Alternative to Keynesian stimulus

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wojtek
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Feb 21 2011 18:11
Alternative to Keynesian stimulus

Sorry for being ignorant, but what do anarchists propose as an alternative to the keynesian government stimulus put forth by the statist Left? Is it something close to promoting the decentralisation and democratisation of the means of production, which would irradicate bureaucracy and increase efficiency?

Regards,

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Goti123
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Feb 21 2011 18:47

It depends, anarcho-communism abolishes money.
Anarcho-collectivism abolishes circulating money.
Mutualism proposes (free) market socialism.

wojtek
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Feb 22 2011 14:09

To clarify, I meant in terms of the economic debt and whether we'd still (have to) pay it back?

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Khawaga
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Feb 21 2011 19:08

If there is no money, how can it be paid back?

Beltov
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Feb 21 2011 19:25

Print some more?

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Goti123
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Feb 21 2011 19:37

Perhaps money will still exist, but not owned by individuals. If we have anarchist communism in merely one region (or 'nation') we need may need 'communal money' in order to import goods from abroad (this money is made by exporting goods abroad, so a trade surplus is required). The Bolsheviks, after they came to power, simply 'abolished' its national debt simply by refusing to back it back, as a result other countries no longer traded with the Soviet Union. So, the money earned from exporting goods can be used both to import goods ad pay off debt.... I guess :S.

RedHughs
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Feb 21 2011 22:43

We live in a world which is relentlessly imposing its order and its logic despite this logic no longer holding the world together. The billionaire grow richer even at the expense of the millionaires while millions of people may starve with a simple jog upward of a computerized commodity index.

The capitalist world very efficiently produces enough food, enough steel, far more than enough energy, and so-forth for everyone on the planet. It often doesn't get to a lot of us and it often arrives in an unfortunate form. The "problem" of inefficiency does not exist today except when you look at the world through the insane distorting goggles of the capitalist world (and certainly most people, even most working class people, do look at the world through these goggle but the point is we have to stop). You could almost say we've got a "world wide Stockholm syndrome" with the media herding a great mass of people to ask "how can we solve the problems of this serial killer who has us locked in the basement". With fairness, the most pseudo-privileged group is the most likely to ask this. ( I'll try to avoid further Derrick-Jensen-esque rhetoric).

The products of "the economy" are more and more used merely to "keep the economy going" with the needs of most people in the world falling by the way-side. Once, starvation was a function of actual lack of food produced. Today, starvation happens through food speculation driven by a lack of profitable investments available to mutual funds.

Communists propose that production be oriented satisfying the needs of the vast majority of the people on the planet. This will certainly involve abolishing the financial order of every nation in the world. I believe it can be done with an order that would not involve money at all (but the creation of an empowered collective is closer to our program than a simple legal proclamation of the abolition of money - "the abolition of money" would not be based on some legal decree but rather it would involve the creation of distinct process for people meeting their needs). So I would say a part of future communist production would involve a world-wide central distribution of goods to assure the best needs of everyone on the planet. There would be no market which would have to be satisfied to achieve this. But I would also strongly suspect this would only be a part of the overall post-capitalist productive activity.

Given that the world is integrated today as a single capitalist world with a single market, a communist revolution will have to be a world affair. Any local uprising will be at best a moment in such a world-wide brush-fire. Even in 1917 with USSR having a modest portion of the world's land area, the USSR could not achieve anything like authentic communism on its own. Today, the idea of single "communist nation" is more impractical.

It is important to notice that a large portion of world trade today exists not because national-area are unable to meet their needs but to force the working classes of each area to compete in the world "race to the bottom" of wages and working conditions (with a fair amount of energy wasted in the transportation of good used for this purpose). Manufacturing street cars in Europe and shipping them to US, example, is example of the absurdity of the capitalist order.

A communist world might or might not achieve an efficiency equal to the present capitalist world but this would not be its primary goal. Rather, the creation of a human community would involve making all the processes of life pleasant. I believe producing for local needs locally would be a fair portion of this though producing appropriate things on a large, efficient scale could also be useful. Producing, consuming and simply socializing would have to be combined into a single worthwhile fabric of life rather than the present order of working ten hours a day in order to purchase enough alcohol or movies to dull the pain of having done this work.

Excuse typos, I'll edit later...

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Maphisto86
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Feb 25 2011 06:29

I just want to make sure I understand what you are saying RedHughs. Would you propose that a communist world order would reduce trade? Sure, materials and goods would no longer be mere commodoties to be sold elsewhere, but what about rare materials or goods needed in one place were they could not gain it? Not to mention the fact that seperate components of equipment, vehicles, etc are produced in one place and connected in another location not just to "cut corners" but because of feasability. For a world community to function there would still need to be some long range transport (albeit not as wasteful as at present). Of course in the years initially after a revolutionary period who knows what the infrastructure of the world will be as upheaval among the working class could lead to war between nations or groups as strikes and other class action grinds production to a halt. Even if things go better than that, it is likely that luxury goods that can only be obtained from a certain location will cease. Not that it is a problem, but a reality many in the first world will have to get used too.

