in the historic failure of such systems?

      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      This is a moot question at best, I think. The profit incentive is buried very deeply into the human psyche, and pretty much the entire world has fully adapted that incentive into their social systems. I think we would need to transcend into a different kind of being before questions like "what's in it for me?" or "how much more than I put in can I get out of this product?" fade from our collective instinct... it's who we are -- even Bernie Sanders. In other words, greed is foundational to the human condition, and not something that can be removed from all our minds with a couple of laws or clever systems (as Voldmer noted above).

      That said, if your question is based on concern that the democrats are going to convert the U.S. economy to a full-on socialist system should they gain power, don't worry about it; the power of capitalism will not be magically erased, especially when most congressional members -- Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- have not abandoned those two questions above, among others. They might manage to tax the rich again, or even bring about universal health care, but they just don't have the will, the energy, and especially the support of their own constituents to bring on a Soviet-era socialist system (which failed miserably, BTW, and partially because their people got no valid answer to "what's in it for me?") Also, they've controlled Congress and the White House many times in the past, and removing profit, much less the incentive to gain it, from the equation has never been realistically considered, much less implemented. And no one, no one, will ever manage to impoverish Jeff Bezos, or erase the American Dream Fantasy that "That could be me." The Trump party might scare people into voting for them by calling all Democrats socialists --and that somehow they have the magical power to get 300 million people to change their mind about making money -- but this, to me, is just another Big Lie.

      tl;dr: Nothing needs to replace the profit incentive (capitalism), because it is too deeply buried in the roots of almost all of human society, and, if that's where you were going, the Dems will never/would never try to erase the profit incentive from our systems and our minds, because they really don't want to, and they just don't have the power anyway. The only thing that can take the profit incentive's place is a moment of transcendence shared by all humanity that elevates us above it, but that ain't happening anytime soon, I think.
      I agree with a lot of that. However, I do believe that the Democrat leadership would love to bring about full socialism. It is a gateway to totalitarian government, and extreme government power is their obsession. Also, even getting close to full socialism would give the government so much power over the people that it would be able to easily go the rest of the way. Politicians are going to be as powerful as the people let them be until the government gets so powerful that the people cannot stop it.
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      Are you dreaming that you are dreaming?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      Do you think lack of ambition is a factor in the historic failure of such systems
      The vast majority of the population have no hope of satisfy high-flying ambitions, so they will not have any. And this will play a part - mostly because such a system simply fails to utilize the inherent abilitites in the people to any substantial degree.

      But whereas this wasting of human ressources will speed up the deterioration of the economy, the fundamentally destructive aspect of socialism is that it is fundamentally impossible to uphold a complex economy without matching demand and supply across the whole gamut of goods and services, and this necessitates a (at least somewhat) free market, which is strictly against socialist principles. In the absence of knowledge of free market prices, there is no meaningful way to know how much to produce of anything, and therefore an economy based on true socialist principles must necessarily implode.
      So ... is this the real universe, or is it just a preliminary study?

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      Hmmm... (Disclaimer: I still don't clearly understand socialism. I am still learning. I even don't clearly understand how capitalism could work either. And why are we always bringing authoritarianism into this conversation?).

      1. Do you think modern day "socialists" want a society where one leader decides for everyone their duty and their wealth?
      2. You think that the difference between people at the top and bottom of capitalism society is ambition/work ethic/integrity?
      3. You really believe the Democratic Party has the secret wish to establish full socialism? Do you then believe the Republican Party has any more charitable ambitions (those ambitions being totalitarianism)?

      Personally, I like that capitalism has increased individual freedom compared to a rigid caste system, that (personal) power/freedom does not only belong to those who have the biggest physical strength/greatest army. Given this present context, I also think "socialist" idea can help improve the system, that is, to redistribute the wealth that accumulates at the top to the (very ambitious) people at the bottom. I like the idea of giving more power/responsibility to the employees (who are also people of great work ethic/integrity) of a business (through worker co-ops).

      In terms of ambition and incentive. I think that in today's society, the incentive is the goods and services; the incentive is purpose; the incentive is accomplishment. The incentive is also money (the currency of power and freedom for oneself and for those we care for). But since when is money the ultimate motivator? It motivates crime and corruption. It motivates empty self-sacrifice. All the factors that motivate people nowadays, things such as virtue and integrity, compassion and altruism, desire of accomplishment... will continue to exist, whether money does or not. These things existed before money. Money can continue to exist, but it's not what's keeping our world together.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 08-18-2020 at 07:47 PM.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Voldmer View Post
      The vast majority of the population have no hope of satisfy high-flying ambitions, so they will not have any. And this will play a part - mostly because such a system simply fails to utilize the inherent abilitites in the people to any substantial degree.

