Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

This is the place to shave off that long white beard and stop being philosophical; a forum for members to just talk like normal human beings.

Moderator: MagsJ

Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Jakob » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:45 pm

How do you perceive the economic model?
Last edited by Jakob on Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
For behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals
User avatar
Jakob
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6991
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:23 pm
Location: look at my suit

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby iambiguous » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:47 pm

Next up: Which ought he to be?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 31549
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Jakob » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:48 pm

He? Is ILP male?
Image
For behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals
User avatar
Jakob
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6991
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:23 pm
Location: look at my suit

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby iambiguous » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:52 pm

Jakob wrote:He? Is ILP male?


Uh, oops? :wink:

Next up: Which ought it to be?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 31549
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland


Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:51 pm

Capitalism is the antithesis of the love of anything remotely resembling wisdom.

Republicans are brain damaged https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... ne.0052970

Conservatism correlates inversely with education and intelligence viewtopic.php?f=3&t=194612
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:26 pm

ILP is more like an oil-rich state with a benevolent god-king. It has a natural resource in the form of my day job, which is sufficient to provide for the needs of its citizens, but also means that all decision-making is ultimately subject to my whim. Enlightened leader that I am, I generally choose not to exercise my locally infinite power.

It would be more capitalist if it had any wealth-like feathers, e.g. a karma system or upvoting, and if greater site wealth meant greater site power. It would be more socialist if it had a flat-rate fee to participate (and maybe provided our lesser lights with editing help). It would be more of either if the costs were supported by e.g. ad revenue, such that it depended on attracting new (and/or wealthier) participants.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Jakob » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:43 pm

Haha, yes yes, decent answer.
I guess god-king it is then.
I would appreciate it personally if that would become your title.
Image
For behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals
User avatar
Jakob
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6991
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:23 pm
Location: look at my suit

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:55 pm

Jakob wrote:I would appreciate it personally if that would become your title.

It basically is, have you read Hesse's The Glass Bead Game?
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:01 pm

Carleas wrote:ILP is more like an oil-rich state with a benevolent god-king. It has a natural resource in the form of my day job, which is sufficient to provide for the needs of its citizens, but also means that all decision-making is ultimately subject to my whim. Enlightened leader that I am, I generally choose not to exercise my locally infinite power.

The Kingdom of ILP benevolently overseen by the House of Carleas :D

It would be more capitalist if it had any wealth-like feathers, e.g. a karma system or upvoting, and if greater site wealth meant greater site power. It would be more socialist if it had a flat-rate fee to participate (and maybe provided our lesser lights with editing help). It would be more of either if the costs were supported by e.g. ad revenue, such that it depended on attracting new (and/or wealthier) participants.

Wouldn't be more capitalistic if you found a way to capitalize on it (ie ads, fees)? As it stands, it's more of a social service offering a wealth of wisdom for free, at your expense. The costs should be a charitable contribution for tax purposes ;)
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:51 pm

I guess there's two ways to interpret the question. One is the economics of ILP in the context of the broader economy, in which case it's like a privately maintained park, which is like a throwback to old patronage systems and not really either capitalist or socialist.

The other question, which is the one I answered, is the social order ILP from within ILP, i.e. who are the citizens, what's the government look like, what are the resources and who controls access. I think it's similar to Singapore, with a dictator that owns everything but is mostly hands-off, other than weird interventions like prohibiting chewing gum.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:34 pm

Carleas wrote:I guess there's two ways to interpret the question.

It just keeps getting more and more complicated lol

The other question, which is the one I answered, is the social order ILP from within ILP, i.e. who are the citizens, what's the government look like, what are the resources and who controls access.

How do fees and ads fit into that? It seems like you answered one question one way and the other another way:

It would be more capitalist if it had any wealth-like feathers, e.g. a karma system or upvoting, and if greater site wealth meant greater site power.

It would be more socialist if it had a flat-rate fee to participate (and maybe provided our lesser lights with editing help).

It would be more of either if the costs were supported by e.g. ad revenue, such that it depended on attracting new (and/or wealthier) participants.


Btw I'm glad there is no karma or voting: appeal to popularity.

So if there is no way to gain site-wealth, then everyone is perpetually equal, therefore it's socialism. Right? My opinion will never be worth more than anyone else's opinion. There is no way for me to consolidate site-wealth.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Silhouette » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:59 pm

Oh god-king, please accept my humble contribution:

Carleas wrote:It would be more capitalist if it had any wealth-like feathers, e.g. a karma system or upvoting, and if greater site wealth meant greater site power.

A karma system or upvoting would establish a kind of currency, yes, but Capitalism requires the ability not only to spend such a currency, but also to invest it into some kind of private ownership - perhaps allowing members to spend their currency on owning sub-forums to run as they please, or at least within your divine monarchist law. Competition would then theoretically ensue, and the rubbish rulers would go out of business and have to sell their forum to someone more worthy.

At the moment, there appear to be something like feudal lords ultimately under your rule, but offering military services (albeit more in the form of an internal policing system) as the serfs work the fields i.e. post (the majority of) threads and replies.

What I find interesting is that the Marxist "Historical Materialism" correlates with population size, indicating that this forum is bigger than one run in a Tribalistic way, but not so big as to become unmanagable even by moderators - which would then require something like the above described "capitalist-like" system for further decentralisation.

Carleas wrote:It would be more socialist if it had a flat-rate fee to participate (and maybe provided our lesser lights with editing help).

Sticking within the interpretation of the question as applying to the forum's internal structure (rather than in terms of its outside funding to exist at all) Socialism would only happen if the size of the forum became so unwieldy even for the Capitalist model to work effectively enough, that members would overthrow the capitalist ownership of the sub-forums, until it became communally established between members how to run and govern each sub-forum in a Communist model.

It would be an interesting social experiment to see what would happen to a forum of such size that it would come to this, and to see if somewhere along the way - some authoritarian leader turned up to lead this revolution and subsequently attempted to re-take the Carleas god-king role over a forum population much larger than can be centrally managed - causing it to all fall apart, as history is supposed to indicate "necessarily" happens...
User avatar
Silhouette
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3802
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 1:27 am
Location: Existence

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:56 pm

Serendipper wrote:How do fees and ads fit into that?

Fees/ads change things orthogonally to capitalist/socialist, but would move the site towards a policy area where that question is more meaningful. I'd say it's not socialist because citizens lack ownership, both private and public. Fees, for example, would give citizens a kind of ownership. Ads, by contrast, would effectively monetize contributions rather than citizens, so that citizens would have power over the state in the form of bargaining power (i.e. "I'll keep adding $$ content if you make change xyz").

As it stands, there's no requirement for value generation tied to the health of the site (at least in terms of the provision of necessary services, i.e. hosting etc.). That disconnect takes us out of the socialist/capitalist question.

I would think you'd want to exclude oil-rich states from socialism, since the outcomes there are generally pretty shitty, even though they technically meet a lot of the criteria for being socialist.

Serendipper wrote:Btw I'm glad there is no karma or voting: appeal to popularity.

We're not ever likely to have a system like this because it's a well-above-zero lift to implement, but conceptually I go back and forth on its utility. It can definitely be overdone and lead to bad outcomes, particularly on a site that tries to accommodate controversial worldviews. But some minimal version could improve things, especially by catching and demoting the overlooked dreck, and also by calling attention to particularly solid contributions.

Arguably there is a super minimal karma system: new user permissions are restricted for their first few posts, and non-custom ranks are tied to post counts. It's minimal enough that no one thinks of this as a karma system, but it's basically treating post count as karma.

Silhouette wrote:A karma system or upvoting would establish a kind of currency, yes, but Capitalism requires the ability not only to spend such a currency, but also to invest it into some kind of private ownership - perhaps allowing members to spend their currency on owning sub-forums to run as they please, or at least within your divine monarchist law. Competition would then theoretically ensue, and the rubbish rulers would go out of business and have to sell their forum to someone more worthy.

I basically agree, although the analogy begins to breakdown as we get more literal. To have a true economy, we'd need some kind of currency which could both be earned by actions taken on the site, and spent on features. So, for example, users might get a certain amount of karma upon joining, spend karma both to post and to read others' posts, and receive some part of the karma that others spend to read their posts. Karma could be spend to found new forums or to promote posts or the like.

This is actually a fascinating thought experiment and it would be interesting to observe, but I don't know that it would produce the best philosophy (as opposed to e.g. lots of threads full of porn and salacious rumors about our dear god-king).

Silhouette wrote:At the moment, there appear to be something like feudal lords ultimately under your rule, but offering military services (albeit more in the form of an internal policing system) as the serfs work the fields i.e. post (the majority of) threads and replies.

Yes, we do have an unelected nobility with significant power and near-absolute control over their fiefdom. But I'm not sure that the users are serfs. The value proposition that ILP offers to users is the opportunity posts in a place where other users will see them. That would be something like a serf working a field in exchange for the opportunity to work the field beside her friends.

Silhouette wrote:What I find interesting is that the Marxist "Historical Materialism" correlates with population size, indicating that this forum is bigger than one run in a Tribalistic way, but not so big as to become unmanagable even by moderators - which would then require something like the above described "capitalist-like" system for further decentralisation.

