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RE: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"

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  • Harry Pollard
    Dave, My golly, you sound like a real socialist! One of my complaints about the US is the absence of real socialists and communists. All we seem to have are
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 30, 2006
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      Re: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"
      Dave,
       
      My golly, you sound like a real socialist!
       
      One of my complaints about the US is the absence of real socialists and communists.
       
      All we seem to have are these bland "liberals" who are nothing like real Liberals, but are essentially "patch and glue the existing system" politicians. Perhaps, supporting such things as a minimum wage allows them to avoid the real question, which is why are wages so low. 
       
      The LA Times reported that asking  rent  for  Southern California residential units now average $1,413 per month - rather more than someone working for a minimum wage gets to take home. This means a minimum wage worker with a family must take 2 or more jobs, move to areas where gunshots ring out during the night, and share a small apartment with another family.
       
      Not just in Los Angeles - there are 3,141 counties in the US. In only 4 of them could a minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom apartment. 
       
      So, the new Democrat Congress will certainly raise the minimum wage - even though "all devouring Rent" will gently rise to swallow the increase.
       
      And it won't do a damn thing about the real problem.
       
      To find a real and knowledgeable Marxist I had to go 12,000 ft up Mount Whitney where a little store was managed by someone with a PhD in Marxism.
       
      Over the years, I became known to him as "the Georgist". Interestingly, he began to talk free market as the years went by. He was a nice chap - don't know whether he is still there.
       
      With regard to the cooperative ownership of Capital, the Georgist economy should have a lot more people with savings and many fewer who want to borrow (unlike the present where relatively few lenders service a multitude of borrowers).
       
      Real interest rates are therefore likely to fall and loan sharks won't easily earn a living.
       
      So ownership of Capital is likely to become widespread remembering the caveat that this depends on what people want.
       
      Harry
       
      *********************************
      Henry George School of Los Angeles
      Box 655  Tujunga  CA  91042
      818 352-4141
      *********************************

      From: Wetzel Dave [mailto:Davewetzel@...]
      Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 12:56 AM
      To: henrygeorgeschool@...; LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"

      Hi Harry,
      Many thanks for this note.
      Maybe from your perspective the UK is a socialist country but not from mine.
      THE Trudent nuclear arms programme is not socialist.
      Invading Iraq  is not socialist.
      Privatisation of public utilities  is not socialist. 
      Paying million pound bonuses to city slickers  is not socialist.
      Allowing poverty to continue  is not socialist.

      I agree that Henry George offers a brighter future.

      But even HG suggested that with his land reforms and the common ownership of land wealth that the ownership of capital might develop on a co-operative  basis.
      (I am a member of both the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party in the UK).  

      "If you are on the working side of the threshold, it becomes apparent that you can do almost as well by not working. Slipping across into the non-work area becomes most attractive. In fact, a little untaxed work off the books can allow you to do better than you could with a job."

      I agree - this is why I'd like to see the royal family, the members of the House of Lords and landowners all do an honest day's work! 

      Best Wishes,
      Dave

      Dave Wetzel
      Vice-Chair TfL
      Tel: 020 7126 4200
      --------------------------
       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com <LandCafe@yahoogroups.com>
      To: Wetzel Dave;  LandCafe <LandCafe@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tue Nov 28 22:39:23 2006
      Subject: RE: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"

      Dave,

      I am pretty sure that were I not a Georgist, I would be a socialist - perhaps a free market socialist if that isn't a contradiction of terms.

      However, I'm a radical Georgist. I want to end privilege of all kinds once and for all. My view of socialism is that in practice they improve the living conditions of the serfs - but they are still serfs, while the wealthy and powerful remain  - and even increase.

      I have only experienced three overtly socialist countries, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK. All of them seem highly civilized. My experience in Sweden is limited to a month I spent in hospital there, after going to sleep on a motor scooter. I wouldn't advise that.

      The day before I was due to leave, I asked for my clothes so I could make the rounds in the local town. I wanted to thank the people who had been nice to the 'Englishman in the hospital'. They wouldn't give me my clothes. It was against the rules. So, I wandered around town in a loose unbelted, cloth hospital robe and hospital backless slippers. Had an enjoyable evening with several friends and I wasn't arrested.

