50 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. I don’t want to further the derail of PrQ’s Good News thread so I’ll post this comment here.

    Those who make the distinction between “actual communists” and faux communists are engaging in the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    It is simply childish and silly to argue that someone isn’t a real XYZ because someone who is a real XYZ couldn’t possibly be anything other than a saint.

    Those who call themselves communist need to explain why the lived experience of 20th century communism has at best one of oppression, fear and economic stagnation leavened slightly by a measure of equality (post-Stalin USSR, Cuba) and at worst a hell hole of murder and misery (Ceausescu’s Romania, Stalin’s USSR).

    Communists also need to explain why the great bulk of communist organisations, activists and intellectuals in the free world have schmoozed up to the most vile communist regimes. To give a contemporary example, communists must explain why so many of their comrades have behaved like the current and much venerated Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon, who:

    – was an agent of the Soviet stooge Socialist Party of Australia and its affiliates,
    – denounced the people of Czechoslovakia for the ’68 uprising against communist oppression and praised the brutal Soviet repression of said uprising,
    – took Soviet money and edited a pro-Soviet newspaper that commiserated the fall of the Berlin Wall among other great moments in the advancement of human liberty.

    Until communists own up to their misanthropic legacy and convincingly explain how it could never happen again if communism was again in the ascendancy, I see no reason to regard communists with anything other than disgust and contempt.

    Naturally, as a moderate leftist and social democrat, I also loathe and distrust the more radical ideological camps on the right.

  2. As proven by Steve Keen, capitalism’s succes and crises are driven by debt growth, *private* debt growth assisted by public debt growth. GDP=Investment+Consumption+Trade Ballance where Investment= Savins+Debt growth
    As soon as debt growth slows down it causes a recession, whether private or public debt. Money creation through credit creation is an important factor in capital accumulation.
    Therefore, it is the monetary system that defines capitalism vs. socialism, other things are less realtive.

    Transpacific capitalism, excluding China have monetary system where banks can print money trough credit creation while countries only indirectly trough private banks.

    In Euro-Asian ccommunism, that was in the past, with China still in use, states can print money while private banks can only use savings for giving out the credit.

    In European capitalism, they tried to limit money creation by credit through incentivizing housing savings funds which use only savings for credit creation. Adopting more of american way of credit money creation in last few decades while completely constraining eurozone country’s ability to print money. Eurozone is a monetary unity without Central Bank that can print money or issue bonds, like other normal monetary systems of the world. Europe is in transition too.

    Comparing those systems in post WWII period, it shows that communist monetary system was developing faster then capitalist way untill oil price inflation took all by surprise and took communist world into collapse, not being able to handle growing inflation.

    Using Keynesian policy of replacing private debt growth with public debt growth and having central banks with dual asignment of controling inflation and unemployment capitalism survived while communism collapsed helped by capitalist world demanding repayment of communist’s state debt. No country ever reduces its nominal external debt without terrible consequences, except by defaulting on it.

    That was the way cold war ended, victory trough debt manipulation. Was the price of oil in 70′ also manipulated? Given the close friendship of USA presidents and Saudi Royal family everything is possible.

  3. Mel

    You can stew in your own muck.

    People can raise the same banners over colonial capitalism and over Third World client states of Yankee imperialism. These big capitalists denounced the people of Chile for electing their president against foreign oppression and praised the bloody and brutal Fascist repression of said democracy.

    Maybe you could own up to your misanthropic legacy and convincingly explain how it could never happen again if American empire manages to resurrect itself. Until then;

    You are the “stooge”, you are “disgust”, you are “loathed”.

  4. All communist countries came out of communism system with housing free of debt. With corporations providing for babysitting, hot food kitchen, housing credits with low interest, transportation besides regular salaries. Very educated and healthy with bad teeth societies were created by communist systems.

    There was a lot of political repression but very easy economic life. That political repression was the cause of the instability and blocking the further development of a society once the oil price shock shook the system.

