Cuba privatizes hairstyling

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Doug
Cuba privatizes hairstyling
Sven Sven's picture

From the piece linked to above:

"Employees in state-run salons chosen to participate lose their government salaries and are required to rent the retail space where they work, as well as pay taxes.  But they are allowed to pocket all the money they make cutting hair, after paying for supplies and rent."

Previously, the emploiyees weren't even "allowed" to keep the fruits of the labors.  Well, other than illegal graft (it's funny how "the market" -- in this case a black market -- inevitably comes into play, even in a "pure" communist system).

The key to whether this pathetic little experiment will work or not is the degree to which two key costs of running a business (i.e., the tax rates and the state-established lease rates for the space) bear any rational relationship to what the market rates are for haircuts. Set too high, this experiment will fail.

Michelle

It would be interesting if these salons were run as co-ops.

Sven Sven's picture

Michelle wrote:

It would be interesting if these salons were run as co-ops.

Even in the absence of right of several stylists to work together as an association of some kind (whether it's a co-op, partnership or what not), it sounds like its illegal to even run a one-person shop in Cuba.

For anyone who values individual autonomy, that should be alarming to even most collectivists.

Michelle

It's not really right up there on my list of concerns on the world stage, sorry.

When I visited Cuba over Christmas, I went into a couple of towns on day trips, and saw that while the standard of living isn't very high, everyone there has enough to eat, housing, etc.  Unlike some other Caribbean countries where the free market is god, foreign corporations run everything and pay the people a pittance, and the disparity between rich and poor is obscene, to the point of starvation, mass homelessness and shantytowns, all in the name of "individual autonomy".

If that's how Cuba wants to do their system, more power to them.  Everyone eats and has shelter in Cuba, at least.

Sven Sven's picture

Michelle wrote:

If that's how they want to do their system, more power to them.

I agree with that...with one qualification: People should be free to emigrate from Cuba at any time they want, withouit restriction or any adverse consequences (including adverse consequences to one's family members who may remain in Cuba), and without approval of the Cuban government.  Then, if a person likes living on $20 per month and not being able to sell their labor freely and autonomously (and not being able to change jobs without government permission), then that person can freely stay in Cuba and, if not, they can freely leave.

The "catch" is when people must live under those conditions with no freedom to leave (unless the government grants a person permission to leave -- and the fact that the government must grant a person permission to leave should be enough to outrage you).

KenS

They were not.

The historical background goes to the beginning of the revolution. Fidel and the fidelistas were not inherently heavy statist socialists. With the exception of a few Communists [the Party didnt like them] they were the usual combnation of nationalist and Marxists. Assumed there would be socialism after the revolution, but not what kind of socialism.

Che Guevara was an out and out Stalinist when it came to development models. I don't know how much that had to do with the shift in thinking of the rest of them. at any rate, Che was put in charge of the transition. And that include the complete stamping out of private business. That included putting the village chair manufacturer out of business, who then went to work on the collective farm.

Thats not as totally illogical as it may sound. IE, it wasn't only to root out capitalism. The idea being that people doing things like making chairs for the village was one of the marks of poverty and underdevelopment- we'll work together to become prosperous. [With the stata making all the decisions of course.]

Markets came back in Cuba where it was a necessity of survival. Especially food production. But also transportation, when the state could no longer afford the comprehensive system of busses. Etc.

Thins like hair style salons are not in the realm of necessities- and having them state run is also not obviously inefficient.

I don't really know this, and know little even in general about the thinking behind the various changes, but I suspect this is the sort of thing that was only a matter of time... and a matter of 'getting around to it'.

I'm sure the sate agancies involved will have no problem making sure the leases to the shopowners are kept at a level where they are sustainable. Its a lot easier than overseeing how many combs and bottles of shampoo go to every shop.

thorin_bane

Well if we gave th Cubans half a Billion the way we did with Haiti, I wonder what the could do with it? Oh wait we woudl have to ask the americans to stop punishing them because they are soviets...oh wait that was 20 years ago wasn't it sven...why is that embargo in place?

