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2017 compared to 1917
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Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized.

Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia’s October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or “labour” since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.

Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor.

Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges.

Socialism flowered in the 19th century as a program to reform capitalism by raising labor’s status and living standards, with a widening range of public services and subsidies to make economies more efficient. Reformers hoped to promote this evolution by extending voting rights to the working population at large.

Ricardo’s discussion of land rent led early industrial capitalists to oppose Europe’s hereditary landlord class. But despite democratic political reform, the world has un-taxed land rent and is still grappling with the problem of how to keep housing affordable instead of siphoning off rent to a landlord class – more recently transmuted into mortgage interest paid to banks by owners who pledge the rental value for loans. Most bank lending today is for real estate mortgages. The effect is to bid up land prices toward the point where the entire rental value is paid as interest. This threatens to be a problem for socialist China as well as for capitalist economies.

Landlords, banks and the cost of living

The classical economists sought to make their nations more competitive by keeping down the price of labor so as to undersell competitors. The main cost of living was food; today it is housing. Housing and food prices are determined not by the material costs of production, but by land rent – the rising market price for land.

In the era of the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, this land rent accrued to Europe’s hereditary landlord class. Today, the land’s rent is paid mainly to bankers – because families need credit to buy a home. Or, if they rent, their landlords use the property rent to pay interest to the banks.

The land issue was central to Russia’s October Revolution, as it was for European politics. But the discussion of land rent and taxation has lost much of the clarity (and passion) that guided the 19th century when it dominated classical political economy, liberal reform, and indeed most early socialist politics.

In 1909/10 Britain experienced a constitutional crisis when the democratically elected House of Commons passed a land tax, only to be overridden by the House of Lords, governed by the old aristocracy. The ensuing political crisis was settled by a rule that the Lords never again could overrule a revenue bill passed by the House of Commons. But that was Britain’s last real opportunity to tax away the economic rents of landlords and natural resource owners. The liberal drive to tax the land faltered, and never again would gain serious chance of passage.

The democratization of home ownership during the 20th century led middle-class voters to oppose property taxes – including taxes on commercial sites and natural resources. Tax policy in general has become pro-rentier and anti-labor – the regressive opposite of 19th-century liberalism as developed by “Ricardian socialists” such as John Stuart Mill and Henry George. Today’s economic individualism has lost the early class consciousness that sought to tax economic rent and socialize banking.

The United States enacted an income tax in 1913, falling mainly on rentier income, not on the working population. Capital gains (the main source of rising wealth today) were taxed at the same rate as other income. But the vested interests campaigned to reverse this spirit, slashing capital gains taxes and making tax policy much more regressive. The result is that today, most wealth is not gained by capital investment for profits. Instead, asset-price gains have been financed by a debt-leveraged inflation of real estate, stock and bond prices.

Many middle-class families owe most of their net worth to rising prices for their homes. But by far the lion’s share of the real estate and stock market gains have accrued to just One Percent of the population. And while bank credit has enabled buyers to bid up housing prices, the price has been to siphon off more and more of labor’s income to pay mortgage loans or rents. As a result, finance today is what is has been throughout history: the main force polarizing economies between debtors and creditors.

Global oil and mining companies created flags of convenience to make themselves tax-exempt, by pretending to make all their production and distribution profits in tax-free trans-shipping havens such as Liberia and Panama (which use U.S. dollars instead of being real countries with their own currency and tax systems).

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The fact that absentee-owned real estate and natural resource extraction are practically free of income taxation shows that democratic political reform has not been a sufficient guarantee of socialist success. Tax rules and public regulation have been captured by the rentiers, dashing the hopes of 19th-century classical reformers that progressive tax policy would produce the same effect as direct public ownership of the means of production, while leaving “the market” as an individualistic alternative to government regulation or planning.

In practice, planning and resource allocation has passed to the banking and financial sector. Many observers hoped that this would evolve into state planning, or at least work in conjunction with it as in Germany. But liberal “Ricardian socialist” failed, as did German-style “state socialism” publicly financing transportation and other basic infrastructure, pensions and similar “external” costs of living and doing business that industrial employers otherwise would have to bear. Attempts at “half-way” socialism via tax and regulatory policy against monopolies and banking have faltered repeatedly. As long as major economic or political choke points are left in private hands, they will serve s springboards to subvert real reform policies. That is why Marxist policy went beyond these would-be socialist reforms.

To Marx, the historical task of capitalism was to prepare the way for socializing the means of production by clearing away feudalism’s legacy: a hereditary landlord class, predatory banking, and the monopolies that financial interests had pried away from governments. The path of least resistance was to start by socializing land and basic infrastructure. This drive to free society from economic overhead in the form of hereditary privilege and unearned income by the “idle rich” was a step toward socialist management, by minimizing rentier costs (“faux frais of production”).

Proto-socialist reform in the leading industrial nations

Marx was by no means alone in expecting a widening range of economic activity to be shifted away from the market to the public sector. State socialism (basically, state-sponsored capitalism) subsidized pensions and public health, education and other basic needs so as to save industrial enterprise from having to bear these charges.

In the United States, Simon Patten – the first economics professor at the new Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania – defined public infrastructure as a “fourth factor of production” alongside labor, capital and land. The aim of public investment was not to make a profit, but to lower the cost of living and doing business so as to minimize industry’s wage and infrastructure bill. Public health, pensions, roads and other transportation, education, research and development were subsidized or provided freely.[1]I give the details in “Simon Patten on Public Infrastructure and Economic Rent Capture,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology70 (October 2011):873-903.

The most advanced industrial economies seemed to be evolving toward some kind of socialism. Marx shared a Progressive Era optimism that expected industrial capitalism to evolve in the most logical way, by freeing economies from the landlordship and predatory banking inherited from Europe’s feudal era. That was above all the classical reform program of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the intellectual mainstream.

But the aftermath of World War I saw the vested interests mount a Counter-Enlightenment. Banking throughout the Western world find its major market in real estate mortgage lending, natural resource extraction and monopolies – the Anglo-American model, not that of German industrial banking that had seemed to be capitalism’s financial future in the late 19th century.

Since 1980 the Western nations have reversed early optimistic hopes to reform market economies. Instead of the classical dream of taxing away the land rent that had supported Europe’s hereditary landed aristocracies, commercial real estate has been made virtually exempt from income taxation. Absentee owners avoid tax by a combination of tax-deductibility for interest payments (as if it is a necessary business expense) and fictitious over-depreciation tax credits that pretend that buildings and properties are losing value even when market prices for their land are soaring.

These tax breaks have made real estate the largest bank customers. The effect has been to financialize property rents into interest payments. Likewise in the industrial sphere, regulatory capture by lobbyists for the major monopolies has disabled public attempts to keep prices in line with the cost of production and prevent fraud by breaking up or regulating monopolies. These too have become major bank clients.

The beginning and end of Russian socialism

Most Marxists expected socialism to emerge first in Germany as the most advanced capitalist economy. After its October 1917 Revolution, Russia seemed to jump ahead, the first nation to free itself from rent and interest charges inherited from feudalism. By taking land, industry and finance into state control, Soviet Russia’s October Revolution created an economy without private landlords and bankers. Russian urban planning did not take account of the natural rent-of-location, nor did it charge for the use of money created by the state bank. The state bank created money and credit, so there was no need to rely on a wealthy financial class. And as property owner, the state did not seek to charge land rent or monopoly rent.

By freeing society from the post-feudal rentier class of landlords, bankers and predatory finance, the Soviet regime was much more than a bourgeois revolution. The Revolution’s early leaders sought to free wage labor from exploitation by taking industry into the public domain. State companies provided labor with free lunches, education, sports and leisure activity, and modest housing.

Agricultural land tenure was a problem. Given its centralized marketing role, the state could have reallocated land to build up a rural peasantry and helped it invest in modernization. The state could have manipulated crop prices to siphon off agricultural gains, much like Cargill does in the United States. Instead, Stalin’s collectivization program waged a war against the kulaks. This political shock led to famine. It was a steep price to pay for avoiding rent was paid to a landlord class or peasantry.

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Marx had said nothing about the military dimension of the transition from progressive industrial capitalism to socialism. But Russia’s Revolution – like that of China three decades later – showed that the attempt to create a socialist economy had a military dimension that absorbed the lion’s share of the economic surplus. Military aggression by a half dozen leading capitalist nations seeking to overthrow the Bolshevik government obliged Russia to adopt War Communism. For over half a century the Soviet Union devoted most of capital to military investment, not provide sufficient housing or consumer goods for its population beyond spreading literacy, education and public health.

Despite this military overhead, the fact that the Soviet Union was free of a rentier class of financiers and absentee landlords should have made the Soviet Union the world’s most competitive low-cost economy in theory. In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries.[2]My book Super-Imperialism (1972; new ed. 2002) reviews this discussion during 1944-46. So socialist countries were kept out of the IMF, World Bank and the planned World Trade Organization, explicitly on the ground that they were free of land rent, natural resource rent, monopoly rent and financial charges.

Capitalist economies are now privatizing and financializing their basic needs and infrastructure. Every activity is being forced into “the market,” at prices that need to cover not only the technological costs of production but also interest, ancillary financial fees and pension set-asides. The cost of living and doing business is further privatized as financial interests pry roads, health care, water, communications and other public utilities away from the public sector, while driving housing and commercial real estate deeply into debt.

The Cold War has shown that capitalist countries plan to continue fighting socialist economies, forcing them to militarize in self-defense. The resulting oppressive military overhead is then blamed on socialist bureaucracy and inefficiency.

The collapse of Russian Stalinism

Russia’s Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. In contrast to China’s housing construction policy, the Soviet regime insisted that families double up. Clothing and other consumer goods had only drab designs, needlessly suppressing variety. To cap matters, public opposition to Russia’s military personnel losses in Afghanistan caused popular resentment.

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia.[3]I discuss the IMF and World Bank plan to wipe out Russian savings with hyperinflation and make manufacturing investment uneconomic in “How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly,” Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). МИР ПЕРЕМЕН 3/2012 (ISSN 2073-3038) Mir peremen М. ХАДСОН, Неолиберальная налоговая и финансовая политика приводит к обнищанию России, 49-64. Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers.

Russia has gone to the furthest anti-socialist extreme by adopting a flat tax that fails to distinguish wages and profits of labor and capital from unearned rental income. By also having to pay a value-added tax (VAT) on consumer goods (with no tax on trading in financial assets), labor is taxed much higher than the wealthy.

Most Western “wealth creation” is achieved by debt-leveraged price increases for real estate, stocks and bonds, and by privatizing the public domain. The latter process has gained momentum since the early 1980s in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain and Ronald Reagan’s America, followed by Third World countries acting under World Bank tutelage. The pretense is that privatization will maximize technological efficiency and prosperity for the economy as a whole.

Following this advice, Russian leaders agreed that the major sources of economic rent – natural resource wealth, real estate and state companies – should be transferred to private owners (often to themselves and associated insiders). The “magic of the marketplace” was supposed to lead the new owners to make the economy more efficient as a byproduct of making money in the quickest way possible.

Each Russian worker got a “voucher” worth about $25. Most were sold off simply to obtain money to buy food and other needs as many companies stopped paying wages. Russia had wiped out domestic savings with hyperinflation after 1991.

It should not be surprising that banks became the economy’s main control centers, as in the West’s bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as “primitive accumulation.”

The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia’s stock market became the world’s top performer for Western investors in 1994-96.

The Russian oligarchs kept most of their sales proceeds abroad in British and other banks, beyond the reach of Russian authorities to recapture. Much was spent on London real estate, sports teams and luxury estates in the world’s flight-capital havens. Almost none was invested in Russian industry. Wage arrears often mounted up half a year behind. Living standards shrank, along with the population as birth rates plunged throughout the former Soviet economies. Skilled labor emigrated.

The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era’s industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West’s anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism.