For a while I considered market socialism a good idea for the future of humanity and then perhaps a stopgap between captialism and communism. However it seems to me now that with money and markets being an artifical construct like much in society, we won't need it if we can find viable alternatives that benefits all of humanity while contributing as little "negative externalities" as possible. Then again would it be a viable stop gap or is this just middle-class thinking that will lead back to capitalism?

radicalgraffiti
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Feb 25 2011 11:48

in a communist world there would be no need for trade, since everything would be free.

this doesn't mean there would be no long range transport or distribution of things outside the areas they are produced in. why would it?

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Maphisto86
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Feb 25 2011 16:44

I simply took to heart RedHugh's observation that one of the absurdaties of capitalism involved such long ranged transportation of goods from one place to another, while said goods are not used by the people living in it's port of origin. I was just confused as to what that entailed.

radicalgraffiti
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Feb 25 2011 17:27

it is, but that doesn't mean that long ranged transportation of goods is in itself absurd.

RedHughs
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Feb 26 2011 05:07
Quote:
I just want to make sure I understand what you are saying RedHughs. Would you propose that a communist world order would reduce trade? Sure, materials and goods would no longer be mere commodoties to be sold elsewhere, but what about rare materials or goods needed in one place were they could not gain it? Not to mention the fact that seperate components of equipment, vehicles, etc are produced in one place and connected in another location not just to "cut corners" but because of feasability.

There are some things that are very explicit parts of my politics and some that just what I happen to believe based on my overall research. This is the later - not crucial to my politics but my impression of the current state of the world production.

That said, what do you mean by "feasability"? The broad regions of Europe, North America and East Asia each have vast production apparatuses. My impression is that each could be entirely independent if it weren't for the needs of finance.

That said, I am not against world trade. One to consider is that sailing ships would be a much environmentally friendly approach than present day diesel ships (well "diesel" - present day ships run on the cheapest, nastiest fuel their transnational owners can possibly find).

In general, I would imagine "appropriate scale" production. Very general purpose semi-finished goods and common components like computer chips or steel tubes could be produced in fairly centralized locations. On the other hand, there more decentralized workshop where components would assembled according to more local desires - build your own custom bicycle or computer, etc. Of course, the advent of things 3-dimensional printers might give us extreme customization.

But given all that, arrangement, my sense is everything could be carried in regions no larger than several US states or a European country once the basic system was in place. There wouldn't be any need to limit things or create boundaries but there also wouldn't be a need to have a lot of global specialization. There would be lots of local specialization but that knowledge naturally could be shared world-wide via the still-existing interwebs...

The point naturally wouldn't be absolute labor efficiency but would be combining efficient use of resources with making the production process as pleasant as possible.

Sean68
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Feb 26 2011 01:40

Admin: no flaming. please respect the posting guidelines.

We Were Skeletons
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Feb 26 2011 02:41

This will be my first post on libcom so bear with me if there's something I'm missing about this website.

Isn't exchange-value the entire basis of money? Isn't the entire purpose of Socialism to ABOLISH Capitalism? Isn't Capitalism BASED on exchange-value? Did Marx not prove that the M-C-M' production cycle MUST exist where there is exchange-value? I was under the impression the entire point of Communism was to transform the way labour was presented in society. Under Capitalism it is presented as exchange-value (or at least social labour is).

RedHughs
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Feb 26 2011 05:06

Perhaps the Libcom admins could discuss the supposed "no flaming" policy with Sean here?

Anyway, I agree with "We Were Skeletons" in that the fundamental aim of communists is abolishing "the law of value", expressed as exchange value under capitalism and I believe communism would involve ending the dominance of exchange relations - ending money.

On the other hand, I'm not sure whether Marx proved "the M-C-M' production cycle MUST exist where there is exchange-value" - pre-capitalist societies, for example, certainly had exchange value (the cycle of capital existed in pre-capitalist societies but wasn't the dominant social relation). Is there are part of Marx's writing you were thinking of?

Anyway, regardless of Marx, I believe that when the means of production are sufficiently developed in a class society, that society tends to wind-up with capitalist relations.

We Were Skeletons
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Feb 26 2011 15:40
RedHughs wrote:
On the other hand, I'm not sure whether Marx proved "the M-C-M' production cycle MUST exist where there is exchange-value" - pre-capitalist societies, for example, certainly had exchange value (the cycle of capital existed in pre-capitalist societies but wasn't the dominant social relation). Is there are part of Marx's writing you were thinking of?