      But whereas this wasting of human ressources will speed up the deterioration of the economy, the fundamentally destructive aspect of socialism is that it is fundamentally impossible to uphold a complex economy without matching demand and supply across the whole gamut of goods and services, and this necessitates a (at least somewhat) free market, which is strictly against socialist principles. In the absence of knowledge of free market prices, there is no meaningful way to know how much to produce of anything, and therefore an economy based on true socialist principles must necessarily implode.
      I agree with you on the necessity of proper pricing.

      People generally care about keeping their jobs, and jobs are generally pushed to be well done by people at the top who are obsessed with making as much profit as possible. Without that factor, I don't know how an economy could function well. Socialist countries have always been impoverished, and it is because so little money is generated in them. Store shelves are horribly lacking, people who provide services are lazy and slow, and nobody really gives a damn about cleaning up such problems at their places of business. Why would they?

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Hmmm... (Disclaimer: I still don't clearly understand socialism. I am still learning. I even don't clearly understand how capitalism could work either. And why are we always bringing authoritarianism into this conversation?).

      1. Do you think modern day "socialists" want a society where one leader decides for everyone their duty and their wealth?
      I think the politicians who are pushing for socialism want that. The masses of socialists do not specifically seek that, but they also do not understand that full socialism comes with authoritarian/totalitarian government in 100% of all cases. It takes a really oppressive and controlling government to make anything happen in an economy that has been robbed of ambition.

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      2. You think that the difference between people at the top and bottom of capitalism society is ambition/work ethic/integrity?
      I don't think difference in ambition is the full explanation, but I think it is a huge factor. Intelligence and talent are the main factors. Family connections can also help. I watched my parents go from rags to riches, so I have seen just how important those factors are.

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      3. You really believe the Democratic Party has the secret wish to establish full socialism? Do you then believe the Republican Party has any more charitable ambitions (those ambitions being totalitarianism)?
      The Republican Party generally opposes authoritarian/totalitarian government, though they do support crazy things like the war on drugs and laws against flag burning. They often talk about limits that should be placed on the power of government. The current COVID-1984 insanity has shown that Democrats typically do not value putting limits on the power of government as long as the government doesn't do anything racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. They see government as ultimate authority that knows best and should be able to rule accordingly, so long as certain specific groups are not singled out for oppression. If every American were a Democrat, the U.S. government would already have complete control. The vast majority of Democrats are oblivious to the dangers of government with too much power over the people.

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Personally, I like that capitalism has increased individual freedom compared to a rigid caste system, that (personal) power/freedom does not only belong to those who have the biggest physical strength/greatest army. Given this present context, I also think "socialist" idea can help improve the system, that is, to redistribute the wealth that accumulates at the top to the (very ambitious) people at the bottom. I like the idea of giving more power/responsibility to the employees (who are also people of great work ethic/integrity) of a business (through worker co-ops).
      How do you accomplish that without mass theft and extreme government control of the people?

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      In terms of ambition and incentive. I think that in today's society, the incentive is the goods and services; the incentive is purpose; the incentive is accomplishment. The incentive is also money (the currency of power and freedom for oneself and for those we care for). But since when is money the ultimate motivator? It motivates crime and corruption. It motivates empty self-sacrifice. All the factors that motivate people nowadays, things such as virtue and integrity, compassion and altruism, desire of accomplishment... will continue to exist, whether money does or not. These things existed before money. Money can continue to exist, but it's not what's keeping our world together.
      Would the incentives of purpose, accomplishment, virtue, integrity, compassion and altruism be enough to get you working hard 40 hours a week at a job you don't like?

      It is true that some people will do evil things in pursuit of money, but that is what laws against victimization are for. We need those. When the government has too much power over the people, the evil is many times larger and more destructive. The history of socialism has shown that.
      Are you dreaming that you are dreaming?

    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      ... I do believe that the Democrat leadership would love to bring about full socialism. It is a gateway to totalitarian government, and extreme government power is their obsession. Also, even getting close to full socialism would give the government so much power over the people that it would be able to easily go the rest of the way. Politicians are going to be as powerful as the people let them be until the government gets so powerful that the people cannot stop it.
      So, I trashed today's dream session by thinking about this answer throughout, and my thoughtful response that would explain that Americans are much different than, say, Russians or Chinese, because the Russians and Chinese people have welcomed totalitarian rule for centuries (millennia for the Chinese), while the U.S. population represents 4 centuries of people escaping that stuff, searching for freedom. So there is no way they would allow 100% socialism to happen here... and then I remembered something my wife often tells me, which amounts to "Take off the F---ing rose-colored glasses, will you?" at fairly high volume, and decided with that that, just as another term of a President Trump might bring in a democracy-ending authoritarian government that I would have never imagined Americans allowing, if the far left comes up with a system of change that quietly moves us toward socialism and a totalitarian state, our citizens might surprise me there as well.