      So, can that be my criticism of Sweden's socialist hospital system? No. My beef is with the large woman who used a hard scrubbing brush to clean me off when I was helpless!

      Typical socialist sadism.

      More seriously, the major problem of socialism seems to arise from redistribution of income from those who work to those who don't. All countries carry out a redistribution from those who have to those who haven't. Socialism takes it further.

      US redistribution seems to go indiscriminately to both rich and poor - 79% of the American budget consists of transfer payments. When I see that the Duke of Westminster received £3 million over 10 years I think that maybe we are closer than we admit.  

      The advantage that modern nation-states have is the enormous power to produce they enjoy. This is what maintains controlled economy systems that are by their nature inefficient. How long they can run without crashing is anyone's guess, however, they survive.

      The problem is the threshold between giving and getting. If you are on the working side of the threshold, it becomes apparent that you can do almost as well by not working. Slipping across into the non-work area becomes most attractive. In fact, a little untaxed work off the books can allow you to do better than you could with a job.

      Officials try to stop this, but without being nasty, I'm not sure they can do much to prevent it.

      You have your Northern England where jobs aren't plentiful. We have the hell-holes of the urban ghettos with the added fear of being shot or knifed. (Maybe that's becoming true in urban Britain with 'no-go' areas.)

      What a shock to many Americans when Katrina exposed a horrible New Orleans that began only a couple of blocks from Bourbon Street, but which tourists never see. On the other hand, when I last went to the September Festival at Notting Hill Gate, there seemed to be more police than residents and visitors combined (maybe they were more noticeable).

      I would say that if capitalism hasn't the answer, then neither does socialism. Better to head for the Georgist solution that seeks to remove privilege and leave people free.

      Then, there is communism. I remember a high school student who regarded Henry George as a fool for seeking to reform society through the ballot box, when it can only be done from the barrel of a gun. Yep! His parents were communists.

      However, you are right about Marx.

      After boring us for two volumes, he brightens up in Volume III. Most important is his 'discovery' that surplus value disappears into ground rent. As it happens, his surplus value contention is pretty weak, but troubling is that given our enormous power to produce, as Henry said, 'Why is it so hard to make a living.'

      Well, we know why. Labor's production is being drained away by rent (actually rack-rent).

      Marx also pointed out that the Industrial Revolution was financed out of landlord rents. This leads me to ask - why then do we chase after the capitalists? It would make more sense to go after the people who financed capitalism with ill-gotten gains than the blokes who were trying to make it work.

      However, we both want the same thing. The well clichéd 'Liberty and Justice for All.'

      Nothing would please me more than to see Britain adopt full Rent collection and then begin to discard much socialist superstructure because it was no longer necessary.

      Meanwhile, we'll keep the discussion going.

      Harry

      *********************************
      Henry George School of Los Angeles
      Box 655  Tujunga  CA  91042
      818 352-4141
      *********************************

    • Wetzel Dave
      Dan writes: Do socialist countries not engage in Nuclear weaponry? (Russia, China, North Korea) or participate in military adventures? (Russia, China, North
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 1, 2006
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        Dan writes: "Do socialist countries not engage in Nuclear weaponry?
        (Russia, China, North Korea) or participate in military adventures?
        (Russia,
        China, North Korea, Cuba) Do they not have political corruption and
        insiders who are enriched at public expense? Did China and North
        Korea not allow poverty to continue? Did Russia not allow hundreds of
        thousands of people to be subjected to Chernobyl radiation and engage in
        other travesties against their own people?"

        I don't recognise any of these countries as socialist.

        To me democratic socialism is as far removed from communism as others
        would claim free market capitalism is from fascism.

        I organised a demonstration outside the USSR's London embassy in August
        1968 when the USSR sent tanks into Czechoslovakia to crush Alexander
        Dubcek's "Prague Spring" and his attempt to create "Communism with a
        human face".

        Of course I also demonstrated outside the American Embassy against the
        War in Vietnam in that same year.

        I want more socialists to understand LVT.

