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Some Thoughts on "Class Warfare Has Officially Begun".

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March 10, 2011 – Comments (22)

It takes little courage to demand that those who do not hurt us take less, and a greater courage to demand more from those who will hurt us again.

Excerpts from Merrie England; a plain exposition of Socialism, what it is and what it is not.     By Robert Blatchford. Copyright 1895.

I hope that up to this point I have been quite clear, and practical, and truthful.

Of course you have read Robinson Crusoe. You know that he was shipwrecked upon an island, and had to provide for himself. He raised corn, tamed goats, dried raisins, built himself a house, and made vessels of clay, clothing of skins, a boat and other useful things. If he had set to work making bead necklaces and feather fans before he secured food and lodging you would say he was a fool and that he did not make the most of his time and his island.

But what would you call him if he had starved and stinted himself in order to make bead necklaces and feather fans for some other person who was too lazy to work?

Whatever you call him, you may call yourself, for you are wasting your time and your chances in the effort to support idle people and vain things.

Now to our problem. How are we to make the best of our country, and of our lives? What things do we need in order to secure a happy, healthy, and worthy human life?

We may divide the things needful into two kinds—mental and physical. That is to say, the things needful for the body and the things needful for the mind. Here again I differ very much from the self-styled practical people of the Manchester school.

My ideal is frugality of body and opulence of mind. I suggest that we should be as temperate and as simple as possible in our use of mere bodily necessaries, so that we may have as much time as possible to enjoy pleasures of a higher, purer, and more delightful kind.

 Your Manchester school treat all social and industrial problems from the standpoint of mere animal subsistence. They do not «eetn to think that you Aave any mind, With them it is a question of bread and cheese and be thankful. They are like the man in "Our Mutual Friend" who estimated the needs of the ferryman's daughter in beef and beer. It was a question, he said, "of so many pounds of beef, and so many pints of porter." That beef and that porter were the "fuel to supply that woman's engine," and, of course, she was only to have just as much fuel as would keep fhe engine working at high pressure. But I submit to you that such an estimate would be an insult to a horse.

Your Manchester school claim to be practical men, and always swear by facts. As I said before, I reverence facts; but I want all the facts, not a few of them. If I am to give a verdict, I must hear the whole of the evidence.  Suppose a gardener imagined that all a flower needed was earth and manure, and so planted his ferns on the sunny side and his peaches on the shady side of h1s garden. Would you call h"im a practical man? You will see what I mean. Soil is a "fact," and manure is a "fact." But the habit of a plant is a "fact" also, and so are sunshine and rain "facts."

Turn, then, from plants to men, and tell me are appetites the only facts of human nature? Do men need nothing but food, and shelter, and clothes? It is true that bread, and meat, and wages and sleep are "facts," but they are not the only facts of life. Men have imaginations and passions as well as appetites.

I must ask you to insist upon hearing all the evidence. I must ask you to use your eyes and ears, to examine your memory, to consult your own experience and the experience of the best and wisest men who have lived, and to satisfy yourself that although wheat and cotton and looms and plows and bacon and blankets and hunger and thirst and heat and cold are facts, they are not the only facts, nor even the greatest facts of life.

For love is a fact, and hope is a fact, and rest, and laughter, and music, and knowledge are facts; and facts which have to be remembered and have to be reckoned with before we can possibly solve the problem of how the British people are to make the best of their country and themselves.

A life which consists of nothing but eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and working, is not a human life—it is the life of a beast;' Such a life is not worth living. If we are to spend all our days and nights in a kind of penal servitude, continually toil1ng and suffering in order to live, we had better break at once the chains of our bitter slavery and die.

 

22 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 10, 2011 at 7:41 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

You live in Oldham and work in the factory in order to get a living. "A living " consists of the the things above named.

I ask you, as a practical, sensible man, whether it is not possible to get those few simple things with less labor; and whether it is not possible to add to them health and the leisure to enjoy life and develop the m1nd?

