The argument that socialism/collectivism means everyone being equally poor

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Scallywag
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Apr 19 2017 21:36
The argument that socialism/collectivism means everyone being equally poor

A common argument against socialism/communism whether it's libertarian or authoritarian is that it forces everyone to be equally poor and also doesn't reward people who work hard, contribute more or are more skilled. I know this is to be a wrong assessment, and either way I'd regard capitalism as far more flawed and unjust in permitting the simultaneous existence of a super-rich and the impoverished, but I've never known how to respond to this argument adequately, any ideas?

Scallywag
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Apr 19 2017 21:43

Its probably also the biggest argument in favour of capitalism, and why a lot of people believe it's much more free than any form of socialism, because if they are skilled enough and work hard, they can get ahead and be entitled to greater wealth and luxury spent as they wish.

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 19 2017 21:55

its impossible to quantify how much anyone contributes

zugzwang
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Apr 20 2017 03:58
Quote:
A common argument against socialism/communism whether it's libertarian or authoritarian is that it forces everyone to be equally poor and also doesn't reward people who work hard, contribute more or are more skilled. I know this is to be a wrong assessment, and either way I'd regard capitalism as far more flawed and unjust in permitting the simultaneous existence of a super-rich and the impoverished, but I've never known how to respond to this argument adequately, any ideas?

Do the people on Wall Street deserve their millions when they probably don't even break a sweat in the course of their 'workday'? Is management, CEO's and the like who largely write their own checks that are hundreds times larger than the average worker's, entitled to their higher pay while they, for the most part, relax in their offices and order the more productive workers around all day? I don't believe so. And I don't think socialism/communism doesn't recognize people who work harder; the person who's doing more exhaustive labor obviously has greater needs than someone who hasn't been, just like the sick and elderly. Others would begin noticing if you were simply freeloading or not doing your fair share of work and would begin asking why, but that's somewhat moot because, unlike under capital, we could use labor-saving devices and robotization/automation to the fullest without worrying about contradictions like workers/consumers being displaced, ensuring more leisure time and a decent standard of living for all. I also don't think there's really any justification for someone owning six yachts or mansions as 'personal property' while everyone else suffers, etc. It doesn't really matter if someone is more skilled or not; all work is equally important and interrelated. You can't really have useful doctors without farmers who feed them or the factory workers who help produce all the medical equipment that enables the doctor to apply their knowledge, etc.

This section of the Anarchist FAQ might be useful, clearing up some of the misconceptions about social equality and the goal of a non-hierarchy-ridden society; equality doesn't mean everyone should live identically or that everyone should get the same things regardless of their needs, etc.

http://www.infoshop.org/AnarchistFAQSectionA2#seca25

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Rommon
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Apr 20 2017 06:02

Capitalism doesn't reward hard work OR creativity. Capitalism rewards maximizing short term profit by any means necessary, nower days that's basically rent seeking, or trying to figure out arbitrage situations, and things like that.

The idea that it would make everyone "equally poor" isn't based on anything,

People who invent Things don't get Rich from their inventions, most actual innovation happens in the state sector or the not-for-profit university sector, the People who get Rich are investors and the such who take those ideas and sell them to Corporations and and marketize them.

But you know what's interesting? People still innovate, even if they aren't financially rewarded for it. People who are retired volunteer their time, they tend gardens, People LIKE to be productive, they LIKE to be usefull for other People. Once you take out the need for People to sell their labor so that they can survive, to justify their existence by how they make other People maximize profit; People still want to do stuff, People still want to be creative, People still need each other to survive and flourish, People still want to be part of a community and feel useful.

By the way they've done studies on motivation, once People have what they need more Money doesn't motivate them much, what does motivate them is social recognition.

Capitalism doesn't reward hard work or innovation, just look at the richest People in Capitalism, they are Usurers who produce nothing and have no benefit to society, plain and simple.

ajjohnstone
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Apr 21 2017 02:32

I think socialists have advanced in their vision of free access according to self-determined needs than the levellers of the 17th C that the modern libertarian right misconstrues as socialism.

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Auld-bod
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Apr 22 2017 10:21

Denigrating the socialist idea of ‘from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs’, has sometimes been caricatured as ‘levelling down to mutual poverty’.

Capitalism’s ‘positive’ values are hollow: freedom to exploit others for personal advancement, using wealth to secure superior medical services, housing, etc. Capitalism is very free, if you are rich! The UK welcomes the wealthy, but if you are working class – get back, get back. It is possible for the working class to improve their material conditions and even for a few individuals to move into the ruling class. However the ruling class makes sure it dominates all positions of power (hence the name ‘ruling class’).

Capitalism exists to create profit, therefore the market can never satisfy the needs of the human race. It only thrives on scarcity and inequality. If people need homes, the market will only supply if they can pay. If everyone had a home the market would collapse! The market does go bust, though not because it satisfies demand. I digress.

It is very difficult for some people to imagine a world not dominated by greed. The greatest obstacle to socialism is the fear of freedom, real freedom, to be free of the master, the great leader, the all-knowing ‘great architect of the universe’. Socialism/anarchism/free communism asks the human race to come of age and take responsibility for itself.