        However, the continual sniping at socialists from some Georgist quarters
        will just put them off.
        I try to show Socialists (and Conservatives) how LVT harmonises with
        their aspirations - I don't expect them to throw out their current
        ideology in total before accepting that annual land value capture could
        play a useful role in improving society.

        Dave

        Dave Wetzel,
        Vice-Chair, TfL
        020 7126 4200


        -----Original Message-----
        From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of Dan Sullivan
        Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:22 PM
        To: landcafe@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"

        This revolution of values must go beyond traditional capitalism
        and communism. We must honestly admit that capitalism has often
        left a gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, has
        created conditions permitting necessities to be taken from the many
        to give luxuries to the few, and has encouraged smallhearted men
        to become cold and conscienceless so that, like Dives before
        Lazarus, they are unmoved by suffering, poverty-stricken
        humanity. The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an
        economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish
        ambition that inspire men to be more I-centered than thou-
        centered. Equally, communism reduces men to a cog in the wheel
        of the state. The communist may object, saying that in Marxian
        theory the state is an 'interim reality' that will 'wither away' when
        the classless society emerges. True -- in theory; but it is also true
        that, while the state lasts, it is an end in itself. Man is a means to
        that end. He has no inalienable rights. His only rights are derived
        from, and conferred by, the state. Under such a system the fountain
        of freedom runs dry. Restricted are man's liberties of press and
        assembly, his freedom to vote and his freedom to listen and to
        read.

        Truth is found neither in traditional capitalism nor in classical
        communism. Each represents a partial truth. Capitalism fails to see
        the truth in collectivism. Communism fails to see the truth in
        individualism. Capitalism fails to realize that life is social.
        Communism fails to realize that life is personal. The good and just
        society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of
        communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles
        the truths of individualism and collectivism.

        ...The problems we now face must take us beyond slogans for their
        solution. In the final analysis, the right-wing slogans on
        'government control' and 'creeping socialism' are as meaningless
        and adolescent as the Chinese Red Guard slogans against
        'bourgeois revisionism.' An intelligent approach to the problems of
        poverty and racism will cause us to see the words of the Psalmist --
        'The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof' -- are still a
        judgment upon our use and abuse of the wealth and resources with
        which we have been endowed.

        -- A Testament of Hope: The Essential Speeches and Writings of
        Martin Luther King Jr, pp.629-630

        On 30 Nov 2006 at 8:55, Wetzel Dave wrote:

        > THE Trudent nuclear arms programme is not socialist.

        > Invading Iraq is not socialist.

        > Privatisation of public utilities is not socialist.

        > Paying million pound bonuses to city slickers is not socialist.

        > Allowing poverty to continue is not socialist.

        I think it is more accurate to say that those things are not
        egalitarian.
        Do socialist countries not engage in Nuclear weaponry? (Russia,
        China, North Korea) or or participate in military adventures? (Russia,
        China, North Korea, Cuba) Do they not have political corruption and
        insiders who are enriched at public expense? Did China and North
        Korea not allow poverty to continue? Did Russia not allow hundreds
        of thousands of people to be subjected to Chernobyl radiation and
        engage in other travesties against their own people?

        These are not the best socialist countries, but they are among the
        biggest. The biggest are usually the most abusive, which is one of the
        reasons the United States is so bad. We were much better before we
        were powerful.

        Some socialists think they have a monopoly on the idea of equality,
        but I think socialist analysis is deficient in that regard. Is socialism

        better than monopoly capitalism? To some people it is. Maybe heart
        disease is better than leukemia, too. That doesn't mean we have to line
        up in support of one in order to fight the other.

        > I agree that Henry George offers a brighter future.

        Well, that is the point, isn't it? Remember, this exchange began, not
        with a denunciation of socialism, but with a denunciation with
        Georgists for not lining up with the socialists.

        The approach I take, and the one I think the Georgist movement tries
        to take, parallels Thomas Jefferson's maxim. "Honest commerce with
        all nations, entangling alliances with none." The key word, I think, is
        "entangling." We can work with people who happen to be socialists or
        capitalists, but when one of them tries to entangle us in their system
        by demanding that we should stay away their chosen adversaries, then
        we have to set them straight about who we are and who we are not.
        As individuals, some of us might be socialists and some might be
        capitalists, but we, as a movement, are neither.

