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State capitalism vs socialism Anonymous 11/21/2020 (Sat) 19:43:26 No. 1158419
There's this common belief that socialism is when the government does stuff, but there is at least one form of government activity that may not qualify as socialism: state capitalism. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's article on state capitalism: >State capitalism is an economic system in which the state undertakes business and commercial economic activity (i.e. for-profit) and where the means of production are organized and managed as state-owned enterprises (including the processes of capital accumulation, centralized management and wage labor), or where there is otherwise a dominance of corporatized government agencies (agencies organized along business-management practices) or of public companies such as publicly listed corporations in which the state has controlling shares.[1] Marxist literature defines state capitalism as a social system combining capitalism with ownership or control by a state. By this definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production.[2] This designation applies regardless of the political aims of the state (even if the state is nominally socialist).[3] Many scholars argue that the economy of the Soviet Union and of the Eastern Bloc countries modeled after it, including Maoist China, were state capitalist systems. They also argue that the current economy of China constitutes a form of state capitalism.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] This is not to be confused with state monopoly capitalism, which Wikipedia describes as "an environment where the state intervenes in the economy to protect larger monopolistic or oligopolistic businesses from threats". With these things in mind, where do we draw the line between state capitalism and actual socialism? Is state ownership enough to qualify as socialism, or do we need some more things for an economy to truly count as socialist? Pic related is the logo for Sinopec, a Chinese state-owned oil company and a good example of state capitalism. As of 2019, it has the highest revenue of any state-owned enterprise in the world, and the second-highest revenue of any enterprise, private or state-owned (the first being Walmart).
State capitalism is when the state has an absolute monopoly on the MoP (private property can still exist but on a very limited scale, and also the state acts a single corporation, operating for profit, instead of simply serving society.
>>1158453 This. people have a hard time differentiating the two if they have no concept of class character.
In my mind the dividing line between State Capitalism and State Socialism is how democratic the system is as a whole.
>>1158419 State capitalism has no scientific definition and is just a buzzword to smear things you don't like.
>>1159279 >scientific definition What do you mean by this?
>>1159287 The definition of a political term should have a material basis, be consistent, and have an exclusive meaning or else it is worthless. "State capitalism" has no material basis and is thus used to describe many different, contradictory things. Every system called state capitalism can be better described in other ways, it is a pointless term thrown around to feign knowledge on a subject one is actually ignorant of or else as an insult. To take it a serious political category is wrong.
>>1159303 It just needs a formal or academic definition dude. To ask for a material basis for the definition of a concept in the study of politics would just lock us into a years-long philosophical debate for practically every term lol.
>>1158419 No good if it's still subject to falling RoP.
>>1158419 >lolbertpedia Your argument is invalid.
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>>1159421 Here's a Marxist source (Anton Pannekoek) if you don't like Wikipedia: >The term “State Capitalism” is frequently used in two different ways: first, as an economic form in which the state performs the role of the capitalist employer, exploiting the workers in the interest of the state. The federal mail system or a state-owned railway are examples of this kind of state capitalism. In Russia, this form of state capitalism predominates in industry: the work is planned, financed and managed by the state; the directors of industry are appointed by the state and profits are considered the income of the state. Second, we find that a condition is defined as state capitalism (or state socialism) under which capitalist enterprises are controlled by the state. This definition is misleading, however, as there still exists under these conditions capitalism in the form of private ownership, although the owner of an enterprise is no longer the sole master, his power being restricted so long as some sort of social insurance system for the workers is accepted. https://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1936/dictatorship.htm
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>>1159421 >cherry picking
>>1159312 It literally wouldn't. You would just need to identify the material reality a term describes. Why can 90% of other terms do this but not this one? It's because it's bad.
>>1159702 There are many other political terms that clear, consistent meanings. Some examples include: -Socialism -Fascism -Class -Communism
>>1160726 >retards don't know what a word means >therefore the word has no definition fucking braindead
>>1160733 The word's meanings vary widely depending on the context. Even within socialist circles, there are often disagreements on what some of those words mean.
>>1158419 There is no such thing as state socialism. Read Gothakritik.
