Education, healthcare and legal services

I get what you’re saying, but when you realize there is actually such a thing as distributivism, and this dichotomy between socialism and capitalism is a false one, socialism loses it’s reason for existence. That we reflexively think economic thought can be plotted on a line with socialism at one extreme and capitalism at the other is basically a consequence of the Cold War, and not a real thing.

So for example: the vast majority of people, if they have any opinion at all, would think of pure capitalism as resulting in corporate monopolies, and anti-trust laws being the introduction of ‘a little bit of socialism’. But ask yourself this: if the fundamental belief of socialism is that the means of production should be controlled by the State, why in the world would a socialist be against an industry being centralized in one corporation (which can then be regulated)? Why would folks who think “From each according to his abiity, to each according to his need” organize labor unions divided by vocation? And then you look up distributivism, realize that the ‘accomplishments’ of socialists in capitalist society really weren’t their accomplishments at all, you are reminded of how socialists like to re-write history whenever it suits the revolution to do so, and you tell the commies to fuck right off.

This pretty much goes from zinnat too- if you’re coming at it from the “Socialism and Capitalism as sides of a coin, or poles on a continuum”, then you’re way out in the dark.


It is not anyone else but you who is in the dark and misunderstanding the issue from very starting.

It is not socialism which is extreme opposite of capitalism, but communism. Socialism is a mix of two, with having capitism as a major ingredient.

The debate is only about the ratio in the mix, not about ingredients per se.

Think about it, again.

With love,

Shitloads of countries don’t use socialism at all, once you realize that ‘socialism’ doesn’t mean ‘any and all economic regulations’. Socialists simply like to take credit for things that weren’t their ideas, because the nations that actually do implement their ideas end up as catastrophes.

You're the one who advocated socialism on the grounds that capitalism can't endure for 'the long run' without it.  All I did was ask 'how long is the long run'?' and you don't want to talk about duration anymore.  Fine. All you've done is deny your own first-given reason for endorsing socialism. 

This is true. But neither of those cases are reality or will ever be reality. The reality is, some of the governing and governed are wise, and other are stupid and evil. So in reality, some systems will work and some won’t. Socialism requires faith that the leaders of the State will be better people than in fact they are. Capitalism does not.

And yet you’re going to procede to tell me why your system of governace is superior and the world ought to adopt it.

Actually, I think the problem is that you are making things up about capitalism and socialism and haven’t actually studied them very much. “People getting what they deserve” has nothing to do with capitalism. You were simply incorrect to suggest otherwise.

No, capitalism has nothing to do with justice. Maybe you’re thinking of libertarianism?

No, socialism crosses the line when it defines ‘justice’ by measuring people’s material wealth like you just did.

No, that’s libertarianism.

No, libertarianism focuses on individual justice, Marxism focuses on social justice. Individual rights and equal rights are not contrary.

Yeah you don’t know the difference between libertarianism and capitalism, that’s clear now. I’m going to skip ahead and see if I can reply to anything despite that confusion.

A problem with hardcore socialists is that they seem to think identifying a problem justifies any solution. There is no reason to think state-appointed lawyers would be more fair than people choosing their own (and paying for them). We have a long history of judicial systems like the one you suggest being plenty corrupt and unfair.

That’s a pretty huge departure from what you said in your last post, but a good start. Yes, obviously the defense and the prosection both need to exist and be kept seperate, and obviously people need to be able to choose who represents them. Should a person be allowed to represent themselves? If not, how can you possibly say the system is just if a person can’t speak in their own defense? If so, then why can’t a person choose another private citizen to represent them (and compensate them for their troubles)?
Look- the U.S. already provides free defense lawyers if a person needs one. All your system would do is take away the option of not using them.

Of course it does. If the investigators decide somebody is guilty enough to arrest them and bring them before the court, and the court is just more investigators, then it should be obvious that they would be biased towards the prosection. Unless you think arresting officers acting as judges would likely give fair results?

