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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Social democracy rules, OK?

Social democracy rules, OK?  That is the message Dennis Glover is trying to sell in his triumphalist article ‘Neo-libs in wheelie bin of history’ (The Australian Monday April 13 Opinion.)

And it doesn’t just rule – social democracy is, according to Glover, the new world order.

The hyperbole continues. Evidently Comrade Kev convinced the G20 to adopt his ‘radical’ program. 

Get real, Dennis.  The G20 was a talkfest.  They agreed on platitudes, not action.

What is supposed to happen under the rule of Obama, Brown and Rudd – the axis of capitalist good? According to Glover ‘…globalisation will be regulated so that working people are its beneficiaries, not its victims.

Tell that to the millions of workers in the UK who hate New Labor and its social democratic program precisely because it has waged a war for a decade against social spending and living conditions.

Tell that to the tens of thousands of Australians who lost their jobs in February. Apart from crocodile tears for the newly unemployed, Rudd and Gillard have done nothing to keep them in their jobs. Nothing, except urging wage restraint and echoing the lie that one worker’s wage increase is another worker’s job. 

Tell the lie of regulated capitalism to the million people imperialism has killed in Iraq and the thousands ‘our’ soldiers are killing or will kill in Afghanistan.

There is a simple truth in all of this. ‘Extreme’ capitalism is not the problem.  Capitalism is.

 

A progressive response to the economic crisis would include proposals to make it illegal to sack workers from profitable companies, to nationalise those companies going bankrupt and put them under workers’ control, to divert defence spending to health, education and roads, to tax the rich, and to cut the working week to 30 hours without loss of pay (for starters.)

It’s the bosses’ crisis. Make them pay.

The piece de resistance in Glover’s article is the ides that ‘social democracy has stepped in not to replace the market but to save it from its own destructive excesses.’

This is apparently going to occur through state stimulus packages and better regulation.

How far removed this is from the original intent of social democracy – to use the parliamentary process to replace market capitalism with some form of statised capitalism which many mistakenly believed was socialism.

But now what the Rudds and Glovers offer is mere tinkering with the market. This is Utopian nonsense. 

The market is the problem, not the solution.

Social democratic controlled burning won’t prevent the firestorm of the Great Recession from destroying millions upon millions of lives across the globe. In fact Rudd Labor will fan the flames.

Glover’s panegyric hides an ugly reality. Under the guise of social democracy, and defending ‘working families’, Rudd will intensify the exploitation of labour and oversee the creative destruction of capital.

In other words Rudd’s program will be neo-liberal. He will become the Schumpeter of the State. 

Obama’s interventions in the US (in the finance and auto industries, for example,) are aimed at managing the process of rationalising and destroying capital either in value or use or both.  

There is nothing progressive, let alone social democratic or, god forbid, socialist, in any of this.

In fact the economic crisis will force Rudd Labor to attack social spending on hospitals, schools and the like, and to lead and urge the bosses to attack workers’ living standards.

Rudd’s Workchoices Lite is the first instalment on this.

It is also why the overdue paid maternity leave scheme won’t be delivered. Or it will be so sickly it will die soon after birth.

There is hope.  The building unions are holding demonstrations on 28 April against the brutal Australian Building and Construction Commission.  And flight attendants are talking about industrial action to defend thousands of Qantas jobs. 

It is these industrial and political actions against capitalism,  and our support for them, that differentiates the real left from the snake oil salesmen of social democracy. 

Relying on Rudd will only give us more sackings and lower wages. Social democracy puts profits before people.

Let’s put people before profits.

Concerted industrial action can defend jobs and living standards and force Rudd to implement progressive policies.

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Comments

Comment from Brett
Time April 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Oh Bill, this is truly pathetic. We’ve been over most of this on this site before:

“A progressive response to the economic crisis would include proposals to make it illegal to sack workers from profitable companies, to nationalise those companies going bankrupt and put them under workers’ control…”

Prey do tell, what exactly is progressive about this?

When you put a failing company under workers control, you’re replacing one boss with another. And who exactly would run these companies? Worker councils? John and I have discussed this before – they don’t exist in this country and, with the exception of France, haven’t in any first world country for decades. Unions? Who have a tiny penetration in the workforce? That’s not very democratic! Nope, no answers here Bill.