I think we actually got to the point where things became unmanageable by moderators, and we need either a greater resource expenditure or a decentralized system. Instead, we failed to deliver either, people got frustrated and left, and we shrank back down to a size that could be managed by moderators.

Which is to say that the causal connection might go the other way: if we implemented the capitalist-like (or, more accurately, market-like) system, we would probably see more growth.

Silhouette wrote:It would be an interesting social experiment to see what would happen to a forum of such size that it would come to this, and to see if somewhere along the way - some authoritarian leader turned up to lead this revolution and subsequently attempted to re-take the Carleas god-king role over a forum population much larger than can be centrally managed - causing it to all fall apart, as history is supposed to indicate "necessarily" happens...

There are some parallels in what you're saying to what has happened with Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter over the past few years. Those platforms grew very rapidly, and experienced problems with moderation, leading to crackdowns followed by large-scale defections and the creation of new independent 'states'. Reddit and Twitter seem to have weathered the storm better, at least in terms of quality of discussion. Facebook used more communist-like central planning in the form of algorithmic moderation, and Reddit used more capitalist-like decentralization in the form of subreddits and karma. Twitter's approach has some lighter moderation plus organic controls of liking/retweeting/unfollowing/muting/blocking. The platforms have other differences, but it does appear that one dimension on which they compete with each other is social policy.

Carleas wrote:wealth-like feathers

BTW, I meant to write "wealth-like features", but "wealth-like feathers" is a funny and evocative typo, and I wish I were clever enough to come up with that sort of thing intentionally.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:54 pm

Carleas wrote:
Serendipper wrote:How do fees and ads fit into that?

I'd say it's not socialist because citizens lack ownership, both private and public. Fees, for example, would give citizens a kind of ownership.

But fees are more like rent, right? I still wouldn't own anything except what rights are allot by the TOS agreement. Now if you were to issue shares....

Ads, by contrast, would effectively monetize contributions rather than citizens, so that citizens would have power over the state in the form of bargaining power (i.e. "I'll keep adding $$ content if you make change xyz").

But don't I have that power now? You said speech maximization is your goal, so I could still offer my content-creation as a bargaining chip.

I would think you'd want to exclude oil-rich states from socialism, since the outcomes there are generally pretty shitty, even though they technically meet a lot of the criteria for being socialist.

There are many definitions of socialism, but one I prefer describes one pole of the dichotomy of dispersal/accretion of wealth. So even though the oil-rich states are sometimes lacking democracy and citizen-ownership of resources, the wealth is still distributed rather than hoarded. The only reason for a king to distribute wealth is for the good of society (social). There is no law saying the king has to be benevolent.

the outcomes there are generally pretty shitty

Brunei isn't too bad.

Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asian nations, after Singapore, and is classified as a "developed country".[13] According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brunei

The biggest problem in Brunei is the Islamic religion.

Norway doesn't have that problem. Norway typically tops every measure of prosperity.

Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position also held previously between 2001 and 2006.[20] It also had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking[21][22][23] until 2018 when Iceland moved to the top of the list.[24] Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017[25] and currently ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, and the Democracy Index.[26] Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.[27]

On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East.

Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King of Norway is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Power is separated among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway

The shitty outcomes are either a result of religion or failure to distribute wealth (lack of socialism - ie Venezuela, owner of the world's largest oil reserve).

Serendipper wrote:Btw I'm glad there is no karma or voting: appeal to popularity.

We're not ever likely to have a system like this because it's a well-above-zero lift to implement, but conceptually I go back and forth on its utility. It can definitely be overdone and lead to bad outcomes, particularly on a site that tries to accommodate controversial worldviews. But some minimal version could improve things, especially by catching and demoting the overlooked dreck, and also by calling attention to particularly solid contributions.

You have much faith in people lol. The most sensible and factually accurate posts on zerohedge almost always have the most downvotes and consequently I've arranged for the comments to be displayed starting with the most downvoted.

One upgrade I could definitely get behind is to make the site more picture and video friendly. It would be nice to drag n drop and have videos cued instead of asking people to forward to a specific time.

Arguably there is a super minimal karma system: new user permissions are restricted for their first few posts, and non-custom ranks are tied to post counts. It's minimal enough that no one thinks of this as a karma system, but it's basically treating post count as karma.

I know and I don't care for either one ;) I mean, ok, I can see value in recognizing new users to welcome them, but I don't like accumulating clout. It's almost like getting older :character-oldtimer:

Silhouette wrote:A karma system or upvoting would establish a kind of currency, yes, but Capitalism requires the ability not only to spend such a currency, but also to invest it into some kind of private ownership - perhaps allowing members to spend their currency on owning sub-forums to run as they please, or at least within your divine monarchist law. Competition would then theoretically ensue, and the rubbish rulers would go out of business and have to sell their forum to someone more worthy.

I basically agree, although the analogy begins to breakdown as we get more literal. To have a true economy, we'd need some kind of currency which could both be earned by actions taken on the site, and spent on features. So, for example, users might get a certain amount of karma upon joining, spend karma both to post and to read others' posts, and receive some part of the karma that others spend to read their posts. Karma could be spend to found new forums or to promote posts or the like.

Stackexchange is essentially like that. You sign up and receive 10 points. After 100 points you get powers to edit questions, improve grammar, etc. After 1000 points you get moderation powers (question deletion, locking, etc). And so on. I left specifically because of it. It is a good analogy for capitalism though: the lucky first-comers have all the power to suppress competition and delete dissenting opinion, cementing their power. And the guy asking the question, who by definition cannot judge a good answer, has the power to award 15 points to the person who supplies the answer that he thinks is best, which usually happens before better answers have been submitted. The whole experience is hellish and I've heard similar complaints about wikipedia.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Silhouette » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:27 am

Carleas wrote:I basically agree, although the analogy begins to breakdown as we get more literal. To have a true economy, we'd need some kind of currency which could both be earned by actions taken on the site, and spent on features. So, for example, users might get a certain amount of karma upon joining, spend karma both to post and to read others' posts, and receive some part of the karma that others spend to read their posts. Karma could be spend to found new forums or to promote posts or the like.

This is what I was saying, apart from spending karma both to post and to read others' posts - that's an interesting dimension that would mimic the pricing aspect of the capitalist system that is at the heart of the profit-making mechanism. I guess that's just as integral as the private property aspect that I was emphasising, and maybe that was what you were getting at when you said that by itself breaks down the analogy. You are a good and just god-king afterall, it is known.

A fascinating thought experiment for sure, and I wonder what it says about Capitalism, if anything, if it's doubtful whether its modelling would produce the best philosophy upon its application here?

Carleas wrote:I think we actually got to the point where things became unmanageable by moderators, and we need either a greater resource expenditure or a decentralized system. Instead, we failed to deliver either, people got frustrated and left, and we shrank back down to a size that could be managed by moderators.

Which is to say that the causal connection might go the other way: if we implemented the capitalist-like (or, more accurately, market-like) system, we would probably see more growth.

Good point, there were definitely much fewer people around when I returned to this place most recently - perhaps I missed the issue coming to a head, but I think I was certainly around before then to be familiar enough with what you're referring to. Giving them their own forums to bitch about the ones they didn't like would have been "a" solution, though leaving to start their own achieved much the same outcome and without the potential reputation damage that their continued contributions here would have caused in the long term to the forum as a whole. It was something akin to an invasion, and a seemingly expansionist one at that - aiming to replace rather than compete against.

I assume this is what you're talking about, at least? Would you have acted differently now you have the benefit of hindsight?

Carleas wrote:There are some parallels in what you're saying to what has happened with Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter over the past few years. Those platforms grew very rapidly, and experienced problems with moderation, leading to crackdowns followed by large-scale defections and the creation of new independent 'states'. Reddit and Twitter seem to have weathered the storm better, at least in terms of quality of discussion. Facebook used more communist-like central planning in the form of algorithmic moderation, and Reddit used more capitalist-like decentralization in the form of subreddits and karma. Twitter's approach has some lighter moderation plus organic controls of liking/retweeting/unfollowing/muting/blocking. The platforms have other differences, but it does appear that one dimension on which they compete with each other is social policy.

From what I've been hearing, Twitter has been resorting to some more authoritarian policies as of late, as well as Patreon and to some lesser extent Youtube. The problem is that the leaders in their respective specialities have come to resemble monopolies in practice, which I think mimics the trajectory of the capitalist market in general, and when you're denied from a monopoly it's not the same to demote yourself to the much smaller scale competition - thus the capitalist competition theory somewhat fails in practice in this respect. Facebook seems to be falling a bit out of favour, with Instagram holding up better in the picture sharing department at least, so the competition model isn't completely without success. I get the feeling that Reddit is relatively underground, well known but not as openly as Facebook and Twitter for example. I don't actually use most of these platforms so my understanding is somewhat lacking, but not so much that I can't see the parallels and potential sources of inspiration on how to run your own place.
User avatar
Silhouette
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3802
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 1:27 am
Location: Existence

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:42 pm

Silhouette wrote:there were definitely much fewer people around when I returned to this place most recently

The decline in forum participation is a function of mobile device popularity, especially where the site software wasn't made accommodative soon enough. One could argue that the facebook and twitter giants stole customers, but I don't buy it since those services existed before smartphones. It boils down to being too difficult to type and read on small devices. ATV and motorcycle forums used to be bustling pre-2012, but are lucky if there are anyone but mods now; just the rogue guy asking for a manual for his bike. Correlations noticed after 2012 were probably coincidental with the device segue.

