58 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. @Ivor

    Ok, that’s “The profits obtained by Microsoft, Warren Buffet, or whoever ” which is the first 9 words of the sentence in your earlier post. That’s just brilliant, Ivor, from somebody who recommends acquiring the wisdom of taxi drivers.

    The thing is, you see, that I was once a taxi driver, so I understand completely where you are coming from – you just make noise to cover your pitiful silence.

    And now that we’ve dispensed with that, what else do you have to misrepresent today ? Or are you still just randomly typing, hoping that some of it might make sense some day.

  2. The profits obtained by Microsoft, Warren Buffet, or whoever cause no problem

    No, because some goods are positional and thus distribution issues matter.

    [My chief hobby is notoriously expensive, in part because it uses a particular sort of land that is in fairly limited supply. I have a reasonably low income; a person with a much higher income than mine can afford to out-bid me even though it’s only a minor one of their interests and I’m willing to invest a much larger fraction of the resources I have available than they are of the resources they have available.

    There are, by the way, other reasons why my hobby is expensive, but the distribution issue here really, really doesn’t help.]

    Distribution issues always matter.

  3. you seem to have deleted all the words after “problem” starting with “if ….”

    This changes everything

    I deleted it because it represents an error on your part. The error you made was to say that there were no problems possible if the source of the profits was acceptable: in fact, distributional issues also cause problems, and distribution issues can arise regardless of the source of the profits.

  4. @Ikonoclast

    Re your post #33 of July 22nd, 2016 at 20:17

    I hope you’re still monitoring this thread. This is just to let you know that I did read your post, identified above, but I found it rather wanting in the sense of being just a tad simplistic. Now I do realize that is the inevitable result of reducing complex matter to very short descriptions, but …

    Anyway, it held absolutely nothing new for me – though I couldn’t quite understand why Wolff wouldn’t call “workers’ cooperatives” by the more correct name of ‘communes’. I also thought the reduction of “the enterprise” to two levels instead of the now routine three (ie owners/shareholder-managers/deciders-workers/doers) to be too simplistic. Because, as we now all know workers can, and do, become ‘owner/shareholders’ both directly and through their superannuation contributions (the total of which now comfortably exceeds one year’s NGDP).

    Managers and ‘management’ aren’t akin to feudal lords and haven’t been ever since the limited liability company was invented so as to free capitalist corporations from being responsible for their failures and debts. Perhaps, if you haven’t come across him before, you might like to read up on one of the all-time great capitalistic enterprise theorists: Henri Fayol ( here is a start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayolism ).

    I might just have to also read your post to Tim Macknay, but I’m still most unlikely – especially this late – to actually bother to read all three (or even one) volumes of Marx.

    However, it is abundantly clear that:
    1. there’s damn near as many ‘flavours’ of capitalism as there are states to host them – and even within a single state the forms of “capitalism” have become very mixed indeed.
    2. nobody seem to give much of a damn as to how ‘commune socialism’ might work, or even whether it’s possible (now don’t tell me that Marx has already given a detailed recipe). Maybe the Inca Empire (if only we knew more about it), or perhaps the typical Israeli kibbutz might be close ?

    Anyway, the whole topic is totally derivative: the basic, underlying question – also totally unanswerable – is: how do people want to, and how should they be allowed to, live, love and be happy.

    PS: oh, and for how long ? What do you estimate as the lifetime of that very mortal species, homo sapiens sapiens, and should we care ?

  5. @Ivor
    A non sequitur is not an argument, Ivor. I confess I struggle to understand the point of your comments. You seem to be under the impression that you are being clever. But a failure to communicate is never clever.

  6. @GrueBleen

    You make interesting points. I agree with some and not others. I will attempt to dot point.

    1. “I couldn’t quite understand why Wolff wouldn’t call “workers’ cooperatives” by the more correct name of ‘communes’.”

    There are probably as many definitions of “commune” as there are of “capitalism”. However, in my analysis a a commune is quite different from a cooperative. A commune involves extensive equal sharing of (a) work (within ability), (b) income (c) property and assets) (d) communal living arrangements and (e) decision making, value systems and common goals. The Israeli Kibbutzim were examples and they did thrive in one era (1960s?).

    A cooperative could be, for example, a farmers’ cooperative or a workers’ cooperative. Cooperatives are more limited compared to the above list. Workers’ cooperatives will involve an equal (or at least far more nearly equal than a capitalist enterprise) sharing of (a) work, (b) income, (c) ownership of productive assets and (d) decision making on use of productive assets. However cooperative members will usually own or rent their own homes or flats and live separately like the rest of modern communities in familial groups rather then together in communal groups. Cooperative members will keep their own private finances, own their own private property (that is non-productive property or consumption property like houses, cars etc., worship at their own church (or not for agnostics like me), pick their own friends, attend their own family, social and sporting activities, holiday where they will and so on.

    2. I agree with you. I am not interested in commune socialism. I am a sort of Marxian Autonomist with quite a big emphasis on my autonomy. However, to paint the sort of society and economy I envisage would take a longer post. No time at the moment.

    3. Not sure how long homo sapiens will last. My guess is anywhere from 2100 (yes, we could be extinct by then) to maybe another 200,000 years (doubling our current survival as a species). There might by then be a new line, a new species descended from us. Genetic engineers might create a new descendant species which supplants or out-survives us too. Hard to say.

  7. @Ikonoclast

    Well if we could be extinct by 2100, we’d better get some of these matters resolved Real Soon Now.

    Otherwise, 200,000 years is somewhat shorter than I had in mind – I thought we might just be able to make it to a million. But in any case, I’m really thinking about just how long some of our real core issues of today might remain relevant: even if we last for only 200,000 years, will we still be hung up on socialism versus capitalism right to the end ?

    Or will technology have turned us into something resembling Isaac Asimov’s Solaria (in The Naked Sun) or into Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World ? Or even into Huxley’s After Many A Summer 🙂

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