The Manchester school will tell you that you are very fortunate to get as much as you do, and that he is a dreamer or a knave who persuades you that you can get more.

The Manchester school is the commercial school. The supporters of that school will tell you that you cannot prosper, that is to say, you cannot "get a living," without the capitalist, without open competition, and without a great foreign trade.

They will tell you that you would be very foolish to raise your own food stuffs here in England so long as you can buy them more cheaply from foreign nations. They will tell you that this country is incapable of producing enough food for her present population, and that therefore your very existence depends upon keeping the foreign trade in your hands.'

Now, I shall try to prove to you that every one of these statements is untrue. I shall try to satisfy you that—

1. The capitalist is a curse, and not a blessing.

2. That competition is wasteful, and cruel, and wrong.

3. That no foreign country can sell us food more cheaply than we can produce it; and

4. That this country is capable of feeding more than treble her present population.

We hear a great deal about the value and extent of our foreign trade, and are always being reminded how much we owe to our factory system, and how proud of it we ought to be.

I despise the factory system, and denounce it as a hideous, futile, and false thing. This is one of the reasons why the Manchester school call me a dreamer and a dangerous agitator. I will state my case to you plainly, and ask you for a verdict in accordance with the evidence.

My reasons for attacking the factory system are:

1. Because it is ugly, disagreeable, and mechanical.

2. Because it is injurious to public health.

3. Because it is unnecessary.

4. Because it is a danger to the national existence.

The Manchester school will tell you that the destiny of this country is to become "the workshop of the world."

I say that is not true; and that it would be a thing to deplore if it were true. The idea that this country is to be the "workshop of the world" is a wilder dream than any that the wildest socialist ever cherished. But if this country did become the "workshop of the world " it would at the same time become the most horrible and the most miserable country the world has ever known.

Let us be practical, and look at the facts.

First, as to the question of beauty and pleasantness. You know the factory districts of Lancashire. I ask you is it not true that they are ugly, and dirty, and smoky, and disagreeable? Compare the busy towns of Lancashire, of Staffordshire, of Durham, and of South Wales, with the country towns of Surrey, Suffolk, and Hants.

In the latter counties you will get pure air, bright skies, clear rivers, clean streets, and beautiful fields, woods, and gardens; you wili get cattle and streams, and birds and flowers; and you know that all these things are well worth having, and that none of them can exist side by side with the factory system.

I know that the Manchester school will tell you that this is mere "sentiment." But compare their actions with their words.

Do you find the champions of the factory system despising nature, and beauty, and art, and health—except in their speeches and lectures to you?

No. You will find these people living as far from the factories as they can get; and you will find them spending their long holidays in the most beautiful parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, or the Continent.

The pleasures they enjoy are denied to you. They preach the advantages of the factory system because they reap the benefits while you bear the evils.

To make wealth for themselves they destroy the beauty and the health of your dwelling-places; and then they sit in their suburban villas, or on the hills and terraces of the lovely southern countries, and sneer at the "sentimentality " of the men who ask you to cherish beauty and to prize health.

Or they point out to you the value of the "wages" which the factory system brings you, reminding you that" you have carpets on your floors, and pianos in your parlors, and a week's holiday at Blackpool once a year.

But how much health or pleasure can you get out of a cheap and vulgar carpet? And what is the use of a piano if you have neither leisure nor means to learn to play it? And why should you prize that one week in the crowded, noisy watering-place, if health and fresh air and the great salt sea are mere sentimental follies?

And let me ask you is any carpet so beautiful or so pleasant as a carpet of grass and daisies? Is the fifth-rate music you play upon your cheap pianos as sweet as the songs of the gushing streams and joyous birds? And does a week at a spoiled and vulgar watering-place repay you for fifty-one weeks' toil and smother in a hideous and stinking town?

As a practical man, would you of your own choice convert a healthy and beautiful country like Surrey into an unhealthy and hideous country like Wigan or Cradley, just for the sake of being able once a year to go to Blackpool, and once a night to listen to a cracked piano?