      I was just going to give your post a "like" and call it a day, but I thought it might be nice to awkwardly point out that sometimes these conversations do come to some sort of agreement...sometimes!
      Last edited by Sageous; 08-18-2020 at 11:50 PM.
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      (Universal Mind)

      I will never understand the Republican Party... You think they oppose authoritarian government by wanting to prioritize the military and the police and implementing discriminatory policies which remove human rights to women, LGBT people, visible minorities, those people who want to assemble and protest? Before they can claim to be for freedom, they should do the bare minimum. Is it possible you don't think these things are important for a free nation? You want a state that is all military and then you expect it to protect you? Why you? Why not itself? You are being way optimist if you think a militarized state will serve the people.

      You think taxes are theft? Do you think that government should stop being funded by taxes but increase it's dependence on those individuals that have most of the wealth (thus creating conflicts of interest), and by continuing to criminalize poverty (and making prisons a profitable business)?

      Do you work a hard 40 hours a week job that you don't like? And money gets you through it? Welcome to capitalism! I worked a hard 60 hours a week job for no money (I had a scholarship that did not reward working more hours) I worked more because I wanted to. I was privileged to have that work, the equipment, those responsibilities. I will always miss it... In the end, I stopped, like all my colleagues, because our supervisor was obsessed with profit and production. The life quality was just bad. What you describe as working capitalism is actually what destroys ambition. I now work in a big profitable business that has some "socialist" values (take this with a grain of salt) such as selling shares to its employees. We have way better life quality and my colleagues have all stayed here for 10 and above years, because it's good here. Meanwhile, I miss what I did at the other place, but I'd rather live in this environment now. Thank god.

      Is the evil power that the democratic power gives itself is to educate and heal it's citizens? I'm sure it's better when the government gives itself the power to stop protest.

      (Sageous)

      I agree that we should be cautious of any party becoming totalitarian but are you really worried about a leftist movement toward totalitarianism right now? As a Canadian, I imagine the US moving left would lead to universal health care possibly eventually, like us, not toward a world where consumerism doesn't exist. I know it's tricky because the US is not Canada, but I live in the most socialist province (I heard) of Canada and we are doing fine. There is a lot to improve but we are not impoverished or under some authoritarian regime. I am very privileged.

      (Voldmer)

      Interesting comments about economy and pricing. I have to agree with your comments here for the most part.

      (Conclusion)

      I still have so much to educate myself on. This is where my thoughts are at. I don't think I can do much justice to these ideas but I commented here because I thought it was important these things be said in this discussion:
      - People who support "socialism" in North America do it because they see that capitalism has failed and will continue to fail: it is not sustainable (unless you dehumanize the poor).
      - People who support "socialism" in North America do so because they are distrustful of the rich (those with most capital). They have a lot of influence on policy and control politics. Much like the leader or the state, we should also be critical of these individuals/organisations lest we exchange one "evil" for another.
      - "Socialism" right now is ill-defined. It's kind of an umbrella term, I, and most that identify with this type of ideology, just don't believe in "trickle down" economy and want the government to provide education, health and support. They want equality (everyone to have the same rights, and equality of opportunity, not outcome). They want the rich to pay more taxes than middle class and the poor (not less by finding a bunch of loop holes) because they believe if all the people have their needs met, and even if they don't, they will spend that money and give it to the rich anyway and then it can "trickle back down" anyway if that's a thing (I don't believe it is a thing). Right now, small business are more impacted than big ones by taxes because the big business are protecting their asses through the influence they have. Socialists want to remove this corruption and help small businesses.

      Ok so, what I had to say is said. I'm sorry I can't be more informed or eloquent on this topic.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 08-19-2020 at 12:48 AM.
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    11. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      (Universal Mind)

      I will never understand the Republican Party... You think they oppose authoritarian government by wanting to prioritize the military and the police and implementing discriminatory policies which remove human rights to women, LGBT people, visible minorities, those people who want to assemble and protest? Before they can claim to be for freedom, they should do the bare minimum. Is it possible you don't think these things are important for a free nation? You want a state that is all military and then you expect it to protect you? Why you? Why not itself? You are being way optimist if you think a militarized state will serve the people.
      I don't at all support a militarized state. I support fighting crime by ending drug prohibition and the welfare state and by keeping major victimizers locked up. Republicans typically do not support a militarized state, though they do support drug prohibition and have majorly neglected 4th Amendment (search and seizure) problems that have been outrageous for many decades. What discriminatory policies do you think Republicans have implemented?