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Russian officials failed to understand the State Theory of money that is the basis of Modern Monetary Theory: States can create their own money, giving it value by accepting it in payment of taxes. The Soviet government financed its economy for seventy years without any need to back the ruble with foreign exchange. But Russia’s central bank was persuaded that “sound money” required it to back its domestic ruble currency with U.S. Treasury bonds in order to prevent inflation. Russian leaders did not realize that dollars or other foreign currencies were only needed to finance balance-of-payments deficits, not domestic spending except as this money was spent on imports.

Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia’s economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States!

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself, its officials showed no apprehension of how quickly their economies would be de-industrialized as a result of accepting U.S. advice to privatize state enterprises, natural resources and basic infrastructure. Whatever knowledge of Marx’s analysis of capitalism had existed (perhaps in Nicolai Bukharin’s time) was long gone. It is as if no Russian official had read Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital (or Theories of Surplus Value) where he reviewed the laws of economic rent and interest-bearing debt.

The inability of Russia, the Baltics and other post-Soviet countries to understand the FIRE sector and its financial dynamics provides an object lesson for other countries as to what to avoid. Reversing the principles of Russia’s October 1917 Revolution, the post-Soviet kleptocracy was akin to the feudal epoch’s “primitive accumulation” of the land and commons. They adopted the neoliberal business plan: to establish monopolies, first and most easily by privatizing the public infrastructure that had been built up, extracting economic rents and them paying out the resulting as interest and dividends.

This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not to organize an economy.[4]I give details in “How Neoliberals Bankrupted ‘New Europe’: Latvia in the Global Credit Crisis,” (with Jeffrey Sommers), in Martijn Konings, ed., The Great Credit Crash (Verso: London and New York, 2010), pp. 244-63, and “Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics: Latvia’s neoliberal war against labor and industry,” in Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson, eds., The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (Routledge 2014), pp. 44-63. Having rejoined the global economy free of debt in 1991, Russia’s population, companies and government quickly ran up debts as a result of its man-made disaster. Families could have been given their homes freely, just as corporate managers were given their entire companies virtually for free. But Russian managers were as anti-labor as they were greedy to grab their own assets from the public domain. Soaring housing prices quickly plagued Russian’s economy with one of the world’s highest-priced living and business costs. That prevented any thought of industrial competitiveness with the United States or Europe. What passed for Soviet Marxism lacked an understanding of how economic rents and the ensuing high labor costs affected international prices, or how debt service and capital flight affected the currency’s exchange rate.

Adversaries of socialism pronounced Marxist theory dead, as if the Soviet dissolution meant the end of Marxism. But today, less than three decades later, the leading Western economies are themselves succumbing to an overgrowth of debt and shrinking prosperity. Russia failed to recognize that just as its own economy was expiring, so was the West’s. Industrial capitalism is succumbing to a predatory finance capitalism that is leaving Western economies debt-ridden.[5]For more analysis see Dirk Bezemer and Michael Hudson, “Finance is Not the Economy: Reviving the Conceptual Distinction,” Journal of Economic Issues, 50 (2016: #3), pp. 745-768. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00213624.2016.1210384 The underlying causes were clear already a century ago: unchecked financial rentiers, absentee ownership and monopolies.

The post-Soviet collapse in the 1990s was not a failure of Marxism, but of the anti-socialist ideology that is plunging Western economies under domination by the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector’s symbiosis of the three forms of rent extraction: land and natural resource rent, monopoly rent, and interest (financial rent). This is precisely the fate from which 19th-century socialism, Marxism and even state capitalism sought to save the industrial economies.

A silver lining to the Soviet “final” stage has been to free Marxist analysis from Russian Marxology. Its focus of Soviet Marxology was not an analysis of how the capitalist nations were becoming financialized neo-rentier economies, but was mainly propagandistic, ossifying into a stereotyped identity politics appealing to labor and oppressed minorities. Today’s revival of Marxist scholarship has begun to show how the U.S.-centered global economy is entering a period of chronic austerity, debt deflation, and polarization between creditors and debtors.

Financialization and privatization are submerging capitalism in debt deflation

By 1991, when the Soviet Union’s leaders decided to take the “Western” path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008.

The pitfalls of this financial dynamic were not apparent in the early years after World War II, largely because economies emerged with their private sectors free of debt. The ensuing boom endowed the middle class in the United States and other countries, but was debt financed, first for home ownership and commercial real estate, then by consumer credit to purchase of automobiles and appliances, and finally by credit-card debt just to meet living expenses.

The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier interests instead of liberating economies from absentee landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. Banks and bondholders have found their most lucrative market not in the manufacturing sector but in real estate and natural resource extraction.

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These vested interests have translated their takings into the political power to shed taxes and dismantle regulations on wealth. The resulting political Counter-Reformation has inverted the idea of “free market” to mean an economy free for rent extractors, not free from landlords, monopolists and financial exploitation as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other classical economists had envisioned. The word “reform” as used by today’s neoliberal media means undoing Progressive Era reforms, dismantling public regulation and government power – except for control by finance and its allied vested interests.

All this is the opposite of socialism, which has now sunk to its nadir through the Western World. The past four decades have seen most of the European and North American parties calling themselves “socialist” make an about-face to follow Tony Blair’s New Labour, the French socialists-in-name and the Clinton’s New Democrats. They support privatization, financialization and a shift away from progressive taxation to a value-added tax (VAT) falling on consumers, not on finance or real estate.

China’s socialist diplomacy in today’s hostile world

Now that Western finance capitalism is stagnating, it is fighting even harder to prevent the post-2008 crisis from leading to socialist reforms that would re-socialize infrastructure that has been privatized and put a public banking system in place. Depicting the contrast between socialist and finance-capitalist economies as a clash of civilizations, U.S.-centered “Western” diplomacy is using military and political subversion to prevent a transition from capitalism into socialism.

China is the leading example of socialist success in a mixed economy. Unlike the Soviet Union, it has not proselytized its economic system or sought to promote revolution abroad to emulate its economic doctrine. Just the opposite: To avert attack, China has given foreign investors a stake in its economic growth. The aim has been to mobilize U.S. and other foreign interests as allies, willing customers for China’s exports, and suppliers of modern production facilities in China.

This is the opposite of the antagonism that confronted Russia. The risk is that it involves financial investment. But China has protected its autonomy by requiring majority Chinese ownership in most sectors. The main danger is domestic, in the form of financial dynamics and private rent extraction. The great economic choice facing China today concerns the degree to which land and natural resources should be taxed.

The state owns the land, but does fully tax its rising valuation or rent-of-location that has made many families rich. Letting the resulting real-estate and financialized wealth dominate its economic growth poses two dangers: First, it increases the price that new buyers must pay for their home. Second, rising housing prices force these families to borrow – at interest. This turns the rental value of land – value created by society and public infrastructure investment – into a flow of interest to the banks. They end up receiving more over time than the sellers, while increasing the cost of living and doing business. That is a fate which a socialist economy must avoid at all costs.

At issue is how China can best manage credit and natural resource rent in a way that best meets the needs of its population. Now that China has built up a prosperous industry and real estate, its main challenge is to avoid the financial dynamics that are subjecting the West to debt deflation and burying Western economies. To avoid these dynamics, China must curtail the proliferation of unproductive debt created merely to transfer property on credit, inflating asset prices in the process.

Socialism is incompatible with a rentier class of landlords, natural resource owners and monopolists – the preferred clients of banks hoping to turn economic rent into interest charges. As a vehicle to allocate resources “the market” reflects the status quo of property ownership and credit-creation privileges at any given moment of time, without consideration for what is fair and efficient or predatory. Vested interests claim that such a market is an immutable force of nature, whose course cannot be altered by government “interference.” This rhetoric of political passivity aims to deter politicians and voters from regulating economies, leaving the wealthy free to extract as much economic rent and interest as markets can bear by privatizing real estate, natural resources, banking and other monopolies.

Such rent seeking is antithetical to socialism’s aim to take these assets into the public domain. That is why the financial sector, oil and mineral extractors and monopolists fight so passionately to dismantle state regulatory power and public banking. That is the diplomacy of finance capital, aiming to consolidate American hegemony over a unipolar world. It backs this strategy with a neoliberal academic curriculum that depicts predatory financial and rentier gains as if they add to national income, not simply transfer it into the hands of the rentier classes. This misleading picture of economic reality poses a danger for China sending its students to study economics at American and European universities.

The century that has elapsed since Russia’s October 1917 Revolution has produced a substantial Marxist literature describing how finance capitalism has overpowered industrial capitalism. Its dynamics occupied Marx in Volumes II and III of Capital (and also his Theories of Surplus Value). Like most observers of his era, Marx expected capitalism to make a substantial step toward socialism by overcoming the dynamics of parasitic capital, above all the tendency for debt to keep on expanding at compound interest until it produces a financial crash.

The only way to control banks and their allied rentier sectors is outright socialization. The past century has shown that if society does not control the banks and financial sector, they will control society. Their strategy is to block government money creation so that economies will be forced to rely on banks and bondholders. Regulatory authority to limit such financial aggression and the monopoly pricing and rent extraction it supports has been crippled in the West by “regulatory capture” by the rentier oligarchy.

Attempts to tax away rental income (the liberal alternative to taking real estate and natural resources directly into the public domain) is prone to lobbying for loopholes and evasion, most notoriously via offshore banking centers in tax-avoidance enclaves and the “flags of convenience” sponsored by the global oil and mining companies. This leaves the only way to save society from the financial power to convert rent into interest to be a policy of nationalizing natural resources, fully taxing land rent (where land and minerals are not taken directly into the public domain), and de-privatizing infrastructure and other key sectors.

Conclusion

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Markets have not recovered for the products of American industry and labor since 2008. Industrial capitalism has been sacrificed to a form of finance capitalism that is looking more pre-capitalist (or simply oligarchic and neofeudal) with each passing year. The resulting polarization forces every economy – including China – to choose between saving its bankers and other creditors or freeing debtors and lowering the economy’s cost structure. Will the government enforce bank and bondholder claims, or will it give priority to the economy and its people? That is an eternal political question spanning pre-capitalist, capitalist and post-capitalist economies.

Marx described the mathematics of compound interest expanding to absorb the entire economy as age-old, long predating industrial capitalism. He characterized the ancient mode of production as dominated by slavery and usury, and medieval banking as predatory. These financial dynamics exist in socialist economies just as they did in medieval and ancient economies. The way in which governments manage the dynamics of credit and debt thus are the dominant force in every era, and should receive the most pressing attention today as China shapes its socialist future.

Notes

Footnotes

[1] I give the details in “Simon Patten on Public Infrastructure and Economic Rent Capture,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology70 (October 2011):873-903.

[2] My book Super-Imperialism (1972; new ed. 2002) reviews this discussion during 1944-46.

[3] I discuss the IMF and World Bank plan to wipe out Russian savings with hyperinflation and make manufacturing investment uneconomic in “How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly,” Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). МИР ПЕРЕМЕН 3/2012 (ISSN 2073-3038) Mir peremen М. ХАДСОН, Неолиберальная налоговая и финансовая политика приводит к обнищанию России, 49-64.

[4] I give details in “How Neoliberals Bankrupted ‘New Europe’: Latvia in the Global Credit Crisis,” (with Jeffrey Sommers), in Martijn Konings, ed., The Great Credit Crash (Verso: London and New York, 2010), pp. 244-63, and “Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics: Latvia’s neoliberal war against labor and industry,” in Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson, eds., The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (Routledge 2014), pp. 44-63.

[5] For more analysis see Dirk Bezemer and Michael Hudson, “Finance is Not the Economy: Reviving the Conceptual Distinction,” Journal of Economic Issues, 50 (2016: #3), pp. 745-768. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00213624.2016.1210384

 
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  1. By 1991, when the Soviet Union’s leaders decided to take the “Western” path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus.

    You make it sound like the collapse of the USSR and the western crisis a couple of decades later were unconnected events. But I think it could be argued that the mere existence of an alternative model kept the western system somewhat prudent, focused, mobilized. With the USSR gone, any need for keeping up appearances was gone too. Thus, the ensuing orgy of financialization, chasing the cheapest labor all over the world, and all the rest.