Sven Sven's picture

In other threads, I've observed that there is an equality-freedom spectrum where the more freedom individuals have in a society, the less equality there will be (and, conversely, the more equality there is in a society, the less individual freedom there will be).

This is a perfect example of a lack of freedom (to do what one wants with one's labor) for the sake of equality.  You have a job doing X?  Well, you will take what the government gives you for doing X, you can't change jos unless the government permits the change, and you can't leave the system (emigrate) unless the government gives you permission to do so.

Oh, and you can't challenge the government because there is one-party rule.

Other than that, I think Cuba would be a wonderful place to live.

KenS

Sven wrote:

I agree with that...with one qualification: People should be free to emigrate from Cuba at any time they want, withouit restriction or any adverse consequences (including adverse consequences to one's family members who may remain in Cuba), and without approval of the Cuban government.  Then, if a person likes living on $20 per month and not being able to sell their labor freely and autonomously (and not being able to change jobs without government permission), then that person can freely stay in Cuba and, if not, they can freely leave.

The "catch" is when people must live under those conditions with no freedom to leave (unless the government grants a person permission to leave -- and the fact that the government must grant a person permission to leave should be enough to outrage you).

You're funny Sven. Your comment had absolutely nothing to do with Michelle's that you were ostensibly replying to. That aside:

The restrictions on emmigration from Cuba are far smaller obstacles than the US restrictions on immigration.

As to freedom to leave jobs- that isn't the state controlling what job you have. Its the entitlements that go with your job. So if you want to leave your job and go make a living in the private market- you are free to go. But changing jobs entails the non-workplace entitlements that go with them. While its more complicated than changing a job here- in practice it doesn't require any more state approval or any other institutional approval than does changing jobs here.

Same thing here: you are free to leave the job you have, getting another one is another matter.

KenS

Sven wrote:

In other threads, I've observed that there is an equality-freedom spectrum where the more freedom individuals have in a society, the less equality there will be (and, conversely, the more equality there is in a society, the less individual freedom there will be).

This is a perfect example of a lack of freedom (to do what one wants with one's labor) for the sake of equality.  You have a job doing X?  Well, you will take what the government gives you for doing X, you can't change jos unless the government permits the change, and you can't leave the system (emigrate) unless the government gives you permission to do so.

Thats a lovely expression of your ideology Sven.

Sven Sven's picture

KenS wrote:

Thats a lovely expression of your ideology Sven.

Thank you.  I do, indeed, highly value personal autonomy.

Sven Sven's picture

KenS wrote:

So if you want to leave your job and go make a living in the private market- you are free to go.

Really, so this new government policy regarding hairstylists is just formalizing what hairstylists were already free to do in the first place?

KenS

No.

At least formally, you can only set up businesses in sectors where you are free to do so. [In practice, you can set up in some other sectors as well.]

But this was an answer to your [conveniently] ill informed and out of context that "you can't change jobs unless the government permits the change."

It makes just as much sense as for me to see that "in the United States you need a new employers permission to change jobs."

So you just dodged that one and brought something else. You also made no comment when I pointed out that it is the US [and all other developed countries] that keeps Cubans from leaving Cuba. The limitations their own government puts on them leaving are trivial in comparison.

KenS

 

KenS wrote:

Thats a lovely expression of your ideology Sven.

Sven wrote:

Thank you.  I do, indeed, highly value personal autonomy.

Thats good to hear.

95% of our greater personal autonomy than Cubans have is owed to the differences in wealth. Its actually easy to get out of Cuba. And there are no Coast Guards to turn people away who come ashore in Honduras and Nicararagua. And by going there Cubans could get away from all the restrictions on autonomy that exercise your imagination. But not a sould does that.

Since so you so highly value personal autonomy- what are you doing to get more autonomy for the vast majority of people who have so much less than we do- whether they live in a country whether they are free to dispose of their labour as they see fit having nothing to do with the availability of said autonomy.

Maybe thats unfair- you did after all only profess a concern about Cubans and their chances for autonomy. So how are things doing on the access to US front?

