gojack10 at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 14 16:57:45 MST 2003
Adam, we have a difference in perception about the Green Party. You see
socialist economic theory, whereas I see reformist gobblygook in Green Party
theorizing. I went to their website to examine the latest they have put
out about what their economic politcy might be. Oh the great lengths they
go to avoid using the word socialism, or to call for nationalizing
industries! It seems that they might be under the narcotic influence of
the great economic PARECON theories of Michael Albert at ZLand.... No?
There, we have what one might call the Dictatorship of Consensus ruling
supreme benignly under Sub Comandante Albert..
Just like the Znet crowd are good people, so are the Green Party crowd.
And they are neither perhaps truly traditional Democratic Party liberal
types, though the Greens certainly fall more into that camp than the 'Left
Libertarians'. And socialists should certainly be friendly and keep
dialog going with both the Znetters and Greens, but how much do socialists
want to truly wash themselves in the same water? Why not build Znet
while pushing for building the Green Party? This would be true
'anti-capitalist unity', right? Where do we stop and maybe try to buiild
the idea of something other than, as the Greens put it, "self-governing
ecological communities and bioregions"?
You might call that anti-capitalism, but I'm not so sure it's much more than
a gobblygook call for a biosphere like the one constructed in Arizona some
time back? Kind of a call for McDonalds to be run by workers who can put
more vegetables on the menu there, or get oil companies like Exxon to
encourage bicycle use via government subsidies of bicycle trails, and not
Arctic tundra oil drilling. These are good people and we should not
hinder their dreaming. But should socialists really skip along together?
And is this gobblygook an anti-capitalist program? I think not.
A small excerpt from....
BUT... the whole thing reads this way!
Capital: Greens support the abolition of markets in transferable corporate
property rights and their replacement by democratic means of controlling
capital. In private sector cooperatives and self-employed small business
people, this means non-salable personal membership rights to participate in
the democratic self-government of the work community and to receive net
income from their enterprise in proportion to their labor contribution. In
private sector credit unions, worker-controlled pension funds, and
policy-holder insurance cooperatives, as well as public sector budgets,
community banks, and investment boards, this means non-salable membership or
citizenship rights to participate, or elect representatives to participate,
in decisions regarding the allocation of investments.
In theory, capitalists risk losing their wealth they invest in productive
enterprises and they should be rewarded for their risks with profits. In
practice, most of this risk is socialized.
Hundreds of billions of dollars a year in corporate welfare in the form of
tax abatements, infrastructure investments, loan guarantees, preferential
contracts, and direct grants means the public assumes much of the risk.
When corporations down size, close plants, and move production, it is the
communities left behind who pay the consequences.
When Big Business goes bankrupt, society cannot afford to let them fail and
government bails them out: Lockheed, Penn Central, Chrysler, the savings and
loan industry, the big banks' investments in Latin America, Asia, and
Russia, among many other major bailouts in the last 30 years.
When corporate managements are driven by absentee-owned finance capital to
make decisions to promote short-term financial returns at the expense of the
long-term viability of the enterprise, as well as externalized social and
ecological costs, it is workers, communities, and the environment that
absorb the long-term costs.
Even most of the private money invested does not orignate from capitalists'
but comes from the workers, either from their savings or from profits
appropriated from workers' labor. Workers' savings in bank deposits and
insurance and pension funds is the major source of investment funds in the
We also need to be clear that most so-called capital markets are giant
gambling casinos where investors bet on the future value of financial
securities and rearrange and concentrate ownership of productive assets.
They are not efficient or rational means of raising and allocating fresh
capital. Between 1989 and 1996, US corporations retired $700 billion more in
stock than they issued.
In short, we have a system of capital markets where the risks and losses are
socialized, but the profits remain private and ownership is being
Since most investment funds come from the labor and savings of ordinary
people in the first place, either from profits or savings in banks and
insurance and pension funds, it is only fair that ordinary people should
share both the risks and enjoy the benefits that productive investments
produce through democratic social control of investment.
Insurance is a means of socializing risk. A democratic investment process
should be seen as a type of social insurance system that socializes both the
risks and rewards of social investments.
A democratic investment system should be democratically coordinated and
decentralized as well. It should incorporate national planning of basic
economic objectives and also have a multiplicity of sources of
democratically-controlled investment from which enterprises can seek
financing. These sources would include publicly-owned community banks, a
democratically restructured Federal Reserve System, credit unions,
worker-controlled of pension funds, and policyholder-controlled insurance
Enterprises themselves should remain free to reinvest their earnings where
they see money making opportunities. But socially planned investments need
to cover two additional areas that are neglected under the current system of
capital markets: marginally profitable but socially useful enterprises
(e.g., rail transportation) and the free provision of public goods and
services, such as education, health care, and infrastructure.
Producer and Consumer Goods: When most of us think of markets, we think of
the goods and services we purchase. In the democratic economic system that
Greens envision, these markets would continue with reforms to make them
fairer: more equal income distribution, more anti-trust enforcement, more
prosecution of corporate fraud and negligence, more consumer organization
In the longer run, when a more egalitarian system of labor time prices
replaces money prices, consumer choice will remain but the market as a
system of commodity exchanges will be replace by a system of equal labor
exchanges. As the economy becomes more productive in terms of both labor and
natural resources, and as scarcity in relation to rational needs is reduced,
progressively more and more goods and services should be distributed free
instead of rationed by money or labor voucher demand. As the work week is
reduced with increased labor and resource productivity, people will have the
freedom to engage in informal household and community production and
distribution, those areas of life which the market has been colonizing for
the past few centuries. People will be free and secure enough to take the
time to craft artful goods and services for their own sake, for creative
expression, for pleasure, and for social solidarity. Ultimately we envision
a fully free economy where voluntary production and free consumption are a
natural and normal aspect of living in self-governing ecological communities
I flat out disagree with this assessment. The wing of the
>Green Party that controls it is the PRO- CAPITALIST majority of that party,
That's nice, you can shout this from the rooftops if you like, that
doesn't make it so. It happens that two (out of, I believe, three) of
their national co-chairs are avowed socialists, one even being a member
of FRSO. Of course, the Greens being a (groooaaaan) consensus-based
outfit, who's the majority and who's the minority becomes a more or
less moot point. (And please don't say something stupid, like insinuate
that I'm pro-consensus or anything.)
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