Yes that was my mistake, I should have said that where commodity production is generalised, EG where exchange-value is generalised and is the primary means of distributing social labour across society the M-C-M' accumulation cycle must exist.

RedHughs
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Feb 26 2011 22:23

The question is tricky...

I should admit that in earlier times and posts, I might have sounded too glibly confident in stating what the "basis" of capitalism is.

As a "project", of the capitalist class, capitalist relations require "free labor" - that is laborers who are "free" of all possessions and will eagerly work in factories, mines and warehouses of the capitalists. So decisive step is the creation of wage laborers though things like enclosure or "the liquidation of the kulaks" or similar events.

At the same time, technically capitalist relations are more than just wage labor. As has been pointed out to me, feudal or Chinese imperial systems operated sometimes operated primarily through money. I even vaguely remember the Sumerians calculating wages. So fully developed capitalism is more than just a system which uses wage labor. At the same time, I think any system which involves wage labor is going to be a class system based on a ruling class extracting a surplus. Moreover, it seems to me that any such exchange system if "full developed" would tend towards explicit capitalism, meaning a system where most labor goes into a fairly explicit M-C-M' cycle.

bzfgt
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Feb 27 2011 02:33

I am largely in sympathy with what Red is saying, and I fail to see why it earns him the opprobrium of x who are otherwise not participating in this discussion.

admin: flaming in response to flame above removed

wojtek
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Nov 25 2012 18:19

What do you argue for when faced with the 'economic realism' of hospital closures, etc.? Presumably you don't just say 'abolish money', 'print some more' or a load of marxist jargon, which won't convince anybody nor should it...

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Nov 25 2012 23:19

In a post-capitalist society, we don't have to worry about previous debts and burdens from previous systems. A libertarian socialist society will be a new beginning.

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Nov 25 2012 23:31
RedHughs wrote:
A communist world might or might not achieve an efficiency equal to the present capitalist world but this would not be its primary goal.

No. Communism would be far efficient than capitalism from the perspective of satisfying human (biological and psychological) needs and desires. Capitalism is efficient in terms of.............well?

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Nov 25 2012 23:32

Oh, wait. Building up the productive capacity. I forgot that thing.

Jehu@rethepeople
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Nov 30 2012 23:37

The simplest and most straight-forward alternative to statist economic policy is the reduction of hours of work. Every crisis poses the threat of unemployment due to an excess population of workers. This problem can be solved by reducing the work hours of each work until unemployment is eliminated.

The idea has been floating around for decades and was the subject of a book by, of all people, two bourgeois politicians who criticized Keynesianism as wasteful. The name of the Book is "Non-Financial Economics". The authors were Senator Eugene McCarthy and once republican candidate for Governor of Minnesota, William McGaughey.

Here: http://www.amazon.com/Nonfinancial-Economics-Case-Shorter-Hours/dp/02759...

McGaughey has a summary of his ideas here:

http://www.shorterworkweek.com/summit.html

Jehu@rethepeople
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Dec 1 2012 00:07

@wojtek Nov 25 2012 14:19

I would argue that money is responsible for hospital closures. Abolishing money (along with capitalism and the state) will allow it to reopen and function. This reply is not likely to be appreciated, but it is the only honest reply that can be made. So communist should get used to giving people answers they don't want to hear. When a hospital closes it is not for lack of trained personnel or means -- it is always money.

No doctor should ever tell a patient what they want to hear when they have cancer. She should tell them they have cancer.

Capitalism is a cancer.

A politician tells people what the want to hear; a communist tells them what they need to know.

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Dec 1 2012 20:10
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
The simplest and most straight-forward alternative to statist economic policy is the reduction of hours of work. Every crisis poses the threat of unemployment due to an excess population of workers. This problem can be solved by reducing the work hours of each work until unemployment is eliminated.

If I'm correct, then everyone is going to have a major reduction in wages. I don't think any of us would want that. Knowing that unemployment is a permanent, structural feature of capitalism, I think the only way to fix unemployment is to abolish capitalism.

Jehu@rethepeople
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Dec 2 2012 14:19

@Agent of the Fi... Dec 1 2012 16:10

I hear what you are saying, but remember unemployment itself is just a reduction in hours of labor where the reduction in imposed on one section of the working class while another section of the working class is overworked at lower wages to produce more surplus value. Unemployment is, in other words, a deliberately unequal and lopsided reduction in hours of work to increase the exploitation of the working class.

In a crisis there is always going to be a reduction in hours of work in any case. How this reduction is imposed is another question.