Facebook seems to be falling a bit out of favour

I heard facebook is for old people. The kids prefer snapchat.

monopoly

I've been thinking a lot lately about Friedman's idea that monopolies fall apart on their own, and what's impressive is that he called the fact that little bitty Kmart would buy Sears way back in 1980.

FWD to 19:49



As a matter of fact, you say "can Sears buy Kmart", but the way Kmart has been growing the question is gonna be can Kmart buy Sears LOL!

Donahue was concerned that the monopolistic Sears might buy Kmart, but Kmart bought Sears in 2004, and now both are on their way out due to Amazon.

There seems to be much truth in what Friedman said. Monopolies are still scary, but so far Friedman has been correct.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Silhouette » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:04 am

Serendipper wrote:The decline in forum participation is a function of mobile device popularity

That's a good point - as one reason at least.

Serendipper wrote:I've been thinking a lot lately about Friedman's idea that monopolies fall apart on their own.

Hell, I'd be more than happy if you turned full-on free market Capitalist overnight, or right now even - so long as you had good reason for it. I think we should try out and imbed ourselves in all sorts of different ideologies in good faith, to be sure we are understanding them right.

I have nothing against the theory that monopolies tend to collapse under their own weight and go astray through their own inertia - especially in the face of increasingly changing environments and with the need for change and adaptation.
I do have something against the theory that Capitalism best encourages new adaptation from all sources - and not just from those already with connections and money, and that Capitalism adequately prevents monopolies emerging or even oligopolies collectively dominating the market for too long. There is value in the reliability of brands, and large collections of wealth can still adapt to a certain extent, so there are arguments in favour of what Capitalism encourages at the top end of wealth, but they are not necessarily better arguments. A constant influx of new business is undoubtedly better at adaptation, but where are the equal opportunities when initial conditions are so diverse regardless of natural talent? Capitalists praise natural talent as what they foster under their economic model, but so do I - I want natural talent to succeed, I just don't think Capitalism is optimal for this - and this is not to say that clichés about some black and white strawman opponent to Capitalism are what I am advocating instead!

Consider Neil deGrasse Tyson's experience, mentioned in his latest appearance in Joe Rogan's podcast if not elsewhere by himself or others: that government provides funding for untested ideas the best. Private investors need proof, security, convincing agreements to so generously offer the permission (money) that they happen to legally possess at the time. Unproven hypotheses? Insufficiently tested groundbreaking discoveries? Forget it, unless you're already rich and can fund it yourself... Capitalism takes over once it's safe, and grows the idea beyond its welcome and past the point of its danger. The owners gamble to reap the profits from the developers and the workers themselves - it's all so disproportionate as a system of distribtion of wealth! Do I therefore advocate Maoism or Stalinism? I hope nobody is so retarded as to think so.

To any posters like Pedro, being shocked by or denying the existence of people who don't subscribe to your ideology and by what they say (as above), only lends evidence to the hypothesis that you are hanging around too much in familiar territory and not exploring and familiarising yourself with other territory.
User avatar
Silhouette
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3802
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 1:27 am
Location: Existence

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:20 am

Silhouette wrote:
Serendipper wrote:The decline in forum participation is a function of mobile device popularity

That's a good point - as one reason at least.

Thanks :)

Serendipper wrote:I've been thinking a lot lately about Friedman's idea that monopolies fall apart on their own.

Hell, I'd be more than happy if you turned full-on free market Capitalist overnight, or right now even - so long as you had good reason for it. I think we should try out and imbed ourselves in all sorts of different ideologies in good faith, to be sure we are understanding them right.

He resonated strongly with democrats in areas:

It can be argued that private charity is insufficient because the benefits from it accrue to people other than those who make the gifts— ... a neighborhood effect. I am distressed by the sight of poverty; I am benefited by its alleviation; but I am benefited equally whether I or someone else pays for its alleviation; the benefits of other people's charity therefore partly accrue to me. To put it differently, we might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did. We might not be willing to contribute the same amount without such assurance. In small communities, public pressure can suffice to realize the proviso even with private charity. In the large impersonal communities that are increasingly coming to dominate our society, it is much more difficult for it to do so.

Suppose one accepts, as I do, this line of reasoning as justifying governmental action to alleviate poverty; to set, as it were, a floor under the standard of life of every person in the community. [While there are questions of how much should be spent and how, the] arrangement that recommends itself on purely mechanical grounds is a negative income tax. ... The advantages of this arrangement are clear. It is directed specifically at the problem of poverty. It gives help in the form most useful to the individual, namely, cash. It is general and could be substituted for the host of special measures now in effect. It makes explicit the cost borne by society. It operates outside the market. Like any other measures to alleviate poverty, it reduces the incentives of those helped to help themselves, but it does not eliminate that incentive entirely, as a system of supplementing incomes up to some fixed minimum would. An extra dollar earned always means more money available for expenditure.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Fr ... income_tax

He was an advocate of UBI, essentially.

Drug policy
Friedman also supported libertarian policies such as legalization of drugs and prostitution. During 2005, Friedman and more than 500 other economists advocated discussions regarding the economic benefits of the legalization of marijuana.[97]

Gay rights
Friedman was also a supporter of gay rights.[98] He never specifically supported same-sex marriage, instead saying "I do not believe there should be any discrimination against gays."[99]

Immigration
Friedman favored immigration, saying "legal and illegal immigration has a very positive impact on the U.S. economy."[100]


Looks like a Dem to me.

Capitalists praise natural talent as what they foster under their economic model, but so do I - I want natural talent to succeed, I just don't think Capitalism is optimal for this -

Capitalism rewards luck and the talent of exploitation. The guy who finds ways to exploit the most people is rewarded most.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:08 pm

Serendipper wrote:But fees are more like rent, right?

If ILP is a state, then fees are more like a flat per capita tax. I'd say that gives a sort of 'ownership', even if under the law there is none. For ILP-as-service, fees are like rent.

Serendipper wrote:But don't I have that power now? You said speech maximization is your goal, so I could still offer my content-creation as a bargaining chip.

Yes, though I think it's less than it would be if I were profit-maximizing through ads. For one thing, if we were ad funded, lurkers would be just as good as participants in terms of revenue. If you made posts that generated a lot of page views without generating a lot of discussion, that would still translate to increased ad revenue. So I'd not only want you participating, I'd want you tapping your social network to drive traffic this way. Again, that isn't real ownership, but it's strong effective ownership; I'd have a stake in people feeling like they own the site in the same way that people feel like they own their Blogger blogs.

(This is an idiosyncratic meaning of 'ownership' that only applies in the ILP-as-state metaphor, and in the way that citizens own the state. In a literal sense, under US law (and most other countries' law as I understand it), users own their posts and ILP has a license to display them. Disclaimer: IANYL.)

Carleas wrote:the outcomes [for oil-rich states] are generally pretty shitty

Serendipper wrote:Brunei...Norway...

I was referring to resource curse, although I thought that was more widely accepted than it appears to be.

I am surprised to see Venezuela classified as not-socialist. I don't think the definition is necessarily unreasonable, though I would object that our political systems should be defined based on the policies they employ rather than on the outcomes. A laissez-faire economy that results in an equitable distribution doesn't become socialist. I would define Venezuela as more socialist, since state ownership and control of industries is the policy.

Serendipper wrote:You have much faith in people lol. The most sensible and factually accurate posts on zerohedge almost always have the most downvotes and consequently I've arranged for the comments to be displayed starting with the most downvoted.

I agree that it depends on the quality and views of the community, which is a large assumption and one that needs to be revisited regularly. When I dream of unrealizable karma systems, they are weighted so that highly-ranked users have a larger say than lower-ranked users, and staff would lightly manipulate the rankings to guide the outcome (e.g. by boosting quality users' ranks and demoting shite users' ranks).

Serendipper wrote:Stackexchange is essentially like that. You sign up and receive 10 points. After 100 points you get powers to edit questions, improve grammar, etc. After 1000 points you get moderation powers (question deletion, locking, etc).

The model works very well for the original purpose of StackOverflow, i.e. specific technical questions with more or less objective answers. Jeff Atwood is pretty honest about the goal being to gamify the creation of a wiki, and from my experience (coding, troubleshooting ILP's server, using a linux desktop), the result is an invaluable set of answered questions for commonly encountered problems. For a more open ended discussion, and for topics like philosophy where there isn't always a clear right answer, it's a very bad system.

But it is worth noting that, if I do ever get around to bringing ILP up-to-date, it will be by moving to another Atwood project, Discourse. It does have some of StackExchange's karma-based permissions system, which we probably wouldn't use, but the other features are solid, and theory behind the choices is very much what I'd want to see in a replacement for phpBB.

Serendipper wrote:One upgrade I could definitely get behind is to make the site more picture and video friendly. It would be nice to drag n drop and have videos cued instead of asking people to forward to a specific time.

