There's a reason we were caught flat-footed by the pandemic, and…

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  _Robert_ 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #34852

    Unseen
    Participant

    …it has little to do with Donald Trump.

    Yesterday, the Dow hit a historic high. Meanwhile, people wait more than 24 hours in some places to receive a box of canned goods for Thanksgiving. Washington can’t find it in its heart to extend any monetary relief at all to unemployed Americans, small businesses (the so-called “backbone of the economy”), and state and local governments running out of cash to pay police and fire departments.

    Why, one wonders, were we caught so flat-footed when the pandemic hit? Critical shortages of PPE’s (masks, gowns), inadequate supplies of ventilators, hospital rooms and beds, as well as all kinds of supplies. Not only was this situation caused by, it was almost certainly necessitated by our faith in our society’s favorite sacred cow, capitalism.

    I think you’ll find a plausible answer in the first five minutes of this video by America’s leading Marxist economist, Richard Wolff. Surely you have that much time. Listen further if he’s piqued your interest?

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #34854

    Unseen
    Participant

    #34855

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Yeah capitalism has a great many shortcomings. But this is Murica. God, guns and whiskey make us great. Oh and titty bars. So many get so married to their cherished beliefs that they have no possibility of approaching objectivity. The mere mention of the word socialism is the Scarlet Letter.

    #34858

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Do you think that socialism in correct practice requires that people care about the welfare of others and can willfully function as part of a cooperative dependency?

    #34859

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I believe that in a classical form, conservatives care mostly about their own group, while “liberals”, or socialists, care about the whole world.

    I think that Marxism really reflects the ancient human conditions of living in small interdependent groups, where everyone cares about everyone.  This is great – the Garden of Eden – but it doesn’t translate well to large groups.

    #34863

    Unseen
    Participant

    Do you think that socialism in correct practice requires that people care about the welfare of others and can willfully function as part of a cooperative dependency?

    (a) Socialism comes in all kinds of flavors, so there is no one way to answer that question, yet (b) the modern concept of socialism can, I believe, be traced back to the French Revolution, whose motto, famously, was “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, brotherhood), so in that sense, a resounding perhaps.

    #34864

    Unseen
    Participant

    I believe that in a classical form, conservatives care mostly about their own group, while “liberals”, or socialists, care about the whole world. I think that Marxism really reflects the ancient human conditions of living in small interdependent groups, where everyone cares about everyone. This is great – the Garden of Eden – but it doesn’t translate well to large groups.

    Marxism and socialism presents as kind of a chick/egg problem. Modern socialism, while it may have started with the French Revolution comes to us primarily by way of Marxism. With Marx, one has to distinguish between his analysis of economics and politics on the one hand and his proposed solution to the injustices he saw embodied in capitalism, namely communism. But one can accept Marx’s economic analysis meanwhile rejecting communism as a solution.

    Here in the United States, had we a system primarily benefitting the majority rather than the few—a system which plays people on the lower rungs off against each other—why wouldn’t it translate well to the majority?

    #34866

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Do you think that socialism in correct practice requires that people care about the welfare of others and can willfully function as part of a cooperative dependency?

    (a) Socialism comes in all kinds of flavors, so there is no one way to answer that question, yet (b) the modern concept of socialism can, I believe, be traced back to the French Revolution, whose motto, famously, was “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, brotherhood), so in that sense, a resounding perhaps.

    The US seems a bit short of liberty, equality, and brotherhood these days. Just the word “socialism” scares the hell out of everyone I know. Capitalism only requires greed to grease the skids and well we do have that. Hard for me to even imagine warehouses loaded with aging masks, vents and other PPE, just in case. It is the right thing to do and warnings were sounded. It would practically take a cultural revolution for the US to embrace socialism (even as so many rely on Social Security and Medicare). I would welcome a true multi party government as the first step. Sanders and Warren are further from Biden than Biden was from someone like McCain.