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>>1159433 (you)
>>1159459 So is state capitalism is when the state takes an active rol in extracting profits and not compensating the workers fairly for their labor time? How would someone prevent the state from being exploitative? If the profits are being used to reinvest in the state, wouldnt that benefit proles? I can only see this being a problem if the proles are left out from the decision making process by lack of democracy, otherwise it may be ok for society collectively to earn a lower wage for R&D purposes. Also how the surplus capital be reinvested would be important, if its just going to a booj ML partys pockets it would be bad, but if it goes back to society I dont see it as bad
>>1160764 Yeah, like >>1159105, I think state socialism and state capitalism can be differentiated by how democratic the system is. The more democratic it is, the more socialist it is.
>With these things in mind, where do we draw the line between state capitalism and actual socialism? Simple, we have to determine the ruling class. Lenin often describes the dirigisme of the state monopoly capitalism of the German Empire as state capitalist, clearly serving the German monopoly bourgeoisie. But at the same time, he holds that the state capitalism of the USSR during the NEP is not the "usual" type of state capitalism, it's a special type of state capitalism. Summarizing Lenin's writings on this, I think we can draw the difference along the lines of the following angular points: Political power of the working class. The working classes, e.g. the proletariat in alliance with the peasantry, have to build a workers state that moves beyond bourgeois parliamentarianism and exercise power with the exclusion of the bourgeoisie, council democracy, mass mobilizations and conscious planning of the economy. Controlling the commanding heights of the economy. A workers state would then have to turn the commanding heights of the economy (heavy industry, infrastructure, natural resources, etc.) into public property to safeguard its proletarian character. This way the bourgeoisie is excluded from having leverage over the political apparatus, because they don't control any of the important heights. The way those industries are run can either be a fledgling socialist mode of production or a state capitalist mode of production. Lenin argued that both existed during the NEP. Socialization of land. This is an important point but always gets overlooked. Land needs to be in public property, landlords need to go. Any form of ownership of real estate needs to be handed out in the form of usufruct rights for that land, so land is not going to be commodified itself but merely the construction on top of it. What we are dealing with here, returning to Lenin, is a socialist republic which does not mean that the socialist mode of production is already dominant, the state capitalist mode of production would be dominant. But the political power firmly lies with the working class, and the construction of socialism begins. The CPC claims that all those traits hold true for China, and that they're in the "preliminary phase of socialism", e.g. socialist construction. also please don't use Wikipedia.
>>1160764 Just form the Marxist perspective, the "fair distribution of proceeds of labor" is a Lassallian deviation. Marx views distribution as an outgrowth of relations of production, capitalist distribution for Marx is a type of "fair distribution" within the realm of bourgeois morality - the worker receives the value of their labor power, they're not underpaid (unless we are talking about imperialist relations where you have unequal exchange and similar guarantees of monopolist super profits). Once you abolish the relations of capital, e.g. the abolition of the labor power commodity, surplus value equally disappears - there would still be surplus products, of course, which can still be appropriated in exploitation by a leisure class, in feudalism for example, where it took on the social form of sharecropping. The CPC in the Chinese Constitution and Xi in his books write that due to different relations of production existing in China - socialist production, state capitalist production, private capitalist production, peasant production and petty bourgeois production - different forms of distribution and remuneration also emerge, but where exploitation of man by man is already partially abolished. Economically this is difficult to grasp, but the organic composition of capital gives a clue: variable capital grows faster in China than constant capital, which is a countertendency compared to every capitalist country in the world. When remuneration of labor time grows faster than the value of constant capital, then we can conclude that exploitation is indeed partially abolished in the Chinese state sector (see page 314 in Tsoulfidis' and Tsaliki's Classical Political Economics and Modern Capitalism).
>>1160800 >What we are dealing with here, returning to Lenin, is a socialist republic which does not mean that the socialist mode of production is already dominant, the state capitalist mode of production would be dominant. But the political power firmly lies with the working class, and the construction of socialism begins. The CPC claims that all those traits hold true for China, and that they're in the "preliminary phase of socialism", e.g. socialist construction. Do you think the working class has held much power in ML states like the USSR and China? It seems that the communist parties in both countries formed a sort of new ruling class, as the democratic accountability of party officials seems to have been rather limited and opaque.