Except that what many/most modern-day journalists actually do is decide in advance what they want their story to be, then selectively find facts of ‘facts’ that support the political spin they want to push on their audience. Or do you mean you want your investigators to do what journalists pretend they do?

You don't get to decide what people's attitudes and mindset will be, only what their duties and powers are.  Their mindset and attitude will be up to chance as it always is in human society. Your system has to account for 'what happens when there's an asshole in charge'.  You don't get to simply say "Well, in my system all the important people will be wise and compassionate", or else, as you pointed out, any old system would work perfectly fine and we have nothing to talk about. 

We call the admittance of a case a ‘hearing’ and the disposal of the case the ‘trial’ and then there is a third stage which we call the ‘sentencing’, and then if the result is deemed unfair, we have what we call an ‘appeal’. This all already exists in the present U.S. legal system.

No, the police investigators do not prosecute as it happens now.

No, it won’t be free and equal to all unless you simply deny people lots of coverage. You will have drugs and procedures or experts that simply DO NOT EXIST in sufficient quantity to provide to everybody who wants or needs them. You will have more kidney-needers than kidney-donors. You will have more bad eyes than optic lasers. You will have more screwed up brains than you have neurologists. You don’t get to simply declare that there is enough of everything for everybody just because the State is providing it. The only way to make healthcare free and equal is if you decide that NOBODY gets the things that don’t exist in sufficient quantity for everybody who needs them.

Are you aware that the United States at present already spends almost half it’s federal budget on healthcare, and only about a fifth on the military? Nasa-type-stuff is far, far lower than either of these. Where are you getting your data that says military and space exploration expenses aren’t cheaper than your healthcare/welfare proposals would be? I strongly suspect you are just saying this from your imagination, and without having seen any real numbers at all.

That's not how insurance works at all. They make their money from insurance rates paid when people aren't sick, not from misrepresenting the charges of services. They are PAYING OUT for the service, out of the money made by charging monthly premiums. "Charging a profit on one's own cost" doesn't even make sense; if the insurance companies were charging people MORE for services than the hospital is charging, people would simply stop getting insurance and set up payment plans with the hospital. The entire point of insurane is that you don't have to pay 100% of the bill, not that you pay 110% of it!
You have it precisely backwards- if anything, it is the hospitals saying that their services cost more than they do, because they know the insurance company is wealthy enough to pick up the tab with a little grift on it.  A practice that would obviously continue when it was the State paying the bill. 

Oh, I’m sure some of them do it out of a desire to help humanity, but we all have to eat, and pharmaceutical research is expensive and taxing.

No, I’m saying you can’t make those innovations ‘cheap’ with or without the private sector, and implying that supremely advanced medical technology is only expensive because greedy capitalists make it that way is naive.

Extremely slowly and painfully for the most part.

No they won’t, for the reasons I described above, and they will be worse than privately-researched innovations, as you admitted.

 Irrelevant. Let me repeat myself:  If you are admitting that the State will innovate slower than the private sector, then it will be the private sector who makes all the accomplishments [i]since who gets there first is the definition of innovation[/i].  Nobody cares if you invented something 10 years after somebody else. We don't even call that invention.   The only way to keep the private sector from achieving things faster and better than the State is to [i]make private sector research illegal[/i]- which helps nobody, except socialists trying to save face.

The State doesn’t have infinite means. It has the means that it taxes from the private sector.

And while we’re talking about intentions, why would the State have any motivation to further medical research at all? Private motivation is easy to understand- people want to live longer, healthier lives, and are willing to pay to do so. Companies who want the money people are willing to pay for their health research treatments people want to pay for. Makes sense.