    #34899

    Davis
    Moderator

    Robert I think it’s much less about cooperation than simply providing needed social services. It’s not as though a tax payer cooperates with the homeless, the disabled, someone who needs medical attention or someone temporarily in a bind. They are willing to part with their tax dollars to limit suffering AND also enjoy the clear benefits of living in a less disfuncional society. And it isn’t as though America doesn’t have some limited forms of this. You do have Medicaid and some states like California and Massechusetts have some social programs approaching that of what Canada has. I would also caution making modern socialism a liberal vs. conservative thing. Canada and Spain had conservative governments for a decade with no substantial change to the overall system, just misguided and pointless funding cuts but the concern for the suffering was still there as was the recognition that social programs are beneficial for all.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #34901

    Unseen
    Participant

    A response to a future pandemic that’s just a possibility or even probability with no known date attached to it simply can’t be dealt with by capitalism. “Okay, I have this great business idea. We will be the pandemic preparedness company. We’ll buy and store lots of PPE’s and ventilators, we’ll maintain 10’s (or 100’s) of thousands of empty hospital rooms outfitted with all the standard equipment to get us through until a vaccine is ready to be ready in case they are ever needed. We’ll need money to maintain warehouses, replace materiel that expires or becomes outdated, and we’ll do so over whatever time it takes. How much money would you like to invest?”

    (loud guffaws)

    #34902

    Unseen
    Participant

    Canada and Spain had conservative governments for a decade with no substantial change to the overall system, just misguided and pointless funding cuts but the concern for the suffering was still there as was the recognition that social programs are beneficial for all.

    The crazy thing is how a capitalist system cannot see that a social safety net, preparedness for health crises like pandemics, probably save money overall, even if you don’t see health as a human right.

    #34903

    jakelafort
    Participant

    The crazy thing is the masses vote against their interest. The Bernie sentiment does not penetrate when the notion of socialism is raised. I doubt the majority could even define socialism. They just know it is evil. Just saw an article about a science experiment regarding dogmatism. It confirmed that dogmatic humans do less investigation before reaching a conclusion. Big surprise, ha? The BS comes at em from every direction-churches, politicians, hatemongers, social media..therefore once they have a side they are dogs. See what i did there?

    But perhaps the issues are more fluid than one might guess. How else do we explain the support of Trump in being so fawning towards Putin and Russia. Not long ago the right would have gone cuckoo bananas having us suck up to Russia, failing to investigate some awful shit and looking the other way with various issues. Cult figures call the shots so they can change the dynamics.

    #34904

    jakelafort
    Participant

    The main thing is we must preserve the social order.

    A tiny minority must have their yachts, sports cars, mansions and unlimited toys. And then all of the advantages of wealth-legacy admission to ivy schools, tax shelters, various laws that favor the wealthy, better doctors and the list goes on and on. It is fair though. They’ve earned it. They represent a discrete minority and historically they have the right to continue to take the lion’s share.

    And then there are those unfortunate victims of historical oppression. The hatemongers must have an absolute right to continue the march of folly in calumniating the discrete groups with the least protection. We can not permit TRICK LAWS that would upend the social order. All of that favoritism is with the upper echelon.

    #34905

    Unseen
    Participant

    The crazy thing is the masses vote against their interest. The Bernie sentiment does not penetrate when the notion of socialism is raised. I doubt the majority could even define socialism. They just know it is evil. Just saw an article about a science experiment regarding dogmatism. It confirmed that dogmatic humans do less investigation before reaching a conclusion. Big surprise, ha? The BS comes at em from every direction-churches, politicians, hatemongers, social media..therefore once they have a side they are dogs. See what i did there? But perhaps the issues are more fluid than one might guess. How else do we explain the support of Trump in being so fawning towards Putin and Russia. Not long ago the right would have gone cuckoo bananas having us suck up to Russia, failing to investigate some awful shit and looking the other way with various issues. Cult figures call the shots so they can change the dynamics.

    When I talk to my conservative acquaintances, their knowledge about socialism can be summed up as “It has never worked.” It soon becomes clear that they have never studied Marx or socialism in either a PoliSci or Philosophy or perhaps even an Econ course. They just operate on slogans. If you ask them if they can explain Marx’s analysis of capitalism, it’s “Why would I want to devote much time to a philosophy that, first, doesn’t work and, second, has killed millions of people in the countries it’s taken over.” People I know seem to sincerely believe that we jumped the shark when Bernie Sanders was eliminated, because had he won, Cambodia-like killing fields would soon have followed.

    #34906

    _Robert_
    Participant

    The crazy thing is the masses vote against their interest.

    It is amazing isn’t it? People who are one paycheck from disaster are so afraid of a tax hike for the wealthy. Of course it doesn’t really matter anyways as the wealthy generally never have sizable taxable income to report.

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