Sven Sven's picture

 

KenS wrote:

But this was an answer to your [conveniently] ill informed and out of context that "you can't change jobs unless the government permits the change."

It makes just as much sense as for me to see that "in the United States you need a new employers permission to change jobs."

Well, to the extent the only employer in Cuba is (essentially) the Cuban government, you are correct.

But, here's the fundamental distinction between Cuba and a free market system: If I want to go work for the guy down the street, I just have to go talk to that guy - I don't have to petition some massive government bureaucracy to get "permission" to go work somewhere else.

I cringe every time I have to deal with government bureaucrats because:

(1) Bureaucrats Generally Lack Discretion.  They have minute little "rules" they must follow to the letter of the law - and their ability to deviate from those rules are usually strictly constrained (even if it makes perfect logical sense to deviate from the rules in a particular instance).  "You don't meet requirements X, Y, Z, A, B, and C?  Sorry."  Or: "The rules clearly state, 'A candidate must have five years' experience in the dental field to be considered for a position as a dental hygienist' - and you only have three years' experience in the dental field, notwithstanding the fact that you are also a trained dentist.  Sorry.  You can't be a dental hygienist."

(2)  Bureaucrats Are Often Afraid to Make Decisions when the Do have Discretion.  When bureaucrats do have discretion, they are often deathly afraid to exercise it. Everything is a political decision.  Too often the question is, "Will this decision make me look like a fool?" not, "Does this make sense?"  It's just better for a bureaucrat to not rock the boat.

(3)  Bureaucrats Often Don't Care.  When a bureaucrat is asked to so something unusual, it generally doesn't matter, one way or the other to the bureaucrat, if they decide to do the unusual thing or to stick with what they've always done.  At the end of the day, they get the same damned paycheck either way (and you can see this in the deadened look in their eyes as they stare blankly at you with their "And-why-exactly-should-I-give-a-shit?" look). 

So, yeah, I really don't want to have to depend on several bureaucrats to have to make a decision as to whether or not I should be granted "permission" to change jobs.  Here, I've been able to choose whatever field of study I wanted, pursue any career I've wanted, and to change careers when I have wanted (not to mention changing jobs) -- and all without a single government bureaucrat having to "give me the green light" to do so.

KenS wrote:

You also made no comment when I pointed out that it is the US [and all other developed countries] that keeps Cubans from leaving Cuba. The limitations their own government puts on them leaving are trivial in comparison.

Trivial, eh?  I suppose we could open our door wide open to all comers.  But, no country does that.  Perhaps Canada should do that - then, we could have a mere 10% of our population move north, thereby gaining a majority of the voters in Canada, and simply annex Canada by a democratic vote!!  Seriously, immigration rules are an essential element of a nation's sovereignty.  Are we going to admit an uneducated convicted felon to the US?  Probably not.  How about someone with unusual skills?  That's more likely.  Frankly, given the utter wreck Cuba is, the system doesn't produce a lot of people who have skills which are needed here - and that's Cuba's communist-created problem, not ours.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

 

Sven Sven's picture

 

KenS wrote:

95% of our greater personal autonomy than Cubans have is owed to the differences in wealth.

And, what hyper-collectivist country has ever created much wealth?

Hell, look at Venezuela.  The country is sitting on huge, Gawd-given petro-chemical wealth - and they can't even keep their lights on, let alone create wealth.

After decades of destructive pain following the rise of Mao, the collectivists finally realized that wealth can only be created in any meaningful manner by harnessing individual initiative (which requires substantial individual autonomy).

Personal autonomy begets wealth.  As long as personal autonomy is severely restricted in Cuba, Cuba will never have wealth (even after the stupid American economic sanctions are eventually lifted).

 _______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

It really looks like the only reason the Globe and Mail bothered to publish such an article is so they could have a piece that waxed philosophically about the "benefits" of the restoration of capitalism in Cuba.

Yawn.