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    • Replies: @LauraMR
    That plus the murder of a couple hundred million of their own people.
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  2. Renoman says:

    And everyone making less than 250K a year took a hard one up the rear.

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  3. Hallo Michael:if the essential issue here is the moral corruption ,what difference is going to make the system ?
    How is going to be better a national bank form a federal reserve if the people that are in control are corrupt ?

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  4. In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries.

    If the United States had treated its ally, the USSR who defeated Germany in WWll, to the largess of the Marshal Plan, instead of enriching her enemies, Germany, Japan etc etc. the financial picture would look vastly different today. But then, that’s not how we do things.

    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

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    • Replies: @diogenes lives
    Sorry that is not true. The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945. Stalin feared and distrusted the United States and was an enemy of democracy and capitalism and flatly refused, choosing to try and extend Marxism worldwide by military subversion and his own foreign aid programs.
    , @map
    The majority of the Marshall Plan proceeds went to England.
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  5. “The classical economists sought to make their nations more competitive by keeping down the price of labor so as to undersell competitors.”

    Oh, keeping wages depressed is still a big part of the policy mix … but they’ve turned the national competitive aspect on its head and into inter-class competition by encouraging outsourcing of jobs as part one of destroying wages to labour in the middle classes, coupled with mass importation of foreign labour to destroy wages to labour in the lower class. All the benefits accrue to the upper class across national boundaries. A sort of globalist proto-monopoly of class where nations and boundaries must necessarily be destroyed. This explains the recent comments of Hanoi Johnny about “all we have worked for.”

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  6. RobRich says: • Website

    Coerced socialism is a racket to plunder the commons, middle class, and worker, period.

    It’s trick is to do it while distracting with envy for some achiever. They once promised that under their regime, why, everyone would have a salary of $2 a day. Now they’re producing articles that #taxationistheft is untrue because they (posing as society) own your paycheck. GOOGLE it.

    Anyone claiming to be such a socialist like this guy is equally guilty of all of communism’s crimes and should be jailed or sent to an asylum. Only voluntary libertarian socialism for small groups is valid.

    Get rid of these left-wing worse-than NAZI’s already.

    RE:http://www.unz.com/mhudson/socialism-land-and-banking-2017-compared-to-1917/

    Read More
    • Replies: @botazefa
    "Coerced socialism is a racket to plunder the commons, middle class, and worker, period. "

    You want to tell me how oligarchic capitalism under the guise of Democracy is doing anything other than your theoretical coerced capitalism?

    Plunder the commons. Check.
    Imprison the middle class in debt and stagnant wages. Check.
    Import foreigners to directly compete with native workers. Check

    The US is on the precipice. As soon as people realize we have the technology to do direct democracy today, not tomorrow, it is game over. The wealthy rentier class knows it. They are executing their last push to gain wealth before we change the rules of the game and start over. All it would take is a well-liked Facebook call for a new Constitutional Convention.
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  7. @Robert Magill

    In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries.
     
    If the United States had treated its ally, the USSR who defeated Germany in WWll, to the largess of the Marshal Plan, instead of enriching her enemies, Germany, Japan etc etc. the financial picture would look vastly different today. But then, that's not how we do things.

    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    Sorry that is not true. The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945. Stalin feared and distrusted the United States and was an enemy of democracy and capitalism and flatly refused, choosing to try and extend Marxism worldwide by military subversion and his own foreign aid programs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945.
     
    Citation needed.
    , @Robert Magill
    The terms offered and the scrutiny required to accept the funding guaranteed Soviet rejection of the plan. The US public was not privy to the inclusion of the USSR even being considered as recipient. The Cold War had begun.
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  8. Miro23 says:

    The result is that today, most wealth is not gained by capital investment for profits. Instead, asset-price gains have been financed by a debt-leveraged inflation of real estate, stock and bond prices.

    Yes, and it’s enough to look at the close match of charts of US debt growth and US GDP growth or the S&P 500 since 1980 to see that this is true.

    Attempts at “half-way” socialism via tax and regulatory policy against monopolies and banking have faltered repeatedly.

    A generalized failure as the US has become the land of “Special Interests” and their political clients.

    By taking land, industry and finance into state control, Soviet Russia’s October Revolution created an economy without private landlords and bankers.

    It also created an economy without a middle class, but with a police state, and ultimately failed like every other Communist economy around the world. The link between private industry and private reward was missing.

    The only way to control banks and their allied rentier sectors is outright socialization. The past century has shown that if society does not control the banks and financial sector, they will control society.

    Another way may be to localize banks. Connect them to their local communities and link them to local credit creation among people they know. Then they can corrrectly assess the risks that they carry on their books.
    Also, if they were the only entities allowed to create credit, who would fund the $ 6 Trillion requirement for Middle East wars?

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  9. very good. i know that american economists are mere running dogs 95% of the time, but why? is it all down to the cold war propaganda? it’s very clear at this point that the evil empire is the US.

    but what so many miss is that the poor of the developed world are not exploited as they were in marx’s time. they are redundant, excluded. raising the minimum wage doesn’t solve the problem of bullshit jobs. with each passing year less and less human labor is needed to maintain a given level of output, and the economy cannot grow forever. the expectation that everyone must work for his bread is delusional.

    basic income is the only way. but the below replacement birthrates of the OECD must be maintained, and immigration must be reduced to a few geniuses. the poor world is not made richer by making the rich world poor by flooding it with more people.

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    • Agree: Druid
    • Replies: @Disordered
    How do you expect to maintain a welfare state (which is what basic income amounts to) if the next generation is smaller in size than the former one? Unless you plan mass euthanasia after retirement - which would not even happen a lot if the proposed basic income is deemed too sufficient by enough people that would rather give up attempting to produce.
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  10. The best countries to live in were, the EU is making things worse and worse through globalisation, mass immigration, and neoliberalism, the NW European countries.
    They had mixed economies, water, electricity, gas, public transport, etc., provided by state enterprises, cars, tv’s, jeans etc. by commercial enterprises.
    Maybe one can say socialism mixed with capitalism.
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidised.
    Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.
    Why Marx still is considered important is beyond my comprehension, Das Kapital has, with the bible, Mein Kampf and the Koran, the honor that hardly anyone read it.
    I never heard of anyone who read further than the first 20 pages of Das Kapital.
    Completely incomprehensible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidized. Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.

    So how do you explain your country? The World’s Second-Biggest Food Exporter. Who is subsidizing the Netherlands?
    , @edNels
    How many can understand any of this article? Not that many, hell not that many can read much, be surprised how many that only barely read anything, and more so many who fake reading, by learning ''look say'' means.

    But then there are many who are in denial about their own intelligence who can read somewhat, but similarly also fake at some level competence to fathom things that are above their ability.

    Hudson is patiently breaking it down, and even so, it is too much to get for most poorly educated idiots. But they want to think they get it. But they are too stiff necked and totally brain washed to boot, to put any effort to do so.

    But they got so much to say about it all!
    , @jorge videla (BGI volunteer)
    be cool. don't swallow your chew like lenny.

    unlike 20th c french "philosophers" marx did not write gibberish.

    he may be difficult to understand but the fault is with the reader not with him.

    it took me a few tries to get him.

    plus marx was a lot more than a critic of capitalism. ultimately he was an idealist in the contemporary sense of the term. what he means by "materialism" is NOT what richard dawkins and other vulgar people mean by it, people marx (or marxists) termed "vulgar materialists".

    The German Ideology is his greatest work imho.

    if marx now has no influence because he appears to be gibberish, this is a sign that the brightest are duller than they were or that the brightest are now excluded from the commanding heights in which they formerly had some representation.

    and remember that marx was also engels. so the idea that authentic marxism is jewish is not quite right.

    , @Druid
    The Koran is read a lot!
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  11. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.

    Taboo and forbiden subject in RF state sponsored media.
    Oligarchs of the world united!

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree.
    China too.

    So much for that "multipolar" delusion rather popular around.
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  12. Dogol says:

    Rent certainly is a big part of our bills but FOOD is more! Fuel is not a problem because I do not commute.

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  13. Stalinism most certainly did not fail. It was greatest success. What was after Stalin could not be called Stalinism. Nevertheless system was working well for majority common folk but not good enough for elites hence elites dismantled it . They are doing great now but common folk not so good. Hence non stop attempts by those who dismantled socialism for personal gain to show that socialism was failure. Now campaign to discredit October revolution of 1917 and lionize Tsarist Russia while keeping silence about real catastrophe they inflicted upon own country in 1991 causing probably irreparable damage all for their little gain. The whole later developments show that capitalism is unsustainable neither financially nor ecologically.

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    • Replies: @Johnny Rico

    Stalinism most certainly did not fail. It was greatest success. What was after Stalin could not be called Stalinism
     
    .

    I'm sure that makes sense to somebody, somewhere. What planet are you from?
    , @Mao Cheng Ji
    Yeah, it's certainly odd that he calls the Soviet collapse under Gorby "The collapse of Russian Stalinism".

    Of course it was neither Russian nor Stalinism.

    And indeed, Stalinism, when it ended, was nowhere near collapse, quite the opposite: the USSR fully industrialized, defeated the EU version 3 (the Roman empire being v1, and then the French v2), expanded its borders and greatly expanded its sphere of influence, built and tested atomic weapons.

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  14. All democratic paths lead to oligarchy, but socialism is the fast lane.

    Oligarchy eventually breaks down under its own corruption.

    Evolution continues.

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  15. And while bank credit has enabled buyers to bid up housing prices, the price has been to siphon off more and more of labor’s income to pay mortgage loans or rents.

    And taxes.

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  16. Socialism ie communism light is what we have right here in river city, in fact it is communism brought to us by the Bolshevik families that destroyed Russia ie these same extended families have spread the cancer of communism in America and are destroying America.

    Starting with their Federal Reserve and the IRS which the Bolsheviks fastened on America in 1913 right on through to unlimited emigration our country is being destroyed by communism and for anyone who doubts this, read the 10 planks of the communist manifesto.

    Read More
    • Replies: @gwynedd1
    Socialism isn't communism light. The problem with communism is related to socialism in a rather complicated and apparent paradox. We do have several advantages in that it was suggested by political philosophers like Montesquieu and then we saw it actually occur with the Russian revolution. The closer one gets to complete freedom the closer one is to loosing it.

    Communism delegitimizes authority with "power to the people". Thus communism acts as a fumigant. This leaves a power vacuum that is filled with another "people loving" enterprise called socialism which is just like communism in that is "good for the people". the only difference is that its centrally managed and authoritarian. The Bolsheviks easily wrested the Russian empire from the formless mass of orthodox Marxists. Then came the punch line : "war communism".


    Again this effect of freedom leading to bondage is easily observed. The Federalists argued this same point.

    "Spain thinks it convenient to shut the Mississippi against us on the one side, and Britain excludes us from the Saint Lawrence on the other; nor will either of them permit the other waters which are between them and us to become the means of mutual intercourse and traffic.
    ...

    Apply these facts to our own case. Leave America divided into thirteen or, if you please, into three or four independent governments--what armies could they raise and pay--what fleets could they ever hope to have? If one was attacked, would the others fly to its succor, and spend their blood and money in its defense? "

    - John Jay.

    The individual freedom of each state may have led to a greater servitude .

    Communism would not be bad at all if it were not for the fact that it is absolutely defenseless from being usurped. This is not to mention that one is perfectly free to be a communist as we speak. One may go and form a commune . They may find like minded people and live according to this ethos. However when people speak of "communism" it seems its never without the force of the state. Thus once again all it is is a phase of self immolation where the protection of the people is completely removed.
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  17. @diogenes lives
    Sorry that is not true. The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945. Stalin feared and distrusted the United States and was an enemy of democracy and capitalism and flatly refused, choosing to try and extend Marxism worldwide by military subversion and his own foreign aid programs.

    The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945.

