TheCascadian wrote:Well, communism - in its "true" state - has never existed. And yet we call countries like China and the former Soviet Union "communist". That is, we can say something is neither "true", "pure", nor "real" and yet still use the word to have an approximate description. In one sense, America is capitalist but only insofar as it resembles capitalism most closely as opposed to systems more purely resembling socialism and communism.
Excuse me, you introduced the No True Scotsman with your silliness about "true capitalism." I don't construct mental visions of different systems. Communism, as a hypothetical in Marx's sense per definitionem
is a global and historical mode of production, just like capitalism. Methodologically speaking, no economic system either "exists" or "does not exist" on the basis of single countries and their policy preferences. The capitalist mode of production remained dominant worldwide, even where the Stalinist experiments are concerned--and if anyone needed more proof of this completely comfortable interpenetration, look no further than the "People's Republic" of China. The historical Stalinist states never called themselves "communist"; they were ruled by self-described communist parties, but referring to the "command economies" (their economic identity is still disputed even in bourgeois economic quarters, to say nothing of socialist theory) as "communism" is merely tailing Cold War propaganda, and simply historically and analytically inaccurate and misleading. Not all "command economies" were even ruled by Stalinist parties which called themselves communist: see a period of Baathist rule in Syria which saw near total nationalization, and Burma under Ne Win.
If capitalism only exists in a pristine theory, than we're dealing with theology and metaphysics. I'm talking about historically actually existing capitalism, as a historical phenomena. (Interestingly enough, Marx considered "communism" in the same light, hence no blueprint for its content, and his polemics against the "utopian socialists" who were ready to design the work-barracks for all of us in advance, down to the number of beds; communism according to Marx: "Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence." This is why his views evolved over his life--he engaged the working-class struggles historically in his lifetime, and sought to learn and conclude from their real practice--to trace the line of their development perhaps into the future.)
Onorato Damen wrote:Who says this is a real product of "free markets" (which of course are left helpfully undefined--what qualifies as not counting as "unfree"--certainly the monopoly of force, judicial power, and money-issue by the capitalist states are absolute unfreedoms in your meaninglessly abstract sense) should be this? It has never been the case. Say-so over real practice.
TheCascadian wrote:Do clarify. I'm not totally sure what you're saying, actually.
What is a "free market"? The definition is never precise, because all those who use this term arbitrarily decree what doesn't count as "free" or "unfree." The state in capitalism provides a whole host of monopolistic, even coercive, services and goods. This is why "anarcho"-capitalists, insane though they are, attempt to hypothesize lunacy like "private security agencies" and "private legal systems."
Onorato Damen wrote:The Nordic model has been in decline for a generation, long since eroded by neoliberal (Reaganism in the US, Thatcherism in the UK) transition. Even so, its existence was dependent on privileged geopolitical position in the imperial-balance-of-power, and on having industrialized in 19th century.
I do agree, its been eroded somewhat by globalization. But the basis still stands in supporting one of the most successful systems in the world. Look at the living standards. Look at the healthcare. Look at education, government transparency, civil rights, equality, and lack of inequity as well as environmental standards, peacefulness, and by-golly just about the least religious area on earth.
I agree, but those are all historically conditioned outcomes. Countries cannot simply act like teenagers and dress like the kid they think is coolest in the lunch room. All of their indicators in living standards and jobs have long went into decline. You cannot just look at things as a 'static state,' but also the vector of change.
TheCascadian wrote:And I'm not quite sure what your point is as far as - what is I assume to be - former powers like the Swedish Empire and the Kalmar Union. Do expand.
I mean the U.S. de facto subsidized some states as being allowed to develop or have social democratic class-compromises, because they were considered geopolitically important in Cold War strategy, and favored in the already-mentioned in the last post GATT and Bretton Woods I system. The Nordic states were to be bulwarks against the East. Latin American countries were not given such a decent standing in the pecking order, and if they so much as dared to elect New Deal-type populist presidents, we would bomb their country, have the CIA overthrow the government in favor of common thugs (Guatemala, 1950s), or we would simply invade your country to correct your elections (Dominican Republic, 1960s).
In other words, copying a system that already exists and which has proven its effectiveness is
"a thousand times" more perfectionist than quite simply striving for a classless, stateless society. Okay.
If it had proven its effectiveness, I doubt anyone would have taken this thread seriously at all from the outset. And plenty of things beg to differ, like the millions of corpses from war and deprivation over the last century, and the massive sustainability limits capitalism is running up against now.