Socialism vs Capitalism

yorksrob

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That goes to the heart of the issue of this thread. Capitalists believe it is satisfactory for the state to ensure people have enough to live on, Socialists believe it is the state's job to directly provide it.
And yet in this very post, we are discussing an example where the state isn't ensuring that people have enough to live on, hence the need for food banks.
 
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Meerkat

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And yet in this very post, we are discussing an example where the state isn't ensuring that people have enough to live on, hence the need for food banks.
That assumes a lot about how people got to be in need, and also if you see it as a safety net then the state doesn’t need to provide what the charity market provides.
 

TrafficEng

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And yet in this very post, we are discussing an example where the state isn't ensuring that people have enough to live on, hence the need for food banks.
That's not my understanding. The state is ensuring people have enough to live on by (a) direct provision through the social security system and (b) indirect provision through charity and voluntary distributions to those where (a) isn't sufficient to meet their needs.

If everybody stopped giving to and working for food banks then the state would need to make additional provision via (a) in order to ensure people have enough. If that happened and the state didn't up its game, then your point would be valid.

Meanwhile there are some people who dislike relying on the state for their needs and are more comfortable accepting charitable donations. If the state takes over and eliminates the charity provision those people will be worse off.

There is also some evidence that where the state takes over it performs worse than the charities it has displaced. E.g. by adopting labyrinthine eligibility rules applied without flexibility, whereas the charities might adopt a more flexible approach when dealing one to one with the most vulnerable.
 

yorksrob

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That's not my understanding. The state is ensuring people have enough to live on by (a) direct provision through the social security system and (b) indirect provision through charity and voluntary distributions to those where (a) isn't sufficient to meet their needs.

If everybody stopped giving to and working for food banks then the state would need to make additional provision via (a) in order to ensure people have enough. If that happened and the state didn't up its game, then your point would be valid.

Meanwhile there are some people who dislike relying on the state for their needs and are more comfortable accepting charitable donations. If the state takes over and eliminates the charity provision those people will be worse off.

There is also some evidence that where the state takes over it performs worse than the charities it has displaced. E.g. by adopting labyrinthine eligibility rules applied without flexibility, whereas the charities might adopt a more flexible approach when dealing one to one with the most vulnerable.
Aside from the state, work should enable people to survive without relying on charity. The fact that a lot of people using food banks are in employment is an illustration that capitalism isn't operating as it should.
 

EM2

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That's not my understanding. The state is ensuring people have enough to live on by (a) direct provision through the social security system and (b) indirect provision through charity and voluntary distributions to those where (a) isn't sufficient to meet their needs.
Why isn't the state ensuring that people have enough to live on?
For example, some developed nations (e.g The Netherlands) have a state pension that is 100% of the national average wage, some slightly less (e.g. Portugal, Italy, Austria). Among the OECD countries, the average is 62%.
In the UK, the state pension is about 29% of the average wage. Why, in the fifth biggest economy in the world, is that the case?
If everybody stopped giving to and working for food banks then the state would need to make additional provision via (a) in order to ensure people have enough. If that happened and the state didn't up its game, then your point would be valid.
Also, use of foodbanks has rocketed in the last ten to twelve years. They were not necessary under previous Governments, because they were making that additional provision. Why have they stopped doing it? Or, if they haven't stopped doing it, what are they doing differently?
 

Gooner18

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Has privatisation not improved the wages/ working conditions on the railways especially drivers from when it was state owned ?
I am only basing this on what I have heard from a driver who started out when it was BR so not basing it on any personal knowledge or fact.

As for the argument about capitalism v socialism , I found a statement that sums socialism up perfectly ( might of been from here, but this was the general jist of it ) ;

A teacher told his class that the results of the exam they are about to take will be averaged out with the average Grade being giving to everyone.

The students Who had worked and studied hard were annoyed at this , where as the students who had not done any studying were over the moon.
As expected students who had applied themselves got A’s and B’s with the ones who had done nothing getting F’s and G’s giving a average Grade of C awarded to all students.
Naturally the students who had put in the effort were completely disheartened and annoyed where as the ones who had done nothing were over the moon.

