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View Diary: "Socialism is dead"/"Socialism is against human nature." (162 comments)

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  •  No, it isn't (3+ / 0-)
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    Meteor Blades, offgrid, Catesby

    This may be semantics because I'm not sure what your definition of capitalism is. You seem to be equating capitalism with markets and incentives. That's not what capitalism is.

    Having studied the Chinese economic legal codes in great detail, and worked on Chinese economic and environmental planning, I can assure you China is not a capitalist country. You may mean that they have embraced markets and incentives, but that is not the same as capitalism.

    All land in China continues to be owned by either the state or local collectives (and local collectives own A LOT). A huge amount of the economy is in the hands of the collectives as well. The most important firms are owned by the central government. "Private" corporate firms that are important are given detailed "guidance" by the state. The central government carries out detailed economic planning and capitalist firms are expected to carry out their activities within the framework of the plan.

    China's economic planning looks outward for decades if not a century. Capitalist corporations in America look to the next financial quarter, and the central government (other than maybe the Fed) is radically opposed to economic planning of any kind (excluding of course its own budgets and fiscal issues).

    The central government of China is able to carry out vast infrastructure projects because as owner of all land it can cancel "land use permits" and re-take land. China can build infrastructure like high speed rail because of that; by contrast, US rail would be tied up in litigation with "private property" owners for decades despite the power of eminent domain if they wanted to build new high speed rail lines, or, as is the case, remain locked into rights of way that were assembled in the steam locomotive era.

    I'm amazed that people think China is capitalist. Socialism (as opposed to communism) has historically always envisioned a private capitalist sector, but one subordinated to public entities.

    China is exactly what they say they are -- a socialist market economy.

    •  It is semantics... (0+ / 0-)

      China's per capita GDP remains a small fraction of that in the US, and the socialist mechanisms in place there will ensure that gap remains large so long as those mechanisms persist... It is a clearly a move toward market mechanisms that has driven their explosive growth, but the inefficiencies that remain will ensure that the growth will taper off well before living standards there meet ours...  "Socialism" is a wide net, so more specifically, a highly redistributist society will tend to fare worse than one that is less so in terms of total wealth creation and standard of living across the board.  This becomes even more true as the society becomes more heterogeneous as is the case in the US versus the much more homogenous nature of China...

      •  Compare China to Russia (2+ / 0-)
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        Catesby, offgrid

        China would not have achieved the growth it achieved if it had abandoned its socialist legal and economic infrastructure.

        A big bang sell off, such as happened in Russia, would have been a disaster, as it was in Russia.

        If you look at how their growth was achieved, planning, state ownership of land, directed development, and other socialist mechanisms were indispensable. The Chinese are also very pragmatic and if socialist legal and economic infrastructure were a drag on the economy it would have been jettisoned. It wasn't. And since 2008, they are even more confident that they socialism is superior to unrestrained capitalism.

        There is a sort of mythical syllogism that people believe socialism can't work, and therefore if something works, it can't be socialism.

        Well, both claims are wrong.

        Socialism has been central to what China achieved despite religious dogma to the contrary.  

        There has been disastrous socialism, disastrous capitalism and disastrous communism, as well as successful kinds.

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