I disagree. Nothing against anyone else's preferences or mode of expression, but I sometimes regret adding the [youtube] tags. I don't want ILP to be an independent venue for Youtube comments, and I find that when I post something and someone responds with a video, I lose all interest. And don't get me started on picture heavy threads, I think I can count the number of times a picture has added anything to a conversation here on one hand.

I recognize that both of these opinions are obnoxiously biased; I know that I've linked to videos and embedded pictures, and it always feels justified when I do it. But truth be told, I prefer to write in a terminal window, my aesthetic is minimalist, and I would rather no videos or pictures than more. I know I'll have to cave on that, but I will never stop complaining about it.

(and, having said the foregoing: you can point to a specific place in a video by including a \( \texttt{&t=###} \) on the end of the URL, where \( \texttt{###} \) is the position in seconds in the video. If you click 'Share' below a video, there's a box at the bottom of the pane that says "Start at ___" that will autopopulate with the timestamp you're at when you click it, but you can change it to any other time stamp and it will autogenerate the URL with the right \( \texttt{&t=} \) value.)

Silhouette wrote:A fascinating thought experiment for sure, and I wonder what it says about Capitalism, if anything, if it's doubtful whether its modelling would produce the best philosophy upon its application here?

Not very much, I think. It's capitalism-within-capitalism, in that there's this competition for attention and production across all websites, and it isn't clear that within that larger game, a website that has a lower-level set of competitive games is going to be the most appealing; a rational actor should choose the site that gives the most for the least work and then leave when the resources are exhausted.

Silhouette wrote:Would you have acted differently now you have the benefit of hindsight?

Definitely, but I probably just would have screwed it up differently. I think Serendipper has a point about mobile, our mobile interface is terrible, and even that was a late addition.

But I also think the internet landscape has changed, people use fewer sites than they used to, they read and write shorter-form contributions and less linearly, they polarize more towards their tribes and avoid people they disagree with. In ILP's heyday, there were a lot of people desperately looking for political and religion and philosophical disagreement in the form of conversations. Now, sites are primarily trying to shut that disagreement down at the behest of users. That's a real cultural change, and a site like ILP doesn't cater to it as well as it did to the longer-form, pro-disagreement culture of the earlier internet. We're a throwback, and that would still be true if we'd done anything short of changing what we're fundamentally about.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:29 pm

Carleas wrote:
Serendipper wrote:But fees are more like rent, right?

If ILP is a state, then fees are more like a flat per capita tax. I'd say that gives a sort of 'ownership', even if under the law there is none. For ILP-as-service, fees are like rent.

But the fee itself doesn't confer ownership. The amount of influence I have in government doesn't change in proportion to the amount of tax I pay. So ILP-as-a-state, I have no control and that would not change by virtue of a tax.

If ILP is a service charging a fee, then I'm purchasing something: citizenship. As a State, I'm a citizen regardless if I pay the tax, but as a Service, I'm a citizen only if I pay the tax.

Serendipper wrote:But don't I have that power now? You said speech maximization is your goal, so I could still offer my content-creation as a bargaining chip.

Yes, though I think it's less than it would be if I were profit-maximizing through ads. For one thing, if we were ad funded, lurkers would be just as good as participants in terms of revenue. If you made posts that generated a lot of page views without generating a lot of discussion, that would still translate to increased ad revenue. So I'd not only want you participating, I'd want you tapping your social network to drive traffic this way. Again, that isn't real ownership, but it's strong effective ownership; I'd have a stake in people feeling like they own the site in the same way that people feel like they own their Blogger blogs.

(This is an idiosyncratic meaning of 'ownership' that only applies in the ILP-as-state metaphor, and in the way that citizens own the state. In a literal sense, under US law (and most other countries' law as I understand it), users own their posts and ILP has a license to display them. Disclaimer: IANYL.)

Interesting. So, what exactly is the "capital" to you? I have some say of the means of production by virtue of the content that I'm producing, but I'm not clear on what the gain is. It's not money, since there are no ads, so what is it? And are you exploiting me to accumulate it?

ILP could only be considered capitalistic if the users are being exploited for some type of "profit" that isn't agreed to by the users. And the leverage used to exploit would be the competition narrative that there aren't better places to go.

Carleas wrote:the outcomes [for oil-rich states] are generally pretty shitty

Serendipper wrote:Brunei...Norway...

I was referring to resource curse, although I thought that was more widely accepted than it appears to be.

I am surprised to see Venezuela classified as not-socialist. I don't think the definition is necessarily unreasonable, though I would object that our political systems should be defined based on the policies they employ rather than on the outcomes. A laissez-faire economy that results in an equitable distribution doesn't become socialist.

I submit that a laissez-faire economy cannot possibly result in an equitable distribution as there is no mechanism for it.

I would define Venezuela as more socialist, since state ownership and control of industries is the policy.

I'm interested in the evidence for that.

This quora answer received 91 upvotes:

No; Venezuela is not a socialist state in the sense of having its government officially and constitutionally bound to socialist construction (this is what a “socialist state” means in the the Marxist-Leninist / Communist sense). At most, a socialist party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, held a majority in the National Assembly from 2000 to 2015 and two of the country’s presidents have belonged to this party.

Now let’s turn to the question you probably intended to ask: does Venezuela have a socialist economy?

The answer to this would unequivocally be no. The dynamic of capital accumulation still drives economic activity, most enterprises are privately-owned and profit seeking, the wage-labor relationship is still in place - and even more fundamentally - Venezuela operates in a global capitalist market system.

The government does intervene with the process of capital accumulation and with market processes and does create a negative and uncertain atmosphere for business in the name of fighting corruption and serving the needs of “the people”. But it hasn’t erected a new system to replace capitalism - nor could it accomplish such a monumental task on its own. At most Venezuela is a mixed economy with anti-business government policies that distort markets and retard growth.


But even if it were true that the government owns the means of production, I would simply ask who owns the government. If the people do not own the government that owns the means of production, then it's not socialism, but explotation, ie capitalism.

I still maintain that Venezuela is THE most capitalistic place on the planet; the people have no control over anything and are exploited for profit more than anywhere, as evidenced by all the turmoil in spite of having the world's largest oil reserve.

Chomsky said we impose capitalism on 3rd world countries to destroy them.

Serendipper wrote:You have much faith in people lol. The most sensible and factually accurate posts on zerohedge almost always have the most downvotes and consequently I've arranged for the comments to be displayed starting with the most downvoted.

I agree that it depends on the quality and views of the community, which is a large assumption and one that needs to be revisited regularly. When I dream of unrealizable karma systems, they are weighted so that highly-ranked users have a larger say than lower-ranked users, and staff would lightly manipulate the rankings to guide the outcome (e.g. by boosting quality users' ranks and demoting shite users' ranks).

Oh lordy... the tyranny of the minority lol. A physics guy with 60,000 rep on stack exchange deleted my question about whether a motorcycle sprocket-set of 11/33 or 13/39 would put more power to the ground because he couldn't see past the fact that they're both 1:3 ratios in order to take into account friction and chain weight. I was stunned that he could have accumulated that much reputation while being completely void of open-mindedness, especially to the fact that he might not know everything quite yet. Narcissism is an attribute of the ignorant and where karma accumulate exists, there will be the egotists at the top of the pile dispensing arrogance. I believe intelligence is a function of humility and I don't see how karma points selects for that trait.

Serendipper wrote:Stackexchange is essentially like that. You sign up and receive 10 points. After 100 points you get powers to edit questions, improve grammar, etc. After 1000 points you get moderation powers (question deletion, locking, etc).

The model works very well for the original purpose of StackOverflow, i.e. specific technical questions with more or less objective answers. Jeff Atwood is pretty honest about the goal being to gamify the creation of a wiki, and from my experience (coding, troubleshooting ILP's server, using a linux desktop), the result is an invaluable set of answered questions for commonly encountered problems. For a more open ended discussion, and for topics like philosophy where there isn't always a clear right answer, it's a very bad system.

Yes, I think you nailed it there.

But it is worth noting that, if I do ever get around to bringing ILP up-to-date, it will be by moving to another Atwood project, Discourse. It does have some of StackExchange's karma-based permissions system, which we probably wouldn't use, but the other features are solid, and theory behind the choices is very much what I'd want to see in a replacement for phpBB.

I don't know what that means.

Serendipper wrote:One upgrade I could definitely get behind is to make the site more picture and video friendly. It would be nice to drag n drop and have videos cued instead of asking people to forward to a specific time.

I disagree. Nothing against anyone else's preferences or mode of expression, but I sometimes regret adding the [youtube] tags. I don't want ILP to be an independent venue for Youtube comments, and I find that when I post something and someone responds with a video, I lose all interest. And don't get me started on picture heavy threads, I think I can count the number of times a picture has added anything to a conversation here on one hand.

Yes but anyone can post nonsense whether it be in picture form or text. If you peruse my threads I think you'll agree that pictures and video are essential to my conveyance strategy. And I don't just post a video, but give FWD instructions to specific times and also usually include a transcript. I do everything in my power to get what's in my head into your head, and hindering modes of expression is hindering that conveyance, all for the sake of a few hoodlums that annoy you. It's not worth it.