And nationalisation? We’ve been over this before – which is your choice: Theft or bankruptancy of the government? Are you suggesting institutionalised and entrenched theft? Do you recognise property rights?

And why would you continue an unprofitable business? It will be unprofitable for a reason: either because they’re producing goods which people don’t want to buy (maybe people would try to sell IBM 386s again! Horse and cart anyone?), because their expenses (including wages!) are higher than their income can support, because their production costs are too high and they can’t make enough profit to cover their costs without pricing themselves out of the market, etc. Nothing here will change that. What makes you think that workers running a business (whatever that means) will make it more able to survive?

But let’s go further with this: An already unprofitable business is going to be stolen from it’s legal owners by the government, which will then be a drain on the resources of that same government and will reduce the amount of money that the government has to spend on roads and police and hospitals and other things? That’s a good idea? And going further, so then the government has to increase taxes to support these loss making ventures along with everything else they do… when do we stop? 50% income tax on 30K earnings? This is getting sillier and sillier. Not smart policy Bill.

No, there’s nothing progressive here. It’s another reactionary, poorly thought out rant.

Bill, a word of advice: John has been thoroughly demolished on this site many a time as a result of rants like this. Examples are here and here. To avoid this same fate, I’d suggest something more thorough, which stands up in the light of the real world.

Comment from Bill
Time April 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Oops. Just lost the message I’d spent twenty minutes typing.

Brett, what real world are you talking about?

The one with mass unemployment; a billion starving; destroying the planet.

The proposals I suggest challenge the rule of capital. They posit an alternative society base don co-operation, not competition, where production occurs to satisfy human need.

Your world view finds that difficult to accept.

Anyway, I think the money is there. In the US the cost of the bailout is now estimated at anywhere between 3 trillion and 9 trillion dollars. That money could have paid off every mortgage in the US and had enough left over to fund free health care.

In Australia we spend $22 bn a year on defence. That money could pay for pension increases, new hospitals and new schools as well as a range of green jobs in green industries.

We have our priorities wrong, and the biggest failing we have is imagining the profit system can save itself.

I’ll beg off, hoping that others join the debate.

By the way, Word Press blocked your comment automatically because it had two links in it. It wasn’t censorship.

Bill

Comment from Brett
Time April 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Bill,

In our previous debates, when I asked John to substantiate his claims with the practical ramifications of those claims, not only would he not analyse my suggested outcomes, he made the statement:

“But since you live in the real world of mass unemployment, war and starvation, and I live in the unreal world of ideas and hopes and future possibilities…”

*yawn*

He simply would not come out of retoric and into practical ramifications, and it seems that you are the same. I made a number of suggestions above and you have been unwilling (at least in your first comment) to go anywhere near them. Why is that Bill?

Again, my point is amply demonstrated by you not even trying to rebut my points above. Before you try to “challenge the rule of capital”, please demonstrate how your claims would work if, say, they were implemented tomorrow. If we, as you suggest, nationalise failing businesses, what would that do to the balance sheet of the government?

You don’t need to be an accountant to see that it will drain money away from other things that the government could be doing with that money.

Or do you disagree? If you do, please show how.

Of course you can’t. But please prove me wrong if you can.

I am not going to argue about the spending on defence – i’m not up with either the technology or the options to make qualified statements – I would simply be speaking out of ignorance.

“They posit an alternative society base don [sic] co-operation, not competition, where production occurs to satisfy human need.”

Tell me Bill, if this was so simple and obvious, why isn’t it in place somewhere?

Tell me why the French 35 hour week was such a dismal failure? Was it just that “need” wasn’t being “satisfied”? Seems like your whole premise fails in the real world – even the relatively socialist France. And if it fails there, what makes you think it would work anywhere else?

Could it be that your ideals are just that – ideal, and unable to be implemented in the real world?

Why hasn’t anyone successfully implemented this Bill? Perhaps that should tell you something?

Comment from Bill
Time April 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Actually Brett revolutions broke out across Europe after 1917 that had the aim of establishing working class rule. Hungary in 1956 had workers councils, as did Poland in 1980-81. The list goes on.

OK, let’s be clear. The issue of who pays for the crisis is a class one. It’s the crisis of the bosses; make them pay for it.

I agree this will impact on the profit system, adversely. But sackings and wage cuts will impact on workers, adversely.