    Citation needed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviet-union-rejects-marshall-plan-assistance
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  18. @diogenes lives
    Sorry that is not true. The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945. Stalin feared and distrusted the United States and was an enemy of democracy and capitalism and flatly refused, choosing to try and extend Marxism worldwide by military subversion and his own foreign aid programs.

    The terms offered and the scrutiny required to accept the funding guaranteed Soviet rejection of the plan. The US public was not privy to the inclusion of the USSR even being considered as recipient. The Cold War had begun.

    Read More
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  19. utu says:
    @jilles dykstra
    The best countries to live in were, the EU is making things worse and worse through globalisation, mass immigration, and neoliberalism, the NW European countries.
    They had mixed economies, water, electricity, gas, public transport, etc., provided by state enterprises, cars, tv's, jeans etc. by commercial enterprises.
    Maybe one can say socialism mixed with capitalism.
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidised.
    Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.
    Why Marx still is considered important is beyond my comprehension, Das Kapital has, with the bible, Mein Kampf and the Koran, the honor that hardly anyone read it.
    I never heard of anyone who read further than the first 20 pages of Das Kapital.
    Completely incomprehensible.

    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidized. Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.

    So how do you explain your country? The World’s Second-Biggest Food Exporter. Who is subsidizing the Netherlands?

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    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
    Nobody, we pay more to Brussels than we get back
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  20. nickels says:

    One should point out that Marx certainly didn’t invent the criticism of usury.
    The Catholic Church understood and protected against this evil for 1800 years before Marx.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Disordered
    Which is why Jews survived and prospered, ironically.
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  21. peterAUS says:
    @Proud_Srbin

    Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.
     
    Taboo and forbiden subject in RF state sponsored media.
    Oligarchs of the world united!

    Agree.
    China too.

    So much for that “multipolar” delusion rather popular around.

    Read More
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  22. botazefa says:
    @RobRich
    Coerced socialism is a racket to plunder the commons, middle class, and worker, period.

    It's trick is to do it while distracting with envy for some achiever. They once promised that under their regime, why, everyone would have a salary of $2 a day. Now they're producing articles that #taxationistheft is untrue because they (posing as society) own your paycheck. GOOGLE it.

    Anyone claiming to be such a socialist like this guy is equally guilty of all of communism's crimes and should be jailed or sent to an asylum. Only voluntary libertarian socialism for small groups is valid.

    Get rid of these left-wing worse-than NAZI's already.

    RE:http://www.unz.com/mhudson/socialism-land-and-banking-2017-compared-to-1917/

    “Coerced socialism is a racket to plunder the commons, middle class, and worker, period. ”

    You want to tell me how oligarchic capitalism under the guise of Democracy is doing anything other than your theoretical coerced capitalism?

    Plunder the commons. Check.
    Imprison the middle class in debt and stagnant wages. Check.
    Import foreigners to directly compete with native workers. Check

    The US is on the precipice. As soon as people realize we have the technology to do direct democracy today, not tomorrow, it is game over. The wealthy rentier class knows it. They are executing their last push to gain wealth before we change the rules of the game and start over. All it would take is a well-liked Facebook call for a new Constitutional Convention.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Disordered
    A Constitutional Convention where we would enthrone Zuckerberg as Supreme Leader.

    Grow up. I find it hilarious that Georgists like Mr. Hudson are the best socialism can offer. While I agree on slightly raising land taxes and taxes on Wall Street overall, it is clear that the "land tax only" approach works in places where the land is solely owned by big wealthy Junkers, where said land is scarce and easily accessible, and where said Junkers do not make any effort to produce from said land. These conditions limit who would pay this tax (specially in nations with many small landowners, more remote areas, and more farmers), and therefore it is not the silver bullet Georgists pretend it to be. Henry George did live in Victorian England, where the conditions were more ripe for this; even now many English are not owners. But the world is not the same all over. Nowadays, land taxes in most of the West are more often levied by city governments, where it levies a good amount of money, but also causes the rise of property prices and allows only the wealthier Junkers who can afford to pay the tax to own most of the land. So again, it is not a panacea.

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  23. edNels says:
    @jilles dykstra
    The best countries to live in were, the EU is making things worse and worse through globalisation, mass immigration, and neoliberalism, the NW European countries.
    They had mixed economies, water, electricity, gas, public transport, etc., provided by state enterprises, cars, tv's, jeans etc. by commercial enterprises.
    Maybe one can say socialism mixed with capitalism.
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidised.
    Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.
    Why Marx still is considered important is beyond my comprehension, Das Kapital has, with the bible, Mein Kampf and the Koran, the honor that hardly anyone read it.
    I never heard of anyone who read further than the first 20 pages of Das Kapital.
    Completely incomprehensible.

    How many can understand any of this article? Not that many, hell not that many can read much, be surprised how many that only barely read anything, and more so many who fake reading, by learning ”look say” means.

    But then there are many who are in denial about their own intelligence who can read somewhat, but similarly also fake at some level competence to fathom things that are above their ability.

    Hudson is patiently breaking it down, and even so, it is too much to get for most poorly educated idiots. But they want to think they get it. But they are too stiff necked and totally brain washed to boot, to put any effort to do so.

    But they got so much to say about it all!

    Read More
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  24. map says:
    @Robert Magill

    In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries.
     
    If the United States had treated its ally, the USSR who defeated Germany in WWll, to the largess of the Marshal Plan, instead of enriching her enemies, Germany, Japan etc etc. the financial picture would look vastly different today. But then, that's not how we do things.

    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    The majority of the Marshall Plan proceeds went to England.

    Read More
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  25. @jilles dykstra
    The best countries to live in were, the EU is making things worse and worse through globalisation, mass immigration, and neoliberalism, the NW European countries.
    They had mixed economies, water, electricity, gas, public transport, etc., provided by state enterprises, cars, tv's, jeans etc. by commercial enterprises.
    Maybe one can say socialism mixed with capitalism.
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidised.
    Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.
    Why Marx still is considered important is beyond my comprehension, Das Kapital has, with the bible, Mein Kampf and the Koran, the honor that hardly anyone read it.
    I never heard of anyone who read further than the first 20 pages of Das Kapital.
    Completely incomprehensible.

    be cool. don’t swallow your chew like lenny.

    unlike 20th c french “philosophers” marx did not write gibberish.

    he may be difficult to understand but the fault is with the reader not with him.

    it took me a few tries to get him.

    plus marx was a lot more than a critic of capitalism. ultimately he was an idealist in the contemporary sense of the term. what he means by “materialism” is NOT what richard dawkins and other vulgar people mean by it, people marx (or marxists) termed “vulgar materialists”.

    The German Ideology is his greatest work imho.

    if marx now has no influence because he appears to be gibberish, this is a sign that the brightest are duller than they were or that the brightest are now excluded from the commanding heights in which they formerly had some representation.

    and remember that marx was also engels. so the idea that authentic marxism is jewish is not quite right.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dissident

    and remember that marx was also engels. so the idea that authentic marxism is jewish is not quite right.
     
    Moreover, Marx was a complete apostate Jew, completely estranged from Judaism and any community of those who practiced it.
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  26. the commercial bank is ultimately a highly leveraged closed-end private debt fund.

    there are economic advantages to private ownership of the means of production, including finance.

    there are economic advantages to the phenomenon of capital taking a share of income.

    there are economic efficiencies which can only be realized with some inequality.

    there is a middle way. scandinavia seems to have found it. maybe china has too.

    the human desire to be richer, greater, better than his fellow men should be harnessed not hobbled.

    but most of these advantages are coming to an end.

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  27. map says:

    You know, it is amazing how the various forms of -isms in the marketplace of ideas –monetarism, Keynesianism, Marxism— are all basically forms of fraud.

    It is all an attempt to somehow sever the relationship between creditor and debtor. Everybody wants you to work but get paid later in dubious amounts with declining currency. Or, they want to borrow gold from you now and pay you back in silver later. Or, they want you to work for free now with the promise that you will gain greatly in the distant future. The same fraud over and over again.

    Does anyone really believe that rent collected on the basis of property and interest is not something economically valuable? Without interest, no one lends. Without rent, property is not built to begin with. Once again, people want something for nothing.

    Oh, and it’s hilarious how people think David Ricardo is some kind of social reformer. Ricardo was a bond trader. Now, why would a bond trader want to see taxes on interest? Well, the taxes impose costs on an underlying enterprise, which means less profit becomes available to the enterprise itself, threatening the viability of the business. How does a business paper over any shortfalls in income. Why, it borrows more. What does that mean for David Ricardo? More bond transactions at higher interest rates.

    Gee…

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  28. the justification for capital’s share is that it is reinvested in expanding production or productivity.

    but this isn’t happening now. 90% of s&p profits go to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buy-backs.

    the justification for private ownership is efficiency.

    this is a real thing.

    as chomsky has noted the business is a dictatorship.

    this may be a more efficient form of corporate governance than “worker co-ops”.

    the PRC and singapore have thriven without “democracy”. and that has to be in quotes because the US is NOT a democracy.

    the vanguard of the proletariat can be more democratic, without any voting, than supposed democracies can be. the bolshies were right about that. too bad they themselves were a counter-example.

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  29. Logan says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945.
     
    Citation needed.
    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    I don't see anything is your link indicating that "The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union" (as per 7). Try again.
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  30. Druid says:
    @jilles dykstra
    The best countries to live in were, the EU is making things worse and worse through globalisation, mass immigration, and neoliberalism, the NW European countries.
    They had mixed economies, water, electricity, gas, public transport, etc., provided by state enterprises, cars, tv's, jeans etc. by commercial enterprises.
    Maybe one can say socialism mixed with capitalism.
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidised.
    Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.
    Why Marx still is considered important is beyond my comprehension, Das Kapital has, with the bible, Mein Kampf and the Koran, the honor that hardly anyone read it.
    I never heard of anyone who read further than the first 20 pages of Das Kapital.
    Completely incomprehensible.

    The Koran is read a lot!

    Read More
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  31. Rentier: Donald Trump

    Rentier (property owner), someone whose income derives from rents, interest on investments, and the like.

    Rentier capitalism, economic practices of gaining profit by monopolizing access to property.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rentier

    Donald (Archie Bunker) Trump did not seize power.

    He and the majority of elected USA government representatives are a reflection of the values held by America’s middle class that continually gives them the power to act on their behalf.

    I hope I’m wrong but I’ve come to the conclusion as long as the majority of voters have a loaf of bread under each arm, a credit card account and subscribes to the main stream social entertainment media they will live out their short existence as slaves of a rentier class.

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  32. To this day a majority believes they are a “capitalist” if they “believe” in capitalism

    They don’t even understand what you mean when you inform them that Marx believed in capitalism
    For decades the threat of a socialist superpower kept capitalists behaving – finding ways to divide the wealth equitably
    For decades the American middle and working class reaped the benefits of socialism – sideways – by way of volunteering for the US military, which allowed millions of them to prosper from veteran socialism while preaching individual capitalism, and no one would ever challenge them on this, and they existed inside an echochamber of their own making

    For decades the strength they drew from this grew a sort of middle class collective, the benefits, prosperity and virtues of which overflowed into all kinds of other things

    Anyway – jorge videla writing upstairs from here is right – there is a middle way – combine the known aspects of the middle way with S.Sailor “citizenism” and we may steer through Scylla and Charybdis

    Where lies that champion though? Certainly not yet in DT

    Read More
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  33. LauraMR says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    By 1991, when the Soviet Union’s leaders decided to take the “Western” path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus.
     
    You make it sound like the collapse of the USSR and the western crisis a couple of decades later were unconnected events. But I think it could be argued that the mere existence of an alternative model kept the western system somewhat prudent, focused, mobilized. With the USSR gone, any need for keeping up appearances was gone too. Thus, the ensuing orgy of financialization, chasing the cheapest labor all over the world, and all the rest.

    That plus the murder of a couple hundred million of their own people.