(and, having said the foregoing: you can point to a specific place in a video by including a \( \texttt{&t=###} \) on the end of the URL, where \( \texttt{###} \) is the position in seconds in the video. If you click 'Share' below a video, there's a box at the bottom of the pane that says "Start at ___" that will autopopulate with the timestamp you're at when you click it, but you can change it to any other time stamp and it will autogenerate the URL with the right \( \texttt{&t=} \) value.)

I tried that in the past and it didn't work. I click share, click the "start at" box, copy the link, post it here and it still displays the video from the beginning, ignoring the starting time. At least, it did when I tried it. Perhaps I'll try again. I'd have much less to complain about if I could post a cued video.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:06 pm

Serendipper wrote:So, what exactly is the "capital" to you? I have some say of the means of production by virtue of the content that I'm producing, but I'm not clear on what the gain is. It's not money, since there are no ads, so what is it? And are you exploiting me to accumulate it?

Interesting question. I'll try to answer, but I admit I'm struggling to maintain the metaphor here. Let me start by distinguishing local and global capital, i.e. local capital is within-ILP capital, as if ILP were a state with a coherent local economy. Global capital is real world capital, the actual value of ILP to anyone in the actual global economy. Fair warning: reframing things this way may end up changing some of my positions.

Locally, capital is just social capital. It's produced by quality and quantity of posting, and mostly accrues only to the individual. Social capital means more attention, good posters get more views and more responses, and probably also higher-quality responses. It also gets access and favorable exercises of discretion from staff, and occasionally can be exchanged for tangible power in the form of a moderator position and a small fiefdom (and I do mean exchanged, mod powers come with a significant social capital penalty). By default I think I get some of that capital, since a productive forum reflects well on me, but my own contributions can change perception from the forum being productive because of me to it being productive in spite of me.

Globally, the capital produced is also mostly social capital. Users get a body of work they can point to or draw from, practice writing and arguing, and the cache of saying we Discuss Big Ideas For Fun. Again, I'm parasitic on that social capital (e.g. I credit ILP with getting into a good law school: I talked it up in my personal statement). There's also some financial capital produced, since, even though I don't monetize it now, I could monetize it in the future, or sell it to someone who wants to monetize it. It's not ever likely to be worth enough to do that, but it's a mark of pride that it's worth >$0. So, in practice, that's still social capital; it might be most comparable to art or charity in that regard. It's a part of the 'attention economy', so it does compete for eyeballs, and those eyeballs translate to more social capital. And like many of its larger and more polished competitors, it's a loss leader.

Serendipper wrote:I submit that a laissez-faire economy cannot possibly result in an equitable distribution as there is no mechanism for it.

I agree with this, but it's beside the point. I raise the possibility only to say that socialism is defined by policies, not by outcomes.

Serendipper wrote:I'm interested in the evidence for [the claims that Venezuela is "more socialist" and that "state ownership and control of industries is the policy" there].

This quora answer received 91 upvotes:...

That quora answer seems pedantic and evasive: the distinction between 'being a socialist state' and 'being under the control the United Socialist Party of Venezuela', or between 'being a socialist state' and 'having a socialist economy', is not really material to the question. It reads like someone who really wants to say no, and is looking for all the reasons why the answer is technically no.

I acknowledge there's debate about this:
No, Venezuela doesn’t prove anything about socialism
Yes, Venezuela Is a Socialist Catastrophe
In socialist Venezuela, a crisis of faith not in just their leader but their economic model

Probably what's happening is that people are using very different definitions of socialism, so let's be more specific: Venezuela has significant, inflation-financed public spending, currency and economic control, low protection for private property, and effectively nationalized a large portion of its economy (i.e. oil production). Do we agree those are bad policies that should be rejected?

Serendipper wrote:But even if it were true that the government owns the means of production, I would simply ask who owns the government.

This is too slippery. We can't rely on a system's failure to be a sustainable economic and governmental system to argue that the failure is actually with whatever system it inevitably turns into. If (and I really mean this as a conditional, I'm not claiming this is so: IF) every time we implement the policies we would call 'socialism', we end up with a corrupt elite who use the government as their piggy bank, the right answer seems to be to reject those policies, not to say "oh look, they aren't socialist anymore, so this doesn't count against socialism."

Serendipper wrote:Oh lordy... the tyranny of the minority lol.

There's basically no way to get around this. Once the community is large enough that shaming doesn't work, you can have tyranny of the minority, or tyranny of the majority, or no holds barred.

Serendipper wrote:I don't know what that means.

- Discourse is software made by (some of) the people that made StackExchange. It's the most likely replacement for the current software ILP uses (but leaving things as they are is by far the more likely).
- It has some karma systems built in, but I'm not sure if or how we'd use them (even assuming we made the jump, which is unlikely).
- It has other design choices that are based on an overarching philosophy of how software can shape user interaction. It's the same philosophy that was brought to StackExchange, but instead of the goal being to create a wiki, the goal would be to support good conversations. Plugging a different goal into the philosophy gives a different result, but there are clear similarities (e.g. gamifying good conversations using karma).

Serendipper wrote:Yes but anyone can post nonsense whether it be in picture form or text. If you peruse my threads I think you'll agree that pictures and video are essential to my conveyance strategy. And I don't just post a video, but give FWD instructions to specific times and also usually include a transcript. I do everything in my power to get what's in my head into your head, and hindering modes of expression is hindering that conveyance, all for the sake of a few hoodlums that annoy you. It's not worth it.

I agree that the best, clearest communication online probably uses all modes. But that doesn't mean that encouraging or even enabling the use of all modes necessarily increases the quality of communication on average, and particularly not of academic-tone philosophy communication.

Serendipper wrote:I tried that in the past and it didn't work.

I can confirm that the advice I gave is worthless, please disregard. I might be able to fix it, but I make no promises.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:41 pm

Carleas wrote:
Serendipper wrote:So, what exactly is the "capital" to you? I have some say of the means of production by virtue of the content that I'm producing, but I'm not clear on what the gain is. It's not money, since there are no ads, so what is it? And are you exploiting me to accumulate it?

Interesting question. I'll try to answer, but I admit I'm struggling to maintain the metaphor here. Let me start by distinguishing local and global capital, i.e. local capital is within-ILP capital, as if ILP were a state with a coherent local economy. Global capital is real world capital, the actual value of ILP to anyone in the actual global economy. Fair warning: reframing things this way may end up changing some of my positions.

Locally, capital is just social capital. It's produced by quality and quantity of posting, and mostly accrues only to the individual. Social capital means more attention, good posters get more views and more responses, and probably also higher-quality responses. It also gets access and favorable exercises of discretion from staff, and occasionally can be exchanged for tangible power in the form of a moderator position and a small fiefdom (and I do mean exchanged, mod powers come with a significant social capital penalty). By default I think I get some of that capital, since a productive forum reflects well on me, but my own contributions can change perception from the forum being productive because of me to it being productive in spite of me.

Globally, the capital produced is also mostly social capital. Users get a body of work they can point to or draw from, practice writing and arguing, and the cache of saying we Discuss Big Ideas For Fun. Again, I'm parasitic on that social capital (e.g. I credit ILP with getting into a good law school: I talked it up in my personal statement). There's also some financial capital produced, since, even though I don't monetize it now, I could monetize it in the future, or sell it to someone who wants to monetize it. It's not ever likely to be worth enough to do that, but it's a mark of pride that it's worth >$0. So, in practice, that's still social capital; it might be most comparable to art or charity in that regard. It's a part of the 'attention economy', so it does compete for eyeballs, and those eyeballs translate to more social capital. And like many of its larger and more polished competitors, it's a loss leader.

So social capital is the currency, and you exploit us for knowledge, and we exploit you for the framework in which to dispense it, which together constitutes social capital that anyone can spend. That seems more or less communal.

Serendipper wrote:I submit that a laissez-faire economy cannot possibly result in an equitable distribution as there is no mechanism for it.

I agree with this, but it's beside the point. I raise the possibility only to say that socialism is defined by policies, not by outcomes.

That would mean the definition of socialism is arbitrary if not based on outcomes.

Serendipper wrote:I'm interested in the evidence for [the claims that Venezuela is "more socialist" and that "state ownership and control of industries is the policy" there].

This quora answer received 91 upvotes:...

That quora answer seems pedantic and evasive:

Really? I didn't get that impression.

Stated points arguing against socialism:

- The dynamic of capital accumulation still drives economic activity. <-- Definitely not social, but the opposite.

- most enterprises are privately-owned and profit seeking. <-- Not social, or at least not communal.

- the wage-labor relationship is still in place. <-- Exploitation of the worker = not social, but capitalism.

Stated points arguing for socialism:

- The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, held a majority in the National Assembly from 2000 to 2015 and two of the country’s presidents have belonged to this party. <-- People wearing socialist labels supposedly constituting evidence of socialism. If that is true, then writing "hotdog" on a turd would make it a hotdog.