The profit system is inherently unstable and crisis ridden.

If your aim is to cure the dying patient, good luck. You can’t because crisis is at the very heart of the way it is organised.

So my demands are aimed at making the bosses pay for the crises. The alternative is to do nothing and get the sack, face job cuts or march off to war somewhere around the world.

You need to view these demands dynamically, not statically. By occupying their workplaces and running production, workers challenge the very system itself and can begin the process of running society to satisfy human need.

By striking for higher wages, lower hours, paid maternity leave and in defence of jobs etc, they pose the question – do we continue with the crisis ridden profit system of greed, or do we move on to a new system of democratic production to satisfy human need.

You seem to want to tinker with the system in the mistaken belief this will save it. I, like John, want workers to throw off their chains. The crisis may force them to do that (although that is a whole new discussion.)

Already in France 40 per cent support bossnapping. 80 per cent support the general strikes and the call to make the bosses pay for theri crisis is very popular. the New Anticapitalist Party is the most popular Opposition group. That sharp shift in sentiment and action could occur here.

It is in the struggles of today for jobs and to defend living standards that the society of the future can take shape.

So we are pitting two world views against each other – yours which seems to support mass sackings in the name of the wealthy and mine which sees an alternative, democratic way to run society to satisfy our needs.

There can be no half way between these two world views.

Comment from Brett
Time April 16, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Bill,

Firstly, again, I notice that you haven’t tried to address my points from the first post. Again, you haven’t tried to rebut my suggested ramifications of your post.

Why is that Bill?

Do you disagree that nationalising failing companies will decrease the amount of money that the government has to spend on other things?

And if you don’t disagree with that, when should the government stop nationalising companies? And how much tax should we all pay to support this notion?

Of course, the enormous irony here is that we’re seeing people protesting against this sort of thing. I guess that’s not what the people want, eh Bill.

Again, I don’t expect you to answer those questions.

But go on – I dare you! Give it a go!

Now, to be clear, I said that workers councils hadn’t existed in first world countries, so my statement still stands.

“The profit system is inherently unstable and crisis ridden.”

Here we go again.

Yawn. Bill, John and I have been over this before. Long before you start talking about crisis being caused by capitalism, see if you can do something about the wars in the various parts of Africa which are causing people to starve, the corruption in places like North Korea and Russia and lets not forget Zimbabwe, Palestine V Israel, Sharia law and womens rights etc. There are many more reasons why crisis exists in the world than capitalism – in fact, capitalism exists a long way down the list.

You have a long way to go yet Bill.

If your aim is to cure the dying patient, good luck. You can’t because crisis is at the very heart of the way it is organised.

Bill, in my last comment, I asked you why socialism, and to be more specific, Marxism, hasn’t been implemented anywhere in the world. You haven’t answered that question (not surprisingly). You suggest that capitalism is bad yet it’s brought us a long way:

Columbus wouldn’t have discovered the Americas if he wasn’t looking for a quicker way to India so that he could get spices to sell.

Think of all the inventions which we take for granted these days, including the rapid growth of the internet which allows this conversation, which woulnd’t have been created without a motive like making money.

Would these things have happened under socialism? Methinks not.

In fact, as I raised before with John, profit and making money is a great incentive for innovation. Without that, why would people put the effort in to create something new?

Your suggestion, in fact, forces us to go backwards. Without that incentive to innovate, Big Pharma won’t be developing new drugs to cure diseases, new technologies to help those who lose limbs or faculties due to injury, safer building processes etc. Why would they?

You’d be sending us backwards. And saying “people and companies will do it for the betterment of society” is a cop out – people, and companies, don’t innovate now for that reason, so why would that change. Why would they do it Bill? What’s their incentive?

Already in France 40 per cent support bossnapping.

So you support kidnapping? You support thuggery and illegal behaviour? Not a good indication of your side at all Bill.

“80 per cent support the general strikes and the call to make the bosses pay for theri crisis is very popular. the New Anticapitalist Party is the most popular Opposition group.”

Indeed. And yet look at what the 35 hour week did, and equally importantly, what it didn’t do:

It didn’t decrease unemployment, in fact, it increased it
It made french products uncompetitive
It decreased investment, particularly foreign
It didn’t distribute wealth in the slightest

And you’re suggesting that this is a good way to go? You’re suggesting that they should extend those policies? Send France further backwards? It’s their choice of course, but it certainly appears to be a downward spiral that they’re on.