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      (Universal Mind)
      You think taxes are theft? Do you think that government should stop being funded by taxes but increase it's dependence on those individuals that have most of the wealth (thus creating conflicts of interest), and by continuing to criminalize poverty (and making prisons a profitable business)?
      I'm not on board with any of that. People who are against all taxation are generally anarchists. There are anarchist libertarians, but I am a minarchist. I am against abusive taxation and spending. We have to have a government, but it has to be funded with some degree of respect for people's property. The left doesn't feel that way. I question whether we could have a GoFundMe-funded government. We would have to stop giving military welfare to other countries and drop a lot of federal programs, most of which we don't need.

      If you want to see something hilarious, use a desktop to search "united states federal agencies" on Wikipedia. When you get to the page, scroll all the way down slowly. You will see just how outrageously big the U.S. federal government is. I support some of it, but there is so much waste that it is laughable. We need the FBI, CIA, DHS, and other agencies, but not projects that spend millions of dollars testing the mating habits of blue lizards. The Postal Service could very easily be privatized, and so could a great deal of other agencies.


      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Do you work a hard 40 hours a week job that you don't like? And money gets you through it? Welcome to capitalism! I worked a hard 60 hours a week job for no money (I had a scholarship that did not reward working more hours) I worked more because I wanted to. I was privileged to have that work, the equipment, those responsibilities. I will always miss it... In the end, I stopped, like all my colleagues, because our supervisor was obsessed with profit and production. The life quality was just bad. What you describe as working capitalism is actually what destroys ambition. I now work in a big profitable business that has some "socialist" values (take this with a grain of salt) such as selling shares to its employees. We have way better life quality and my colleagues have all stayed here for 10 and above years, because it's good here. Meanwhile, I miss what I did at the other place, but I'd rather live in this environment now. Thank god.
      I do work a 40-hours-a-week job. I have been on furlough lately because of the COVID-1984 craziness, but the furlough is about to end. Would I be working the job for free? Absolutely not. Do you honestly work for free? Seriously, what motivates you to work your job? Is it all about purpose, compassion, altruism, etc., or are you working the job to pay for food, utilities, and a little bit of fun? Can you get away with slacking off all the time at work?

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Is the evil power that the democratic power gives itself is to educate and heal it's citizens? I'm sure it's better when the government gives itself the power to stop protest.
      By "protest," do you mean "burning down cities, blocking traffic, and assaulting random innocent people?"

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      (Universal Mind)
      I agree that we should be cautious of any party becoming totalitarian but are you really worried about a leftist movement toward totalitarianism right now? As a Canadian, I imagine the US moving left would lead to universal health care possibly eventually, like us, not toward a world where consumerism doesn't exist. I know it's tricky because the US is not Canada, but I live in the most socialist province (I heard) of Canada and we are doing fine. There is a lot to improve but we are not impoverished or under some authoritarian regime. I am very privileged.
      I am very concerned about where your government is headed. "Free" healthcare took your country in a dangerous direction. Now your government gets to decide what medications fit budget concerns and whose lives are worthy of meeting budget constraints. You better hope you don't end up with a serious medical condition. You will be waiting a dangerously long time to get major procedures. You also can't count on much medical innovation. The big medical technological breakthroughs will not be happening in Canada under the current system. That expansion of government power is what led to constraints on speech. You can be arrested and jailed for using the "wrong gender pronoun." What's next? Horrible precedents have already been set because of too much government control of the people in Canada. If things do not turn around, you will most likely be living in a totalitarian police state in 20 years.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 08-19-2020 at 12:55 PM.
      Are you dreaming that you are dreaming?

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I don't at all support a militarized state. I support fighting crime by ending drug prohibition and the welfare state and by keeping major victimizers locked up. Republicans typically do not support a militarized state, though they do support drug prohibition and have majorly neglected 4th Amendment (search and seizure) problems that have been outrageous for many decades. What discriminatory policies do you think Republicans have implemented?
      Cool. I agree with you here, and I have to concede that I can't put you in one political box. I'm also trying to understand. About a discriminatory policy, there has been a few Trump has tried to pass recently. The last one I saw was about allowing shelters for homeless people to discriminate against LGBT people, who are at higher risk of being homeless. Way to go!

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I'm not on board with any of that. People who are against all taxation are generally anarchists. There are anarchist libertarians, but I am a minarchist. I am against abusive taxation and spending. We have to have a government, but it has to be funded with some degree of respect for people's property. The left doesn't feel that way. I question whether we could have a GoFundMe-funded government. We would have to stop giving military welfare to other countries and drop a lot of federal programs, most of which we don't need.