    The major cause of the political repression was schizophrenic Stallin. Second communist state attempt was democraticly elected Spanish Republic but destroyed by Franco’s rebellion helped by Stallin’s destruction of Barcelona Commune. Stallin did not want to allow selforganizing cooperatives outside of his authority. Destruction of Barcelona Commune crushed high morale of workers alliance and played a major factor in loosing the war.
    Tito in Yugoslavia organized the system that reflected his experience in Spanish Civil War from Barcelona and came under Stallin’s rage cause of it. In 1948 Stallin put economic embargo on Yugoslavia which lasted until after his death.

    Developement of self organizing worker cooperatives was also associated with political oppression since at the time of Tito-Stallin confrontation many orthodox church belonging Serbs wanted Stallin’s support. They came under political oppression of Tito’s regime, but only for very short time. Fearing Croatian fashistoid inheritance and Serbian-Stallin connections, very mild political oppression continued.

    When oil price shock hit, Yugoslavia was in the middle of the further worker cooperative developement with reforms aimed at giving more power to individual cooperatives within free market with reducing taxation on cooperatives. This reform was a failure. Next decades were marked with workers demanding more equal distribution and control over distribution against buearocratic decision making. The economic stagnation lasted while rulling buearocrats were fighting to preserve their power over distribution.

    Then came foreign creditors demanding repayment of debt incured by importing oil and high technology. Conditioning further crediting on separate republics, IMF and World Bank ensured the war as a solution to the crisis of the most succesful and most democratic communist country as an example to others.

  5. Mel, it would take about half a minute to edit your screed to insert favourite boogey-man, be it Catholic/Christian, or Colonialist/Capitalist or whatever. It’s not actually logically impossible to state that apart from some half-arsed attempts, communism has never practically gotten off the ground. Same deal with libertarianism if they ever get their s**t together, or anarchism, or any extreme political stance.

  6. Of course, it would be unethical, to copy the comments of another person, on another blog, but I can surely copy my own comments, because it is somewhat of an idee fixe of mine. These comments are lost in wake of the fast moving Catallaxy.

    Blogs are public space, are they not, equivalent to the public square? I understand our common failing to associate with people who we imagine are receptive to our thinking. The final comments confirmed my initial judgement as to where “the Frisk Doctrine” was going.

    Firstly:

    Frisky, I was unaware of my entertainment value, as you seem to imply. I am often quite amused at what I see here. [Other dissents and myself were described as “leftist clowns”.]

    Quite seriously, polarized, black and white thinking, is unhealthy both individually and collectively. It is both uncivilized and “uncivilizing”.

    I defend very strongly, the right of “morons”, or any other category of persons, to express themselves. I would hope to have the patience to listen carefully, and so understand what is said.

    Mr Bolt’s newspaper comments seemed to me, from memory, to be fragrant, and intentional. In other words, he could have expressed himself in a way that didn’t cause offense, and in doing so make a stronger case. Why didn’t he try?

    OK, there is a problem about the limits of free speech, and you then have to look at particular cases. Do they represent substantial or important limitations on freedom of expression?

    There are people who are experts in the interpretation of texts of the Bible, the Torah and the Quoran. This is an issue related to respect for freedom of belief.

    A notable aspect of the Quoran is the respect given to other Abrahamic religions. We have to remember the formative influences and context for the development of these religions are very different, although with common threads. Furthermore, as regards interpretation, the text of the Quoran is a particular form of Arabic.

    The intolerance among Muslims matches the historic intolerance among Christians. where did that go?

    And in the context of the rejection of these comments, I have further commented:

    Despite, Sinclair’s censure, not totally unjustified, I am aware of “the Frisk Doctrine”. It concerns me. And you are not alone in adopting similar position. I oppose them all because I think that as citizens it is our responsibility to be democratic in practice.

    As with the Bible, even the Old Testament, and the Torah, the Quoran can be a source of good and evil. It depends on interpretation. Not all Islamic belief is of one kind, either historically or contemporaneously, much like Christianity in general, or for example Catholicism. And as you might imagine I tend to favour the pagans, although I would make an exception for the Roman Emperors.