        There are very good libertarians, but the right-wing knee-jerk
        libertarians are horribly, horribly wrong. There are very good
        socialists, but the left-wing, knee-jerk socialists are also horribly
        wrong. Generally, the knee-jerk socialists are the ones who think there
        are no good libertarians, and the knee-jerk libertarians are the ones
        who think there are no good socialists. I think that, apart from when
        one is tapped by the doctor's rubber hammer, there are no good knee
        jerks.

        Those who are open to reason will join with us, and those who are not
        will insist that we join with them and renounce their enemies. I do not
        want to lose reasonable people on one side of the political spectrum in
        order to get the support of unreasonable people on the other.

        Anyone who suggests that Georgists support war, neoliberalism, and
        neoconservatism at the same time, while also saying we are in league
        with Hayek and Friedman (who, by the way, oppose all those things
        themselves) is not an ally worth having. There is no advantage in
        swelling our ranks if they are swelled with back-stabbers.

        > But even HG suggested that with his land reforms and the
        > common ownership of land wealth that the ownership of capital
        > might develop on a co-operative basis. (I am a member of
        > both the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party in the UK).

        If you read George's chapters on cooperation in Science of Political
        Economy, you will see that most genuine capital *is* held and used
        cooperatively, in the better sense of spontaneous cooperation, but not
        in the inferior sense of directed cooperation that socialism embraces.

        I have them online, although I have some bugs to work out of the
        formatting. Here are the two chapters. The second one is more
        pertinent to this discussion.

        http://savingcommun
        <http://savingcommunities.org/docs/george.henry/spe309.html>
        ities.org/docs/george.henry/spe309.html
        http://savingcommun
        <http://savingcommunities.org/docs/george.henry/spe310.html>
        ities.org/docs/george.henry/spe310.html

        Although Georgists have not pursued the logical outcome for capital,
        a careful analysis of George's laws of rent, wages and interest shows
        that (in the absence of a bad monetary system), the return to capital
        will gradually fall to near-zero, once risk and depreciation are
        factored
        out. Basically, capital will become so abundant and so well
        distributed that it will command no special reward beyond its utility.
        Cooperation will arise without "cooperatives," except where
        cooperatives enhance efficiency, which is seldom the case.

        > "If you are on the working side of the threshold, it becomes
        > apparent that you can do almost as well by not working.
        > Slipping across into the non-work area becomes most
        > attractive. In fact, a little untaxed work off the books can
        > allow you to do better than you could with a job."

        > I agree - this is why I'd like to see the royal family, the
        > members of the House of Lords and landowners all do an honest
        > day's work!

        Is there any egalitarian philosophy that does not want to see that?

        -ds
      • Dan Sullivan
        ... But they are clearly Marxist, or at least set out to be Marxist, and you have already cited Marx as the ultimate socialist. ... Yet both are oxymorons.
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 1, 2006
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          On 1 Dec 2006 at 12:39, Wetzel Dave wrote:

          > Dan writes: "Do socialist countries not engage in Nuclear
          > weaponry? (Russia, China, North Korea) or participate in
          > military adventures? (Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba) Do
          > they not have political corruption and insiders who are
          > enriched at public expense? Did China and North Korea not
          > allow poverty to continue? Did Russia not allow hundreds of
          > thousands of people to be subjected to Chernobyl radiation
          > and engage in other travesties against their own people?"

          > I don't recognise any of these countries as socialist.

          But they are clearly Marxist, or at least set out to be Marxist, and you
          have already cited Marx as the ultimate socialist.

          > To me democratic socialism is as far removed from communism
          > as others would claim free market capitalism is from fascism.

          Yet both are oxymorons. Democratic process cannot regulate runaway
          bureaucracy any more than free-market processes can regulate
          runaway monopoly. Certainly Stalin is not what the socialists had
          intended, any more than Hitler was what the fascists had intended.
          Indeed, Stalin constantly purged the ideological socialists and Hitler
          called the leading German fascists to a meeting and had them
          machine-gunned.