Now, I tell you, my practical friend, that' you ought to have, and may have, good music, and good homes, and a fair and healthy country, and more of all the things that make life sweet; that you may have them at less cost of labor than you now pay for the privilege of existing in Oldham; and that you can never have them if England becomes "the workshop of the world." . ,

But the relative beauty and pleasantness of the factory and country districts do not need demonstration. The ugliness of Widnes and Sheffield and the beauty of Dorking and Monsal Dale are not matters of sentiment nor.of argument—they are matters of fact. The value of beauty is not a matter of sentiment: it is a fact. You would rather see a squirrel than a sewer rat. You would rather bathe in the Avon than in the Irwell. You would prefer the fragrance of a rose-garden to the stench of . a sewage works. You would prefer Bolton woods to Ancoats slums.

As for those who sneer at beauty, as they spend fortunes on pictures, on architecture, and on foreign tours, they put themselves out of court.

Sentiment or no sentiment, beauty is better than ugliness, and health is.better than disease.

Now, under the factory system you must sacrifice both health and beauty.

As to my second objection—the evil effect of the factory system on the public health. What are the chief means to health?

Pure air, pure water, pure and sufficient food, cleanliness, exercise, rest, warmth, and ease of mind.

What are the invariable accompaniments of the factory system?

Foul air, foul water, adulterated foods, dirt, long hours of sedentary labor, and continual anxiety as to wages and employment in the present, added to a terrible uncertainty as to existence in the future.

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#2) On March 10, 2011 at 8:08 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Nothing would be better than a society that punishes innovation and entrepreneurial drive, eh, Devoish?   

Tax everyone to death, redistribute the money, and everything will be great, right?  History is just teeming with examples of successful societies that stole from one class to arbitrarily give it to another. 

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#3) On March 10, 2011 at 8:15 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

For those who are interested, the book is available on google books.

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#4) On March 10, 2011 at 8:44 PM, Varchild2008 (84.72) wrote:

Uhm the book fell a-part with:

"That competition is wasteful, and cruel, and wrong."

Without Competition there is no desire to improve oneself.

WIth the desire to improve onself then

"Sentiment or no sentiment, beauty is better than ugliness, and health is.better than disease."

How do you achieve Beauty...but through competition leading to better Beauty Products?

How do you achieve Health....but through competition leading to better health products and techniques?

Without Competition the Brain Surgeon has no desire to become a better brain Surgeon..discovering better techniques and technologies....

Without Competition the Janitor cleans the basic minimum of what is expected of him/her and no further....

Without Competition the Retail Store has no desire to lower prices.

Without Competition the Factories/workshops this author detests can expand freely without impediment....

Because the biggest impediment to Growth is the existence of a Competitor....

Seriously?  Why bother reading this garbage when it totally destroys itself by declaring that we can live without Competition... but at the same time expects a Utopian Society to emerge?

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#5) On March 10, 2011 at 8:52 PM, Getnrichr (< 20) wrote:

"Tax everyone to death, redistribute the money, and everything will be great, right?  History is just teeming with examples of successful societies that stole from one class to arbitrarily give it to another."

 

Do you also see what happened to the public employees in Minnesota as being like this? They were effectively asked to  accept a reduction in salary to pay the debts of others.

 

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#6) On March 10, 2011 at 9:31 PM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

They were effectively asked to  accept a reduction in salary to pay the debts of others.

Aren't they asked to take less, because the tax revenue generate no longer supports the spending? 

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#7) On March 10, 2011 at 10:03 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

I am in a competitive industry.  I used to get a twinge of guilt when I took the business away from another company (thinking about the lives of the salesmen, workers and their families and such).  It doesn't take long to realize that they would do the same to me and that they would rejoice.

Technology advances through competition, not government mandate.  In my time doing this business, I have seen large advancements, and I have kept up or I would be out of business. To illustrate why the govt. shouldn't tax us more and control more of our lives I will give an example:

A government contract specifies the goods to be delivered, and also (at a low level at least) what you should make them from.  THEY want me to make something using yesterday's technology?  Then I read the punch-line, preference will be given to women and minority owned businesses.  