    I think it is misguided and wrong for you on the basis of at best a superficial understanding to disparage Islam and its sacred texts, which is offensive and ignores the significant cultural and individual accomplishments of Islam

    Offense here means that we all grow up in cultural context that gives us meaning and direction. It defines who we are. It depends on the person to some extent, but it is not a trivial matter.

    The case of Mein Kampf is significantly different,and in Germany, if it is banned there, it is still necessary to read for an understanding of the rise of Fascism. I think the better response, although hard for some of us, is the recourse to reason and argument, which might be then tested.

    Maybe Frisky is right and I am wrong.

  7. In summary
    Fran: Communism’s good so if it’s not good it’s not communism,
    Mel: Communism’s bad but Democratic Socialism’s good.
    Chris: I hate you all.
    Jordan: Capitalism’s bad and communism’s good except for Stalin’s bad side, the petrol price going up, and the currency manipulations of the capitalists.
    Behold the revenge of the professors on the world for proving them so terribly wrong.

  8. @John Dawson
    So you think that anything described is intended to be bad or good. Isn’t that childish, black and white world, no gray things?
    Why do you think that system that can not handle inflation is good? I did not say it, and i think that good system have to have combination of all options, not to have only one option and go into extreme on it.

    I described all three systems and then described the situation of the country i lived in. By what did you decide that i preffered either one of them?
    Was it your own preferred description of a monetary system that i also prefer it by such condition? Is it your belief that in capitalism banks do not print the money and i wrote differently? Would you like your preferred system not have private banks print money?

  9. Jordan :As proven by Steve Keen, capitalism’s succes and crises are driven by debt growth, *private* debt growth assisted by public debt growth. GDP=Investment+Consumption+Trade Ballance where Investment= Savins+Debt growthAs soon as debt growth slows down it causes a recession, whether private or public debt. Money creation through credit creation is an important factor in capital accumulation.Therefore, it is the monetary system that defines capitalism vs. socialism, other things are less realtive.
    Transpacific capitalism, excluding China have monetary system where banks can print money trough credit creation while countries only indirectly trough private banks.
    In Euro-Asian ccommunism, that was in the past, with China still in use, states can print money while private banks can only use savings for giving out the credit.
    .

    Saving equals income minus consumption; so it equals investment plus the trade balance. Credit creation can cause more saving; it is not a source of investment besides saving.

  10. @Mel Do you have any evidence to support your accusations against Lee Rhianon?

    I hope you are not recycling tabloid nonsense.

  11. Using Mel’s logic, all words have only one definition, the one he gives them. I wonder if he thinks Liberal = liberal? I wonder if he realises there are many kinds of “liberals” just as there are many kinds of “communists”.

    It must be pleasant to live in such a black and white world of perfectly defined and mutually exlcusive socio-political categories. It replaces real thinking and makes things nice and simple.

    Russia was in fact more like a state capitalist system than anything else. But of course, the Russian state capitalist criminals (Lenin, Stalin etc.) could not admit they were not communists. The ideological smoke screen had to be kept up.

    There are bandits in Nth Africa who call themselves Islamic Jihadists. Just because bandits call themselves Islamic, does that mean all Islamists are bandits? Of course not. But following Mel’s simplistic logic that is the conclusion that would be drawn.

  12. rog: “Do you have any evidence to support your accusations against Lee Rhiannon?”

    Google is your friend.

    I guess Lee Rhiannon was No True Scotsman Communist.

  13. I see @Ikonoclast . Russia was never communist as Lenin and Stalin said, because they were closet capitalists (i.e. bad). So where were/are the real communists? Lithuania , Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Cuba, North Korea? Or were all their communists really closet capitalists too?

  14. @Tim Peterson

    I think you missed the point. It is not that:

    Credit creation can cause more saving

    which is true, but that:

    in essence, capitalism consists of credit. This then leads to all the problems we are witnessing. Credit does not necessary lead to more net savings as it incurs extra costs as interest and repayments. Under capitalism, credit leads to more credit.

    How can you separate investment via credit, from investment via savings via credit? Which ABS or Reserve bank data demonstrates this?

  15. @Tim Peterson
    I think, both of us made a mistake.
    Debth growth is split between investment and consumption, not all go into investment.

