18. Social democrat🌹 Reformist socialist 🚩 Welfare state and socialization 📋 Classless society 🌎 Picture: SPD theorist Eduard Bernstein 🧐
Jan 23 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
Supply-side socialism and using economic planning to solve problems is extremely based.
The only concern I have is that appropriating ''supply-side'' rhetoric for the left could unwittingly degenerate into the free-market dogma on the right.
In particular, capital is always looking for labor supply. The question is, the supply of what, how and when?
Labor unions are certainly not ''supply-side,'' by definition they restrict the supply of labor and rely on periodic threats of shutting down production to be effective.
Jan 13 • 6 tweets • 1 min read
I was reading about the “clash of civilizations” theory from the 1996 book and I think it unfortunately has descriptive merit.
The basic premise is that the “end of history” eradicated politics based on class.
The prediction was that politics would polarize along culture.
In essence, the problem of nationalism and authoritarianism are caused by the tremendous weakness of leftist ideology in the 21st century compared to the two previous.
I've been researching macro trends, and I found correlations that might help the left.
At least in North America and Europe, the countries with a leftist upsurge have:
- Highest share of workers in services (over 78%)
- Highest income inequality
- Highest college-educated share
Britain and the United States fit the bill, which is why the socialist upsurge in the last decade is primarily Anglo.
Continental Europe appears to lag behind because the share of service workers in employment, income inequality and college-educated population are much lower.
Dec 19, 2021 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
The ''Fourth Industrial Revolution'' stuff should excite leftists.
I know some people debate the semantics (1st, 2nd etc.), but rapid technological change and globalization would induce radical change in society.
Think of the emergence of the labor movement from 1870 - 1914.
The so-called ''Third Industrial Revolution'' induced capital to break out of national borders through global trade and capital movements, thus causing a return to economic liberalism and a general right-wing shift in politics.
I expect that a ''Fourth'' would move back left.
Dec 19, 2021 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
48 percent of non-union workers say they would join a union, though only 6.3 percent of those workers are unionized.
Why the discrepancy?
In my opinion, the most important factor is that class-consciousness has been lost. People are not motivated to take collective action.
Dec 13, 2021 • 11 tweets • 3 min read
New 🧵on coal and tobacco that all of you will find fascinating.
Cigarette and tobacco companies are a reason for poverty in Kentucky.
Tobacco farming was supported by the government, but tobacco manufacturers complained about it because it made the input more expensive...
Manufacturers supported deregulation of the tobacco trade because of profitability concerns and in response to declining demand for cigarettes.
Congress abolished tariffs on imported tobacco and government support for tobacco farming was abolished by 2004.
Dec 9, 2021 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
The third-way turn wasn't just in social democratic parties.
In the 1990s, the French Communists supported privatization of publicly-owned firms (such as communications and car companies), but also supported increasing the minimum wage and cutting the workweek to 35-hours.
The ''third-way'' still meant that the left would support improving the material conditions of workers, but abandon the focus on class power and economic systems, hence privatization.
Dec 4, 2021 • 11 tweets • 4 min read
One problem with the automation discourse is methodology.
There's an argument along the lines of, ''technological progress is not happening because productivity is growing slowly.''
This is a bad objection, because this does not account for declining capital productivity.
Many sectors have added more robots to their production in the span of 5 years (2011 - 2016) than they have in the entirety of economic history.
Foreign policy divides the left to an extreme degree. A universally corrosive force.
There are countless examples:
Why did the Second International and the labor movement break up? Because of WW1.
Why did the Trotskyists split from the USSR? One-country vs internationalism.
Why were Karl Wiik and his followers expelled from the Social Democratic Party in 1944? His pacificist views on Finland's involvement in WW2.
Why did the Soviet Union and China split? Because of the peaceful co-existence doctrine.
Dec 3, 2021 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
On the crime wave panic.
Wage theft is actually more costly than robbery, auto theft, larceny and burglary combined.
But guess what, the former principally affects the working class while the latter falls the most on property owners. Guess which one the state tends to?
The focus on crime reflects the nature of current social relations.
Although nobody argues robberies are good, those are bottom-up crimes. So gigantic resources and attention are devoted to them.
While wage theft is a top-down crime, so it gets ignored.
Dec 2, 2021 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
Why do small firms fail?
Part is that technology is reducing the price of goods and services, but only to those with sufficient scale, can cost savings also accrue.
The sectors with a large proportion of small firms (trucking, food, construction) tend to be labor-intensive.
This is how the industrial revolution was powered.
It wasn't always the case that people were directly displaced by tools and machines, but that a significant number of producers simply could not cut costs faster than prices.
Dec 1, 2021 • 7 tweets • 1 min read
It is important to understand the difference between the interests of individual firms and capitalists.
A lot of neoliberal economic policies harm the interests of specific companies that fail in the market, but neoliberal policies still redistribute power and resources upward.
Globalization and free trade has devastated industries such as steel production and leather manufacturing, but international competition, on the whole, shifted resources into the hands of the upper-class.
Nov 30, 2021 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
Exactly this! Productivity gains are often not translating into reduced hours, as firms are increasing surplus to sustain profits rather than improving workers' lives.
Working hours vs surplus, extensions in hours closely follow increased profit share.
Why do asset owners / conservatives complain about inflation?
I had a lightbulb moment when writing a Medium article.
You have to look at the ancient origin of inequality and where money itself comes from.
Read this paper and the parts about the Asiatic mode of production too:
Classes originate from ancient agriculture, when humanity first produced a surplus of crops.
Since the output of crops is difficult (natural disasters, weather, available labor, effort), a hierarchical system emerges to keep everyone in society disciplined as such.
Nov 24, 2021 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
I support classic social democracy.
Dutch Labor Party from 1959:
''The party is affiliated with and is a continuation of the movements which, on the basis of democratic and socialist ideals, have fought against capitalism and [...] [for] the creation of a classless society'' dnpprepo.ub.rug.nl/9886/1/PvdA%20…
Nov 24, 2021 • 4 tweets • 1 min read
That Labour tweet reminded me why we need to mainstream anti-capitalist politics again.
Conservative hegemony today is just as degenerate as a Leninist party hegemony in nations such as the Soviet Union.
Unless there are alternatives, democracies will rot from the inside out.
Many people believe democracies aren't effective, but they can't put their finger on it.
They feel this way because we have radically diluted their democratic content, trade unions have declined precipitously and socialist ideology has fallen out.
Nov 23, 2021 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
The idea of objectively ''evil people'' is used to justify hierarchy.
I feel that progressives and conservatives would describe dictators differently. Those on the left describe the *consequences* of rulers as negative, while folk morality just labels them morally as ''evil.''
The first one is right. Dictators are not bad because we consider them ''evil,'' they are bad because the structure and consequence of dictatorial rule is bad.
In fact, the simple folk morality of ''evilness'' perpetuates the authoritarianism that dictatorships are justified on.