          The problem is that socialism ultimately leads to totalitarian states
          simply because it is impossible for democratic process to cope with
          managing the complexities of economic regulation. Just how does the
          voter determine which politicians voted to appoint the regulators who
          hired the bureaucrat who oversaw the manager who hired the engineer
          who crafted the defect that caused the steel to be too rust-prone and to
          shorten the life of his automobile?

          In a non-socialist world, the consumers just start telling each other,
          "Don't by a Datsun. They rust out in no time." First thing you know,
          Datsun no longer exists. The company is reorganized under the name
          Nissan, but they no longer make rust-bucket cars.

          > I organised a demonstration outside the USSR's London embassy
          > in August 1968 when the USSR sent tanks into Czechoslovakia to
          > crush Alexander Dubcek's "Prague Spring" and his attempt to
          > create "Communism with a human face".

          Well, this isn't about whether you are a good guy or not, is it? It's
          about whether Marxist socialism is a viable approach that we should
          get in line with.

          > Of course I also demonstrated outside the American Embassy
          > against the War in Vietnam in that same year.

          Not me. We don't have American Embassies in the United States. In
          any case, I don't see your point. If it is only that some socialists
          oppose war, so do some capitalists. Yet the natures of both socialism
          and capitalism involve monopoly control, and that is what war is for
          in the first place.

          > I want more socialists to understand LVT.

          I want more people to understand LVT. I include socialists in that, but
          I also include anti-socialists.

          > However, the continual sniping at socialists from some
          > Georgist quarters will just put them off.

          Here, Dave, is where you just plain misunderstand what is happening.
          This thread was started by a socialist sniping at Georgists for quoting
          Milton Friedman. I can go back through land-theory and show you
          that same socialist sniping at Georgists over and over and over.
          Maybe that didn't offend you or commend your attention because he
          was trashing someone else's perspective instead of criticizing the
          socialist perspective. Sadly, most people are vastly more incensed by
          the fouls committed by players on the opposing team than by players
          on their own team.

          > I try to show Socialists (and Conservatives) how LVT
          > harmonises with their aspirations - I don't expect them to
          > throw out their current ideology in total before accepting
          > that annual land value capture could play a useful role in
          > improving society.

          So do I. The only person who suggested that others throw out their
          ideology in total was the socialist who started this thread. Why did
          you not point your criticisms about sniping and expecting people to
          throw out their current ideology to the to the person who started this
          thread by actually doing these things? To refresh your memory, here
          is what your socialist ally wrote:

          the georgist movement failed because it fundamentally did not
          understand that land reform was
          progressive/left/anarchist/socialist/revolutionary.

          It thought that it should deal with Fred Hayek and Milton Friedman
          rather than Karl Marx.

          Quit acting as a tool for neo-liberalism and start defending social
          democracy.

          I shudder to ask, but i truly wonder whether the degraded georgist
          'movement' would have joined the neo-conservative 'think tanks'
          (at this stage, all tank and no think) in support of 'Operation Iraqi
          Liberation' - OIL)

          This isn't some idiosyncracy of Bernard's either. It is typical of many
          such comments I have heard from American socialists over the years,
          which is why I said that maybe it's just the socialists in anti-socialist
          countries that behave this way. However, there are Marxist concepts
          like class envy and class warfare that bring out this kind of intolerant
          behavior.

          My own comments have been critical of both socialism and
          capitalism. If you thought they were only anti-socialist, it's because
          criticizing socialism is more taboo for you than criticizing capitalism.
          That's perfectly alright, as long as you don't come down on the side of
          someone who engages in name-calling just because many of us
          happen to like Milton Friedman's endorsement.

          -ds
        • Paul Metz
          I always believed LVT offers a - or even the - Third Way - the Holy Grail everyone is searching while we have it and sit on it. The Romans have a lesson: while
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 2, 2006
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            I always believed LVT offers a - or even the - Third Way - the Holy Grail everyone
            is searching while we have it and sit on it.
             
            The Romans have a lesson: while the Senate continued debate, the war was lost.
             
            Taxation is a professional art, an instrument, not an ideology. Taxation of scarce
            factors could very well make sense in all ideologies.
             