What’s the State’s motivation? People live for a while and then they die. Assuming there’s no plague threatening the existence of the State, what possible reason could the State have to invest millions of dollars/hours/resources into looking for a cure that may or may not exist, when the only result of finding the cure is that the State will be obligated to manufacture that cure and provide it for free to everybody who needs it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just stick all that tax money in your pocket and SAY you’re doing research? Let’s face it- if cancer never gets cured, the State lives on and the people in the State continue thriving as happy and healthy as they’ve ever been in a world with cancer. That’s not so bad is it?

First of all, you’re the one who said the State would be slower to innovate than the private sector, I’ve just been running with it.

Yes, that’s exactly my point. When it comes to military, the U.S.S.R was very innovative because it was in the State’s best interest to do so. They were in a fucking Cold War with the United States that could have turned hot at any moment, and almost did many times. Competition drove their innovation, sound familiar? When it came to everything else, the U.S.S.R was way behind the United States, because the State had no motivation to research those things. Socialist nations end up like that a lot- an awesome military and a bunch of starving people with no healthcare. Why? Because when you give the State all the money, it acts like a person or a company and spends that money just on things that benefit itself, which is NOT a fucking new flavor of Doritos or a glaucoma cure.

Yes, which you dont get to determine. If you simply got to decide the intention and willingness of the State, then any system would work fine, as you said.

I guess I’ll stop here. I feel like I’m correcting basic stuff over and over again.

I wrote three times: “faked coin”!

Agreed, but there was a time before the “Cold War” too. And the meaning of “socialism” and he meaning of “communism” is not the same. Therefore I often use “eagliatrianism” as a hyperonym for “communism” and “leftish socialism” as its hyponyms. And what do we currently have in China? How would you call the econimical/political situation in China: Communism? Socialism? Capitalism? State monopoly capitalism (stamocap)? Synthesis of communism and capitalism? Synthesis of socialism and capitalism?

Yes, but not all socialists are communists. And the means of the production can also be controlled by relatively small commons - not merely by states, institutions, or private capitalists.

Okay, here comes Zinnat:

Not all socialists are communists. As I said: I often use “communism” and “leftish socialism” as hyponyms and “eagliatrianism” as their hyperonym - because in this case it is necessary to differentiate.

Spreading the means of production out as much as possible among small communities isn’t socialism, it’s a form of distributivism. It’s really worth your while to look and see what distributivism is and what it’s accomplished before you continue telling me that everything is some degree of capitalism or socialism.

Communism isn’t the ‘opposite’ of Capitalism, that would be like saying Catholicism is the opposite of Hindu; it makes no sense, they are just two ideas. People think of them as ‘opposites’ because they were the rival ideologies of the world’s superpowers for so long. The idea of capitalism being at one end of a continuum, communism on the other, and socialism somewhere in the middle sounds like something Zinnat made up, and that just doesn’t interest me very much. if he can show me where he got the idea from, I might find it more interesting.

I’m not fully against privatising healthcare, but I have significant reservations about the practicalities.

As far as I’m concerned, if people have to bankrupt themselves to pay to treat treat health conditions, I see that as being an immoral situation. A country that can afford to stop this happening should do so. That doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be privatised healthcare, but I think the system should be managed properly so that this doesn’t happen (possible with private or state owned healthcare systems). Being seriously ill is damaging enough, there’s no reason that people in first world countries should have to worry about how they can afford the treatment. That’s one problem that, if I were American, I would be trying to fix.

Also, how is meaningful consumer choice attained? Most people don’t know much about healthcare. Many will go to a doctor and try to get drugs, when they don’t get them, they just go to another doctor who will give them to them. However, what people want and what is good for people are often very different things. I know at least some people in America who are little more than legalised drug addicts. Over prescription is a real issue for the American healthcare model, too.

However, I don’t think that either of these problems needs a state owned healthcare system to fix them. Maybe a bit more regulation or some other form of incentives in the system. But America still has the most advanced healthcare system in the world, many people in England with rare or difficult to treat illnesses have to go to the states to have them fixed.