The teacher told the class there will be another exam next week, told them the subject to revise and again a average grade will be awarded to every student.

The students who had revised hard , disheartened and annoyed only put in 50% of revision time compared to the previous exam , naturally the ones who had done none last time and had been rewarded for it again done nothing.

Exam day came , students who done some revision got C’s and D’s again F’s and G’s were awarded to the others , giving everyone an average Grade of D.

Once again the teacher informed the class there will be another exam the following week, again with the same rules.

The students who had revised in the previous exams were now fed up with all their hard work being diluted by the ones who done nothing decided to do no revision, ended up the class being awarded the Grade of F.

And so the cycle continued.
 

TrafficEng

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Aside from the state, work should enable people to survive without relying on charity. The fact that a lot of people using food banks are in employment is an illustration that capitalism isn't operating as it should.
Agreed. But in my opinion we are where we are now because from circa 1997 the state started to intervene in the capitalist system so as to (a) increase the supply of labour, (b) decrease the percentage of what people earn to what they receive, and (c) introduce labyrinthine rules that generate perverse incentives for employers and employees alike. YMMV.
 

NoMorePacers

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Has privatisation not improved the wages/ working conditions on the railways especially drivers from when it was state owned ?
I am only basing this on what I have heard from a driver who started out when it was BR so not basing it on any personal knowledge or fact.

As for the argument about capitalism v socialism , I found a statement that sums socialism up perfectly ( might of been from here, but this was the general jist of it ) ;

A teacher told his class that the results of the exam they are about to take will be averaged out w*ith the average Grade being giving to everyone.

The students Who had worked and studied hard were annoyed at this , where as the students who had not done any studying were over the moon.
As expected students who had applied themselves got A’s and B’s with the ones who had done nothing getting F’s and G’s giving a average Grade of C awarded to all students.
Naturally the students who had put in the effort were completely disheartened and annoyed where as the ones who had done nothing were over the moon.

The teacher told the class there will be another exam next week, told them the subject to revise and again a average grade will be awarded to every student.

The students who had revised hard , disheartened and annoyed only put in 50% of revision time compared to the previous exam , naturally the ones who had done none last time and had been rewarded for it again done nothing.

Exam day came , students who done some revision got C’s and D’s again F’s and G’s were awarded to the others , giving everyone an average Grade of D.

Once again the teacher informed the class there will be another exam the following week, again with the same rules.

The students who had revised in the previous exams were now fed up with all their hard work being diluted by the ones who done nothing decided to do no revision, ended up the class being awarded the Grade of F.

And so the cycle continued.
To add to your analogy, you could also say that everyone in that class would sit in another exam, however the grade would be decided not on the results of the exam, but by the wealth of the students taking the exam. The rich kid who did no revision at all got an A** but a poor child who spent the past year revising got an F. This cycle kept on continuing.
 

EM2

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There is also the fact that companies are cutting cost after cost after cost. This increases their profit margins as their sale prices remain the same.
Very few clothes or footwear companies produce their own products now, they contract out to whoever can supply them the cheapest, very often at the expense of those people actually doing the work.
 

Gooner18

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To add to your analogy, you could also say that everyone in that class would sit in another exam, however the grade would be decided not on the results of the exam, but by the wealth of the students taking the exam. The rich kid who did no revision at all got an A** but a poor child who spent the past year revising got an F. This cycle kept on continuing.
That is very true
 

Gooner18

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There is also the fact that companies are cutting cost after cost after cost. This increases their profit margins as their sale prices remain the same.
Very few clothes or footwear companies produce their own products now, they contract out to whoever can supply them the cheapest, very often at the expense of those people actually doing the work.
since I completed my apprenticeship, I have had 6 pay rises in 22 years within the trade I work ( that’s with 2 companies ). I have had 2 in the last 11 years.
Yet parts prices go up with inflation and labour rates have been increased more or less every 2/3 years.
God knows how much worse off that makes me in real terms.
 

cactustwirly

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To add to your analogy, you could also say that everyone in that class would sit in another exam, however the grade would be decided not on the results of the exam, but by the wealth of the students taking the exam. The rich kid who did no revision at all got an A** but a poor child who spent the past year revising got an F. This cycle kept on continuing.
So you want a system that is fair and takes into account ability rather than wealth.
 