    Read More
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  34. @Sergey Krieger
    Stalinism most certainly did not fail. It was greatest success. What was after Stalin could not be called Stalinism. Nevertheless system was working well for majority common folk but not good enough for elites hence elites dismantled it . They are doing great now but common folk not so good. Hence non stop attempts by those who dismantled socialism for personal gain to show that socialism was failure. Now campaign to discredit October revolution of 1917 and lionize Tsarist Russia while keeping silence about real catastrophe they inflicted upon own country in 1991 causing probably irreparable damage all for their little gain. The whole later developments show that capitalism is unsustainable neither financially nor ecologically.

    Stalinism most certainly did not fail. It was greatest success. What was after Stalin could not be called Stalinism

    .

    I’m sure that makes sense to somebody, somewhere. What planet are you from?

    Read More
    • Agree: Beefcake the Mighty
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare. If it is not great success you should go and see a shrink.
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  35. @Logan
    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviet-union-rejects-marshall-plan-assistance

    I don’t see anything is your link indicating that “The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union” (as per 7). Try again.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wally
    [At least this sort of comment is half-reasonable and connected with the discussion. But if you return at any point to your very bad behavior, most of your comments, both reasonable and unreasonable will just be trashed for an extended period of time to teach you a lesson.]

    It was clearly offered, but there were complications, aka: Stalin

    FWIW:

    "The State Department worked out the Marshall Plan, which its Secretary offered at first to the Big Four
    https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/ni/vol13/no08/notm1.htm"

    "What the Secretary of State left unsaid was that while the U.S. plan would be open to the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe ... "
    https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/truman

    "Although the participation of the Soviet Union and East European nations was an initial possibility ..."
    https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/marshall-plan
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  36. @utu
    In order to produce some food ourselves, and not let the countries become vast woods between cities, towns and highways, agriculture is subsidized. Without subsidy no farmer could earn a living considered decent here.

    So how do you explain your country? The World’s Second-Biggest Food Exporter. Who is subsidizing the Netherlands?

    Nobody, we pay more to Brussels than we get back

    Read More
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  37. @Johnny Rico

    Stalinism most certainly did not fail. It was greatest success. What was after Stalin could not be called Stalinism
     
    .

    I'm sure that makes sense to somebody, somewhere. What planet are you from?

    You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare. If it is not great success you should go and see a shrink.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beefcake the Mighty
    You remind me of Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda (“We did not lose Vietnam (Afghanistan)! It was a tie!”)
    , @Vox coyote
    The deliberate starvation of millions of Christians was a great success.
    , @Johnny Rico
    You aren't even giving us a clue as to what we would be comparing. "Great success" - your words. If you can't define anything than you can say that about virtually any leader who has presided over an empire for thirty years (and lived). It's meaningless.

    Give me a link to a history book that says what you state and a page reference.

    Because I'm reading this right now and I'm getting a distinctly different feel about Stalinism than what you are trying to say:


    Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy by Dmitri Volkogonov


    Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military-Political Academy in Moscow in 1961, transferring to the Soviet Army's propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner.

    It was as early as the 1950s, while a young Army officer, that Volkogonov first discovered information that created cognitive dissonance within himself. While reading early journals of Party members from the 1920s, Volkogonov realized "how stifled and sterile political debate in the Soviet Union had become in comparison to the early days." Khrushchev's 1956 secret speech further solidified this thought within him, but he kept these thoughts to himself at that time.

    -this from wikipedia about the author
     

    And then there is this:

    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, had become by the late 1970s the world’s largest importer. In 1963 Khrushchev had spent a third of the country’s gold to buy grain. The collective agriculture forcibly imposed by Stalin was a failure. As the head of a collective farm once said to me: “.. . collective farming could have worked. It worked in Israel.. .. But it couldn’t be done by force and decree.” Storage and distribution were also significant problems, up to a third of a year’s crop lost to spillage and spoilage.”
    -pg. 106

    Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash
    by Richard Lourie (July 2017)
     

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  38. @Sergey Krieger
    You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare. If it is not great success you should go and see a shrink.

    You remind me of Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda (“We did not lose Vietnam (Afghanistan)! It was a tie!”)

    Read More
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  39. @Sergey Krieger
    You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare. If it is not great success you should go and see a shrink.

    The deliberate starvation of millions of Christians was a great success.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    You are still believe in old lies?
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  40. @Vox coyote
    The deliberate starvation of millions of Christians was a great success.

    You are still believe in old lies?

    Read More
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  41. @Sergey Krieger
    Stalinism most certainly did not fail. It was greatest success. What was after Stalin could not be called Stalinism. Nevertheless system was working well for majority common folk but not good enough for elites hence elites dismantled it . They are doing great now but common folk not so good. Hence non stop attempts by those who dismantled socialism for personal gain to show that socialism was failure. Now campaign to discredit October revolution of 1917 and lionize Tsarist Russia while keeping silence about real catastrophe they inflicted upon own country in 1991 causing probably irreparable damage all for their little gain. The whole later developments show that capitalism is unsustainable neither financially nor ecologically.

    Yeah, it’s certainly odd that he calls the Soviet collapse under Gorby “The collapse of Russian Stalinism“.

    Of course it was neither Russian nor Stalinism.

    And indeed, Stalinism, when it ended, was nowhere near collapse, quite the opposite: the USSR fully industrialized, defeated the EU version 3 (the Roman empire being v1, and then the French v2), expanded its borders and greatly expanded its sphere of influence, built and tested atomic weapons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Agree. Stalinism kept elites under control. Hence once he was dead they rushed to abandon Stalinism under which they had to be responsible for the actions and inactions. They eventually wanted more and he we arrived at 1985 and what followed. Stalinism was no more for some 30 years by then and still it built the foundation upon which Russia still depends.
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  42. @Sergey Krieger
    You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare. If it is not great success you should go and see a shrink.

    You aren’t even giving us a clue as to what we would be comparing. “Great success” – your words. If you can’t define anything than you can say that about virtually any leader who has presided over an empire for thirty years (and lived). It’s meaningless.

    Give me a link to a history book that says what you state and a page reference.

    Because I’m reading this right now and I’m getting a distinctly different feel about Stalinism than what you are trying to say:

    Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy by Dmitri Volkogonov

    Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military-Political Academy in Moscow in 1961, transferring to the Soviet Army’s propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner.

    It was as early as the 1950s, while a young Army officer, that Volkogonov first discovered information that created cognitive dissonance within himself. While reading early journals of Party members from the 1920s, Volkogonov realized “how stifled and sterile political debate in the Soviet Union had become in comparison to the early days.” Khrushchev’s 1956 secret speech further solidified this thought within him, but he kept these thoughts to himself at that time.

    -this from wikipedia about the author

    And then there is this:

    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, had become by the late 1970s the world’s largest importer. In 1963 Khrushchev had spent a third of the country’s gold to buy grain. The collective agriculture forcibly imposed by Stalin was a failure. As the head of a collective farm once said to me: “.. . collective farming could have worked. It worked in Israel.. .. But it couldn’t be done by force and decree.” Storage and distribution were also significant problems, up to a third of a year’s crop lost to spillage and spoilage.”
    -pg. 106

    Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash
    by Richard Lourie (July 2017)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    So, you read a book? Or did google suggest these quotes to you?

    In any case, that's a good start. And now, why don't you read or google something with the opposite point of view, compare, and see which one makes more sense.

    , @Sergy Krieger
    "You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare."

    Isn't it a clue. Ok, compare Russia in 1924 to 1953. Even better, compare it to Russia 1914 in every respect including standing in World ranks, GDP, literacy, health and so forth and compare. not enough? Sorry. I am not kindergarten teacher.
    Another clue would be from your very own Churchill "“Stalin found Russia working with wooden plows and left it equipped with atomic piles,” attributed to Winston Churchill"
    , @Sergey Krieger
    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, "
    Now, Russia did export grain but who exported grain? Few big producers while majority was starving. Hence Russia was exporting while peasants regularly had no enough bread to eat and most had to actually buy bread to survive., It is long story. But many look at Russia exports and do not know what was going on in Russia of the time. After collectivization starvation and famines stopped. Some magic?

    Regarding debates in 1920's party. Debates are good only so far. They should lead to actions. The destiny of the country was on line. You cannot debate all the time.
    The problem of lack of debates later after Stalin death wa snot Stalin doing. Each generation has got own problems to solve. Khrushchev was not up to the task. Intellectual midget, I would say moron frankly. He undermined the whole system.
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  43. @Johnny Rico
    You aren't even giving us a clue as to what we would be comparing. "Great success" - your words. If you can't define anything than you can say that about virtually any leader who has presided over an empire for thirty years (and lived). It's meaningless.

    Give me a link to a history book that says what you state and a page reference.

    Because I'm reading this right now and I'm getting a distinctly different feel about Stalinism than what you are trying to say:


    Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy by Dmitri Volkogonov


    Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military-Political Academy in Moscow in 1961, transferring to the Soviet Army's propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner.

    It was as early as the 1950s, while a young Army officer, that Volkogonov first discovered information that created cognitive dissonance within himself. While reading early journals of Party members from the 1920s, Volkogonov realized "how stifled and sterile political debate in the Soviet Union had become in comparison to the early days." Khrushchev's 1956 secret speech further solidified this thought within him, but he kept these thoughts to himself at that time.

    -this from wikipedia about the author
     

    And then there is this:

    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, had become by the late 1970s the world’s largest importer. In 1963 Khrushchev had spent a third of the country’s gold to buy grain. The collective agriculture forcibly imposed by Stalin was a failure. As the head of a collective farm once said to me: “.. . collective farming could have worked. It worked in Israel.. .. But it couldn’t be done by force and decree.” Storage and distribution were also significant problems, up to a third of a year’s crop lost to spillage and spoilage.”
    -pg. 106

    Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash
    by Richard Lourie (July 2017)
     

    So, you read a book? Or did google suggest these quotes to you?

    In any case, that’s a good start. And now, why don’t you read or google something with the opposite point of view, compare, and see which one makes more sense.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    Uuuuh. No. That's a horrible suggestion.

    I've read 50 books on Stalin and Russia. Another 50 on the Cold War. Those two I happen to have out of the library right now. I entered that text myself. I don't need to Google anything.

    My point of view obviously makes more sense that's why I am writing about it.

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence. He is simply providing his opinion without argument or facts or evidence.

    All you guys need is to provide one book. One author. Something. One metric to compare and at the same time show it would have been worse without what happened during the Stalin years. That should be easy.

    Then I can go read that book and be amazed by how you guys are right about everything all the time.

    I've been studying Russia for 30 years. I've never known anybody but Russian World War II vets ,who lived and weren't sent to the Gulag as a reward for their service, speak fondly of the Stalin experience. I find it amusing.

    Even Putin is on record repeatedly speaking of what a disaster it was.
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  44. @Johnny Rico
    You aren't even giving us a clue as to what we would be comparing. "Great success" - your words. If you can't define anything than you can say that about virtually any leader who has presided over an empire for thirty years (and lived). It's meaningless.

    Give me a link to a history book that says what you state and a page reference.

    Because I'm reading this right now and I'm getting a distinctly different feel about Stalinism than what you are trying to say:


    Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy by Dmitri Volkogonov


    Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military-Political Academy in Moscow in 1961, transferring to the Soviet Army's propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner.

    It was as early as the 1950s, while a young Army officer, that Volkogonov first discovered information that created cognitive dissonance within himself. While reading early journals of Party members from the 1920s, Volkogonov realized "how stifled and sterile political debate in the Soviet Union had become in comparison to the early days." Khrushchev's 1956 secret speech further solidified this thought within him, but he kept these thoughts to himself at that time.

    -this from wikipedia about the author
     

    And then there is this:

    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, had become by the late 1970s the world’s largest importer. In 1963 Khrushchev had spent a third of the country’s gold to buy grain. The collective agriculture forcibly imposed by Stalin was a failure. As the head of a collective farm once said to me: “.. . collective farming could have worked. It worked in Israel.. .. But it couldn’t be done by force and decree.” Storage and distribution were also significant problems, up to a third of a year’s crop lost to spillage and spoilage.”
    -pg. 106

    Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash
    by Richard Lourie (July 2017)
     

    “You should ask yourself this question. Stalinism encompassed Soviet history from 1924 till 1953. Under Stalin. Take a look at both ends and compare.”