Interestingly tho, it was after they repealed the 35 hour week that the unemployment rate decreased. Why do you suppose that is Bill?

…yours which seems to support mass sackings in the name of the wealthy and mine which sees an alternative, democratic way to run society to satisfy our needs.

Prey do tell – where have I advocated mass sackings? Where have I mentioned the wealthy?

And you still haven’t answered my question about what this ‘democratic system’ is that you’re advocating: Giving power to unions isn’t democratic – they’re not representative of our workforce. There aren’t any workers councils here. So what’s this democratic solution of yours?

And more importantly, where has this been implemented before? Demonstrate that this works in a first world economy Bill. I bet you can’t.

I double dare you.

I bet you can’t do it.

I bet you won’t even try.

Comment from Bill
Time April 16, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Brett

I have addressed your points.

Working class revolts? 1870 in Paris. 1905 in Russia, 1917 in Russia, 1918 in Germany, 1923 in Germany, Spain 1936 to 39, japan 1946, Greece after the war, Berlin 1953, Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia, 1968, France 1968, Portugal 1974, Poland 1956, 1970 and 1980, and on and on the list goes.

This democratic system I am talking about doesn’t exist anywhere. So? It will. And as the previous para hopefully shows, the beginnings of workers’ control of society have occurred across the globe. none have been long lasting or successful, for a whole range of reasons, none of which to my mind prove the inherent unworthiness of socialism as an ideal and a reality.

Your approach is too static. All things are in the process of change, including social systems. The dreams of today can become the reality of tomorrow.

Indeed the 20th Century was the century of revolution, and there is no reason to think this century will be any different.

Any demand workers make is an impost on capital. The point is that the battle between labour and capital is about labour vanquishing capital and setting up a new and democratic society.

Yes, I support bossnapping. These are the unelected people who run and ruin our lives, who sack us because it is ‘unprofitable’ to do anything else, who cut our wages, who get their governments to attack social spending etc etc.

The economic crisis is polarizing society. Which side are you on? The profiteers and their rotten system or better lives for working people.

in fact the money is there at the moment for nationalising companies that sack workers. Instead of wasting $22 bn on defence, or guaranteeing banks, or handing money to the car companies, or giving tax breaks to the rich, why not use the money to nationalise the companies under workers control?

I agree this can at best only be a short term solution. That to me just shows the criminality of capitalism.

The long term solution is a new society based on democracy and production to satisfy human need.

I suggest we let the political market decide, her and overseas. Keep an eye on Europe where the ferment at the moment is at its greatest, although with Chinese growth now only 6 per cent or so, there may be major upheavals there too against the dictatorship.

Comment from Brett
Time April 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Bill, Bill, Bill,

The number of questions you’re not answering is increasing. Lets start with just two and see if you’ll grace me with answers. We’ll work through these methodically, shall we?

“If we, as you suggest, nationalise failing businesses, what would that do to the balance sheet of the government?

You don’t need to be an accountant to see that it will drain money away from other things that the government could be doing with that money.

Or do you disagree? If you do, please show how.”

Go on – answer it. I bet you won’t.

Here’s one more:

In fact, as I raised before with John, profit and making money is a great incentive for innovation. Without that, why would people put the effort in to create something new?

Your suggestion, in fact, forces us to go backwards. Without that incentive to innovate, Big Pharma won’t be developing new drugs to cure diseases, new technologies to help those who lose limbs or faculties due to injury, safer building processes etc. Why would they?

You’d be sending us backwards. And saying “people and companies will do it for the betterment of society” is a cop out – people, and companies, don’t innovate now for that reason, so why would that change. Why would they do it Bill? What’s their incentive?

I bet you’re not going to answer that one either, are you? Go on – i dare you to answer that one too. But you won’t, will you?

Re workers councils, let me copy and paste what I wrote about this in the first place:

they don’t exist in this country and, with the exception of France, haven’t in any first world country for decades

So, the only instance in your list which comes close is Poland in 1980 (and I’m being generous here – that’s almost 30 years ago) and Poland wasn’t much of a first world country back then. So, my point still stands.