- The government does intervene with the process of capital accumulation and with market processes. <--- Government intervention benefiting the few over the majority is not evidence of socialism. That was the point I conceded to KT when I argued a capitalist does not want a government, but there are too many ways the government is used to further the accretion of capital into the hands of the capitalists. Since government is a tool to be used by anyone, most often the capitalists for the purpose of exploitation, then government involvement is evidence of nothing. I'll elaborate about this point more later.

the distinction between 'being a socialist state' and 'being under the control the United Socialist Party of Venezuela', or between 'being a socialist state' and 'having a socialist economy', is not really material to the question. It reads like someone who really wants to say no, and is looking for all the reasons why the answer is technically no.

Then how would they answer it if they wanted to say yes? Deny the wage-slavery exists? Deny that private enterprise exists? How could anyone with genuine intellectual integrity argue that venezuela is socialist if such argument hinges on denial?

I acknowledge there's debate about this:
No, Venezuela doesn’t prove anything about socialism

I can't read that one without paying $1 because "democracy dies in darkness unless we receive $1". If Wapo were worried about shining a light in darkness, they wouldn't be panhandling for $1. Anyway, I tried 2 browsers and then a 3rd was rejected for having adblock, so I'll have to wait for next month to see 3 more issues of their particular spin on things since I'm too proud to send the richest man on earth $1.


Now this one I can read and it reads like a hellish bent:

Government spending on social programs? Check: From 2000 to 2013, spending rose to 40 percent of G.D.P., from 28 percent.

Not according to data from the world bank:

venezuela.jpg
venezuela.jpg (96.35 KiB) Viewed 2067 times


Raising the minimum wage? Check. Nicolás Maduro, the current president, raised it no fewer than six times last year

It checks out: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... me-in-2018

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered a 150 percent increase in the monthly minimum wage, the sixth hike this year, to 4,500 sovereign bolivars from 1,800.

The increase will go into effect Dec. 1, while the price for the Petro cryptocurrency will rise from 3,600 sovereign bolivars to 9,000, Maduro said on state television. The minimum wage is pegged to the Petro price. At the black market rate, the new minimum wage comes out to $9.50 per month.


$9.50 per month??? That's a minimum wage? They may as well not have one.

An economy based on co-ops, not corporations? Check again. As Naomi Klein wrote in her fawning 2007 book, “The Shock Doctrine,” “Chávez has made the co-ops a top political priority … By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 cooperatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers.”

So, 700,000 workers working in co-ops in a country with 32 million means what?

The NYT spinmeister runs out of ammo there, but keeps spinning:

Government overspending created catastrophic deficits when oil prices plummeted.

Funny how government overspending only affects places like venezuela. According to this Japan spends more relative to GDP than any country on earth.

Venezuela is so far down on the list I had to use "find" to find it.

Yet Japan has a strong currency and no inflation.

japan.jpg
japan.jpg (77.46 KiB) Viewed 2067 times


Worker co-ops wound up in the hands of incompetent and corrupt political cronies.

Oh, well, then what was the point of bringing up co-ops in the first place?

The government responded to its budgetary problems by printing money, leading to inflation.

Explain Japan please! No one has printed more than Japan, yet no inflation.

Price inflation is a function of supply of product and demand for product. Period. Money supply is not a variable in the equation except to the extent that it affects demand. The price inflation (money deflation) in Venezuela is a result of fear causing people to demand more products, which drives the price higher. People are so worried about the value of their money falling that they can't wait to get rid of it, and in so doing bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also couple that with supply restrictions, thanks to the US, mainly.

Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions

No wonder Chomsky said "We impose capitalism on 3rd world countries to destroy them." viewtopic.php?f=3&t=194766&start=50#p2720985


Wapo again.

Probably what's happening is that people are using very different definitions of socialism, so let's be more specific: Venezuela has significant, inflation-financed public spending,

Not that I can identify. See world bank chart above. According to world bank data, Venezuela spends the least publicly, relative to GDP, out of every country on earth.

currency and economic control,

Probably as a result of US and EU interference.

low protection for private property,

Not that I can identify.



and effectively nationalized a large portion of its economy (i.e. oil production).

Nationalism doesn't = socialism.

Libertarian socialism (also known as socialist libertarianism)[1] is a group of anti-authoritarian[2] political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy.[3] Libertarian socialism is close to and overlaps with left-libertarianism[4][5] and criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace,[6] instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace[7] and decentralized structures of political organization. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

State ownership of the means of production is simply "state capitalism" where the state becomes the monopoly of ALL production. It would be like Amazon owning everything and changing its name to "the government".

If you're 1/300,000,000th owner of your own factory that employs 30 people, what influence do you have? Zero.

See my thread: The defamation of socialism

It doesn't have anything to do with socialism. They destroyed socialism within weeks! You know. They didn't wait. By 1918 it was finished. And they knew it. You know. Like, it's not a secret; they knew it. I mean, in fact, Lenin as soon as, you know, as soon as he sort of got grips of things, he moved to what he called "state capitalism". Which is what it was. It had nothing to do with socialism.

Socialism... I mean we can argue about... there's no point arguing about what the word means, but what it always meant at the core was that producers take control of production, working people take control of production: what's sometimes called industrial democracy, that was the absolute core of it. Well, you know, there was more socialism in Germany, in Western Europe, than there was in Russia.

No, Russia's about the most anti-socialist place you can imagine, since 1918. It had wage-labor, had super-exploitation, had no element of worker's control or involvement or participation. What's that got to do with socialism? It's the exact opposite on every point.

As I say, the West liked to call that "socialism" while laughing at the fact that they called themselves "Democrats", but that's for purely propaganda reasons. I mean, unless you're committed to being part of the Western propaganda system, there's nothing to say about that issue, except to laugh.


Do we agree those are bad policies that should be rejected?

I'll let Chomsky answer that: What ideology? The ideology of totalitarianism? Yeah it's deeply flawed.

Serendipper wrote:But even if it were true that the government owns the means of production, I would simply ask who owns the government.

This is too slippery. We can't rely on a system's failure to be a sustainable economic and governmental system to argue that the failure is actually with whatever system it inevitably turns into. If (and I really mean this as a conditional, I'm not claiming this is so: IF) every time we implement the policies we would call 'socialism', we end up with a corrupt elite who use the government as their piggy bank, the right answer seems to be to reject those policies, not to say "oh look, they aren't socialist anymore, so this doesn't count against socialism."

The point is not to label them socialists to start with since they're not even socialist in theory because 1/300,000,000 ownership could never confer any control over one's own local environment. As Chomsky said, the reason they labeled these systems "socialist" was to garner appeal from the people who wanted "socialism" and the reason the West labeled them "socialism" was to demonize socialism so the people don't get privy and start demanding it. Propaganda is a necessary tool of control in a "free society".

Serendipper wrote:Oh lordy... the tyranny of the minority lol.

There's basically no way to get around this. Once the community is large enough that shaming doesn't work, you can have tyranny of the minority, or tyranny of the majority, or no holds barred.

I guess you're right.

Serendipper wrote:Yes but anyone can post nonsense whether it be in picture form or text. If you peruse my threads I think you'll agree that pictures and video are essential to my conveyance strategy. And I don't just post a video, but give FWD instructions to specific times and also usually include a transcript. I do everything in my power to get what's in my head into your head, and hindering modes of expression is hindering that conveyance, all for the sake of a few hoodlums that annoy you. It's not worth it.

I agree that the best, clearest communication online probably uses all modes. But that doesn't mean that encouraging or even enabling the use of all modes necessarily increases the quality of communication on average, and particularly not of academic-tone philosophy communication.

Depends if ILP is a community of mediocrities.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Carleas » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:33 pm

Serendipper wrote:That seems more or less communal.

Yes, though perhaps it is even better described as symbiotic than communal. ILP might be compared to the cleaner fish that attract sharks to a cleaning station, or to a tree that attracts bees with its flowers: the site and its users both benefit from the arrangement, but not because of an exchange per se, but because one's benefit is a byproduct of the other's benefit.

Serendipper wrote:I can't read that one without paying $1 [...]
Wapo again.

You can use private browsing/incognito mode to circumvent this.

Serendipper wrote:State ownership of the means of production is simply "state capitalism"...

If you google the phrase "state ownership of the means of production", the top result is the Wikipedia page for state socialism, which tells us something important. Indeed, that page makes the point explicit:
[State socialism] is often used interchangeably with state capitalism in reference to the economic systems of Marxist–Leninist states such as the Soviet Union to highlight the role of state planning in these economies, with the critics of said system referring to it more commonly as "state capitalism". (emphasis added)
The point is not that some set of policies is really socialist or really capitalist, it's that the labels "socialism" and "capitalism" often behave more like team colors than like actual coherent sets of policies, and are thrown on things that everyone agrees are bad in order to sully the opposition. As you note in response to my critique of slipperiness, it's fair to ask if people who were called socialist and who ended up turning the government into their personal piggy bank were ever really socialist, and so if their institutions fail or are co-opted, it's fair to say that nothing they did reflects on the team whose colors they wore. But the capitalist can play the same game with captured governments and wage slavery.

But then what is really the disagreement? We may sport different colors and argue passionately whether team blue or team red is best, but we may at the same time have in mind a very similar set of policies that we think will optimize for a very similar set of outcomes, and just call our shared position 'capitalism' and 'libertarian socialism', repectively. I suspect that what Beto has in mind when he calls himself a 'capitalist' is not what you have in mind when you call a captured government that benefits the few 'capitalist', and that in fact his idea of capitalism is closer to your idea of socialism than to your idea of capitalism.