Oh, I should have said the contractual terms were for a depecated technology

Paraphrasing now:  "soliacism is great until you run out of 'other's people's money"  margaret thatcher

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#8) On March 10, 2011 at 10:15 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

Umm, I left out a point, people that could get the govt. contracts wanted me to do all the work and they would get most of the profits.

I vote for a new 5 year plan in the new communist party congress, lol

 

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#9) On March 10, 2011 at 11:01 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

 Nothing would be better than a society that punishes innovation and entrepreneurial drive, eh, Devoish? I

It takes a great leap of imagination to intrepret the writings as punishing innovation. I understand it more as making sure honest work is rewarded and unneccessary work is not done.

Why bother reading this garbage when it totally destroys itself by declaring that we can live without Competition...

Because it is wise to for employees to consider how competition between employees is working out.

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#10) On March 10, 2011 at 11:09 PM, ajm101 (32.29) wrote:

#6 - The Minnesota gov't took away the public employees' right to collective bargaining, that's all.  It didn't save any money, the union already made the pay concessions.  Also, the government stole from their retirement funds by systematically underfunding their pensions and keeping taxes artificially low with money it didn't have.  This is exactly what private industry does rampantly, except in those cases the money they stole from taxpayers via the PBGC was shifted in pay to executive bonuses and dividends (Sears Holding being an admirable exception).  The myth of private industry and competition is a laughable sham, if the US government was run like Verizon or Time Warner Cable we'd have been taken over by the Dominican Republic years ago.

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#11) On March 10, 2011 at 11:22 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Perhaps for some, maybe the better of us, the reward of a healed child will motivate the brain surgeon to improve his skill? And the brain surgeon who desires financial rewards will instead seek to improve his advertising?

     

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#12) On March 10, 2011 at 11:39 PM, RenegadeIAm (< 20) wrote:

#9: making sure honest work is rewarded.

Note the generalizations and the passive voice, devoish.

Let's skip right past having you define "honest work" and "rewarded," and put that airy generalization in context.

You make something to sell and I buy it. Who, exactly, "makes sure" that your "honest work" is "rewarded" by my purchase? Our lords & betters maybe? Our masters?

What if I don't like your product, but I like someone else's, and that person used less "honest work" to make it, but it is still better quality? Who, then, makes sure that your "honest work" "is rewarded" if I don't want what you have?

Gauzy dreams of "honest work" "being" rewarded are nice, but at some point, somebody (i.e. a buyer) does the rewarding; it moves from a passive, nice-sounding generalization to an action.That means someone, somewhere handing over coin.

Sure, it would be nice if "the system" "rewarded" me for my "honest work;" heck I can do all kinds of "honest work" that nobody wants--but I sure would like to be "rewarded" for it.

 

In the end, my friend, reality always slaps us in the face. Economics is economics, not poetry or longing for the ideal.

 

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#13) On March 10, 2011 at 11:56 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Actually I seem to have blended varchilds and jakila's replies.

Varchild focused on a belief in competition, that a janitor will work harder for fear of losing his job to a more competitive and capable sweeper.

Jakila focused on a belief that being rewarded will motivate improved performance, seeing any tax or reduction on that reward as a punishment.

Yet it seems to me that employees do not receive the benefits of working harder or more efficiently, they just receive additional tasks.

 

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#14) On March 11, 2011 at 12:07 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Renegade,

 What happens when there are people who want my product, but favorable laws have benefited a select few to the point that those who want my produt have no money to purchase it?

Is it ok if I work to change those laws back, rather than continuing to play a rigged game?

 

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#15) On March 11, 2011 at 12:08 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

CHAPTER XI.
Waste.