The NHS in England has problems - long waiting times, understaffing, strikes etc. However, most peoples personal experience with the system (including mine) are 100% positive, and I’ve had some complex operations on the NHS.

The NHS works for the UK, so I don’t see a need to change it. If private healthcare works ok for America, which overall it seems to, thats cool too. Neither system is without problems, but neither system is working so badly that it needs overhauling. Sometimes there is more than one possible solution to a problem, something which is easily forgotten when everybody is desperate to cling to an ideology. In this case, each solution has drawbacks, and each has advantages, but neither out of them come out on top.

In an alternate universe where the advocates didn’t try to present it as a fundamental human right that a society is terrible if they don’t provide, I could be in favor of it too. But treating something so expensive and unpredictable as a necessity is a recipe for disaster.

That sounds right, but my reservation on it is this: basically all the things that killed our great-great-grandparents can be cured with 10 bucks and a trip to Wal-Mart:  sterile water, aspirin, multivitamins and antibiotics are amazing things.  So now, the things that create situations like you describe above are horrible accidents and cancer.  The only way to treat these things are with methods with justified high costs; they involve cutting edge technology, experts that are few and far between, and teams of people who all had to give up their best years to higher education.  If there was an efficient way to provide such things to everybody, I would be for it- but I highly doubt there is. Combine that with a reminder of all the horrible health problems that simply don't exist anymore or are cured with over the counter treatments anybody can afford, and the situation doesn't seem as bad to me as it does to some.  I can see an argument that everybody should have cheap/free access to clean water, vitamins, antibiotics and such.  I can't see an argument that everybody should have cheap/free access to shooting microscopic lasers into their pancreas or whatever doctors are doing these days. 

It would be very nice if we could do this, and I hope that we can. I’d stop short of saying we must, at all costs, though.

I think in this case it comes from the consumer's general desire not to be afflicted. The customer doesn't have to know much about medicine to know they don't want to suffer from cat allergies or glaucoma or AIDS or whatever.  So a research company can spend a zillion dollars on developing a treatment knowing they will get a return on the investment because people will pay to be free of the affliction. 

Yeah, that’s my basic take on it too. The big benefit of having a bunch of countries is that there can be a bunch of different approaches to problems.

I'd like to know how much some systems are dependant on others. I've heard it said (but not researched it myself) that nationalized healthcare systems like that of the U.K. wouldn't work nearly so well if it wasn't for all the privatized research in the U.S., and costs in the U.S. are so high in part because the drug companies know they can't sell anything for a real profit elsewhere.  Could be bullshit, but sounds plausible to me.

Socialism is a form of distributivism. Especially the leftish socialism wants to publicly (via state, thus via taxpayers) distribute like a huge monster of Robin Hood. A small common has nothing to do with states or taxpayers. Commons have a long tradition - but unfortunatley also their tragedy. This tragedy is merely then a huge problem, if the commons are no real commons anymore but a cartel / trust or antitrust of so-called “global players”.

Would you mind telling me how you interpret the word “distributivism” then?

Is it like that?

Yeah, no. Are you just looking at the word for the first time, seeing that the root is ‘distrbute’, and assuming you can infer what it is?

Yeah, it’s like that. Note the parts about state-controlled means of production as a bad idea, and the rejection of socialism as a failed economic policy.

I also say that the state-controlled means of production is a bad idea, but nonetheless: socialism is also a form of distributivism. Socialists take money from the taxpayers and give it to the poor (“proletariat”, “precariat”). It is a fact which we can also call “distribution”,more precisely “distribution after theft”, or just “redistribution”. One should not deny this fact, although state-controlled means of production is a bad idea. But how can the means of production really be controlled by all people without any help of a powerful institution like state or church?

Could “SAM” be a solution?

