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Political Axis

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Jack Roberts Posted: Thu, Nov 22 2012 4:04 PM

I am having a discussion on another forum about the left right paradigm. One user posted this image of a political axis and I was wondering if any one of you thought it was correct or incorrect?

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According to the modern-day definitions of these terms, it's the most accurate depiction of the spectrum that I've ever seen.

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What the hell is ultra-capitalism?

Whats ultra-anarchism?

Why is progressivism near the right side? Isnt progressivism basicaly just another term for democrat-leftists? I may be wrong here.

WHy is liberalism in the middle? Is liberalism meaning the old meaning of classical liberalism or today's meaning of democrat? If its the modern meaning, why is it in the middle? Shouldnt it be on the left?

Whats the difference between statism and all the labels that are NOT-anarchist? If anything, this label should be removed altogether.

Whats the difference between socialism, democratic socialism and social democratism?

In my opinion, too many terms are used that convey too little difference between each other.

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

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I've always been confused by Mutualism. All I ever get out of it is "free-market anti-capitalism" and that makes me want to chew the stuffing out of my couch.

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RagnarD replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 4:28 PM

The axis make no sense to me whatsoever, the opposite of authoritarianism is activism? The opposite of progressivism is social democratism? 

The diamond shaped political axis maps (Nolan Chart) with economic vs social freedom as the left/right axis and libertarian vs authoritarian for the top down make much more sense to me.

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The above is much much better.

 

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

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The first thing that came out of my mouth when I saw the axis was: What the hell is ultra-capitalism.  Why is liberalism in the middle.

I thought it was some what correct but some of the terms should be removed completely and some of them are in the wrong place entirely.

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RagnarD replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 4:55 PM

I figured everyone here would be familiar with it, but incase some have missed it , here's a quiz based on the above. 

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 4:56 PM

@Jack

That's an extremely confusing picture even though it's on the right track. Part of what I don't understand is that is that it doesn't have labeled axes and to my knowledge both ultra-anarchist and ultra capitalist are made up terms.

@SM

Well what makes mutualism even more confusing is that some of them are crazy and some of them aren't. If you're looking for the sane mutualists just think of anarcho-capitalists who believe that a free market would revolve more around more egalitarian work structures.

Also, I've long liked the idea of a four dimensional political spectrum with libertarianism being "upper wing". I don't know where socialist anarchism would go though...

My personal favorite:

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Whether or not I believe in egalitarianism revolves around what their definition of "equality" is. If equality simply means that all humans are individuals with individualistic characteristics that can't be lumped in to some sort of category or statistic, then I agree. It seems like mutualism is considered to somehow be libertarian socialism.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 5:40 PM

No, here I mean income equality.

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Could you explain that more, please?

EDIT

Also, what do you mean by "some mutualists are crazy, and some aren't?"

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 5:55 PM

In an anarcho-capitalist society it's possible you could end up with a society of perfectly equal incomes. Mutualists believe this to be the case. In terms of actual policy prescriptions the only real difference is that they have a slightly different definition of land ownership which necessitates that the ones who are actually laboring on the land must be the ones who own the land, land owners who do not use the land don't have claim to the land, but I'm pretty sure that as such they believe that capitalists do have a claim upon capital since they provide a productive service.

Other than that the only difference is that the entire attitude of mutualism is different. You can be an anarchist because you believe it will equalize income, which is a relatively "leftist" reason, or you could be an anarchist because you believe that it will uphold traditional values and promote self reliance, a "rightist" reason. Mutualists approach anarcho-capitalism from a "leftist" perspective. When I say that some of them are crazy I'm mostly talking about the ones who haven't updated their views from Proudhon and who usually read a lot of Bakunin, the ones who still uphold the old dogma of usury being immoral and preventable, the LTV holding true, as well as a lot of socialistic beliefs about capitalism itself. These are the ones that believe that communism and small workshops will naturally replace capitalism. Oftentimes they believe in anarchism for extremely awkward reasons.

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You bent my mind left, right and center.

Also, could you explain why you have a quote "soft spot in your heart for Peter Kropotkin"

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So mutualists are like syndicalists except they apply it to land?

mutualism: land is yours if u work on it

syndicalism: capital is yours when youre working on it?

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 7:12 PM

"You bent my mind left, right and center."

 

I tend to have that effect on people.

"Also, could you explain why you have a quote 'soft spot in your heart for Peter Kropotkin'"

Because I really like a lot of his material. The problem was that his economics were flawed, as was his very conception of capitalism, something which I can scarcely blame him for during his time.

