I'm a Marxist. Are you? Why/Why not?

Homepage Forums Politics I'm a Marxist. Are you? Why/Why not?

This topic contains 72 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 73 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #38592

    Unseen
    Participant

    In Fact some countries semi-privatise healthcare. For example in the UK and most of Canada some services like physiotherapy have a limited government service with a waiting list, less convenient locations and fewer specialised services mostly for free. Or you can pay for private services (pricey) which can be covered by supplemental insurance. In Spain there is a two tiered system with private doctors and hospitals which usually get the better doctors and services. It is not ideal. Scotland and Belgium provide dental services, most mental health services and (mostly) free medicine. Canada does not. Spain has cheap medicine, limited mental health and no free dental services. It is a mixed bag in most countries. Switzerland and Norway are ideal with almost everything covered.

    In my ideal state, private healthcare would be available for those who feel they would get better healthcare there and are sure they can afford it, but they’d still have to pay the taxes that help subsidize the socialistic healthcare system.

    #38593

    Unseen
    Participant

    A few industries should absolutely be government owned in most cases: Utilities like energy production, water, gas and potentially petrochemicals for small countries. Public transportation including rail (privatisation of rail in the UK has been an unmitigated horrific disaster). Some countries have been very successful at starting up companies like aircrafts and car manufacturers and then wisely selling it off when and if it becomes lucrative. Some industries can be semi-private like airlines and telecoms (at least the telecom infrastructure).

    I’m with you there.

    #38597

    jakelafort
    Participant

    With respect to the USA and its national disgrace in having a gazillion uninsured and substandard health care it is important to recognize that profit motive and best interest of citizenry are not always aligned. We would eliminated much of the conflict if we socialized medicine. We got some goddamn weapons though and a whole shit load of brain dead.

    #38598

    Unseen
    Participant

    With respect to the USA and its national disgrace in having a gazillion uninsured and substandard health care it is important to recognize that profit motive and best interest of citizenry are not always aligned. We would eliminated much of the conflict if we socialized medicine. We got some goddamn weapons though and a whole shit load of brain dead.

    The whole problem with the American healthcare system pretty much boils down to middlemen and the profit motive.

    Middlemen need to be paid, of course, which is an expense. Worse, the job of many of them is to examine large claims (the kind that bankrupt ordinary Joes and Janes) and find reasons not to pay them. For example, if there is a misstatement on an insurance application which they can portray as a lie, there you go. Claim denied. This “lie” might simply be how to interpret a question. Suppose the question is a list of illnesses and “Do you suffer from any of these conditions?” and one of those conditions is described as “High blood pressure” which the subject marked “No” because he doesn’t HAVE blood pressure which is high, because it’s under control Had the question been phrased “Have you EVER suffered from any of these conditions,” he might have marked “Yes” or if the question had been about hypertension. Well, the insurance company might wiggle out of the claim that way and the subject might never be told specifically why his claim was denied, thus robbing him of the opportunity to explain his interpretation of the question, which was a reasonable one

    As to the profit motive, in the open marketplace there is little restraint on profits. Hospitals charge $25 for an aspiring or Tylenol and all too often their profits go into building impressive new wings sporting polished marble walls and huge windows, or they add in the most expensive MRI machine on the planet rather than the one that costs 25% as much but can get the job done. Pharmacology companies use government grants to facilitate research into new drug treatments, but with few or no strings attached to what they can charge for the resulting product. And the FDA lets them get away with extending patents by making largely irrelevant “improvements” in the formula. Someone should figure out why insulin is so expensive and is not a generic medicine yet.

    A lot of doctors are not charging high rates because they are greedy (though, surely, some are), but because more than half of their staff are not even nurses or nurse assistants. Rather, they are people involved in documenting claims made to insurance companies. Their practice is buried under paperwork.

    These are problems a more socialist approach could easily solve.

    #38599

    jakelafort
    Participant

    You make a lot of good points Unseen. I saw first hand practicing law how claims can be denied in bad faith. And then there is the issue with insurers having too great influence in the practice of medicine. Denying coverage as experimental or unnecessary even where legit docs say certain treatments are vital. Various physicians have told me how they don’t always prescribe as they would if they had their prerogative and how time consuming and annoying insurers can be.