    Isn’t it a clue. Ok, compare Russia in 1924 to 1953. Even better, compare it to Russia 1914 in every respect including standing in World ranks, GDP, literacy, health and so forth and compare. not enough? Sorry. I am not kindergarten teacher.
    Another clue would be from your very own Churchill ““Stalin found Russia working with wooden plows and left it equipped with atomic piles,” attributed to Winston Churchill”

    Read More
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  45. @Mao Cheng Ji
    Yeah, it's certainly odd that he calls the Soviet collapse under Gorby "The collapse of Russian Stalinism".

    Of course it was neither Russian nor Stalinism.

    And indeed, Stalinism, when it ended, was nowhere near collapse, quite the opposite: the USSR fully industrialized, defeated the EU version 3 (the Roman empire being v1, and then the French v2), expanded its borders and greatly expanded its sphere of influence, built and tested atomic weapons.

    Agree. Stalinism kept elites under control. Hence once he was dead they rushed to abandon Stalinism under which they had to be responsible for the actions and inactions. They eventually wanted more and he we arrived at 1985 and what followed. Stalinism was no more for some 30 years by then and still it built the foundation upon which Russia still depends.

    Read More
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  46. @Johnny Rico
    You aren't even giving us a clue as to what we would be comparing. "Great success" - your words. If you can't define anything than you can say that about virtually any leader who has presided over an empire for thirty years (and lived). It's meaningless.

    Give me a link to a history book that says what you state and a page reference.

    Because I'm reading this right now and I'm getting a distinctly different feel about Stalinism than what you are trying to say:


    Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy by Dmitri Volkogonov


    Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military-Political Academy in Moscow in 1961, transferring to the Soviet Army's propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner.

    It was as early as the 1950s, while a young Army officer, that Volkogonov first discovered information that created cognitive dissonance within himself. While reading early journals of Party members from the 1920s, Volkogonov realized "how stifled and sterile political debate in the Soviet Union had become in comparison to the early days." Khrushchev's 1956 secret speech further solidified this thought within him, but he kept these thoughts to himself at that time.

    -this from wikipedia about the author
     

    And then there is this:

    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, had become by the late 1970s the world’s largest importer. In 1963 Khrushchev had spent a third of the country’s gold to buy grain. The collective agriculture forcibly imposed by Stalin was a failure. As the head of a collective farm once said to me: “.. . collective farming could have worked. It worked in Israel.. .. But it couldn’t be done by force and decree.” Storage and distribution were also significant problems, up to a third of a year’s crop lost to spillage and spoilage.”
    -pg. 106

    Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash
    by Richard Lourie (July 2017)
     

    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, ”
    Now, Russia did export grain but who exported grain? Few big producers while majority was starving. Hence Russia was exporting while peasants regularly had no enough bread to eat and most had to actually buy bread to survive., It is long story. But many look at Russia exports and do not know what was going on in Russia of the time. After collectivization starvation and famines stopped. Some magic?

    Regarding debates in 1920′s party. Debates are good only so far. They should lead to actions. The destiny of the country was on line. You cannot debate all the time.
    The problem of lack of debates later after Stalin death wa snot Stalin doing. Each generation has got own problems to solve. Khrushchev was not up to the task. Intellectual midget, I would say moron frankly. He undermined the whole system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The late 1940's were hungry times. Even in the '60's things got bad at times. Not 1921 in Saratov bad but food a bit short, according to people I talk to about their childhood.
    , @Disordered
    The only thing I agree with is that Khruschev was not up to the task. But not because of his ideals but because of his fecklessness in key moments; it was the nomenklatura that replaced him, after all. However, as expected, he was replaced with a Brezhnev that was louder and more populist but who also really only depended on higher oil prices, because corruption under him became endemic. And most people cannot remember Andropov's short term of reforms without remembering also his KGB ruthlessness. Therefore, as much as you can complain about Gorbachev selling out, it was perhaps inevitable because of all the systematic failure provoked by the nomenklatura. It is not helpful that by the early 50s Stalinism had undeniably and already become way too oppressive and even backwards, and perestroika showed all the nomenklatura corruption under the sun from then and through the decades.

    Then again, it is also true that Russians are used to strong leaders and therefore prefer them, even when despotic, as long as they keep things kinda working for most. Same for Hispanics, because of the strong caudillo cultural tradition. So perhaps neither culture can do any better, and thus you may be right overall.
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  47. It’s always striking how easily manipulated Russians were (and are) by Stalin’s cynical (and desperate) appeals to Russian nationalism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @gwynedd1
    Well, for them, Stalin was a step up from the Bolsheviks, Cheka and the NKVD. The Russian revolution was a revolution against the Russian ethno state just was it was about economic ideology. Individual Russians suffered surely, but he rehabilitated Russian ethnicity itself by the 30s. Before that it was Russian guilt , then called Russian Chauvinism. Its not unlike white guilt we see today. He did so for selfish reasons of course. Without Russians any old Western power would have picked the Soviets apart.

    To some extend the Russian rulers did provoke this with rather clumsy Russfication polices , thus the backlash was to some extend cultivated by Russia. Finland is a particularly painful example of a people provoked. they were causing any trouble but got Russification anyway. However in other cases it was religious and ethnic tension. One far East Islamic leader stated that Russian made life too good and thus it was too corrupting. It was not unlike the leading Russian Rabbi fighting against Napoleon because of a far too liberating civil code for Jews. More than once we have seen religious leaders hating material competition for the attention of their flock.
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  48. @Mao Cheng Ji
    So, you read a book? Or did google suggest these quotes to you?

    In any case, that's a good start. And now, why don't you read or google something with the opposite point of view, compare, and see which one makes more sense.

    Uuuuh. No. That’s a horrible suggestion.

    I’ve read 50 books on Stalin and Russia. Another 50 on the Cold War. Those two I happen to have out of the library right now. I entered that text myself. I don’t need to Google anything.

    My point of view obviously makes more sense that’s why I am writing about it.

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence. He is simply providing his opinion without argument or facts or evidence.

    All you guys need is to provide one book. One author. Something. One metric to compare and at the same time show it would have been worse without what happened during the Stalin years. That should be easy.

    Then I can go read that book and be amazed by how you guys are right about everything all the time.

    I’ve been studying Russia for 30 years. I’ve never known anybody but Russian World War II vets ,who lived and weren’t sent to the Gulag as a reward for their service, speak fondly of the Stalin experience. I find it amusing.

    Even Putin is on record repeatedly speaking of what a disaster it was.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    The numbers of those who were incarcerated are out. Total from 1921 till 1953 around 3 million including about 700 000 executed, not exactly everyone considering population of the time. Frankly, not that much considering what time it was. And you should not forget that those people were jailed for breaking laws of the time. Vast majority were jailed and executed because they were guilty of crimes. Simple. Archives are opened. Numbers are out. Also, you should always remember who started smearing Stalin. Elites had great interest in smearing him, otherwise nobody would dare.
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence.
     
    Well, what about the most obvious, common sense evidence I posted in 41:

    the USSR fully industrialized, defeated the EU version 3, expanded its borders and greatly expanded its sphere of influence, built and tested atomic weapons.
     
    It seems to me, by all the usual criteria it was a huge success.

    Take Napoleon Bonaparte, for example. He was successful leader for a while, building an empire - but he was defeated eventually and lost everything, with his empire collapsing during his lifetime. Yet, he is considered one of the greatest heroes of France. With Stalin, it seems far less controversial.

    Your boy Lourie (Clinton adviser) doesn't like collectivization, but every industrialization everywhere was accompanies by an agrarian reform. Industrialization can't happen without consolidation of small family farms, masses of peasants losing their livelihood and becoming factory workers. In the 1930s USSR, due to the geopolitical situation -- anticipation of a big war -- super-rapid industrialization required a super-rapid agrarian reform. Thus, collectivization. What would Mr Lourie, the Hillary adviser, do instead? Faced the most brutal war in history with no tanks and a bunch of peasants?

    , @Philip Owen
    I've been doing business in Russia for 25 years. I've met people who thought Stalin was good because he was strong but not many not even amongst nationalists, certainly not amongst politically active communists. Bolshevism is now seen as a huge mistake. Only Brezhnev is considered warmly. He had good oil prices.
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  49. gwynedd1 says:
    @DESERT FOX
    Socialism ie communism light is what we have right here in river city, in fact it is communism brought to us by the Bolshevik families that destroyed Russia ie these same extended families have spread the cancer of communism in America and are destroying America.

    Starting with their Federal Reserve and the IRS which the Bolsheviks fastened on America in 1913 right on through to unlimited emigration our country is being destroyed by communism and for anyone who doubts this, read the 10 planks of the communist manifesto.

    Socialism isn’t communism light. The problem with communism is related to socialism in a rather complicated and apparent paradox. We do have several advantages in that it was suggested by political philosophers like Montesquieu and then we saw it actually occur with the Russian revolution. The closer one gets to complete freedom the closer one is to loosing it.

    Communism delegitimizes authority with “power to the people”. Thus communism acts as a fumigant. This leaves a power vacuum that is filled with another “people loving” enterprise called socialism which is just like communism in that is “good for the people”. the only difference is that its centrally managed and authoritarian. The Bolsheviks easily wrested the Russian empire from the formless mass of orthodox Marxists. Then came the punch line : “war communism”.

    Again this effect of freedom leading to bondage is easily observed. The Federalists argued this same point.

    “Spain thinks it convenient to shut the Mississippi against us on the one side, and Britain excludes us from the Saint Lawrence on the other; nor will either of them permit the other waters which are between them and us to become the means of mutual intercourse and traffic.

    Apply these facts to our own case. Leave America divided into thirteen or, if you please, into three or four independent governments–what armies could they raise and pay–what fleets could they ever hope to have? If one was attacked, would the others fly to its succor, and spend their blood and money in its defense? ”

    - John Jay.

    The individual freedom of each state may have led to a greater servitude .

    Communism would not be bad at all if it were not for the fact that it is absolutely defenseless from being usurped. This is not to mention that one is perfectly free to be a communist as we speak. One may go and form a commune . They may find like minded people and live according to this ethos. However when people speak of “communism” it seems its never without the force of the state. Thus once again all it is is a phase of self immolation where the protection of the people is completely removed.

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  50. gwynedd1 says:
    @Beefcake the Mighty
    It’s always striking how easily manipulated Russians were (and are) by Stalin’s cynical (and desperate) appeals to Russian nationalism.

    Well, for them, Stalin was a step up from the Bolsheviks, Cheka and the NKVD. The Russian revolution was a revolution against the Russian ethno state just was it was about economic ideology. Individual Russians suffered surely, but he rehabilitated Russian ethnicity itself by the 30s. Before that it was Russian guilt , then called Russian Chauvinism. Its not unlike white guilt we see today. He did so for selfish reasons of course. Without Russians any old Western power would have picked the Soviets apart.

    To some extend the Russian rulers did provoke this with rather clumsy Russfication polices , thus the backlash was to some extend cultivated by Russia. Finland is a particularly painful example of a people provoked. they were causing any trouble but got Russification anyway. However in other cases it was religious and ethnic tension. One far East Islamic leader stated that Russian made life too good and thus it was too corrupting. It was not unlike the leading Russian Rabbi fighting against Napoleon because of a far too liberating civil code for Jews. More than once we have seen religious leaders hating material competition for the attention of their flock.

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  51. @Johnny Rico
    Uuuuh. No. That's a horrible suggestion.

    I've read 50 books on Stalin and Russia. Another 50 on the Cold War. Those two I happen to have out of the library right now. I entered that text myself. I don't need to Google anything.

    My point of view obviously makes more sense that's why I am writing about it.

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence. He is simply providing his opinion without argument or facts or evidence.

    All you guys need is to provide one book. One author. Something. One metric to compare and at the same time show it would have been worse without what happened during the Stalin years. That should be easy.