Please tell me what you find objectionable in this quote:

ANARCHISM (from the Gr. ἅυ, and άρχη, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent — for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary — as is seen in organic life at large — harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.

Or in this work (really relevant material starts at 94 if you feel like skimming)

In the end Kropotkin merely has another vision of the anarchist world, one which I can't object to for the most part, and his passionate belief in personal freedom, spontaneous order, and mutual aid is truly wonderful.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 7:16 PM

Kelvin,

I believe this to generally be the case with the exception that they tend to oppose land ownership if no productive function is being served. This makes the owner of a business, for instance, a legitimate landowner, while the greedy landowner who doesn't do jack besides own land is not a legitimate land owner. I know for a fact that it is true with some mutualists, but I'm sure that you'd find some who would advocate basically indistinguishable things from a socialist anarchist. Also your syndicalist definition applies to most forms of anarcho-communism as well.

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So you're into mutual aid, hmm? I downloaded a book about it recently to learn just what it is all about, but I haven't read it yet.

Rothbard certainly didn't like anarcho-communism.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 7:33 PM

"So you're into mutual aid, hmm?"

Yes, I think that it may well play a very big role in a voluntaryist society.

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Give me your definition of it.

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http://mises.org/daily/5388/

Many people come together and put things they dont want or want to give in a box and leave the box on the street for poor people to use.

Is this the kind of mutual aid youre talking about?

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.org

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I think the anarcho-communists have always been quite vague on the notion of whether or not their communes will be voluntary. Did Kropotkin believe in voluntary association with the communes?

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 7:43 PM

"Many people come together and put things they don't want or want to give in a box and leave the box on the street for poor people to use."

While that is a rather crass and constrained way of putting it, there is some truth to that definition. I also like the link. The ideas in there were what first caused me to accept mutual aid.

I would define it as "actions in which the mutual benefit of both parties are sought, with an emphasis upon the provision of goods and services through gifts and donations, either monetary or direct"

EDIT

Yes. Voluntary and infinite secession is a very important part of anarcho-communist theory

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It certainly wasn't what was at the top of the list of values in Revolutionary Spain and Revolutionary Mexico. Did you read that Rothbard article on anarcho-communism? Because, in this sense, you sound like you could be what I call a voluntary an-comm.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 7:55 PM

Well I did write this. Strictly speaking the only applied difference between anarcho-communism and anarcho-capitalism is that one believes in non-use ownership of the means of production and the other one does. For this reason it's hard to really separate the two beliefs in terms of voluntary X or involuntary Y. Something that I've never seen, but which is theoretically possible, is propertarian anarcho-communism. All it would take is an anarcho capitalist who has a different definition of property... That's all.

I think that Rothbard mischaracterizes the attitude of anarcho-communism, at least amongst its major theorists. He's right that their economics are shit though.

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I think a good modern example of a socialist society coexisting beside a "capitalist" (just using that word for the hell of it) society would be the Kibbutzim in Israel. Point is, it's voluntary socialism.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 8:01 PM

No doubt.

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He's right that their economics are shit though.

Labor theory of value?

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

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Spooner advocated the labor theory of value. Please state why it's bad, Neodox.

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Value of an item is not determined by the amount of labor it takes.

Value is subjective. No matter how many hours you took to make a product, I may value it differently than another person. Its the basic comparison to a bottle of water or a 1 oz crystal diamond.

Lets say it takes 5 hours of labor to make 1 bottle of water, and 200 hours of labor to make 1 oz diamond. If you believe in labor theory of value, both items should be valued equally both in africa and america.

However in reality, here in america, if we were faced with a choice, wed choose the 1 oz diamond, since a bottle of water is so abundant that we would in a heartbeat choose a 1 oz crystal diamond, and as such i value the diamond more than the water even though both items took the same amount of labor to make.

However, in africa, a child that is thirsty will choose the bottle of water. Ddrinkable water is not very abundant in africa and as such, the african child will value the water above the diamond, even though it takes more labor to extract a diamond, than to purify water.

Hence, value comes not from the amount of labor put in it, but from its marginal utility:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marginal_utility

http://mises.org/community/forums/p/32237/500353.aspx

 

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.org

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 8:38 PM

@Kelvin,

No, the whole thing. As I recall he might have actually rejected the LTV, I know he did in actually determining how much people should work/what their labor was worth... Ironic, an anarcho-communist biologist might have actually come close to stumbling upon the calculation problem.