    And how many potentially improved meds or treatments do not have the R & D funds if they might not be as profitable or compete with profitable meds. And there is a lot more that is fucked up about capitalism intersecting with medicine.

    #38600

    Sorry for the “hit and run” here but I was reading this just now (working from home but on a break) about how the US military could be considered a socialist organization. The article that follows below it is on CRT but also worth reading. (linked here also in case it is different in your location).

    #38601

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Yeah, especially for healthcare. Commercializing citizen’s health for profit should have no place in an advanced society. The data speaks for itself on this issue. US healthcare is a disaster by all accounts given the wealth of the nation and you would do better in Morocco than the US. Best Healthcare In The World 2021 https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/best-healthcare-in-the-world

    The best healthcare in the world? Maybe if you’re a multimillionaire, billionaire, Saudi sheik, or Russian oligarch. Stunning new report ranks US dead last in health care among richest countries—despite spending the most

    I bet you just scanned and misread my post….and you sure did not open the link either, LOL.

    #38602

    Davis
    Moderator

    The US does indeed offer the most advanced and comprehensive services in the World for a small minority of people who can afford it. It is unlikely that any American user here would have unfettered access to such healthcare without having to lose their house in extra costs. So yeah, you are, sort of….technically right this time…though mostly wrong…as usual Enco.

    #38603

    Davis
    Moderator

    Unseen, a central tenet of Marxism is class struggle leading to violent revolution. It also infers collectivisation and a state run economy.  What you are talking about is not Marxism but a mixed approach applying some socialist concepts. But Marxism? No. You cannot call modern-European-style-mixed-systems Marxist. That’s why in nearly every European country there are separate Marxist and Socialist parties.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Davis.
    #38606

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen, a central tenet of Marxism is class struggle leading to violent revolution. It also infers collectivisation and a state run economy. What you are talking about is not Marxism but a mixed approach applying some socialist concepts. But Marxism? No. You cannot call modern-European-style-mixed-systems Marxist. That’s why in nearly every European country there are separate Marxist and Socialist parties.

    I said in the beginning that you can pick and choose. My Marxism is based on accepting his analysis of labor and, yes, applying some socialist ideas. Prof. Wolff expounds a kind of socialism that is bottom-up not top-down. Workers having a presence and a vote on the boards of directors of corporations, or even fully owning the corporations.

    I don’t feel bound by how it’s done elsewhere. Once again, it’s rational to pick and choose.

    Maybe I should have said this in the beginning: Let’s not get too bogged down in labels.

    #38607

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    As for his analysis of labor, Marx noticed a certain commonality throughout history. A pattern of exploitation. From ancient times through to modern and contemporary times, those who produce get only a portion of the value they produce because a sizeable chunk of it goes to the tribal chief, the lord of the land, the king, and today to the capitalist.

    Ah, yes.  The infamous Marxist Labor Theory of Value.  Obviously, Karl Marx never had a hobby.

    (And as Claude Cat of Looney Tunes observed: “They say a hobby sometimes helps.” Fast forward to 4:18 😁)

    If the value of a Topps Sports Card comes from the labor put into it, and the employer Topps is just an “exploiter” who squeezes the workers’ value dry for chump-change, then according to the logic of Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, the collector of that product is an even bigger mega-“exploiter.”

    I mean, here Charlie Brown and Lucy are spending money (Lucy is spending retail and Charlie Brown is spending wholesale) on bubble gum and baseball cards in hopes of getting that valued, coveted Joe Shlabotnik card, and who ever gets it will have something that hopefully will exceed in value many times over the amount spent.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7XFNIEaukGE/TkKwWVg2AnI/AAAAAAAABUQ/qeMY_k0oWdg/s1600/peanuts.jpg

    So according to the logic of Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, Charlie Brown and Lucy are little Bourgeois, Counter-Revolutionary mega-“exploiters” and “wreckers,” and they are “exploiting” not only the workers who made the product, but also the employer who hired the workers.