We, of the so-called "educated" classes, who take it upon us to be the better and upper part of the world, cannot possibly understand our relations to the rest better than we may where actual life may be seen in front of its Shakesperian image, from the stalls of a theater. I never stand up to rest myself, and look round the house, without renewal of wonder how the crowd in the pit, the shilling gallery, allow us of the boxes and stalls to keep our places! Think of it! those fellows behind there have housed us and fed us; their wives have washed our clothes, and kept us tidy; they have bought us the best places, brought us through the cold to them; and there they sit behind us, patiently, seeing and hearing what they may. There they pack themselves, squeezed and distant, behind our chairs; we, their elect toys and pet puppets, oiled and varnished, and incensed, lounge in front, placidly, or, for the greater part, wearily and sickly contemplative.—Ruskin.

We saw just now that competition among the workers lowered wages, and that competition among the middlemen lowered both wages and profits. We also saw that both kinds of competition lowered the price of goods to the consumer or user.

This is the one great argument in favor of competition—that it reduces the price of commodities or goods.

It is quite true, as I explained before, that we can buy things more cheaply under competition than under a monopoly, and this is urged as sufficient proof that competition is a good thing. "For," say the defenders of the system, "we are all consumers, and what is good for the consumer is good for all."

Now, I will prove to you beyond all question that the one argument advanced in favor of competition is really the strongest argument against it.

I will prove to you beyond all question that this much-praised cheapness is not always good for the general consumer, and is never good for the producer—that is to say, for the working class.

First, allow me to expound to you my theory of waste. I call I it my theory because I discovered it myself, and because I don't know that any other writer has ever alluded to it, though I may be wrong in that latter particular. The theory of waste goes to show that excessive cheapness is good for no one.

When a thing is too cheap we waste it. I give you two common examples of this: salt and matches.

Many years ago, while riding in a train, I noticed a drunken man wasting matches. I had noticed the same thing before, but had never thought about it. This time I did think about it.

There happened just then to be a good deal of talk going on about the wretched wages and long hours of the match and match-box makers. I began to add things up.

I saw that at one end of the trade we had people working long hours for low wages to make matches; and that at the other end of the trade we had people wasting matches.

Tell me, from your own experience, is it not true that of the gross number of matches bought at least one-half are wasted?

I asked myself, firstly, "Why do people waste matches?" The answer was ready: "Because matches are so cheap." I asked myself, secondly, '' Why are match-makers so badly paid?" The answer was longer coming, but it came at last, in the same words: "Because matches are so cheap."

Now, I saw plainly enough that when I wasted matches I was really wasting the flesh and blood of the fellow creatures who made them. But I could not see so plainly how that waste might be avoided.

"If," I thought, "the price of matches was doubled, that would pay the match-makers good wages, and it would not hurt me, for I should cease to waste them, and so should only need one box where I now use two."

But then came the question, "Would not that throw half the match-makers out of work; and if it did, what would become of them?" That question puzzled me for some time; but at last I answered it, and then I began to see all the iniquity of our commercial system, and to understand the causes of the trouble.

A few years later, in an article on the Salt Trade, I said that salt was too cheap and that the proper remedy was to regulate the price by wages, and not the wages by the price. Thereupon I was attacked by the editor of a northern paper, who denied my statement, and suggested that I was an ass. This editor said:

"The suggested method of first fixing a good wage for the labor force engaged 1n production, and afterward fixing the price for the market of the commodities produced upon the basis of that wage, 1s chimerical. Take an instance. Blatchford, in his paper, the Clarion, a paper devoted to bad economics and musichall twaddle, instances the Cheshire salt trade. He thinks the "producers" should have their wages fixed at a decent sum, and the price of salt to the public regulated by this item. Suppose it to be attempted, how would it work? It would involve a higher price for salt in the country, to begin with. We could afford that. There would be less salt used, and less called for. That would mean there would be fewer men needed to produce salt. That is, many men employed in that particular industry would be discharged and would betake themselves to some other congested branch of industry, to overcrowd the workers there, while those that remained would be put on short time! Hon) does this solve the problem?"