The idea that capitalism is necessarily bad and leads to a lower standard of living is the biggest problem in his economics... But that itself is built on a total non-understanding of market mechanisms. The socialist viewpoint, from an economic perspective, traditionally comes about when you look at production first, before consumption. When you look at production away from a the consumption structure capitalism does look pretty evil.

@SM

Do you actually want me to go through a critique of the LTV? If so then the answer can be summed up as such: Labor as such has nothing to do with actual value or real price except for insofar as the marginal preferences of individuals, both in consumption and production enact themselves upon the price of labor. The source is desire which acts upon labor, rather than some mystical inversion of these two things.

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Full-blown critique, please.

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 9:19 PM

Labor does not give something value. Labor is traditionally needed for the production of goods. This, however, is not what gives it value. What gives a thing value is final product. This is evident by the fact that individuals do not ask how much labor went into producing a good, they only care about the good itself. Labor can be a source of value in the production of goods, both in terms of producing the actual good and in that some people do value labor, but this then means that it is their valuations which matter.

Furthermore labor cannot have any value without land (since it cannot exist), and can have very little value in the absence of capital. Therefore it would be just as correct to talk about a "land theory of value" and, practically speaking, just as true to talk about a "capital theory of value". In the ERE, an economy devoid of change, ultimately all prices result themselves to the costs of production, but these costs in turn, for all the factors, not just labor, are determined by their oppurtunity costs elsewhere, which amount to what the individual is willing to pay for the final product. Therefore, although it is all very interconnected, labor, and all other factors, ultimately obtain value on the market from consumer expenditure. You could produce a beautiful and unparalleled work of art every five minutes, yet this would be meaningless, in terms of market pay, if no one wanted your works of art, unless someone valued your skill in and of itself, rather than the product.

Even Marx, it would appear, had an implicitly subjectivist theory of value, since he claims it is only the fact that utility was produced which even allows work to constitute as labor. See my post here. It's also important to note that Marx's idea of an average socially necessary homogeneous unit of labor which ultimately determines price is just... Messed up. There's no way to even argue that this is the case, Marx simply asserts it and I've never heard a compelling defense. It's such a vague concept that it's hard to know why it would be correct. If I'm a business owner and I'm looking to make profit then I don't give a damn about averages or socially necessary time, I only care about how much I can earn off of hiring a unit of a factor of production as opposed to how much it costs me to do so.

We see two definitions of value: physical value and market value, what actually creates a good and what it sells for on the market. In the physical sense labor does create value, but it's not the only thing which creates value. Indeed labor by itself can make nothing. In the absence of capital it can physically make practically nothing, although it could produce services in a decent manner in some cases. Therefore labor cannot itself constitute as its own theory of value, we have to look at a "factor theory of value", which is exactly what we do look at, that's precisely why they're called "factors of production"! In terms of market value all that matters are the valuations of buyer and seller. This would lead us to at least a subjectivists, and most likely a marginalist, theory of market value. This is because we can tell through praxeology that expended labor cannot cause people to do what their values don't bring them to, only their values can change their action. Therefore individuals value physical goods, not expended labor. This valuation as opposed to money seeps into the price of labor itself, but the source is subjective valuation, not labor.

Does this answer your question?

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Oh.

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But anyways, yes, thank you.

What are your thoughts on a "gift economy?" And, do you believe that people could achieve a society completely devoid of money, that was still based on voluntary association?

[insert Jeapordy music here]

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 9:39 PM

Huh? Why the DP?

I'm not sure. If it's possible to overcome the calculation problem then that's the way it would be solved. Otherwise post-scarcity would have to be effectively reached, however. Under modern or historical conditions it would probably be impossible, however.

I see mutual aid and communism/socialism working alongside the market economy, finally providing both a resolution to their century long ideological conflict, rather than mutual aid or socialism replacing capitalism, nor can I see capitalism in the free society totally wiping out mutual aid. Perhaps socialism, however.

Fortunately for me I don't have to give a damn. If society were to get to this point then people would be able to choose and I wouldn't have to make up a policy prescription for them.

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If you remove money, then there will be no division of labor.

We would be thrown into the dark ages.

A bartering system would make it very hard to exchange goods.

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
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"DP?" What is that?

 

But yes, if the communist/socialist society is so grand, I always ask those people that in a voluntaryist society, wouldn't workers, upon seeing that those societies are much better, naturally go over there all by themselves, no coercion necessary?

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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Nov 22 2012 10:02 PM

Double post.

That's the ultimate argument against non-government socialists of nearly all kinds. I talk about that in my thread on socialism.

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Another political axis to consider. Though this one focuses only on economics. And no room for anarcho-communists/socialists/syndicalists I see!

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