>>1160845 >It seems that the communist parties in both countries formed a sort of new ruling class Class requires a proprietary relationship to production in some shape or form, but they didn't own the means of production, rather, they were a strata of society (just like within the working class there are lumpens, labor aristocrats, precarious workers, etc. that might all have different interests), who basically functioned as self-serving employees. Essentially a workers state is a dictatorship of the proletariat that can also function as a proxy, where was production in the USSR ever directed towards anything different than to improve the life of the people? You could mention the excessive military spending but that was somewhat justified due to the capitalist encirclement, but the military never controlled the civilian government of the USSR. It's true that when there is a democratic deficit, bourgeois ideologies form out of cynicism and disillusionment. >democratic accountability of party officials seems to have been rather limited and opaque While a part of that is true for the upper echelons in the Kremlin, this wasn't true for the base level or local governments. The USSR was also a huge federation with lots of republics, things in Leningrad compared to a village in the Turkmenian steppe would have been very different so to slap the label "undemocratic!!" on the whole project is too simplistic. In regards to China, I think they've improved their democracy a lot, especially in the last years. Governing a country of 1.4 billion people also comes with its own limitations.
>>1160880 >Class requires a proprietary relationship to production in some shape or form, but they didn't own the means of production, rather, they were a strata of society (just like within the working class there are lumpens, labor aristocrats, precarious workers, etc. that might all have different interests), who basically functioned as self-serving employees. Did the party officials not have more control over the means of production than the workers did?
>>1160880 >It's true that when there is a democratic deficit, bourgeois ideologies form out of cynicism and disillusionment. There you go. Color Revolutions don’t appear out of thin air, after all. My issue with vanguardism is that the it elevated a specific stratum of workers to the position of stewardship of the worker’s state, who may not be responsive to the needs and desires of the majority of workers, their comprehension of theory notwithstanding. Moving on to your point about how the politburo in Moscow became limited and opaque, wasn’t it this group of individuals who controlled many state apparati in Soviet Society? The thing about local soviets and the base level would be all fine and well if power was organized in a bottom up, rather than top-down fashion.
>>1160889 Yeah, the same way the manager of a restaurant has more control over the restaurant than the waiter, but Marxism is not about abolishing all hierarchies or whatever. Officials in the USSR did not direct production, they had to fulfil quotas for a plan, they didn't appropriate the surplus product that was produced in the enterprise they were presiding over. No USSR official could say "I'd like this steel plant to produce porcailan dishes because it's more profitable."
>>1160832 >Once you abolish the relations of capital, e.g. the abolition of the labor power commodity, I'm guessing under state capitalism this would still be a thing as individual labor power would be exchanged with the state under some socially calculated metric for fair wage? >The CPC in the Chinese Constitution and Xi in his books write that due to different relations of production existing in China - socialist production, state capitalist production, private capitalist production, peasant production and petty bourgeois production - different forms of distribution and remuneration also emerge, but where exploitation of man by man is already partially abolished. Economically this is difficult to grasp, but the organic composition of capital gives a clue: variable capital grows faster in China than constant capital, which is a countertendency compared to every capitalist country in the world. When remuneration of labor time grows faster than the value of constant capital, then we can conclude that exploitation is indeed partially abolished in the Chinese state sector This is interesting anon, but under different relations of production how is a fair compensation to be determined with a variable to constant capital ratio? Would if be aggregated as a sum of all the different ones? If so then each individual prole under a particularly oppressive form might get shafted for the social whole.