    Then I can go read that book and be amazed by how you guys are right about everything all the time.

    I've been studying Russia for 30 years. I've never known anybody but Russian World War II vets ,who lived and weren't sent to the Gulag as a reward for their service, speak fondly of the Stalin experience. I find it amusing.

    Even Putin is on record repeatedly speaking of what a disaster it was.

    The numbers of those who were incarcerated are out. Total from 1921 till 1953 around 3 million including about 700 000 executed, not exactly everyone considering population of the time. Frankly, not that much considering what time it was. And you should not forget that those people were jailed for breaking laws of the time. Vast majority were jailed and executed because they were guilty of crimes. Simple. Archives are opened. Numbers are out. Also, you should always remember who started smearing Stalin. Elites had great interest in smearing him, otherwise nobody would dare.

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    • Replies: @Sin City Milla
    Several problems here. When it comes to numbers, Soviet records are notoriously spotty, even deliberately falsified. Most historians n those writers who experienced the Ukrainian famine alone put the number of victims at well over 3 million n closer to 6. Then there are the 2 M Volga famine victims in 1918, another 2 M in 1921, n another 2 M in 1923. Solzhenitsyn puts the total victims of the Soviet state at 66M, the Gulag never having less than several million people being worked to death (including women n small children) in its camps at any given time from the early 1920s to the late 1950s, requiring a constant source of new condemned laborers to be acquired by whatever means necessary since the average life span of a prisoner was only 3 years. I say prisoner rather than convict since most were condemned without trial. We haven't even mentioned the 6 million Soviet POWs forcibly returned to SU after the war (mostly by Truman n Eisenhower) most of whom were sent permanently to the Gulag for having surrendered to Germans during WW2. Soviet undercounted the numbers of dead for obvious reasons just as they overcounted economic production.
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  52. Wally says: • Website
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    I don't see anything is your link indicating that "The U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union" (as per 7). Try again.

    [At least this sort of comment is half-reasonable and connected with the discussion. But if you return at any point to your very bad behavior, most of your comments, both reasonable and unreasonable will just be trashed for an extended period of time to teach you a lesson.]

    It was clearly offered, but there were complications, aka: Stalin

    FWIW:

    “The State Department worked out the Marshall Plan, which its Secretary offered at first to the Big Four
    https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/ni/vol13/no08/notm1.htm”

    “What the Secretary of State left unsaid was that while the U.S. plan would be open to the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe … ”

    https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/truman

    “Although the participation of the Soviet Union and East European nations was an initial possibility …”

    https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/marshall-plan

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Although the participation of the Soviet Union and East European nations was an initial possibility,
     
    So, this, from a government website, is your best evidence of the claim that "the U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945"?

    Not much, eh?

    And don't you think that if true aid was offered - altruistic shipments of food, vehicles, consumer products - then surely it would've been accepted? And are you aware that, contrary to offering aid, the US was demanding compensation for the war-time lend-lease?
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  53. @Wally
    [At least this sort of comment is half-reasonable and connected with the discussion. But if you return at any point to your very bad behavior, most of your comments, both reasonable and unreasonable will just be trashed for an extended period of time to teach you a lesson.]

    It was clearly offered, but there were complications, aka: Stalin

    FWIW:

    "The State Department worked out the Marshall Plan, which its Secretary offered at first to the Big Four
    https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/ni/vol13/no08/notm1.htm"

    "What the Secretary of State left unsaid was that while the U.S. plan would be open to the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe ... "
    https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/truman

    "Although the participation of the Soviet Union and East European nations was an initial possibility ..."
    https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/marshall-plan

    Although the participation of the Soviet Union and East European nations was an initial possibility,

    So, this, from a government website, is your best evidence of the claim that “the U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945″?

    Not much, eh?

    And don’t you think that if true aid was offered – altruistic shipments of food, vehicles, consumer products – then surely it would’ve been accepted? And are you aware that, contrary to offering aid, the US was demanding compensation for the war-time lend-lease?

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    • Replies: @Disordered
    The US demanded lend-lease compensation from everyone. Difference is, the capitalist countries could afford it eventually because they grew productive again (and the US wanted them to remain capitalist anyway - the threat of the German Revolution of 1919-1920, plus the early 20s' misguided policies of the German left, helped the Brownshirts' rise). The other kind, even when given aid, they tend to vacuum it into their pockets. Yugoslavia for example, which shone under Tito and NATO aid, but which suffered anyway when he died; sectarian lines arose again, and the oil-stagflation crisis made it hard to give away money to them anyway. Thus their Western-friendly socialism fell like a house of cards.

    As for the offered aid to the USSR, I don't recall if it was true or not. At any rate, the Soviets had military and industrial advantage on the rest of Europe right after the war, and more arable land than even America; why did they not become the new breadbasket of the world (a world that sorely needed bread, mind you) and thus become the new ruling economic power? It goes to show that the better remembered Soviet era among Russians today is the early Brezhnev one, where high oil prices hid everything.

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  54. @Johnny Rico
    Uuuuh. No. That's a horrible suggestion.

    I've read 50 books on Stalin and Russia. Another 50 on the Cold War. Those two I happen to have out of the library right now. I entered that text myself. I don't need to Google anything.

    My point of view obviously makes more sense that's why I am writing about it.

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence. He is simply providing his opinion without argument or facts or evidence.

    All you guys need is to provide one book. One author. Something. One metric to compare and at the same time show it would have been worse without what happened during the Stalin years. That should be easy.

    Then I can go read that book and be amazed by how you guys are right about everything all the time.

    I've been studying Russia for 30 years. I've never known anybody but Russian World War II vets ,who lived and weren't sent to the Gulag as a reward for their service, speak fondly of the Stalin experience. I find it amusing.

    Even Putin is on record repeatedly speaking of what a disaster it was.

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence.

    Well, what about the most obvious, common sense evidence I posted in 41:

    the USSR fully industrialized, defeated the EU version 3, expanded its borders and greatly expanded its sphere of influence, built and tested atomic weapons.

    It seems to me, by all the usual criteria it was a huge success.

    Take Napoleon Bonaparte, for example. He was successful leader for a while, building an empire – but he was defeated eventually and lost everything, with his empire collapsing during his lifetime. Yet, he is considered one of the greatest heroes of France. With Stalin, it seems far less controversial.

    Your boy Lourie (Clinton adviser) doesn’t like collectivization, but every industrialization everywhere was accompanies by an agrarian reform. Industrialization can’t happen without consolidation of small family farms, masses of peasants losing their livelihood and becoming factory workers. In the 1930s USSR, due to the geopolitical situation — anticipation of a big war — super-rapid industrialization required a super-rapid agrarian reform. Thus, collectivization. What would Mr Lourie, the Hillary adviser, do instead? Faced the most brutal war in history with no tanks and a bunch of peasants?

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    • Replies: @Disordered
    Wrong, industrialization everywhere was accompanied by peasants losing livelihoods, which not necessarily happened due to collectivization, but simply because the old serfdom-order was not as economically productive as industrialization in a global scale (lest we forget, industrialization arose in the age of empires, aka captive markets, which globalization intends to replicate, with its pros and cons). Collectivization just sped up the process and made it much more bloodier than needed be. Obviously in the Soviet case it was a step up from the previous feudal system, better late and botched and forced than never; but that does not mean collectivization is the only alternative. In the Western world, the nobility eventually had a lot of its land overtaken by the monarch and/or bourgeoisie and/or farmer's co-ops (a later development) and/or agribusiness, achieving the same result but with much higher and varied production, and less loss of life due to starvation.

    Plus, Stalin trusted the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and only would have needed enough armies to hold the border with the German General Government of Poland had Hitler not drank the Himmlerian Lebensraum Kool-aid nonsense so much. Even when victors, the USSR military that you extol led the world in losses; thankfully due to its size it could afford many of them. Not too different from when the backwards Tsarist regime defeated Napoleon.
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  55. @Sergey Krieger
    The numbers of those who were incarcerated are out. Total from 1921 till 1953 around 3 million including about 700 000 executed, not exactly everyone considering population of the time. Frankly, not that much considering what time it was. And you should not forget that those people were jailed for breaking laws of the time. Vast majority were jailed and executed because they were guilty of crimes. Simple. Archives are opened. Numbers are out. Also, you should always remember who started smearing Stalin. Elites had great interest in smearing him, otherwise nobody would dare.

    Several problems here. When it comes to numbers, Soviet records are notoriously spotty, even deliberately falsified. Most historians n those writers who experienced the Ukrainian famine alone put the number of victims at well over 3 million n closer to 6. Then there are the 2 M Volga famine victims in 1918, another 2 M in 1921, n another 2 M in 1923. Solzhenitsyn puts the total victims of the Soviet state at 66M, the Gulag never having less than several million people being worked to death (including women n small children) in its camps at any given time from the early 1920s to the late 1950s, requiring a constant source of new condemned laborers to be acquired by whatever means necessary since the average life span of a prisoner was only 3 years. I say prisoner rather than convict since most were condemned without trial. We haven’t even mentioned the 6 million Soviet POWs forcibly returned to SU after the war (mostly by Truman n Eisenhower) most of whom were sent permanently to the Gulag for having surrendered to Germans during WW2. Soviet undercounted the numbers of dead for obvious reasons just as they overcounted economic production.

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  56. @jorge videla (BGI volunteer)
    very good. i know that american economists are mere running dogs 95% of the time, but why? is it all down to the cold war propaganda? it's very clear at this point that the evil empire is the US.

    but what so many miss is that the poor of the developed world are not exploited as they were in marx's time. they are redundant, excluded. raising the minimum wage doesn't solve the problem of bullshit jobs. with each passing year less and less human labor is needed to maintain a given level of output, and the economy cannot grow forever. the expectation that everyone must work for his bread is delusional.

    basic income is the only way. but the below replacement birthrates of the OECD must be maintained, and immigration must be reduced to a few geniuses. the poor world is not made richer by making the rich world poor by flooding it with more people.

    How do you expect to maintain a welfare state (which is what basic income amounts to) if the next generation is smaller in size than the former one? Unless you plan mass euthanasia after retirement – which would not even happen a lot if the proposed basic income is deemed too sufficient by enough people that would rather give up attempting to produce.

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  57. Dissident says:
    @jorge videla (BGI volunteer)
    be cool. don't swallow your chew like lenny.

    unlike 20th c french "philosophers" marx did not write gibberish.

    he may be difficult to understand but the fault is with the reader not with him.

    it took me a few tries to get him.

    plus marx was a lot more than a critic of capitalism. ultimately he was an idealist in the contemporary sense of the term. what he means by "materialism" is NOT what richard dawkins and other vulgar people mean by it, people marx (or marxists) termed "vulgar materialists".

    The German Ideology is his greatest work imho.

    if marx now has no influence because he appears to be gibberish, this is a sign that the brightest are duller than they were or that the brightest are now excluded from the commanding heights in which they formerly had some representation.

    and remember that marx was also engels. so the idea that authentic marxism is jewish is not quite right.

    and remember that marx was also engels. so the idea that authentic marxism is jewish is not quite right.

    Moreover, Marx was a complete apostate Jew, completely estranged from Judaism and any community of those who practiced it.

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  58. And yet poverty is falling everywhere excepting such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

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  59. @Johnny Rico
    Uuuuh. No. That's a horrible suggestion.

    I've read 50 books on Stalin and Russia. Another 50 on the Cold War. Those two I happen to have out of the library right now. I entered that text myself. I don't need to Google anything.

    My point of view obviously makes more sense that's why I am writing about it.

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence. He is simply providing his opinion without argument or facts or evidence.

    All you guys need is to provide one book. One author. Something. One metric to compare and at the same time show it would have been worse without what happened during the Stalin years. That should be easy.

    Then I can go read that book and be amazed by how you guys are right about everything all the time.

    I've been studying Russia for 30 years. I've never known anybody but Russian World War II vets ,who lived and weren't sent to the Gulag as a reward for their service, speak fondly of the Stalin experience. I find it amusing.