            Paul Metz


            From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wetzel Dave
            Sent: vrijdag 1 december 2006 13:39
            To: Dan Sullivan; landcafe@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"

            Dan writes: "Do socialist countries not engage in Nuclear weaponry?
            (Russia, China, North Korea) or participate in military adventures?
            (Russia,
            China, North Korea, Cuba) Do they not have political corruption and
            insiders who are enriched at public expense? Did China and North
            Korea not allow poverty to continue? Did Russia not allow hundreds of
            thousands of people to be subjected to Chernobyl radiation and engage in
            other travesties against their own people?"

            I don't recognise any of these countries as socialist.

            To me democratic socialism is as far removed from communism as others
            would claim free market capitalism is from fascism.

            I organised a demonstration outside the USSR's London embassy in August
            1968 when the USSR sent tanks into Czechoslovakia to crush Alexander
            Dubcek's "Prague Spring" and his attempt to create "Communism with a
            human face".

            Of course I also demonstrated outside the American Embassy against the
            War in Vietnam in that same year.

            I want more socialists to understand LVT.

            However, the continual sniping at socialists from some Georgist quarters
            will just put them off.
            I try to show Socialists (and Conservatives) how LVT harmonises with
            their aspirations - I don't expect them to throw out their current
            ideology in total before accepting that annual land value capture could
            play a useful role in improving society.

            Dave

            Dave Wetzel,
            Vice-Chair, TfL
            020 7126 4200


            -----Original Message-----
            From: LandCafe@yahoogroup s.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroup s.com] On
            Behalf Of Dan Sullivan
            Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:22 PM
            To: landcafe@yahoogroup s.com
            Subject: Re: [LandCafe] "Progressive" is not "Socialist"

            This revolution of values must go beyond traditional capitalism
            and communism. We must honestly admit that capitalism has often
            left a gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, has
            created conditions permitting necessities to be taken from the many
            to give luxuries to the few, and has encouraged smallhearted men
            to become cold and conscienceless so that, like Dives before
            Lazarus, they are unmoved by suffering, poverty-stricken
            humanity. The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an
            economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish
            ambition that inspire men to be more I-centered than thou-
            centered. Equally, communism reduces men to a cog in the wheel
            of the state. The communist may object, saying that in Marxian
            theory the state is an 'interim reality' that will 'wither away' when
            the classless society emerges. True -- in theory; but it is also true
            that, while the state lasts, it is an end in itself. Man is a means to
            that end. He has no inalienable rights. His only rights are derived
            from, and conferred by, the state. Under such a system the fountain
            of freedom runs dry. Restricted are man's liberties of press and
            assembly, his freedom to vote and his freedom to listen and to
            read.

            Truth is found neither in traditional capitalism nor in classical
            communism. Each represents a partial truth. Capitalism fails to see
            the truth in collectivism. Communism fails to see the truth in
            individualism. Capitalism fails to realize that life is social.
            Communism fails to realize that life is personal. The good and just
            society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of
            communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles
            the truths of individualism and collectivism.

            ...The problems we now face must take us beyond slogans for their
            solution. In the final analysis, the right-wing slogans on
            'government control' and 'creeping socialism' are as meaningless
            and adolescent as the Chinese Red Guard slogans against
            'bourgeois revisionism. ' An intelligent approach to the problems of
            poverty and racism will cause us to see the words of the Psalmist --
            'The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof' -- are still a
            judgment upon our use and abuse of the wealth and resources with
            which we have been endowed.

            -- A Testament of Hope: The Essential Speeches and Writings of
            Martin Luther King Jr, pp.629-630

            On 30 Nov 2006 at 8:55, Wetzel Dave wrote:

            > THE Trudent nuclear arms programme is not socialist.

            > Invading Iraq is not socialist.

            > Privatisation of
            public utilities is not socialist.

            > Paying million pound bonuses to
            city slickers is not socialist.

            > Allowing poverty to continue is not
            socialist.