Mind you, the following is also included:

Quote:
But Cuban barbers and stylists interviewed by The Associated Press had nothing but complaints Tuesday. Most said they felt the reforms had less to do with opening the economy and more to do with stamping out institutionalized thievery that had become built into every haircut provided by state employees.

 

The Miami Herald has a similar fluff piece. Great. Even with fluff the G & M is unoriginal.

Sven Sven's picture

N.Beltov wrote:

Mind you, the following is also included:

Quote:
But Cuban barbers and stylists interviewed by The Associated Press had nothing but complaints Tuesday. Most said they felt the reforms had less to do with opening the economy and more to do with stamping out institutionalized thievery that had become built into every haircut provided by state employees.

Like I noted above, any time you make something illegal and people want that something (whether it's drugs or higher wages than the state will allow government employees to earn), you're going to have a black market and corruption.

Why not just let stylists (and anyone else in Cuba) sell their services for whatever the market will bear?

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Michelle

Why doesn't everyone just do things your way, Sven?  They'd be so much better off!

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

lol

KenS

You're still dodging Sven.

You don't petition 'the government' to change jobs. You do have to go through a lot of bureaucracy. I do too when I want a job- which currently I cant get by the way no matter how many bureaucracies I petition. I could easily enough find some job.... but that isn't much freedom of choice is is. The difference between me and Cubans is the prosperity that is my net- not the choices available or what I have to do to have a crack at what I really want. If you personally dont have to do all that- good for you.

We're not comapring systems Sven. I've no interest at all in having what the Cubans have. End of that phony debate you keep trying to have. What I'm disputing is your inflated ideolgical notions of what people have and don't have.

Nor did I say that the US or anyone else should open their borders to all Cubans. Its you that professed a concern with Cubans freedom to emmigrate. Well the real restrictions on their ability to emmigrate area a place they would rather go. They can have everything you show a concern for them not having by going to Mexico, Honduras or Nicaragua... and easily do it. But if thats the choice, not surprisingly they'd rather stay where they are. 

With the posiible exception of Costa Rica, if you open the borders of the US to the citizens of any small country in Latin America, and their would be the same massive depopulation as would happen to Cuba. Including all those countries where there are none of the restrictions on autonomy that you see as essential.

Thats the rub Sven- its not what actually impinges most on their personal autonomy that matters to you, its the ones you see as important, the ones you want to see as important.

Sven Sven's picture

 

Michelle wrote:

Why doesn't everyone just do things your way, Sven?  They'd be so much better off!

I wish more people shared had that very healthy perspective of yours, Michelle! Tongue out

Actually, as someone who values personal autonomy and liberty, I really don't care what the Cubans want to do or not do with their country.  If the Cuban people want to freely live in a collectivist manner, have at it.  More power to them.

My only question is whether the Cuban people are "freely" living under those conditions (and that can only be tested if Cubans are free to emigrate from Cuba at any time and without first obtaining any "permission" from the Cuban government to do so).

If that right were in place, I couldn't possibly care less about what Cubans do or don't do with their society.

Even without that right, I don't think we (Americans or anyone else) should get involved.  Let the Cubans have their own counter-revolution if they want one.  But, it's laughable for people to defend Cuba as some kind of Utopia-on-Earth as long as a fundamental and unrestricted "freedom to leave" doesn't exist.

 

KenS

Sven wrote:
 

Personal autonomy begets wealth.  As long as personal autonomy is severely restricted in Cuba, Cuba will never have wealth (even after the stupid American economic sanctions are eventually lifted).

The restrictions on individual autonomy that you decry in Cuba, there are none of them in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, etc....   So where's the wealth that comes with that?

Snert Snert's picture

I shudder to imagine state-run hairstyling.  I'm betting if we had such a thing in Canada we'd all have Stephen Harper's hair, and we'd pay $60 for it, even after a hefty government subsidy to the industry.

KenS

Sven wrote:

My only question is whether the Cuban people are "freely" living under those conditions (and that can only be tested if Cubans are free to emigrate from Cuba at any time and without first obtaining any "permission" from the Cuban government to do so).

If that right were in place...