    (And none of this is to mention poor Joe Shlabotnik, who has to hit all those baseballs and run those bases and risk line-driving by balls and getting hit with flung bats and getting pelted with junk from the audience.)

    Also, according to the logic of Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, the value of stock shares evidently comes from the paper and the labor of the workers printing the stock certificates.

    Never mind if the company issuing the stock produces a product or service that people want and need or if investors have confidence in the product or service or think the product or service will turn a profit and give investors a shot at some of the profit. None of that matters in Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value.

    And if investors are “exploiters” according to Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, then there are a whole lot of workers deeply vested in individual shares, mutual funds, IRAs, 401ks, Keough Funds, and other investment instruments who can, do, and will have something to say about that Theory…and none of it is nice!

    My Uncle and Aunt are just two examples of millions. They were just line workers at Freightliner Trucks for years who made the right investments, persisted investing through the ups and downs of the market, and managed to not only get good pensions, but they also own their own home and a second beach house.

    Just who is “exploiting” whom here? Neither my Uncle and Aunt nor the overwhelming bulk of U.S. workers invested in the market can be sold on Marxist Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat “Class War” gibberish such as Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Spelling and hypertext verifying
    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Doing justice to the name Joe Shlabotnik
    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Another minscule grammatical correction. My labor and value-add are willing and with pleasure
    #38611

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Wow Enco…i remember being 15 years old struggling through Das Kapital. Never even finished it.

    If only i could have fast forwarded 43 years and read your critique with nothing but some old bubble gum and a baseball card you dispatched him.

    #38612

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Jake,

    You’d probably have had a happier adolescence with the bubble gum and baseball cards than with that moldy dust-grabber. 😁

    #38613

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Reg,

    Part of the versatility of Free-Market Capitalism is that people are free to be as Alturistic, Socialistic, and Communistic as they want…with their own property and lives.  What they can’t do is make others do the same thing with their property and lives.

    By contrast, in a Socialist or Communist society, people are not free to be as Capitalist as they like.  Capitalists under Socialism or Communism only exist as a crony or a “useful idiot” pawn of the regime.

    (Three notorious examples of this are Occidental Petroleum under the former Soviet Union, I.G. Farben under the former Nazi Germany, and The Ford Motor Company under both totalitarian regimes.)

    Oh, by the way, I can tell from her use of the word “wholesome” that the woman who wrote the article in The Nation has never ate an MRE (Meal, Ready-To-Eat) that our poor troops have to eat when serving afield.  I ate an MRE once with Beef Stew, Applesauce, and Crackers and got Montezuma’s Revenge.  An insult and a health hazard to all who serve!

    Washington, if you love those who serve, issue them fresh food, their own dehydrators and Seal-A-Meals, so they can eat to their taste and convenience, and without risk to their digestive tract!

    #38615

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen,

    As for his analysis of labor, Marx noticed a certain commonality throughout history. A pattern of exploitation. From ancient times through to modern and contemporary times, those who produce get only a portion of the value they produce because a sizeable chunk of it goes to the tribal chief, the lord of the land, the king, and today to the capitalist.