So going forward, I'll dispense with the question of whether Venezuela is socialist. But for completeness and etiquette, I'll respond to your points more concretely.

Serendipper wrote:The dynamic of capital accumulation still drives economic activity

The dynamic of capital accumulation is inescapable, for a reasonably broad definition of capital.

Serendipper wrote:most enterprises are privately-owned and profit seeking.

Private ownership and profit seeking are good, and benefit society as a whole when undertaken in a market that protects a certain minimum of rights to ensures that exchanges are voluntary.

Serendipper wrote:the wage-labor relationship is still in place. <-- Exploitation of the worker = not social, but capitalism.

Wage labor is not the same as exploitation of the worker where the exchange is voluntary.

Serendipper wrote:...government involvement is evidence of nothing

It is evidence of lots of things (apologies, I know you meant evidence of nothing in terms of whether a state is socialist or capitalist, and I am taking your words out of context).

Serendipper wrote:Not according to data from the world bank...

As I said in another of your threads on socialism, I think that you are not being careful with this data. You can only get a ceiling on government spending as a percentage of GDP from this number; GDP includes more than private consumption and government spending, it also includes investment and net exports. When exports fall (as they do for an oil exporting country when the price of oil falls), that shows up as an increase in private spending as a percent of GDP, but not because government spending has fallen. This also appears to be official government data, which for Venezuela is, I think we agree, an unreliable source. And it is probably based on a manipulated currency; I hope we also agree that the official exchange rate is not he same as the real rate. In Venezuela, the government has effectively nationalized significant parts of the economy, even though on paper they remain 'private'. I don't know how that affects this calculation, or whether businesses are even included in this. Similarly for "non-profits that serve households", that concept may not be meaningful in a manipulated economy with rampant nepotism; for example, if the co-ops are scored as non-profits, their spending may count as private consumption, even if they are heavily government subsidized.

Serendipper wrote:$9.50 per month??? That's a minimum wage? They may as well not have one.

Per capita GDP in Venezuela is less than 1/3 of what it is in the US, and the minimum wage is almost 25% higher. By that measure, it would be equivalent to a $33 minimum wage in the US.

Serendipper wrote:Funny how government overspending only affects places like Venezuela.

It's similar to how debt financing works very well for a person with a steady income, and not so well for a person without a steady income. Venezuela has a precarious economy dependent on a fickle resource. When oil prices were high, debt spending worked. When they fall, Venezuela is not credit-worthy and can't borrow to cover its spending. The US and Japan, both of which are significantly leveraged, have stable and diversified economies, so borrowing to spend is not as a big a risk.

I would also say that there is a difference between inflation financing and debt financing. Printing money and borrowing money have different macroeconomic effects.

Serendipper wrote:Price inflation is a function of supply of product and demand for product. Period. Money supply is not a variable in the equation except to the extent that it affects demand.

That is a significant caveat. Where the money supply is increasing due to printing new money with nothing backing it, the demand for the money falls precipitously.

But price inflation in Venezuela is due in large part to price controls, which always and everywhere lead to scarcity and expensive black markets.

Serendipper wrote:Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions

I agree that sanctions are bad. Free exchange is a source of stability and peace, and sanctions harm ordinary citizens to punish the bad acts of their leaders. They're destabilizing and cruel.

Carleas wrote:currency and economic control

Serendipper wrote:Probably as a result of US and EU interference.

This seems conspiratorial. We have good evidence that 1) price controls are official policy, and 2) price controls lead to shortages. Did the US or the EU push price controls on Venezuela? What evidence is there of that?

Serendipper wrote:[Max Blumenthal]

This video is not very useful. From it, we learn that there is at least one operating shopping mall in Venezuela. But if 100,000 co-ops mean nothing, one shopping mall means 1/100,000th of nothing.

I would suggest that this supports my position on the utility of other forms of media to inform a philosophical discussion:
Serendipper wrote:Depends if ILP is a community of mediocrities.

I don't think it does. Even if the best communication possible has multiple media involved, it does not follow that most communications can be improved by substituting some part of the writing for pictures or video. This is as true for luminaries as for mediocrities.

It is significant that many of the pictures on Twitter are screenshots of text (this is certainly a biased view based on my particular timeline, but I follow mostly academics and public intellectuals). Given the ability to easily add images, people quite often (I'm tempted to say 'usually' among my follows; a quick scroll bears this out) use that ability to add more text, rather than to add a picture. Images and videos are more often used for comedic effect than for information. Another use is pictures of people mentioned in a tweet, e.g. politicians saying 'great meeting with So-and-so', or academics saying 'come to a talk by So-and-so', over an image of So-and-so. What seems to me like the most value-added use is charts and graphs, which add a lot of unambiguous information.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi
 
Posts: 5805
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

Re: Carleas - Is ILP capitalist-philanthropic or socialist?

Postby Serendipper » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:52 pm

Carleas wrote:
Serendipper wrote:That seems more or less communal.

Yes, though perhaps it is even better described as symbiotic than communal. ILP might be compared to the cleaner fish that attract sharks to a cleaning station, or to a tree that attracts bees with its flowers: the site and its users both benefit from the arrangement, but not because of an exchange per se, but because one's benefit is a byproduct of the other's benefit.

Yes, I considered using the word "symbiotic", but chose "communal" in keeping with the theme.

Serendipper wrote:I can't read that one without paying $1 [...]
Wapo again.

You can use private browsing/incognito mode to circumvent this.

Hey I learned something! Thanks man :)

Serendipper wrote:State ownership of the means of production is simply "state capitalism"...

If you google the phrase "state ownership of the means of production", the top result is the Wikipedia page for state socialism, which tells us something important. Indeed, that page makes the point explicit:
[State socialism] is often used interchangeably with state capitalism in reference to the economic systems of Marxist–Leninist states such as the Soviet Union to highlight the role of state planning in these economies, with the critics of said system referring to it more commonly as "state capitalism". (emphasis added)
The point is not that some set of policies is really socialist or really capitalist, it's that the labels "socialism" and "capitalism" often behave more like team colors than like actual coherent sets of policies, and are thrown on things that everyone agrees are bad in order to sully the opposition. As you note in response to my critique of slipperiness, it's fair to ask if people who were called socialist and who ended up turning the government into their personal piggy bank were ever really socialist, and so if their institutions fail or are co-opted, it's fair to say that nothing they did reflects on the team whose colors they wore. But the capitalist can play the same game with captured governments and wage slavery.

I acknowledge that it is much like team colors, but somewhere my point that "state socialism isn't socialism even in theory" got overlooked. The blue team is called blue even though it's wearing red.

Lenin himself said "For socialism is merely the next step forward from state-capitalist monopoly. Or, in other words, socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly." https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... tci/11.htm

So what is the proposed mechanism for this social service? Apparently a "benevolent" dictatorship that is magically immune to corruption and capital accretion tendencies. That implies that the people themselves do not know what's good for them and need have no control over anything, evidenced by what actually happened the three famous times that system was implemented (Lenin, Stalin, Mao).

Chomsky said, "We should recognize what I think is true, I've written about it plenty myself, that the Bolshevik Revolution, was really a coup, was really a counter-revolution, which placed state power in the hands of a highly authoritarian anti-socialist group which within a couple of months had destroyed the factory councils, had destroyed the Soviets, had dismissed the Constituent Assembly (because they knew they were gonna lose) and have eliminated every popular movement; and had done exactly what Trotsky said: turned the country into a labor army under the control of the maximal leader. That was mid 1918. And since then there hasn't been a shred of socialism in the Soviet Union!" http://ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=194777

The underlying principle substantiating the socialistic aspect is based on magic which is not even theoretically sound because if it could be true that a capitalist monopoly could be benevolent, then why fight capitalism?

Serendipper wrote:The dynamic of capital accumulation still drives economic activity

The dynamic of capital accumulation is inescapable, for a reasonably broad definition of capital.

Outside of employment and usury, capital accumulation would be difficult. If everyone were reliant only upon what they themselves could produce, then it would be very difficult to produce twice as much as any other average human with the same motivation.

Serendipper wrote:most enterprises are privately-owned and profit seeking.

Private ownership and profit seeking are good, and benefit society as a whole when undertaken in a market that protects a certain minimum of rights to ensures that exchanges are voluntary.

I agree. Co-ops are privately owned and profit-seeking, so private property and profit are not the test for capitalism since nothing but one's own labors are capitalized upon. The test for capitalism then appears to be the remaining element that is excluded by worker co-ops, which is the capitalization on the labors of others.

Serendipper wrote:the wage-labor relationship is still in place. <-- Exploitation of the worker = not social, but capitalism.

Wage labor is not the same as exploitation of the worker where the exchange is voluntary.

All wage and salaried labor is exploitation (unless the wage/salary is higher than their productivity, which it sometimes is, typically in management). I started a thread on this topic http://ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=194727

The wage is only voluntary if the worker agrees to the division of his own productivity instead of being compelled to accept the wage based on his/her other options, which may or may not include starvation.