Now we can draw two inferences from that statement. The first is, that the only effect of increasing the price of salt would be to throw half the men out of work; the second is, that as those men could find no other employment they had better be left alone.

We will begin with the second statement, and I will show you what nonsense the newspapers of this great country print for your instruction, my practical, hard-headed friend.

To begin with, you see that this editor admits three things, any one of which is sufficient to have shown him that there is something very rotten in our present system of trade.

He owns that if the saltworkers were thrown out of work, they could find no means of living, because the other branches of industry are "congested." That is to say, that men able and willing to work cannot find work in this best of all possible countries.

But he does not tell you why this evil exists, nor how to cure it. He owns that a great deal of salt is wasted, and that the 'consumer would be quite as well off if he paid double the price he now pays.

Just consider what these admissions mean. They mean that a useful product of nature is being wasted, and they mean that the labor of a large number of men and women is being wasted, and they mean that both these wastes could be stopped without hurting any one.

But this intelligent editor will not allow us to interfere, because by stopping the waste we should throw a number of men out of work.

What are those men doing? They are wasting their time, and they are wasting salt; but we must let them go on.

Our wise editor acknowledges that the salt they make is being wasted, but yet we are to continue to pay them wages for wasting it. What do you think of him?

His plan is worse than that of employing men to dig holes and fill them up again. For then they would only waste time. But our clever writer makes them waste salt as well. So that his plan is as foolish as paying men to make salt and throw it into the river. He is one of those stupid people who think it is all right so long as you find the men "employment." It is of no consequence whether their work is useful work or wasteful work, so long as they are kept working. As though a man could eat work, and drink work, and wear work, and put work in the penny bank against a rainy day.

What the people want is food and clothing and shelter and leisure, not work. Work is a means, and not an end. Men work to live, they do not live to work.

And the joke of the thing is that if these salt-boilers were out of work, and we suggested that the corporation of their town should employ them to make new roads, or drains, to keep them from starving, this misleader of the people would be the first to sit upon his editorial chair and protest against the employment of the people on "unnecessary work."

Or suppose some socialist writer turned our editor's argument against the use of machinery, and said that no machinery ought to be introduced, as its effect would be to throw numbers of men out of employment, and drive them to seek work in other industries already congested! What do you think our editor would call that socialist?'

And now allow me to add up the sum in two ways: first as our editor adds it up, and then as I add it up, and see which answer looks most reasonable.

The editor's way: Half the domestic salt is wasted. Double the price and the waste would cease. Then only half as much salt would be bought. Therefore only half as much would be made. Therefore only half the hands would be needed. Therefore half the hands would be out of work.

My way: Half the domestic salt is wasted. Double the price, and save half the salt. Then only half as much would be bought. Therefore only half as much would be made. Therefore the saltmakers who now work twelve hours a day need only work six hours a day.

How does that strike you, John? Or you might let them work twelve hours a day, and double their wages. In which case half of them can be sent to do other work. Or you can reduce the hours to eight, and pay them 50 per cent, more wages, in which case a quarter of the men can find other work. The advantages of this plan would be that—

1. No salt is wasted; therefore the supply of salt will last twice as long.

2. The consumer still gets all the salt he can use at the price he paid for salt before.

3. The manufacturer gets the same price for one ton that he used to get for two tons. Therefore he saves enough in carriage, in wear and tear of machinery, in interest on capital, in rent and other ways, to leave him a handsome profit.

4. The worker has only half as much work to do; therefore he secures a six hours' day, and his wages remain as they were.

How does that solve the problem? That, John, is my theory of waste. I call it a practical, hard-headed way of looking at things. What do you think?

Just apply the idea to all the trades where labor or material is being wasted, and you will begin to know a great deal more than the average newspaper editor, who gets his salary by wasting ink and paper, and perpetuating follies and lies, will ever find out—unless some sensible person comes to help him.