      If you want to see something hilarious, use a desktop to search "united states federal agencies" on Wikipedia. When you get to the page, scroll all the way down slowly. You will see just how outrageously big the U.S. federal government is. I support some of it, but there is so much waste that it is laughable. We need the FBI, CIA, DHS, and other agencies, but not projects that spend millions of dollars testing the mating habits of blue lizards. The Postal Service could very easily be privatized, and so could a great deal of other agencies.
      Cool information, thanks. (it would be hard funding testing of the mating habits of blue lizards since that's not very profitable).

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I do work a 40-hours-a-week job. I have been on furlough lately because of the COVID-1984 craziness, but the furlough is about to end. Would I be working the job for free? Absolutely not. Do you honestly work for free? Seriously, what motivates you to work your job? Is it all about purpose, compassion, altruism, etc., or are you working the job to pay for food, utilities, and a little bit of fun? Can you get away with slacking off all the time at work?
      Sorry, I think I was unclear. I used to work for below minimum wage for a job I loved more. Now I work a decent salary for a job I love less. But I love my life a lot more because it's more respectful. The need for money definitely motivates me working there. But the other motivators are what make me do a quality job or stay longer. At my previous job, I was working so much, I needed to change my mind so I volunteered at two different places. And I did that because it made my life more fulfilling than my grinding job.

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      By "protest," do you mean "burning down cities, blocking traffic, and assaulting random innocent people?"
      By protest, I mean mostly peaceful protest, but also any protest the people find necessary when the government is murdering its people (ex. police brutality). The right so adamantly wants to keep their right to guns so that they can defend themselves against the government. What will you do if the government becomes full socialist? Will you allow it or go do peaceful protest, or violent protest perhaps? (but maybe you don't support the right to guns to be able to form militias in defense against the government in the first place).

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I am very concerned about where your government is headed. "Free" healthcare took your country in a dangerous direction. Now your government gets to decide what medications fit budget concerns and whose lives are worthy of meeting budget constraints. You better hope you don't end up with a serious medical condition. You will be waiting a dangerously long time to get major procedures. You also can't count on much medical innovation. The big medical technological breakthroughs will not be happening in Canada under the current system. That expansion of government power is what led to constraints on speech. You can be arrested and jailed for using the "wrong gender pronoun." What's next? Horrible precedents have already been set because of too much government control of the people in Canada. If things do not turn around, you will most likely be living in a totalitarian police state in 20 years.
      Well, interesting. Definitely less worried than having a serious medical condition in the US. I've never heard of major issues from any of my relatives and friends with serious medical conditions with the hospitals/treatment.

      We cannot be arrested and jailed for using the wrong gender pronoun. The law won't allow harassment. It's already that way, you can't harass anyone already. Now, harassment of trans people has been included and defined. If I identify as a trans woman, the government recognizes me and recognizes that someone purposefully and frequently calling me man is harassing me. There's nothing new here. You can't go around harassing people.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 08-19-2020 at 03:37 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Sorry, I think I was unclear. I used to work for below minimum wage for a job I loved more. Now I work a decent salary for a job I love less. But I love my life a lot more because it's more respectful. The need for money definitely motivates me working there. But the other motivators are what make me do a quality job or stay longer. At my previous job, I was working so much, I needed to change my mind so I volunteered at two different places. And I did that because it made my life more fulfilling than my grinding job.
      Would you work hard 40 hours a week at a job you hate if your boss didn't care much about your job performance? Would altruism be enough to drive you? It hasn't been enough for the worker masses in socialist countries. Work performance has been pitiful. A greedy boss keeping tabs on you can work wonders.

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      By protest, I mean mostly peaceful protest, but also any protest the people find necessary when the government is murdering its people (ex. police brutality). The right so adamantly wants to keep their right to guns so that they can defend themselves against the government. What will you do if the government becomes full socialist? Will you allow it or go do peaceful protest, or violent protest perhaps? (but maybe you don't support the right to guns to be able to form militias in defense against the government in the first place).
      If the U.S. government ever goes full socialist totalitarian, I will fight the part of the government involved in that aspect. I will not do anything whatsoever to harm innocent civilians. It would be evil, and it would be terrible for my cause.