    Even Putin is on record repeatedly speaking of what a disaster it was.

    I’ve been doing business in Russia for 25 years. I’ve met people who thought Stalin was good because he was strong but not many not even amongst nationalists, certainly not amongst politically active communists. Bolshevism is now seen as a huge mistake. Only Brezhnev is considered warmly. He had good oil prices.

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  60. @Sergey Krieger
    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, "
    Now, Russia did export grain but who exported grain? Few big producers while majority was starving. Hence Russia was exporting while peasants regularly had no enough bread to eat and most had to actually buy bread to survive., It is long story. But many look at Russia exports and do not know what was going on in Russia of the time. After collectivization starvation and famines stopped. Some magic?

    Regarding debates in 1920's party. Debates are good only so far. They should lead to actions. The destiny of the country was on line. You cannot debate all the time.
    The problem of lack of debates later after Stalin death wa snot Stalin doing. Each generation has got own problems to solve. Khrushchev was not up to the task. Intellectual midget, I would say moron frankly. He undermined the whole system.

    The late 1940′s were hungry times. Even in the ’60′s things got bad at times. Not 1921 in Saratov bad but food a bit short, according to people I talk to about their childhood.

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  61. My favorite lines from this long piece:

    Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier interests instead of liberating economies from absentee landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. Banks and bondholders have found their most lucrative market not in the manufacturing sector but in real estate and natural resource extraction.

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  62. @nickels
    One should point out that Marx certainly didn't invent the criticism of usury.
    The Catholic Church understood and protected against this evil for 1800 years before Marx.

    Which is why Jews survived and prospered, ironically.

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    • Replies: @MEFOBILLS

    Which is why Jews survived and prospered, ironicall
     
    Jews practiced usury, and hence their debt claims grew exponentially, making demands outside of nature. These debts were in the form of pledges, i.e. a debt instrument.

    Said debt instruments would be housed at Jewish establishments/homes.

    As Hudson says, that which cannot be paid, won't be paid. Jewish usurers, practicing their family tradition (usury), also tended to physically isolate themselves, as an in-group.

    When the public, who were being hosted, could no longer bear exponential burdens of usury, said public would torch houses and business of Jews, thus wiping out records of debts.

    It was a form of Jubilee by fire. Jews did not survive and prosper until Catholic Church created a policy, where Jews were not to be persecuted, but on the other hand, Jews were not allowed to attack and undermine their host society. This Catholic Policy is now lost to history, and the West has morphed into State Sponsored Usury, often with Jews at the helm.

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  63. @botazefa
    "Coerced socialism is a racket to plunder the commons, middle class, and worker, period. "

    You want to tell me how oligarchic capitalism under the guise of Democracy is doing anything other than your theoretical coerced capitalism?

    Plunder the commons. Check.
    Imprison the middle class in debt and stagnant wages. Check.
    Import foreigners to directly compete with native workers. Check

    The US is on the precipice. As soon as people realize we have the technology to do direct democracy today, not tomorrow, it is game over. The wealthy rentier class knows it. They are executing their last push to gain wealth before we change the rules of the game and start over. All it would take is a well-liked Facebook call for a new Constitutional Convention.

    A Constitutional Convention where we would enthrone Zuckerberg as Supreme Leader.

    Grow up. I find it hilarious that Georgists like Mr. Hudson are the best socialism can offer. While I agree on slightly raising land taxes and taxes on Wall Street overall, it is clear that the “land tax only” approach works in places where the land is solely owned by big wealthy Junkers, where said land is scarce and easily accessible, and where said Junkers do not make any effort to produce from said land. These conditions limit who would pay this tax (specially in nations with many small landowners, more remote areas, and more farmers), and therefore it is not the silver bullet Georgists pretend it to be. Henry George did live in Victorian England, where the conditions were more ripe for this; even now many English are not owners. But the world is not the same all over. Nowadays, land taxes in most of the West are more often levied by city governments, where it levies a good amount of money, but also causes the rise of property prices and allows only the wealthier Junkers who can afford to pay the tax to own most of the land. So again, it is not a panacea.

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  64. @Mao Cheng Ji

    That is why I am asking Sergey Krieger to back up his point of view with some evidence.
     
    Well, what about the most obvious, common sense evidence I posted in 41:

    the USSR fully industrialized, defeated the EU version 3, expanded its borders and greatly expanded its sphere of influence, built and tested atomic weapons.
     
    It seems to me, by all the usual criteria it was a huge success.

    Take Napoleon Bonaparte, for example. He was successful leader for a while, building an empire - but he was defeated eventually and lost everything, with his empire collapsing during his lifetime. Yet, he is considered one of the greatest heroes of France. With Stalin, it seems far less controversial.

    Your boy Lourie (Clinton adviser) doesn't like collectivization, but every industrialization everywhere was accompanies by an agrarian reform. Industrialization can't happen without consolidation of small family farms, masses of peasants losing their livelihood and becoming factory workers. In the 1930s USSR, due to the geopolitical situation -- anticipation of a big war -- super-rapid industrialization required a super-rapid agrarian reform. Thus, collectivization. What would Mr Lourie, the Hillary adviser, do instead? Faced the most brutal war in history with no tanks and a bunch of peasants?

    Wrong, industrialization everywhere was accompanied by peasants losing livelihoods, which not necessarily happened due to collectivization, but simply because the old serfdom-order was not as economically productive as industrialization in a global scale (lest we forget, industrialization arose in the age of empires, aka captive markets, which globalization intends to replicate, with its pros and cons). Collectivization just sped up the process and made it much more bloodier than needed be. Obviously in the Soviet case it was a step up from the previous feudal system, better late and botched and forced than never; but that does not mean collectivization is the only alternative. In the Western world, the nobility eventually had a lot of its land overtaken by the monarch and/or bourgeoisie and/or farmer’s co-ops (a later development) and/or agribusiness, achieving the same result but with much higher and varied production, and less loss of life due to starvation.

    Plus, Stalin trusted the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and only would have needed enough armies to hold the border with the German General Government of Poland had Hitler not drank the Himmlerian Lebensraum Kool-aid nonsense so much. Even when victors, the USSR military that you extol led the world in losses; thankfully due to its size it could afford many of them. Not too different from when the backwards Tsarist regime defeated Napoleon.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Collectivization just sped up the process and made it much more bloodier than needed be.
     
    You have the right to an opinion; however, considering that the massive western attack on the USSR was less 10 years away, and it seems obvious that Soviet leaders correctly (more or less) estimated it by 1932, your "than needed be" appears to be a wholly unwarranted claim.
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  65. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Although the participation of the Soviet Union and East European nations was an initial possibility,
     
    So, this, from a government website, is your best evidence of the claim that "the U.S. offered massive economic aid to the Soviet Union after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945"?

    Not much, eh?

    And don't you think that if true aid was offered - altruistic shipments of food, vehicles, consumer products - then surely it would've been accepted? And are you aware that, contrary to offering aid, the US was demanding compensation for the war-time lend-lease?

    The US demanded lend-lease compensation from everyone. Difference is, the capitalist countries could afford it eventually because they grew productive again (and the US wanted them to remain capitalist anyway – the threat of the German Revolution of 1919-1920, plus the early 20s’ misguided policies of the German left, helped the Brownshirts’ rise). The other kind, even when given aid, they tend to vacuum it into their pockets. Yugoslavia for example, which shone under Tito and NATO aid, but which suffered anyway when he died; sectarian lines arose again, and the oil-stagflation crisis made it hard to give away money to them anyway. Thus their Western-friendly socialism fell like a house of cards.

    As for the offered aid to the USSR, I don’t recall if it was true or not. At any rate, the Soviets had military and industrial advantage on the rest of Europe right after the war, and more arable land than even America; why did they not become the new breadbasket of the world (a world that sorely needed bread, mind you) and thus become the new ruling economic power? It goes to show that the better remembered Soviet era among Russians today is the early Brezhnev one, where high oil prices hid everything.

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  66. @Disordered
    Wrong, industrialization everywhere was accompanied by peasants losing livelihoods, which not necessarily happened due to collectivization, but simply because the old serfdom-order was not as economically productive as industrialization in a global scale (lest we forget, industrialization arose in the age of empires, aka captive markets, which globalization intends to replicate, with its pros and cons). Collectivization just sped up the process and made it much more bloodier than needed be. Obviously in the Soviet case it was a step up from the previous feudal system, better late and botched and forced than never; but that does not mean collectivization is the only alternative. In the Western world, the nobility eventually had a lot of its land overtaken by the monarch and/or bourgeoisie and/or farmer's co-ops (a later development) and/or agribusiness, achieving the same result but with much higher and varied production, and less loss of life due to starvation.

    Plus, Stalin trusted the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and only would have needed enough armies to hold the border with the German General Government of Poland had Hitler not drank the Himmlerian Lebensraum Kool-aid nonsense so much. Even when victors, the USSR military that you extol led the world in losses; thankfully due to its size it could afford many of them. Not too different from when the backwards Tsarist regime defeated Napoleon.

    Collectivization just sped up the process and made it much more bloodier than needed be.

    You have the right to an opinion; however, considering that the massive western attack on the USSR was less 10 years away, and it seems obvious that Soviet leaders correctly (more or less) estimated it by 1932, your “than needed be” appears to be a wholly unwarranted claim.

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  67. @Sergey Krieger
    “The USSR’s main use for oil was for domestic purposes, Moscow always prizing independence from a hostile capitalist world. But Moscow needed that world too because Russia, which before the revolution had been the world’s greatest exporter of grain, "
    Now, Russia did export grain but who exported grain? Few big producers while majority was starving. Hence Russia was exporting while peasants regularly had no enough bread to eat and most had to actually buy bread to survive., It is long story. But many look at Russia exports and do not know what was going on in Russia of the time. After collectivization starvation and famines stopped. Some magic?

    Regarding debates in 1920's party. Debates are good only so far. They should lead to actions. The destiny of the country was on line. You cannot debate all the time.
    The problem of lack of debates later after Stalin death wa snot Stalin doing. Each generation has got own problems to solve. Khrushchev was not up to the task. Intellectual midget, I would say moron frankly. He undermined the whole system.

    The only thing I agree with is that Khruschev was not up to the task. But not because of his ideals but because of his fecklessness in key moments; it was the nomenklatura that replaced him, after all. However, as expected, he was replaced with a Brezhnev that was louder and more populist but who also really only depended on higher oil prices, because corruption under him became endemic. And most people cannot remember Andropov’s short term of reforms without remembering also his KGB ruthlessness. Therefore, as much as you can complain about Gorbachev selling out, it was perhaps inevitable because of all the systematic failure provoked by the nomenklatura. It is not helpful that by the early 50s Stalinism had undeniably and already become way too oppressive and even backwards, and perestroika showed all the nomenklatura corruption under the sun from then and through the decades.

    Then again, it is also true that Russians are used to strong leaders and therefore prefer them, even when despotic, as long as they keep things kinda working for most. Same for Hispanics, because of the strong caudillo cultural tradition. So perhaps neither culture can do any better, and thus you may be right overall.

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  68. MEFOBILLS says:
    @Disordered
    Which is why Jews survived and prospered, ironically.

    Which is why Jews survived and prospered, ironicall

    Jews practiced usury, and hence their debt claims grew exponentially, making demands outside of nature. These debts were in the form of pledges, i.e. a debt instrument.

    Said debt instruments would be housed at Jewish establishments/homes.

    As Hudson says, that which cannot be paid, won’t be paid. Jewish usurers, practicing their family tradition (usury), also tended to physically isolate themselves, as an in-group.

    When the public, who were being hosted, could no longer bear exponential burdens of usury, said public would torch houses and business of Jews, thus wiping out records of debts.

    It was a form of Jubilee by fire. Jews did not survive and prosper until Catholic Church created a policy, where Jews were not to be persecuted, but on the other hand, Jews were not allowed to attack and undermine their host society. This Catholic Policy is now lost to history, and the West has morphed into State Sponsored Usury, often with Jews at the helm.

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