Wage-slavery is the mechanism by which capital accumulation happens. If you want to be rich and pull away from the herd, then you'll need lots of employees donating the bulk of their productivity to you, and the less alternatives to that arrangement the employees have, the faster you'll accumulate wealth, so it's in the interest of profit to not let the people get too prosperous lest they have too many "other options".

Serendipper wrote:...government involvement is evidence of nothing

It is evidence of lots of things (apologies, I know you meant evidence of nothing in terms of whether a state is socialist or capitalist, and I am taking your words out of context).

Government involvement works best for society when it's in competition with the private sector, not when it takes over the private sector. Government is the governor that restrains the machine from destroying itself, like the spinning things you see on top of steam engines.

Serendipper wrote:Not according to data from the world bank...

As I said in another of your threads on socialism,

Oh crap, I never knew you posted in that thread. Sorry about that. I'm usually pretty thorough about replying, but that post must have slipped through the cracks on the page transition.

I think that you are not being careful with this data. You can only get a ceiling on government spending as a percentage of GDP from this number; GDP includes more than private consumption and government spending, it also includes investment and net exports. When exports fall (as they do for an oil exporting country when the price of oil falls), that shows up as an increase in private spending as a percent of GDP, but not because government spending has fallen.

True, the equation is GDP = C + G + I + NX, where C = private consumption, G = government consumption, I = private investment, and NX = balance of trade (exports - imports). But the balance of trade is negligible https://tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/balance-of-trade and I have no way of quantifying private investments. Still though, no matter how the numbers are sliced n diced, the prevailing trend suggests the more private expenditure, the more the economy is in turmoil. Even a country like Saudi Arabia with a balance of trade of 25% GDP still only has 40% private consumption and an advertised 20% government consumption putting it on par with Sweden which has 44% PC and 25% GC but with negligible balance of trade. So private consumption appears to be a fairly reliable metric for judging overall social spending in spite of any differences in the trade balance.

This also appears to be official government data, which for Venezuela is, I think we agree, an unreliable source.

Sure, I agree there. But if Venezuela spends privately anything near the 70% that the US does, and with negligible balance of trade and assuming any private investment whatsoever, then what's left for social spending? So even if the government numbers are horribly inaccurate, the tolerance band is still falls within the capitalistic/anti-socialistic category.

And it is probably based on a manipulated currency; I hope we also agree that the official exchange rate is not he same as the real rate.

I'm not sure who is powerful enough to manipulate exchange rates. No bank in history was ever been able to conquer the market, not that I'm aware of, and defeating the BOE is what made Soros so rich. I suppose that the only one powerful enough and with enough interest to bother with manipulation would be the US, once again. Chomsky characterizes Venezuela as a US colony ever since the British were booted out under Woodrow Wilson after oil was discovered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjVHUEI_0-o (about 1 minute in)

In Venezuela, the government has effectively nationalized significant parts of the economy, even though on paper they remain 'private'.

That sort of speculation doesn't seem to argue in favor of a social good to me. If on paper they are private, but secretly in the control of totalitarian entities, then I don't see the difference in terms of society's interests; to me it's still capitalistic.

I don't know how that affects this calculation, or whether businesses are even included in this. Similarly for "non-profits that serve households", that concept may not be meaningful in a manipulated economy with rampant nepotism; for example, if the co-ops are scored as non-profits, their spending may count as private consumption, even if they are heavily government subsidized.

Co-ops are self-regulated for-profit private entities, so they should be considered as ordinary businesses. A worker co-op is simply a worker being paid a % of profits instead of a wage.

Serendipper wrote:$9.50 per month??? That's a minimum wage? They may as well not have one.

Per capita GDP in Venezuela is less than 1/3 of what it is in the US, and the minimum wage is almost 25% higher. By that measure, it would be equivalent to a $33 minimum wage in the US.

Well, Max Blumenthal purchased 4 chocolates for $1 in the mall, so the minimum wage is 38 pieces of chocolate per month. Chocolates in a shop like that in the US probably costs about the same. But even if $33 is correct, $33 per month isn't a minimum wage.

Serendipper wrote:Funny how government overspending only affects places like Venezuela.

It's similar to how debt financing works very well for a person with a steady income, and not so well for a person without a steady income. Venezuela has a precarious economy dependent on a fickle resource. When oil prices were high, debt spending worked. When they fall, Venezuela is not credit-worthy and can't borrow to cover its spending. The US and Japan, both of which are significantly leveraged, have stable and diversified economies, so borrowing to spend is not as a big a risk.

But Venezuela is sitting on the world's largest oil reserve; that's not enough collateral? And Japan is?!? So 20% of GDP for Venezuela is expensive, but 200% of GDP for Japan is cheap? Japan is a country of a declining population of elderly with no natural resources to speak of and no indication that 200% of GDP is anywhere near an end. Japan essentially monetizes its entire bond market! By all logic, the yen should be toilet paper.

I would also say that there is a difference between inflation financing and debt financing. Printing money and borrowing money have different macroeconomic effects.

Borrowing money just means the treasury issues and auctions bonds; anyone can buy those bonds including the central bank by printing money. Right now the 10yr is held steady at around 10%, probably held down by the central bank putting a floor under bonds. https://tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/ ... bond-yield If rates were allowed to rise, then investors would come. Turkey is currently sitting around 17% https://tradingeconomics.com/turkey/gov ... bond-yield

Serendipper wrote:Price inflation is a function of supply of product and demand for product. Period. Money supply is not a variable in the equation except to the extent that it affects demand.

That is a significant caveat. Where the money supply is increasing due to printing new money with nothing backing it, the demand for the money falls precipitously.

The only thing that could ever back money is faith. What's "supposed" to happen is the central bank prints money to give to the consumer who then bid prices up with the extra cash, and in that way seemingly devalues the money, but what actually happens is the money is given to the rich where some trickles down to consumers who aren't able to bid prices up as high (ie japan), and where the rich bid the prices of investments like stocks and real estate because they don't know what else to do with all the money, so the stock market explodes, the housing market prices the poor out of homes, and any money that trickled down is simply used to barely get by and the central bank still sees no inflation because it's looking in the wrong place and giving the money to the wrong people.

But price inflation in Venezuela is due in large part to price controls,

Sure, price controls probably has some effect, but the underlying mechanism is supply and demand where the demand is coming from irrational fear of a deflating currency; as soon as anyone gets a bolivar in their paw, they immediately run to the store and spend it before it loses more value. Wouldn't you? As long as people keep doing that en masse, inflation will keep charging higher, especially if supply is being restricted as well.

which always and everywhere lead to scarcity and expensive black markets.

Idk, the US has 1.4 billion pounds of cheese in storage from trying to keep the price high. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... ion-pounds

Serendipper wrote:Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions

I agree that sanctions are bad. Free exchange is a source of stability and peace, and sanctions harm ordinary citizens to punish the bad acts of their leaders. They're destabilizing and cruel.

Right, so this is a problem caused by the US, for obvious reasons (oil and to be able to demonize socialism).

Carleas wrote:currency and economic control

Serendipper wrote:Probably as a result of US and EU interference.

This seems conspiratorial. We have good evidence that 1) price controls are official policy, and 2) price controls lead to shortages. Did the US or the EU push price controls on Venezuela? What evidence is there of that?

I was addressing the currency part of it. The only entity big enough who would care is the US (and maybe the EU).

Serendipper wrote:[Max Blumenthal]

This video is not very useful. From it, we learn that there is at least one operating shopping mall in Venezuela. But if 100,000 co-ops mean nothing, one shopping mall means 1/100,000th of nothing.

Yeah, but from within the video we learn that Venezuelans themselves say there is no socialism there. He also took his evidence to the UN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1vFlX5jEw

I would suggest that this supports my position on the utility of other forms of media to inform a philosophical discussion:
Serendipper wrote:Depends if ILP is a community of mediocrities.

I don't think it does. Even if the best communication possible has multiple media involved, it does not follow that most communications can be improved by substituting some part of the writing for pictures or video. This is as true for luminaries as for mediocrities.

It is significant that many of the pictures on Twitter are screenshots of text (this is certainly a biased view based on my particular timeline, but I follow mostly academics and public intellectuals). Given the ability to easily add images, people quite often (I'm tempted to say 'usually' among my follows; a quick scroll bears this out) use that ability to add more text, rather than to add a picture. Images and videos are more often used for comedic effect than for information. Another use is pictures of people mentioned in a tweet, e.g. politicians saying 'great meeting with So-and-so', or academics saying 'come to a talk by So-and-so', over an image of So-and-so. What seems to me like the most value-added use is charts and graphs, which add a lot of unambiguous information.

Suppose I appear in court saying "I have video evidence, but I left it at home since I didn't want to bore anyone and figured it would portray me as unacademic, so if you'll just take my word for it, that would be great!"

And there is a lot of philosophical insight to be gleaned from cartoonish videos. The videos Trixie posted that seemed to cause such a stink around here actually turned me onto DarkMatter2525 who I now consider a talented philosopher who uses art as a conveyance. On one hand you're telling me there really are no rules and that you'd be a fool to stand in the way of novel-but-frank presentations, then on the other you seem to be dictating the form information should take.
Serendipper
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

Next

Return to Non-Philosophical Chat



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users