I will concede that I was wrong about France tho – workers councils have been absent for longer than I recalled.

Paris in 1870? You’re seriously suggesting that’s representative of things now? That suggests that you’re grasping at straws Bill.

However, back to it, more importantly, workers councils don’t exist here. They never have, and they don’t appear to be starting up anytime soon. Perhaps in the second half of this millenium?

So there goes your idea in this country for the foreseeable future.

Any demand workers make is an impost on capital./i>

Indeed. Do you support worker imposts on small business? What if that drives the small business to the wall?

When John and I were debating his 30 hour week suggestion, it turns out that that policy would crush almost all small business (certainly in the retail sector anyway), which would result in millions of people losing their jobs. Is that an outcome that you want?

See Bill, it’s not as simple as labour vs capital. Capital can’t exist without labour, and labour won’t have jobs without capital (unless we get to the situation where there is no non-government jobs, in which case our society will have completely decayed).

You want to stymie development and cause our society to go backwards in real terms be denying a common incentive for innovation? That of course has flow through impacts for the whole society. You want to send us backwards? Shame Bill, shame.

why not use the money to nationalise the companies under workers control?

Again Bill, what is workers control? A workers council from 1980 Poland? That’s the best you can do?

I don’t know why I bother asking these questions Bill… you’re not going to answer them.

I suggest we let the political market decide, her [SIC] and overseas.

Indeed Bill. How are the socialist parties going in this country? Have you got a single seat yet? In fact, how many seats in parliaments in first world countries have the socialists got? A total of a couple of dozen outside of France? Is it even that much?

I think the market has spoken, both here and abroad. Re Australia, when you have the majority in parliament then we will see about your suggestions.

Bill, you suffer from the same lack of credibility that John does. In the words of John Stuart Mills:

“He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.”

You’re refusal to even attempt to rebut my suggestions of the outcomes of your policies shows two things:

* that you haven’t taken your ideas from pure ideology. Ideology and reality rarely see eye to eye, and while something might be a nice idea, reality often entails something different

* That you don’t understand your own ideas enough to argue them.

I’d suggest you have a good long think about this Bill. Imagine that you’re a small business owner, that you’ve mortgaged your house (say for a loan for $250,000) because you’ve always wanted (say) a wine bar something like that that you have a passion for, and that a couple of years down the line, someone comes up to you and says that you should relinquish your own capital and give your wine bar or whatever to the workers and you should walk away.

What would you do?

Comment from Bill
Time April 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Brett

Nationalising companies under workers’ control removes them from accountancy rules which reflect the profit system, not the cooperation system. This removes all concepts of profit and loss. It replaces profit with cooperation as the driver to satisfy human need. Think dynamically, not statically.

1980 wasn’t that long ago. But Bolivia in 2003 was close to workers’ revolution. China in 1989 had worker stirrings; Eastern Europe from 1989 to 1991 was a revolution of workers, not by workers. The fact that since 1848 to today mass workers’ struggles have displayed similarities, from strikes to occupations (and some bossnapping in Russia in 1905 and 1917 and Poland in 1980) to setting up workers’ councils (and not all of the movements went that far) should show us that perhaps there is something inherent in the wages system that produces strikes, that produces challenges to capitalism and that sees workers’ councils run the factories and then the cities and countries.

Marx called class struggle the old mole (from memory), often hidden, often underground but occasionally burrowing out. There is nothing determinative flowing from the fact that in most periods there is class peace. It doesn’t mean class struggle won’t ever break out, which appears to be what you are arguing. This is ahistorical.

Innovation. Actually if we moved to a cooperative model rather than a competitive one research would be sued to benefit all of humanity. Nonsense like restricting new drugs under intellectual property laws would go and we could mass produce badly needed drugs to deal, for example, with AIDS in Africa without having to worry about making a profit.

The drive to do this would still be there because, despite 450 years of capitalism and the ideology of greed, most people are still altruistic. certainly many scientific researchers seem to me anecdotally to be driven by the search for truth rather than for money.

Small business? As I said, all business would need to adjust to higher wages, less hours in the week. Historically the sky did not fall in when we won the 40 hour week, or the 38 hour week. Why would that happen under a 30 hour week.

The 35 hour week in France was hedged with trade offs, and it made little difference according to some studies, on employment.