As already noted, a convenient right for you to satke everything on. comparable to the famous aphorism that everyone is equally free to live under bridges.

And by the way, when the Dutch granted independence to Surinam, they also gave everyone the right to choose Surinamese or Dutch citizenship. Half the country decamped to the Netherlands. And in Surinam they had no bureaucratic restrictions to worry about.

 

Sven wrote:

it's laughable for people to defend Cuba as some kind of Utopia-on-Earth as long as a fundamental and unrestricted "freedom to leave" doesn't exist.

Where are thse straw people who portray Cuba as a utopia on earth that you are arguing with?

Sven Sven's picture

 

KenS wrote:

You're still dodging Sven.

You don't petition 'the government' to change jobs. You do have to go through a lot of bureaucracy. I do too when I want a job

Sure, if I wanted to go to work for 3M down the street from here, I'd have to go through their bureaucratic HR system to get a job there.

But, all bureaucracies are not the same.

The HR manager for any particular 3M business unit is responsible for meeting the business needs of that unit.  If the HR manager is not channeling highly qualified candidates to the business unit, the HR manager won't last long there.  In other words, the HR manager has a significant personal incentive to find the best possible candidates and to refrain from blindly following bureaucratic "rules" and from engaging in arbitrary decisions.

Not so with government bureaucrats who look at you with their dopey "Why-should-I-give-a-shit?" stare - especially if they can't be fired short of having sex with and then killing a 12-year old.

But, in contrast to the 3M's of the world, there are thousands of small businesses here where there is essentially zero bureaucracy to go through to get a job - places where you walk in the door and talk to a manager or owner (not that they will necessarily have a job - but there's no bureaucracy to fight through to get one).  That option doesn't even exist in Cuba.

KenS wrote:

With the posiible exception of Costa Rica, if you open the borders of the US to the citizens of any small country in Latin America, and their would be the same massive depopulation as would happen to Cuba.

Sorry, but I don't even understand that sentence.  What are you attempting - but failing - to articulate?

KenS wrote:

Thats the rub Sven- its not what actually impinges most on their personal autonomy that matters to you, its the ones you see as important, the ones you want to see as important.

Ditto my question above.  That last sentence of yours is so grammatically tortured that it's impossible to discern the meaning you're trying to express.

 

Sven Sven's picture

Snert wrote:

I shudder to imagine state-run hairstyling.  I'm betting if we had such a thing in Canada we'd all have Stephen Harper's hair, and we'd pay $60 for it, even after a hefty government subsidy to the industry.

Not to mention you'd have to wait in line for four hours to get your 'do.

Slumberjack

Sven wrote:
Like I noted above, any time you make something illegal and people want that something (whether it's drugs or higher wages than the state will allow government employees to earn), you're going to have a black market and corruption.

A flourishing alternate market for all manner of illegal and legal merchandise exists under the nose of the shady Capitalist system that we currently exist in. In our system though, as opposed to the one in Cuba, it isn't merely confined to the odd transaction here and there among the population for basic commodities, but instead is a rather sustained enterprise of collusion among an elite clique of global exterminators to commit grand larceny and genocidal atrocities on a planetary scale.  It's like complaining about the untidy personal habits of ones neighbors while your own home is a raft floating around in a sewage treatment cesspool.

Sven Sven's picture

KenS wrote:

Sven wrote:

My only question is whether the Cuban people are "freely" living under those conditions (and that can only be tested if Cubans are free to emigrate from Cuba at any time and without first obtaining any "permission" from the Cuban government to do so).

If that right were in place...

As already noted, a convenient right for you to satke everything on. comparable to the famous aphorism that everyone is equally free to live under bridges.

Lemme ask you a very simple and straightforward question, KenS: Should Cubans be free to leave Cuba at any time they want without first obtaining any "permission" from the Cuban government?

Now, please don't conflate that question with the issue of whether or not a particular Cuban would or would not be wanted in another country (obviously, all Cubans would not be welcome in other countries).  The relevant question is: For Cubans who would be welcomed in other countries, should those Cubans be free to leave Cuba at any time they want without first obtaining any "permission" from the Cuban government?