            I think it is more accurate to say that those things are not
            egalitarian.
            Do socialist countries not engage in Nuclear weaponry? (Russia,
            China, North Korea) or or participate in military adventures? (Russia,
            China, North Korea, Cuba) Do they not have political corruption and
            insiders who are enriched at public expense? Did China and North
            Korea not allow poverty to continue? Did Russia not allow hundreds
            of thousands of people to be subjected to Chernobyl radiation and
            engage in other travesties against their own people?

            These are not the best socialist countries, but they are among the
            biggest. The biggest are usually the most abusive, which is one of the
            reasons the United States is so bad. We were much better before we
            were powerful.

            Some socialists think they have a monopoly on the idea of equality,
            but I think socialist analysis is deficient in that regard. Is socialism

            better than monopoly capitalism? To some people it is. Maybe heart
            disease is better than leukemia, too. That doesn't mean we have to line
            up in support of one in order to fight the other.

            > I
            agree that Henry George offers a brighter future.

            Well, that is the point, isn't it? Remember, this exchange began, not
            with a denunciation of socialism, but with a denunciation with
            Georgists for not lining up with the socialists.

            The approach I take, and the one I think the Georgist movement tries
            to take, parallels Thomas Jefferson's maxim. "Honest commerce with
            all nations, entangling alliances with none." The key word, I think, is
            "entangling. " We can work with people who happen to be socialists or
            capitalists, but when one of them tries to entangle us in their system
            by demanding that we should stay away their chosen adversaries, then
            we have to set them straight about who we are and who we are not.
            As individuals, some of us might be socialists and some might be
            capitalists, but we, as a movement, are neither.

            There are very good libertarians, but the right-wing knee-jerk
            libertarians are horribly, horribly wrong. There are very good
            socialists, but the left-wing, knee-jerk socialists are also horribly
            wrong. Generally, the knee-jerk socialists are the ones who think there
            are no good libertarians, and the knee-jerk libertarians are the ones
            who think there are no good socialists. I think that, apart from when
            one is tapped by the doctor's rubber hammer, there are no good knee
            jerks.

            Those who are open to reason will join with us, and those who are not
            will insist that we join with them and renounce their enemies. I do not
            want to lose reasonable people on one side of the political spectrum in
            order to get the support of unreasonable people on the other.

            Anyone who suggests that Georgists support war, neoliberalism, and
            neoconservatism at the same time, while also saying we are in league
            with Hayek and Friedman (who, by the way, oppose all those things
            themselves) is not an ally worth having. There is no advantage in
            swelling our ranks if they are swelled with back-stabbers.

            > But even HG suggested that with his land reforms and
            the
            > common ownership of land wealth that the ownership of
            capital
            > might develop on a co-operative basis. (I am a member of
            >
            both the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party in the UK).

            If you read George's chapters on cooperation in Science of Political
            Economy, you will see that most genuine capital *is* held and used
            cooperatively, in the better sense of spontaneous cooperation, but not
            in the inferior sense of directed cooperation that socialism embraces.

            I have them online, although I have some bugs to work out of the
            formatting. Here are the two chapters. The second one is more
            pertinent to this discussion.

            http://savingcommun
            <http://savingcommun ities.org/ docs/george. henry/spe309. html>
            ities.org/docs/ george.henry/ spe309.html
            http://savingcommun
            <http://savingcommun ities.org/ docs/george. henry/spe310. html>
            ities.org/docs/ george.henry/ spe310.html

            Although Georgists have not pursued the logical outcome for capital,
            a careful analysis of George's laws of rent, wages and interest shows
            that (in the absence of a bad monetary system), the return to capital
            will gradually fall to near-zero, once risk and depreciation are
            factored
            out. Basically, capital will become so abundant and so well
            distributed that it will command no special reward beyond its utility.
            Cooperation will arise without "cooperatives, " except where
            cooperatives enhance efficiency, which is seldom the case.

            > "If you are on the working side of the threshold,
            it becomes
            > apparent that you can do almost as well by not
            working.
            > Slipping across into the non-work area becomes most
            >
            attractive. In fact, a little untaxed work off the books can
            > allow you
            to do better than you could with a job."

            > I agree - this is why I'd
            like to see the royal family, the
            > members of the House of Lords and
            landowners all do an honest
            > day's work!

            Is there any egalitarian philosophy that does not want to see that?

            -ds

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