    “Credit creation can cause more saving” yes but only measured in next cycle. Credit creation has to replace old credit and add to investment and consumption. So it is the debt growth that matters. Debt growth raises investment and consumption.
    Saving does not equal investment + trade ballance because debt growth changes them. Private debt changes investment and public debt change trade ballance effect.

  16. John Dawson: “Mel: Communism’s bad but Democratic Socialism’s good.”

    Don’t be dishonest. Democratic socialism is not a term I’ve ever used. I describe myself as a social democrat.

    Social democrats have a great tradition of defending freedom. Remember it was only the 99 Social Democrats in the Reichstag who voted against the Enabling Act that gave rise to the Third Reich. Four hundred and fourty-four conservatives, monarchists, Catholics (the centre party) and economic liberals all voted with the NSDP (1).

    (1) The communists undoubtedly would have voted against the Enabling Act if they were allowed into the Reichstag but only as a tactical measure. We know this because after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact communists from Australia to England were suddenly the Third Reich’s new best friends and opponents of the allied war effort.

    Included is an interesting contemporaneous account from one of the few communists who resigned from the Communist Party of Australia following the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the local CPA’s Lord Haw Haw response to same.

  17. Well @Mel , if you’re for liberty, i.e for a government that doesn’t infringe individual rights but protects our right to life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness, i.e. for a government that does maintain law and order and protect our borders but does very little else, then I’m with you Mel, regardless of what you call yourself.

  18. @Chris Warren
    That is the whole point.
    By some rare economists who took to the task of calcualting effect of the credit creation, 97% of all money circulating in the USA economy is created by credit and if debt clearing is to ever happen, which it never could, but if, then 97% of all $US should be returned to its creator by credit. Only 3% of currency, which is what Treasury issued directly would be left in the economy.

    Credit growth has to replace extra cost for interest and grow the economy too. Credit creation have highly redistributive factor. If even partial debt clearing or debt deleverage start, it reduces the GDP growth, through reducing investment and consumption.

    This is the reason that communist system of growth by state issuing new money instead of private bank creation is more stable, but more prone to runaway inflation. In acctual reality, inflation is usually caused by state offering higher prices for goods and services then the market prices in order to get more of them from fully employed and used resources by private sector. It is competition for resources by public sector (which have unlimited currency) for resources in fully employed private sector that cause inflation. Globalization reduces such competition, eliminate it for global currency and other currencies that world like to trade with.

    As inflation is caused by issuing too much money, the best way to reduce inflation is by deissuing money aka taxation higher then spending by state aka public surplus.

  19. rogIt is best to ignore muck from mel and co. You are just building their neurosis.Plenty of people supported more recent capitalist/religious invasions of Vietnam, East Timor, Iraq, Cuba, Grenada, Afghanistan etc and should not be attacked MacCathyist style because of this. Several have changed their positions over time.Plenty of far-right magazines have received funding from the CIA under Codenamed QK OPERA, see:[theworldintelligencereview.com/post/681298268]<

  20. rog

    Further on previous;

    Even Quadrant has been implicated in CIA funding. See:

    [greenleft.org.au/node/18791]

  21. rog

    Further on above:

    And if you want to see real capitalism in action have a look here – capitalist king-pin Kissinger OK’ing slaughter in South America – “The quicker you succeed the better” he urged:

    [www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB104/]

  22. rog

    Further on above:

    But this is the basis of capitalism and occasionally a capitalist breaks cover, eg Foreign Affairs editor, Samuel Huntington (who assisted build the repressive regimes in South Africa and Brazil);

    The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do —— The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, p. 51.

  23. rog

    Bit more:

    Just so – capitalism is built on “applying organised violence”, even down to fine details as murdering photographers in protest ships in New Zealand.

    Who are the real capitalists:

    Marcos, Pinochet, Salazar, Videla, Banzer, Duvalier, Suharto, Pahlavi, Park, Zia, Kriangsak, Stroessner, Mendez, Thatcher, Reagan, Botha, or Howard? Or are all these capitalists really closet communists?

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