Sven Sven's picture

Privatizing hairstyling is one thing.  What would be really momentous would be the privatization of journalists, writers, musicians, playwrights - with an unrestricted right to criticize or comment on any aspect of Cuban society, including, of course, the one-party government.

Now, that would be noteworthy.

Privatizing hairstyling is a pedestrian no-brainer - and it's stunning, although not surprising, that it has taken fifty years to do it (and even then it's just a half-assed attempt at the endeavor).

RosaL

Oh, for heaven's sake! Marxists have no problem with one person "owning their own business" as long as they aren't employing anyone else. (I don't understand people who pronounce on things they don't know anything about.)

KeyStone

Let me answer your question Sven.

The United States has been waging an economic war against Cuba for 60 years in an attempt to both make an example of anyone who opposed the United States, and prevent an example of a succesful socialist utopia.

This economic sabotage has taken the form of killing Cubans, dropping napalm on their crops, paying Cuban reporters to stir up resentment towards the government, an economic embargo, and trying to lure Cuban professionals out of Cuba.

Cuba has a different model. Most essential things in Cuba are free, including education. So, someone from a poor family can become a doctor or an artist, or whatever they choose if they have the aptitude and desire. The offset of that is that the country does not have elites making 10,000 times what the lowest paid worker gets.

The US on the other hand, has a great disparity between the elites and the common person, and there are some making upwards of $25,000,000 a year while others make well under $20,000 a year - without the benefit of all the free essentials of the Cuban society.

So, obviously, the US is a much more appealing place for baseball players, top artists, doctors, engineers etc. The US would like nothing better than for Cuba to open up its borders and allow all the top people to leave. Will the US also accept millions of poor Cubans with little education? Or will they only accept the cream of the crop? This brain drain will cripple Cuba and the US knows it.

If the US is serious about wanting freedom for Cubans, it needs to give the same compesation that the American game of baseball gives. Let me give you an example.

THe Minnesota Twins draft a player, They then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to train that player, and eventually that player becomes fantastic (Joe Mauer), and they are able to pay Joe a salary of $10,000,000 a year.

Now, the Yankees which didn't invest in their farm system as well offer Joe a salary of $20,00,000 a year. If Joe accepts that offer, then the Yankees have to give compensation to Minnesota, recognizing that Minnesota is the one who trained him. Baseball even makes it so that the player would have to stay with Minnesota for several years, before even being able to entertain an offer from another team.

Now, if we apply that model to the international scene, it stands to reason that the US should have to pay Cuba compensation for the brain drain. And, if the US really had the interests of the Cuban people in mind, they would jump on that offer. But, the truth is that they just want to punish the Castros for daring to suggest an alternative economic model, just as they are focused on containing Hugo Chavez now.

Slumberjack

Sven wrote:
Privatizing hairstyling is one thing.  What would be really momentous would be the privatization of journalists, writers, musicians, playwrights - with an unrestricted right to criticize or comment on any aspect of Cuban society, including, of course, the one-party government.  Now, that would be noteworthy. Privatizing hairstyling is a pedestrian no-brainer - and it's stunning, although not surprising, that it has taken fifty years to do it (and even then it's just a half-assed attempt at the endeavor).

It would be a momentous occasion indeed at the National Endowment for Democracy, complete with congratulatory rounds of backslapping and hand rubbing. Unfortunately, the celebrations have had to be delayed for some time, as the perennially ungrateful Cubans stubbornly insist on objecting to the Haitian model of freedom that awaits them.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

The US on the other hand, has a great disparity between the elites and the common person, and there are some making upwards of $25,000,000 a year while others make well under $20,000 a year - without the benefit of all the free essentials of the Cuban society.

So, obviously, the US is a much more appealing place for baseball players, top artists, doctors, engineers etc. The US would like nothing better than for Cuba to open up its borders and allow all the top people to leave.

 

Uh, why would they leave? Are they not committed to the revolution? Do they, deep down, really want success as a U.S. consumer might define it?