EM2

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Yet parts prices go up with inflation and labour rates have been increased more or less every 2/3 years.
God knows how much worse off that makes me in real terms.
So your employer increases what they charge customers for doing the same work that they did for them previously, but doesn't increase what they are paying you for doing that work. This is why the system is broken.
 

Gooner18

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So your employer increases what they charge customers for doing the same work that they did for them previously, but doesn't increase what they are paying you for doing that work. This is why the system is broken.
That is correct. And yet again we are not getting a basic inflation raise This year , despite them again making more profit than the year before ( which they have done every year I have worked for them ). Oh and they are buying up more businesses this year as well
 

TrafficEng

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Why isn't the state ensuring that people have enough to live on?
For example, some developed nations (e.g The Netherlands) have a state pension that is 100% of the national average wage, some slightly less (e.g. Portugal, Italy, Austria). Among the OECD countries, the average is 62%.
There's little point in comparing state pension provision unless you take into account the whole pension provision in each country. Some countries tax people less and pay smaller state pensions but lower taxation allows people to pay more into company or private pensions.

According to this site (which I don't have reason to disbelieve)...
https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/official-issues/pensions-retirement-netherlands
...the Dutch state pension "provides basic benefit payments of up to 70 percent of the minimum net wage."

Without looking the figures up, it seems improbable that "up to 70 percent of the minimum net wage" could equate to "100% of the national average wage". (couples can get 50% of the minimum net wage each = 100% ?)

In the UK, the state pension is about 29% of the average wage.

Why, in the fifth biggest economy in the world, is that the case?
Perhaps because for as long as I can remember the UK population has elected Governments that have sought to increase the state pension by not much more than inflation (remember Gordon Brown's 75p increase?) - whilst simultaneously changing the rules to reduce the burden of the state pension on future taxpayers.

Also, use of foodbanks has rocketed in the last ten to twelve years. They were not necessary under previous Governments, because they were making that additional provision....
With the usual caveats regarding anything on wikipedia...
Before the 2008 credit crunch, food banks were "almost unheard of" in the UK. In 2004, Trussell only ran two food banks, but by 2007–2008, there were 22 food banks in the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_bank#United_Kingdom
...Why have they stopped doing it? Or, if they haven't stopped doing it, what are they doing differently?
That wikipedia link goes on to say the number had increased to 100 "by early-2011" (so not entirely 'austerity' related).

Analysing the detailed reasons for the growth in food bank provision and use is possibly beyond the scope of this thread on a rail-related discussion forum. But as a partial response, if the total amount paid out by rail companies as part of delay repay schemes were to increase by (say) 1000% over a period of 10 years, would we be correct to assume (only) that rail delays were 1000% worse, or should we take into account the additional possibilities there were (a) more schemes because people thought them to be a very good idea, and (b) more claims because there was increased awareness of the existence of the schemes? Obviously not something it is easy to answer without access to all of the data and a lot of analysis.
 

Meerkat

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They were not necessary under previous Governments, because they were making that additional provision
Maybe there are more food banks as cultural changes mean people are more likely to volunteer and donate?
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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I would argue the exact opposite. It's a bad that those less well off have to rely on charity, rather than the state doing it's job and ensuring that people have enough to live.
Mention above of the state lack of involvement in terms of an organisation performing a national service that has saved countless lives over the years, sometimes at the cost of lives of those involved, brings me to raise the matter of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
 

yorksrob

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Mention above of the state lack of involvement in terms of an organisation performing a national service that has saved countless lives over the years, sometimes at the cost of lives of those involved, brings me to raise the matter of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
That's a good call.

However, one wouldn't expect to rely on the RNLI for ones day to day existance. The institution is there to assist in exceptional circumstances.
 

AlterEgo

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That's a good call.

However, one wouldn't expect to rely on the RNLI for ones day to day existance. The institution is there to assist in exceptional circumstances.
So are food banks. The majority of users only have cause to access one maybe once or twice a year.

That doesn’t detract from the general point you’re making though.
 