But the wider point is that the struggle for a better life, one that capitalism cannot provide in times of crisis, shows workers two things – the failure of capitalism and the fact that workers can run society without bosses.

Comment from Brett
Time April 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Bill,

Nationalising companies under workers’ control removes them from accountancy rules which reflect the profit system, not the cooperation system. This removes all concepts of profit and loss. It replaces profit with cooperation as the driver to satisfy human need. Think dynamically, not statically.

I have to admit that it’s taken me a while to work out how to respond this this nonsense. And let’s be clear – it is complete and utter baloney. It is probably the single most hopelessly delusional statement that I have ever read. If you had’ve said that you have a pink elephant dictating that statement to you, then that would’ve been more believable than that statement above.

Astonishing. You must be a Trotskiest.

Where to start?

So, say this nationalised failed business (which failed because it wasn’t making money) has to trade with another company because they need the goods of that other company, then they have to be able to pay that other business with something for the goods that they’re acquiring, don’t they? They need to have money. Where does your failed nationalised business get money from?

And how much money is the government going to have sucked out of it to pay for these failed businesses?

Perhaps your solution is to print more money? Then you’ll get to the point that Zimbabwe was at where you could have a billion dollar note which couldn’t even buy you a loaf of bread, because your money would be worthless. Printing money has it’s own problems. It’s one of the reasons why governments control how much money they print – ZImbabwe is a prime example of what happens when that’s done incorrectly.

No Bill, your solution tanks again.

Or are you now going to nationalise all businesses? You might have to do that as the non-nationalised businesses, I suspect, would be loathe to trade with your nationalised ones as the money supply will be flaky at best. So the nationalised ones would go backwards even faster.

Failed again Bill.

Even better, say these failed nationalised businesses are trading with a company from overseas who hasn’t adopted your system of ‘economics’, then what are you going to trade with them with? If you’re not making money then you won’t be able to trade. Which means that your nationalised business will go backwards even faster again!

Failed again Bill.

Fail. Fail. Fail.

Believe it or not, I actually think that Trotsky was right – the only way that socialism would work was if the whole world converted to it. It just fails otherwise (as I hinted at above). But given that humans can’t agree on religion, contraception, national borders, climate change and so many other things, what makes you think that they’ll all agree to accept Socialism?

As you say Bill, let’s see what the political markets say about it, and it’s a resounding no against Socialism.

But all of the dialogue above just goes to demonstrate the point I made earlier – John and you lack credibility in your arguments because you make statements like the one that I quoted above. It’s hopelessly ill-informed, falls over at the mere sight of the practical ramifications of such a notion… etc. Houses don’t stand when they’re not built on solid foundations.

Seriously, have a think about it. That was a hopeless statement Bill. It failed at every turn. You’re going to need to do a lot better than that if you want to have any success at being taken seriously.

Actually if we moved to a cooperative model rather than a competitive one research would be sued to benefit all of humanity

Failed again Bill. We can’t even agree on a solution to climate change, not to mention a whole host of other things! What makes you think we’d be able to agree on what “a cooperative model” would look like, let along move to it.

But let’s just go a little further with this Bill.

If I was to offer you a thousand dollars to clean my car, would you do it? It’s a pretty good incentive, isn’t it? Think of everything you could do with that thousand dollars.

People like incentives. Companies like them too.

However, what if I just said to you “please just clean my car” but didn’t offer you the incentive. Would you do it? Maybe. But what if 200 other people ask you the same thing, again without the incentives. Methinks you probably wouldn’t.

Again Bill, humanity itself is working against your argument. Such a simple example and it destroys your argument entirely.

No one doubts that you and John can quote the ideology. I’ll give you the credit that at least you’re starting to try to rebut my arguments (which is more than John did… more about that shortly), but statements like the first one quoted undo any good work you’ve done.

Try again Bill.

As I said, all business would need to adjust to higher wages, less hours in the week. Historically the sky did not fall in when we won the 40 hour week, or the 38 hour week. Why would that happen under a 30 hour week.

Oh boy, here we go again.

John and I discussed this at length here. Most small businesses are marginal at best and will not have the capacity to absorb instant increases in wages of ~25%, especially when labour is on average approximately half of their operating costs.