In Sight of SAM.
SAM is pure distributivism. All authority is in the form of very small SAM cooperatives. SAM doesn’t require that property or production be in the hands of such coops or corps, but any and all decisions related to such concerns are made only by them. If many SAM coops decided it best that all of their property and production is to be united under one authority, such would be immediately done. But a SAM coop cannot so relegate its own decision making authority. So if at any time in the future the coops decided to not unite, such would immediately be the case. Politics in SAM coops is relatively instantaneous, no activist campaigns or rebellions required.

Where do you live?

All authority must be in the form of very small groups / cooperatives. That is important. Otherwise the authority would become corrupt, all economic and political relations and situations would again become the same old (although called “modern”) corrupted relations and situations.

Yeah, you're still doing that thing where because it has the word 'distribute' as a root, you're claiming any method of distributing something to somebody is distributivism.  That's not how our language works.   Facebook isn't a form of socialism because it helps people socialize, for example.

No. I meant the distribution of money. As I said: Socialists take money from the taxpayers and give it to the poor (“proletariat”, “precariat”). That has nothing to do with Facebook! :slight_smile:

And you did not answer my questions:

But how can the means of production really be controlled by all people without any help of a powerful institution like state or church?

Could “SAM” be a solution?

Would you mind answering my questions?

Yeah that’s not distributivism. Again, you seem to think that because socialists distribute things they are distributivists. It’s an actual economic idea with an actual definition. It’s not merely ‘the act of distributing stuff’. That would be like saying socialsm is a form of capialism because in socialism the workers earn capital.

Not for very long. You’d need legal backing, like an expansion of anti-trust laws,

I dunno, maybe? I’m not really following it, like a lot of what James writes. I think the backbone of the economy should be capitalist, with a few distributivist reforms. I’m not advocating a wholesale shift to a distributivist nation, so I don’t know what you’re asking me for a ‘solution’ to. I’m just pointing out that this captalist/socialist dichotomy thing isn’t real.

The NHS buys its drug and equipment in the same way that private hospitals do, so I can’t see how this is an issue. Although the NHS does have research hospitals and sponsor some (world leading) research programs into patient care, the bulk of research is still done by private companies, who sell the products of the research to the NHS (drugs, equipment, training courses), for no small price tag.

The only big difference in this respect would be that Americans use a lot more drugs than the brits do, so in that way, the companies make more profit from them. Also, it’s a much larger market, which explains why the bulk of new medical research occurs in America.

That makes sense too. I mostly hear this brought up in connection with Canada- drugs legally cannot be sold there for over a certain amount, so manufacturer’s have to sell them for more in the U.S. to pay for the R&D. In effect, Canada hasn’t ‘made healthcare cheaper’, they’ve just pushed the costs off onto a wealthier nation. Or so it is said.

I’m pretty certain that Arminius understands that socialism is about the “redistribution of wealth” in terms of merely a “welfare program” and “government grants” involving money with strings attached. Socialism does nothing without “strings attached”. The whole point in socialism is to force all people to bow to the supreme leader(s) (polyarchy). Money (specifically) is the primary means (the strings), even though media and medical pressures are also a serious part of the game.

SAM is a game changer, independent of prior schemes but its inherent structure (not requiring the whole nation to convert) is one of “distributivism of authority” (more commonly known as “distributed intelligence”).

That’s ridiculous. Drug companies own patents and do not have to sell to Canada. Canada simply employs common business sense and uses its larger buying power to negotiate cheaper contracts, which is what the NHS should do more too (and has started to, finally).

In America, on the other handMedicare and Medicade are forbidden from negotiating drug prices, a classic example of over-regulation interfering with the natural markets. So the drug companies charge them more, because somehow they managed to write a law and then get it through which says they can charge whatever they like.You can’t blame Canada for that absolute shambles of a policy. Sure - maybe it produces a bit more research money, but it also undoubtably creates larger shareholder dividends, bigger advertising budgets, and fatter executive paycheques too. It’s an absolute fantasy to think that a private company would invest all additional revenue into R&D, just because you have agreed to pay them more than the market value for their goods.