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#16) On March 11, 2011 at 12:17 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Perhaps it is a capitalist system that forces us to keep "producing" even when there is no need of another house, or purchaser for that house, is capitalisms ultimate flaw.

Perhaps very high taxes that fund college educations, retirement and healthcare and leisure would have prevented the excess wasted effort that led to borrowing and rewarding a few rent seekers instead of the producers of goods.

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#17) On March 11, 2011 at 12:31 AM, whereaminow (49.99) wrote:

Perhaps my grandpa is a bicycle.

#12 nailed this one.

David in Qatar 

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#18) On March 11, 2011 at 2:50 AM, checklist34 (99.73) wrote:

jakilla, we already live in a society that tries somewhat to punish hard work and innovation. 

no politician will ever get up and thank somebody for creating some jobs, but they will get up and tell all the people who won't go to work how bad they have it and how unfair that is

etc.

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#19) On March 11, 2011 at 7:08 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

checklist,

It is not hard for me to believe that the same people who achieved less than 5% unemployment 5 years ago are unwilling to work today in a game they now know is rigged to   reward their productivity to others.

Good morning David. Perhaps a tax structure that has rewarded idle wealth for thirty years is a bicycle too.

ChrisGraley, thank you, with respect to this earlier thread.

Additionally, The Fed reserve banks are history. No longer are they needed to distribute money. This is not 1930. If Bernanke thinks the economy needs more money he can deposit it into SSI and distribute it by increasing the money paid out to Americans who earned it all their lives first, and make the financial industry come begging with interest rates to them for it, rather than the other way around. - Devoish

I'm with you on the FED thing. - ChrisGraley

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#20) On March 11, 2011 at 5:52 PM, chk999 (99.98) wrote:

Do you have any examples of a socialist system that works for a group bigger than a few hundred people? If you read "History Of American Socialism" by Noyes, you find out how badly it works out in practice.

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#21) On March 11, 2011 at 7:03 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

Depends upon what you call "socialist". Healthcare opponents labeled Canada, Norway, and Germany as socialist. That is three that seem to be working out ok. Japan. Singapore. Hawaii.

It certainly is a pretty interesting read though. The time before unions certainly seems to have sucked. I don't think America can ever have been called "socialist" except by the most extremist opponents of social programs.

Especially because the point of the post, in contrast to "Class Warfare has Officially Begun", was to share the idea that employers have been waging war on their employees in order to gain a bigger share of what they produce has been going on forever. Since the industrial age, only the unions of Europe and America have ever succeeded in acquiring a share of what they produce large enough to have employees rewarded with time off - and with that time off, freedom from their employer.

One thing that I found fascinating is the attack on the author, Blatchford by the editor of the Salt Trade. The use of perjorative adjectives reminded me of David talking about what he imagines to be socialism or liberals or even charitable. "Take an instance. Blatchford, in his paper, the Clarion, a paper devoted to bad economics and musichall twaddle, instances the Cheshire salt trade" as though it was an argument as opposed to argumentative. His argument, whatever it may be does not need to depend upon insults to make its point, only to sound convincing to weak thought. He could just as easily have said "Take an instance. Blatchford, in his paper, the Clarion, instances the Cheshire salt trade." and left out the insults. It is the equivalent of calling Paul Krugman a Socialist. Using a label that way keeps those already in your camp agreeable, and reduces the liklihood they are thinking because they already have read a label they are inclined with, and sometimes miss the substance, or lack of any substance in the body of work.

I hope you enjoyed reading the "socialist" view pesented by someone who is not trying to discredit it for a change.

I will look for Noyes.

Best wishes,

Steven

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#22) On March 11, 2011 at 7:31 PM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

A quick look through Noyes and there is no mention of Catholism and nuns, Mormons, or Amish. it was also written in 1870, long before the success of unions in Europe and the United States at balancing the power of wealth.

Truth is I would not describe unions in Europe or the United States as Socialist Government. They merely balance the employers power to impact employee income, by organising the power of employees to impact their employers income, rather than employees merely being a tool of their employers strength.

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