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Well, interesting. Definitely less worried than having a serious medical condition in the US. I've never heard of major issues from any of my relatives and friends with serious medical conditions with the hospitals/treatment.
      You are all lucky. There are those who have.

      https://torontosun.com/news/local-ne...-patients-need

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      We cannot be arrested and jailed for using the wrong gender pronoun. The law won't allow harassment. It's already that way, you can't harass anyone already. Now, harassment of trans people has been included and defined. If I identify as a trans woman, the government recognizes me and recognizes that someone purposefully and frequently calling me man is harassing me. There's nothing new here. You can't go around harassing people.
      The law also covers advocacy of genocide and incitement of hatred. That is dangerous thought police policy. Although nobody has yet been convicted of violating the act by merely using a "wrong" gender pronoun, there are Canadian legal analysts who are concerned that it could happen based on interpretation of the law. If calling a male who identifies as female "he" is interpreted as incitement of hatred or harassment, the person who called him that could be arrested and charged. It is a 1984 kind of law, and it is dangerous. Freedom of speech is not something to mess with. Once it is gone, the government can take complete control, unless they are stopped by an armed citizenry. Freedom of speech is one of the first things to go when dictatorships rise to power.

      https://www.cbc.ca/cbcdocspov/featur...c-16-explained

      https://imrussia.org/en/nation/763-t...edom-of-speech
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      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      I agree that we should be cautious of any party becoming totalitarian but are you really worried about a leftist movement toward totalitarianism right now? As a Canadian, I imagine the US moving left would lead to universal health care possibly eventually, like us, not toward a world where consumerism doesn't exist. I know it's tricky because the US is not Canada, but I live in the most socialist province (I heard) of Canada and we are doing fine. There is a lot to improve but we are not impoverished or under some authoritarian regime. I am very privileged.
      I'm really not worried, but I also wasn't worried 4 years ago that the people would elect Trump to the highest office in our land. And then I never expected our Congress to abandon all self-esteem, principle, and courage by supporting him as he blindly steamrolled his way through his presidency. I perhaps should have been worried, since I live in New York and was already familiar with Trump, but I figured Americans couldn't be that stupid, and then after he was elected I figured he would adapt to the role (rose-colored glasses for sure!).

      The U.S. might be on the cusp of another revolution, I think, and after the dust settles we could be a very different place. So yes, though I do not want to believe that one of those possible places might be a fully socialist totalitarian state, it could happen. I don't want that at all, and certainly fear it as much as Trump's authoritarian dream, but, no matter how unlikely, the possibility exists... we live in very strange times.

      I know I'm way off-topic here, so I'll stop with that.
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      (Universal Mind)
      I think we are starting to repeat (or at least, I will if I continue much longer). Thank you for the links.

      I guess I'll say I lean toward agreeing with you that if I could, I'd rather stay home than work, but I'll disagree with the rest, however. Knowing I have to work and do something again and again for the rest of my life, I rather do something I can be proud of and something that can challenge me. Maybe your experience with bossy bosses was with competent individuals but my experience was with incompetent ones, so I learned to take responsibility and initiative and make my own deadlines (not at all those of my boss).

      Anyway, this is personal experience so... that's it.

      If you ever have to fight that good fight targeted specifically against the aspect of the government that is full socialist totalitarian, I hope the other onlookers will understand and won't associate you with the others in your movement that are also harming innocent civilians in the process and those opposing your movement that might pass as members of your group, doing harm... and will support your cause.

      I hope experts can improve laws and policies but I am glad this country has recognized trans people and defined what constitutes unacceptable treatment. Sure, I can beat myself up and say you did it, but despite that risk, it still should be a law not to beat someone up. Law is scary when it is used for evil. But trans rights are not scary.

      (Sageous)

      I see. Well, whatever the future holds, people will have to continue participating and stay critical.
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 08-19-2020 at 07:08 PM.
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      Authoritarianism can happen just as easily on either the left or the right. For those who have seen the model where the political spectrum is broken up into quandrants by two scales, one social and one economic, I think this representation makes a lot more sense than trying to argue that either the left or the right is inherently more authoritarian by nature. And we can't necessarily assume an individual's position on the degree of social freedom they support based purely on their opinion on economic freedom. That being said, we certainly need to be aware of either political party moving towards greater authoritarianism in practice, and right now in the U.S. I see that exact shift happening in both parties. The one seems to only drive the other further in that direction.

      As Sageous suggested, if our political system becomes eroded enough to fail, we could end up with one or the other taking over in the form of a dictatorship. Another doomsday style possibility is that we could end up with a very bloody civil war with violent hatred on both sides. Any chipping away at our system of government is not a good sign, which is essentially designed to mitigate the effects of the inevitable imbalances of power. This is true regardless of which group or groups do the chipping away or who steps in to take advantage of the weakened state, because someone certainly would. So yes, hopefully this deterioration isn't happening as quickly as I worry, and hopefully people will wake up from the distraction of the partisan dualism sideshow in time. I'm not always this much of a downer, I promise. I just see trusting politicians and political parties as a dead end, especially in the current political climate. That goes for any narrative they feed us as well as any finger pointing they do at the other party to distract from the whole system picture. I'm getting a little "us vs them" here with regards to politicians here too, so it's worth mentioning that there's certainly potential for political leaders to do their job and serve the public within the context of a fully functional governmental system of checks and balances. We just have to keep a constant eye on them for signs of corruption because citizens are a critical part of that system of checks and balances, and not just when choosing this or that candidate on the ballot.