    Ah, yes. The infamous Marxist Labor Theory of Value. Obviously, Karl Marx never had a hobby. (And as Claude Cat of Looney Tunes observed: “They say a hobby sometimes helps.” Fast forward to 4:18 😁) <iframe title=”Cheese Chasers (1951) with original titles recreation” src=”https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x5dwbdf” width=”670″ height=”502″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe> If the value of a Topps Sports Card comes from the labor put into it, and the employer Topps is just an “exploiter” who squeezes the workers’ value dry for chump-change, then according to the logic of Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, the collector of that product is an even bigger mega-“exploiter.” I mean, here Charlie Brown and Lucy are spending money (Lucy is spending retail and Charlie Brown is spending wholesale) on bubble gum and baseball cards in hopes of getting that valued, coveted Joe Shlabotnik card, and who ever gets it will have something that hopefully will exceed in value many times over the amount spent. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7XFNIEaukGE/TkKwWVg2AnI/AAAAAAAABUQ/qeMY_k0oWdg/s1600/peanuts.jpg So according to the logic of Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, Charlie Brown and Lucy are little Bourgeois, Counter-Revolutionary mega-“exploiters” and “wreckers,” and they are “exploiting” not only the workers who made the product, but also the employer who hired the workers. (And none of this is to mention poor Joe Shlabotnik, who has to hit all those baseballs and run those bases and risk line-driving by balls and getting hit with flung bats and getting pelted with junk from the audience.) Also, according to the logic of Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, the value of stock shares evidently comes from the paper and the labor of the workers printing the stock certificates. Never mind if the company issuing the stock produces a product or service that people want and need or if investors have confidence in the product or service or think the product or service will turn a profit and give investors a shot at some of the profit. None of that matters in Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value. And if investors are “exploiters” according to Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value, then there are a whole lot of workers deeply vested in individual shares, mutual funds, IRAs, 401ks, Keough Funds, and other investment instruments who can, do, and will have something to say about that Theory…and none of it is nice! My Uncle and Aunt are just two examples of millions. They were just line workers at Freightliner Trucks for years who made the right investments, persisted investing through the ups and downs of the market, and managed to not only get good pensions, but they also own their own home and a second beach house. Just who is “exploiting” whom here? Neither my Uncle and Aunt nor the overwhelming bulk of U.S. workers invested in the market can be sold on Marxist Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat “Class War” gibberish such as Karl Marx’ Labor Theory of Value.

    Enco, you’re seemingly unaware that I don’t reply to bedsheet posts point by point. If you could abstractify a bit, you’ll get more point-by-point replies. On the old board, ThinkAtheist, one member in particular always contributed multi-thousand word posts. Over time, I came to see it as a strategy, by posting too much to reply to, he appeared the winner of every argument. Shorter is better and more of us will read every line. Yes, extremely long posts tend to go unread or read only until the eyes glaze over. Certainly in my case I will join discussions for only an hour or two per day. I have a life to get back to. That said…

    I’m a Marxist only in the sense I’ve stated it here. I’m not an expert on Marx much less economics.

    However, you seem to be confusing two different concepts, value and price. This is understandable since in everyday life they are often used either almost or absolutely interchangeably.

    Let’s look at it this way: Price is what you can fetch when selling your widget. Price is a very flexible and time-sensitive concept in this view. Price is highly variable from time to time, often from minute to minute (stock prices, for example). Value is more like a pie chart and the question is what is a fair slice for the capitalist and for the worker? Price is not a consideration until you look at what the price turns out to be, how much profit there is, and how profits are to be distributed.

    Some things exist outside this analysis like that famous stamp with the upside down airplane error. Its price has nothing to do with labor. For one thing, the idiot who did it is long gone. However, gold is easily the best example of something with a both a price and an exchange value.

    A more to the point example for this discussion would be something we all might be in the market for.

    In a 2018 article, it was stated that “The Wall Street Journal recently published a deconstruction of the iPhone X component costs (below). As you can see it costs $390 to make but sells for $1099. Marketing and distribution costs are not included but they are likely negligible given Apple’s strong brand and demand for its products. Few other companies have people lining up for its products at midnight the day before the launch!”

    Did you notice what’s missing? Labor costs. Either they were too negligible to include or they are invisibly built into each of the line items.

    What would a fair share for the workers who produced a phone that can be sold for about 3.5 times the cost of production? Talking about value in the usual sense doesn’t help because the value of a phone varies between the seller and the customer and from one customer to the next. For some people, their life tends to revolve around their iPhone (sad) while for others, they see no special value in having an iPhone and end up with an
    Android phone or no phone at all.

    John Rawls talked about what is the fairest way to distribute a good (something people generally want). He advanced the idea that the person who slices the pie or cake, for example, should get the last piece after the rest has been allocated or distributedd. Capitalism sticks us with the opposite system: the Capitalist seemingly decides how much he gets and the workers who produced the product get shares of the leftovers.

    What is fair, Enco?

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 73 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.