For them to stay solvent, they would need to significantly increase their costs (and risk pricing themselves out of the market). Should that fail then the business would fold and the jobs would be lost.

Suggesting that a decrease from 40 hours to 38 (a 5% decrease), at a time when small businesses were not as prevalent as they are now (small business is the largest employer in this country at the moment) is comparable with a decrease from 38 to 30 (~25%) requires a level of intellectual dishonesty which that is staggering. You’re not comparing apples with apples – you’re comparing apples with turkeys.

Do the maths Bill. There are plenty of statistics in that last link of mine – see if you think that those small businesses could ‘just adjust to higher wages’. You’ll find that the statistics do not support that notion in the slightest.

And again, we’re back to where we were before: You’re arguments do not stand up to the practical ramifications.

fact that workers can run society without bosses.

This is just about as laughable as the first statement that I quoted. You think that in worker councils there aren’t management structures in place? You don’t think there’s control over who’s doing what and when? You don’t think there needs to be a higher group to resolve disputes? What happens if there’s harassment in the workplace Bill?

Just because “managers” can be recalled doesn’t change the need for management.

You’d simply be replacing on boss with another, albeit under a different name.

Astonishing Bill. Such astonishing naivety.

Comment from Bill
Time April 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Brett

The pink elephant has told me to post the following.

The guard is tired.

Tired of the constant relentless unthinking abuse, the inability to acknowledge let alone address difference, to discuss other ideas, to think in blinkered terms and to argue as though you are the centre of the Universe.

To put it at its best your views and mine are completely incompatible. At its worst your ‘refutations’ are juvenile class based diatribes which prove nothing.

Astonishing. You must be a troll.

The pink elephant is tired too.

Instead of self centred triumphalism could I suggest you try some sort of rationality and let that inform your future responses?

Comment from Bill
Time April 18, 2009 at 7:43 am

If every company operates on a cooperative basis then your concerns about money become irrelevant.

This won’t happen overnight but it is pitting two different approaches – the profit driven greed system against a cooperative worldview and action.

There will be a transition between the two when the workers’ government withers away as classes disappear.

In Portugal in 1974 the workers groups running the factories began to trade their products with local farmers. By cutting out the Woolworths of the world, the price of food fell drastically. The idea of profit was irrelevant. Production was moving to a basic human concept – to satisfy human need.

Think big, not small.

Comment from Brett
Time April 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Bill,

Tired of the constant relentless unthinking abuse

Bill, here’s a challenge for you: Make a suggestion that isn’t swatted away as easily as the ones that you’ve been making so far. Think about the practical ramifications of your ‘ideas’ rather than just trotting out ideology. And rather than accusing me of not thinking, why don’t you do a bit of thinking about your own statements.

Your statement about nationalised companies doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense no matter which way you slice it. This was a prime example of you not thinking – just trotting out ideology.

Make a statement which stands up to a bit of common sense and we’ll start having a ‘debate’ rather than me lampooning your statements.

If every company operates on a cooperative basis then your concerns about money become irrelevant.

See, here’s the problem Bill: No one is going for socialism. How many people belong to the Socialist Alliance? John mentioned a number around 900. There are more than 1.2 million small businesses – that’s more than 1300 businesses per member of SA.

And you want all businesses to act the way you want them to? The people have spoken Bill, and it’s not to your way of thinking.

But there’s more to it than that. Internationally, countries agree on very few things, so what makes you think that other countries that haven’t adopted your suggestion (say hypothetically we did adopt it) would want to deal with us? How could they? We wouldn’t have any money?

But at the heart of it, the numbers don’t stack up Bill. It’s not what the people want.

You go on about democracy – let democracy decide. If people want to hand their businesses over, then let them. But I don’t see anyone asking to do it – do you?

Btw, you left another question unanswered:

Imagine that you’re a small business owner, that you’ve mortgaged your house (say for a loan for $250,000) because you’ve always wanted (say) a wine bar something like that that you have a passion for, and that a couple of years down the line, someone comes up to you and says that you should relinquish your own capital and give your wine bar or whatever to the workers and you should walk away.

What would you do?

What would you do Bill? Will you answer that?

Comment from Brett
Time April 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Think big, not small.

A building that isn’t built on solid foundations comes crashing down quickly Bill. Without solid foundations, your socialism will fail dismally.

Hence me arguing against you.