      As to the original question about removing profit incentive from an economy, I don't think it would be smart to take it to the extreme of removing it entirely. Nor do I think that capitalism in its current form can't or shouldn't be improved upon. I don't see why a system of individual profit incentive and a system of social supports and open collaboration couldn't both operate in tandem. Although where the balance is and what the ideal ranges of applicability are for each, I don't have enough knowledge of economics to say specifically.

      My own leaning currently is that there should be more restrictions/fewer passes for large corporations and fewer restrictions/more support (cultural, educational, and legal) for small businesses, entrepreneurship, sole proprietorships, freelancers, etc. I'm very much for business and capitalism in that sense. The mentality of an entrepreneur has some interesting overlaps with the mentality of open source and nonprofit projects as well. Generally, better treatment of employees couldn't hurt either, both in terms of quality of life and long term business success. I think a laser focus on squeezing every last drop of productivity out of people at the lowest possible cost is actually pretty short sighted even from a long term profit perspective.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      I'm really not worried, but I also wasn't worried 4 years ago that the people would elect Trump to the highest office in our land. And then I never expected our Congress to abandon all self-esteem, principle, and courage by supporting him as he blindly steamrolled his way through his presidency. I perhaps should have been worried, since I live in New York and was already familiar with Trump, but I figured Americans couldn't be that stupid, and then after he was elected I figured he would adapt to the role (rose-colored glasses for sure!).

      The U.S. might be on the cusp of another revolution, I think, and after the dust settles we could be a very different place. So yes, though I do not want to believe that one of those possible places might be a fully socialist totalitarian state, it could happen. I don't want that at all, and certainly fear it as much as Trump's authoritarian dream, but, no matter how unlikely, the possibility exists... we live in very strange times.

      I know I'm way off-topic here, so I'll stop with that.
      I was extremely worried about the Trump presidency during the 2016 election season and the following time leading up to his inauguration. You don't have to scroll too far down to see my 2016 thread on why I was freaked out about the coming Trump presidency. I think he has been much more rational and stable than what I was expecting, but he does have some big government tendencies that I think are worrisome. I also think he has done some good things. What I think is majorly scary about Trump is how he has been able to mesmerize millions of people to the point that he is pretty much a cult leader whose followers (in the vast majority of cases) will support him on absolutely anything. I think he could sell them whatever he wants to sell them, even socialism. I believe that he is by far the most talented politician of my lifetime, and he has a great deal of potential for destruction. I predict he is probably going to turn out to be okay in the end, though. He is a genius who knows how to appear one way and act another.

      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      (Universal Mind)
      I think we are starting to repeat (or at least, I will if I continue much longer). Thank you for the links.

      I guess I'll say I lean toward agreeing with you that if I could, I'd rather stay home than work, but I'll disagree with the rest, however. Knowing I have to work and do something again and again for the rest of my life, I rather do something I can be proud of and something that can challenge me. Maybe your experience with bossy bosses was with competent individuals but my experience was with incompetent ones, so I learned to take responsibility and initiative and make my own deadlines (not at all those of my boss).

      Anyway, this is personal experience so... that's it.

      If you ever have to fight that good fight targeted specifically against the aspect of the government that is full socialist totalitarian, I hope the other onlookers will understand and won't associate you with the others in your movement that are also harming innocent civilians in the process and those opposing your movement that might pass as members of your group, doing harm... and will support your cause.

      I hope experts can improve laws and policies but I am glad this country has recognized trans people and defined what constitutes unacceptable treatment. Sure, I can beat myself up and say you did it, but despite that risk, it still should be a law not to beat someone up. Law is scary when it is used for evil. But trans rights are not scary.
      I am very liberal on social issues. I support trans rights. I support rights for everybody, but not special government privileges. I do not have a problem with peaceful protesters, and I have been one myself. My issue is specifically with those who victimize the innocent and cop out by calling it "protesting."