>>1160920 >My issue with vanguardism is that the it elevated a specific stratum of workers to the position of stewardship of the worker’s state, who may not be responsive to the needs and desires of the majority of workers Why? I could imagine dead ends in the circuits of feedback systems, but the mass organizations (unions, youth league, worker councils, women's league, farmers associations, etc.) that all play decisive roles especially in terms of drafting economic plans should root the state and the party in the masses. The party is rooted in the masses, it's not separate from the masses, without sinking down to the level of the masses. >Moving on to your point about how the politburo in Moscow became limited and opaque, wasn’t it this group of individuals who controlled many state apparati in Soviet Society? The thing about local soviets and the base level would be all fine and well if power was organized in a bottom up, rather than top-down fashion. The design of the Soviet state did not change once it hit a specific height. Mechanisms that work well on a local level could work worse on the top level. Besides, what exactly wasn't bottom-up? You had to march through the institutions in the USSR, most leaders had very humble backgrounds, and you needed to be nominated by the lower level in mass meetings. See this short article: https://oktyabrvperedi.wordpress.com/2020/07/31/the-soviet-democratic-system/ Here is a long Tw*tter thread about Soviet democracy: https://twitter.com/blksknlenincccp/status/1311479676267765761
>>1160928 >I'm guessing under state capitalism this would still be a thing as individual labor power would be exchanged with the state under some socially calculated metric for fair wage? Yeah, but remember that when I talk about state capitalism in the USSR I refer to the NEP, with the implementation of the first five year plan the socialist mode of production became dominant. However, in a system where wages exist without a labor market where you buy and sell labor power, wages are not the same as wage labor. I'm sure you've heard that Marx in the Critique of the Gotha Program does say that deductions need to be made to fund social programs and the extension of production, before the worker can be remunerated. It's true that the worker has nothing to give to society but their labor value, this is crucially important because in capitalism you have nothing to give but your labor power as a commodity. The latter is the cost of the reproduction of your labor ("how much does it take for the worker to show up tomorrow at my firm?" - meaning housing, food, transportation, etc.), creating an inherent race to the bottom. The way Marx outlines remuneration, and the way the Soviet Constitution enshrined it, was that it should be handed out according to labor value created, or as it was in the Constitution "according to quantity and quality of labor done". This was because the USSR did not have labor time accounting (and therefore no labor vouchers) but it does not change the character of the relation between the worker and the rest of society (at best, it could create false consciousness, because it partially still is a fetishized form of human relations, although vastly less fetishized than in capitalism). This different relation is also reflected with the absence of a labor market, there is no reserve army of labor (unemployment). This all is supposed to whither away once communistic relations form with free associations of producers and the partial phasing-out the division of labor and social production (labor value). >This is interesting anon, but under different relations of production how is a fair compensation to be determined with a variable to constant capital ratio? There is still exploitation as long as you have variable capital in general. I was just referring to this because it's evidence that China is a different beast compared to capitalist countries to suggest that there might be no exploitation of man by man in some areas (!) of the Chinese state enterprises. I'm very carefully here because I don't know a contemporary Marxist who has studied this more in-depth (outside of Chinese Marxists of course). In general we should abandon the concept of "fair". There are labor aristocrats in the automobile industry for example who earn $6000 a month but are often the most exploited workers because they create so much value. Meanwhile a sweatshop worker has a very low exploitation rate since they create very little value, but earns $30 a month. This is a contradiction on the surface, but it shows us that Marx's theory of gradual immiseration was a theory of relative immiseration, which isn't always - but of course can be - creating absolute immiseration. So I think we shouldn't use categories like "fair". Bourgeois apologetics always talk about how sweatshops are being "fair" because those workers are just not worth anything more, to that we should not respond that it's "unfair" (that would be the liberal response) but that it is an inherent result of "bourgeois fairness" (the legally codified exchange of equal values), something we need to sublate. >Would if be aggregated as a sum of all the different ones? If so then each individual prole under a particularly oppressive form might get shafted for the social whole. The socialist countries of the 20th century have kept strict tabs on marketization, even if it caused some economic problems, to prevent any form of unemployment for example, which was their showcase achievement they bragged about to the West. The basic premise of historical materialism is that the level of development of forces of production gives birth to relations of production (for example, the invention of agriculture giving rise to slave society), the CPC says that previous existing socialist countries underestimated the importance of this, as productive forces were never available in quantity and quality enough to completely overcome any hang-ups of capitalism, like a restricted market sector. Cuba had to carry out reforms too, and now has unemployed too. China has obviously chosen a much more pragmatic path, by sacrificing a lot more to give way to a more rapid, explosive development of productive forces and attract foreign investment. Whether or not you agree with this approach is a different thing - I believe that should we have a revolution in a highly developed country like Germany, UK or Canada, we should move to a fully planned economy and don't have any form of unemployment because all of our workers are fully skilled, our productivity is cranked up to maximum, and there are no peasants anymore, conditions that are not yet true for China - but yeah, their approach certainly is a but "ruthless" if you want, but it's a "work in progress" so to say.
>>1161036 thank you based german mcdonald's man
>>1158453 >instead of simply serving society So China isn't state capitalist
>>1163204 Chinese state-owned companies operate for profits. For example, Sinopec made about $6.8 billion in profits last year.
>>1163214 >Chinese state-owned companies operate for profits. Some do, some don't.
>>1161036 Very well written thanks gave me a bit to think about
State Socialism is when I like it, State Capitalism is when I don't like it.

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