JamesT

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Why isn't the state ensuring that people have enough to live on?
For example, some developed nations (e.g The Netherlands) have a state pension that is 100% of the national average wage, some slightly less (e.g. Portugal, Italy, Austria). Among the OECD countries, the average is 62%.
In the UK, the state pension is about 29% of the average wage. Why, in the fifth biggest economy in the world, is that the case?
That’s almost certainly comparing just the basic state pension and not any other welfare schemes for pensioners, as per https://fullfact.org/europe/pensioners-eu-uk/
Most pensioners will have some form of occupational pension on top of their state pension. For those without or where that doesn’t provide what is regarded as enough to live on there is pension credit to top it up. So the bare figure of state pension isn’t a helpful comparison of what people actually get.
 

AlterEgo

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That’s almost certainly comparing just the basic state pension and not any other welfare schemes for pensioners, as per https://fullfact.org/europe/pensioners-eu-uk/
Most pensioners will have some form of occupational pension on top of their state pension. For those without or where that doesn’t provide what is regarded as enough to live on there is pension credit to top it up. So the bare figure of state pension isn’t a helpful comparison of what people actually get.
What a surprise that Britain isn’t the hate-filled Darwinist wasteland many people claim it to be.
 

underbank

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Mention above of the state lack of involvement in terms of an organisation performing a national service that has saved countless lives over the years, sometimes at the cost of lives of those involved, brings me to raise the matter of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Also mountain rescue, cave rescue, and other search & rescue charities, etc. St John's ambulance help countless people at events every day of the week.
 

bramling

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Aside from the state, work should enable people to survive without relying on charity. The fact that a lot of people using food banks are in employment is an illustration that capitalism isn't operating as it should.
Depends how one defines survive though.

I know someone who works as bar staff on minimum wage, and has essentially done that since leaving school.

His income provides enough for food and rent - and I’m not thinking London rent here. But the flip side of the coin is in reality much of his income disappears on things like interest payments (for purchases made in the past on credit), alcohol, fags and pub gambling machines, plus the odd fixed penalty notice for littering thrown in. He doesn’t use food banks, just doesn’t eat much.

To what extent should the taxpayer bail out people who have made or continue to make bad decisions or lifestyle choices?
 
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bramling

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Why isn't the state ensuring that people have enough to live on?
For example, some developed nations (e.g The Netherlands) have a state pension that is 100% of the national average wage, some slightly less (e.g. Portugal, Italy, Austria). Among the OECD countries, the average is 62%.
In the UK, the state pension is about 29% of the average wage. Why, in the fifth biggest economy in the world, is that the case?
Because a majority of people think that it’s unreasonable for people who have spent 40+ years working to subsidise a pension for people who have chosen not to?

Likewise most people have their own pension through work contributions, where they have essentially sacrificed salary to fund their retirement. Again why should people who haven’t made such judicious choices expect to receive the same?

I have no issue with people who *can’t* work (in other words the disabled) receiving a generous pension. However it shouldn’t be a free-for-all for people who haven’t bothered to work or who have decided to have the cake earlier in life and expect to eat it too during retirement.
 

EM2

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Because a majority of people think that it’s unreasonable for people who have spent 40+ years working to subsidise a pension for people who have chosen not to?

Likewise most people have their own pension through work contributions, where they have essentially sacrificed salary to fund their retirement. Again why should people who haven’t made such judicious choices expect to receive the same?

I have no issue with people who *can’t* work (in other words the disabled) receiving a generous pension. However it shouldn’t be a free-for-all for people who haven’t bothered to work or who have decided to have the cake earlier in life and expect to eat it too during retirement.
There is a massive section of the working population who will never earn enough to be able to put in to a pension, such that it will cover their needs in old age, especially as life expectancy is increasing.
If you've spent your working life on a till, or in a call centre, or in a delivery van, or in a warehouse, or in a care home, or cleaning, you're very unlikely to be have been able to put something aside,especially if you took time out from working to raise a family.
They've worked every bit as hard as the train driver, the teacher, the surgeon, the architect, the computer engineer, the sales rep, but they won't have that luxury. What should they do?
 
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