      Quote Originally Posted by nautilus View Post
      Authoritarianism can happen just as easily on either the left or the right. For those who have seen the model where the political spectrum is broken up into quandrants by two scales, one social and one economic, I think this representation makes a lot more sense than trying to argue that either the left or the right is inherently more authoritarian by nature. And we can't necessarily assume an individual's position on the degree of social freedom they support based purely on their opinion on economic freedom. That being said, we certainly need to be aware of either political party moving towards greater authoritarianism in practice, and right now in the U.S. I see that exact shift happening in both parties. The one seems to only drive the other further in that direction.

      As Sageous suggested, if our political system becomes eroded enough to fail, we could end up with one or the other taking over in the form of a dictatorship. Another doomsday style possibility is that we could end up with a very bloody civil war with violent hatred on both sides. Any chipping away at our system of government is not a good sign, which is essentially designed to mitigate the effects of the inevitable imbalances of power. This is true regardless of which group or groups do the chipping away or who steps in to take advantage of the weakened state, because someone certainly would. So yes, hopefully this deterioration isn't happening as quickly as I worry, and hopefully people will wake up from the distraction of the partisan dualism sideshow in time. I'm not always this much of a downer, I promise. I just see trusting politicians and political parties as a dead end, especially in the current political climate. That goes for any narrative they feed us as well as any finger pointing they do at the other party to distract from the whole system picture. I'm getting a little "us vs them" here with regards to politicians here too, so it's worth mentioning that there's certainly potential for political leaders to do their job and serve the public within the context of a fully functional governmental system of checks and balances. We just have to keep a constant eye on them for signs of corruption because citizens are a critical part of that system of checks and balances, and not just when choosing this or that candidate on the ballot.


      As to the original question about removing profit incentive from an economy, I don't think it would be smart to take it to the extreme of removing it entirely. Nor do I think that capitalism in its current form can't or shouldn't be improved upon. I don't see why a system of individual profit incentive and a system of social supports and open collaboration couldn't both operate in tandem. Although where the balance is and what the ideal ranges of applicability are for each, I don't have enough knowledge of economics to say specifically.

      My own leaning currently is that there should be more restrictions/fewer passes for large corporations and fewer restrictions/more support (cultural, educational, and legal) for small businesses, entrepreneurship, sole proprietorships, freelancers, etc. I'm very much for business and capitalism in that sense. The mentality of an entrepreneur has some interesting overlaps with the mentality of open source and nonprofit projects as well. Generally, better treatment of employees couldn't hurt either, both in terms of quality of life and long term business success. I think a laser focus on squeezing every last drop of productivity out of people at the lowest possible cost is actually pretty short sighted even from a long term profit perspective.
      I support laws against victimization, and that includes pollution and other things. To that extent, I support regulations on businesses. That is about it, though. I think capitalism is a beautiful and powerful thing in its purest form.

      I agree that things are not as simple as left vs. right. When I say "the left," I am referring to those in the upper left of the diagram you described. They are currently dominating the Democratic Party narrative and have a huge presence in U.S. politics. I am in the bottom right. I agree that it is not just those in the upper left who threaten to impose totalitarianism. The upper right does also. Those are the groups often referred to as the 'far left" and "far right." I think those groups have a great deal in common. They disagree on a lot of things, but the kind of power they want to give to government would push it to the same place either way. When the government has complete control, it doesn't really matter what it is called.

      The tribal war that is happening in politics right now is what has Trump's followers (in too many cases) ready to support anything he does. They didn't even blink when he banned bump stocks or when he signed an outrageously big spending bill. They put the Trump clan before their conservative values. What people very often do is start out with a set of political principles, join a tribal war side that preaches those principles, and then put the tribe ahead of the principles. People will sell their souls in a second just to be loyal to their political groups. That is a major threat to civilization.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      People will sell their souls in a second just to be loyal to their political groups. That is a major threat to civilization.
      Yes, I think the best we can do is to humanize members of other political identities and voice why we prioritize something over another with an understanding that others have different priorities or ideas of how to make the world as best as possible.

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      What people very often do is start out with a set of political principles, join a tribal war side that preaches those principles, and then put the tribe ahead of the principles. People will sell their souls in a second just to be loyal to their political groups. That is a major threat to civilization.
      You know, when I was younger, I used to find it weird how so many people had the same opinions about politics. And not just the same opinions, but entire sets of the same opinions. What were the chances of that?

      But, having eventually determined that agreement was overrated, I discovered my favorite method of getting opinions: reading books by dead people and disagreeing with them. It has many advantages, one being that they donít try to appeal to your emotions so much Ė or, if they do, theyíre appealing to the emotions of another time and place, and so it misses the mark. And, as unintuitive as it might seem, the distance actually makes it easier to empathize with them and to get a good feel for where theyíre coming from and the assumptions about human nature that underlie them, which are rarely mentioned outright but seem to me to be central to just about every political question.

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