Owning vs Controlling the means of production?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by manifold, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    In another thread, an argument is being made that social welfare isn't socialism because it doesn't meet the narrow defintion that in a socialist economy, the government ('the state' or 'the people') 'owns' the means of production. Is that nothing more than splitting hairs? A government that can impose high taxes and draconian regulations on the means of production is essentially in control of said means. So is the difference between controlling and owning the means of production worth anything more that 'winning' a meaningless academic argument on the internet? :dunno:
     
  2. gekaap
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    gekaap BANNED

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    No, I don't think it is splitting hairs. It highlights a fundamental difference based on what actually defines socialism. In American political discourse, there are many terms that are often thrown around, rather carelessly, and socialism is one of them. What seems to usually happen is that one element, or one behavior, of a given system type, is taken to represent or indicate the system as a whole. This is fallacy of converse accident. It's like saying that since object A is a car that burns gasoline, then object B must also be a type of transportation vehicle just because it also burns gasoline. What makes socialism what it is, is the fact that the government owns the means of production. That is the essence of that beast. By itself, imposing taxes does not a socialist government make. If it did, than every government would have to be called socialist, and the word itself would cease to have any meaning.

    Whether it's "worth" more than a "meaningless" academic argument is really hard to answer because it's so vague a question. I suppose it [at least partially] depends on what "worth" there is in caring. Does it matter that our government imposes taxes, or whether those taxes are high? Does it matter if our system were in fact socialist or not? Does any distinction change the quality of our government? That which we call a rose....
     
  3. Sheldon
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    Sheldon Senior Member

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    Are you talking about that flame thread Bass started? I had a feeling that thing was going to devolve into semantics. Threads about ideologies usually do in my experience so far.

    And I think dictionary definitions are usually a shitty way to frame an understanding about political, social, and economic ideologies. They're more complex than a few sentences.

    My bottom line is that the ideology has over the years expanded beyond strict ownership of a nation's forestry industry (for example). And I think that change, or expansion, in meaning is true for a lot of other labels--liberalism being the best example I can think of right now.

    These kinds of threads do get kind of pedantic though.
     
  4. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Thanks to both of you for your sincere and intelligent replies.

    I do appreciate them from time to time you know. :D
     
  5. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    But again...

    If the government controls industry, how does that translate into a reality any different than if they outright owned it?
     
  6. Intense
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    Intense Senior Member

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    Different Brands of Totalitarianism. Not in relation to Taxation, but Regulation. Are Coke and Pepsi both Cola's???
     
  7. LordBrownTrout
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    LordBrownTrout Gold Member

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    How could a government ever be responsible for monies if they weren't accountable for the creation of a company? It's simply impossible, imo.
     
  8. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Right. I "own" my home but some one else "controls" the mortgage so in effect, I really don't "own" my home.

    Wait, wut? :confused:
     
  9. Sheldon
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    Sheldon Senior Member

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    Depends on what you mean by "control"? :razz:
     
  10. shintao
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    shintao Take Down ~ Tap Out

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    "the government ('the state' or 'the people') [DOES NOT] 'owns' the means of production," which means America, nor Obama, are socialist at this point in time. I doubt we will ever be socialist, but always this mixed capi-social state. We need a political definition to describe our condition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011

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