Michelle

Slumberjack wrote:

Unfortunately, the celebrations have had to be delayed for some time, as the perennially ungrateful Cubans stubbornly insist on objecting to the Haitian model of freedom that awaits them.

No kidding - what could they possibly be thinking, huh?

kropotkin1951

Snert that is one of the most disingenuous things I have seen you post and that is saying a lot.  Apparently only christ was able to resist being tempted with all the wonders of the world that money could buy.  

What is success as a consumer anyways? I can see success as a ball player or doctor but as a consumer?  I guess most of us would fail that success test given we don't have the money to really consume with the best of the yachting crowd.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Snert that is one of the most disingenuous things I have seen you post and that is saying a lot.

 

I don't think it's disingenuous at all. Do the Cuban people want the revolution and all that comes with it, or do they want a mansion and a BMW?

 

If they want the mansion and BMW that's fine, but at that point we need to acknowledge that wanting lots and lots of "stuff" is a normal human thing, not some pathology foist on us by Madison avenue (as Ken says, "naturally" Cubans who could be rich want to be rich).

 

And if they want the revolution, that's also fine. Let them have the option of emigrating to the land of the Capitalist, an option they'll surely decline.

 

Quote:
What is success as a consumer anyways?

 

Having lots and lots of consumer items.

RosaL

success as defined by a US consumer Cry God help us all. 

kropotkin1951

On my planet we have a finite set of resources and a very large population.  

While there are exceptions to everything I would hazard a guess from the hair stylists I know that most hairstylists in america don't drive BMW's or are even interested in dreaming about them.  They dream about whether they can pay for the kids medical bills and worry about the fact that their Dad just lost his health coverage and has heart problems.  If there is any dreaming left at that point for your american hair stylist I think they would dream of their children going to university.

The obvious I guess is not your strong suit.

remind remind's picture

RosaL wrote:
Oh, for heaven's sake! Marxists have no problem with one person "owning their own business" as long as they aren't employing anyone else. (I don't understand people who pronounce on things they don't know anything about.)

Never ever underestimate, the failer f the those who have no imaginative capabilities so for them,all that is, is all there is...

Jacob Richter

RosaL, I have a problem.  That "business" may not be socially productive, and because of that lesser known function of money, at some point that small businessperson will go out there to hire labour.

RosaL

Jacob Richter wrote:

RosaL, I have a problem.  That "business" may not be socially productive, and because of that lesser known function of money, at some point that small businessperson will go out there to hire labour.

 

Well, it makes me a bit nervous, too. But I think there's probably a place for a single-person workplace (so to speak). But I'd make it illegal for them to hire anyone! (I might be misunderstanding you, though ....)

Doug

That becomes a problem then. Who decides what's socially productive?

RosaL

Doug wrote:

That becomes a problem then. Who decides what's socially productive?

 

Well, you know, all kinds of things have to be decided if you're going to have a society, especially if you're aiming at justice and compassion and things like that. I don't see that this particular issue ("what is socially productive") would be any more problematic than anything else. 

(In any case, NO ONE gets to hire labour.)

KenS

If not hiring labour is an absolute then you can't have a business, and everyone will have to remain state employees, whether that is socially useful or not.

If you can only be a one person business then you can't adapt as needed. Its far too specialised a niche- in any context. Just not sustainable over any length of time.

Slumberjack

Yeah, I'm not sure if I like the sound of the state toaster factory, the state lollipop factory, the state suppository factory, the state bookstore.  Actually, I'm sure that I don't.

Sven Sven's picture

RosaL wrote:

(In any case, NO ONE gets to hire labour.)

So, if my neighor ran her own gardening business and I wanted to work for her part-time to earn some extra cash during the summers, would I be prohibited from doing so in your ideal world?

Sven Sven's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

Yeah, I'm not sure if I like the sound of the state toaster factory, the state lollipop factory, the state suppository factory, the state bookstore.  Actually, I'm sure that I don't.

Hell, governments can't even perform relatively simple tasks, like garbage collection, well.

When the moronic American trade sanctions against Cuba are eventually lifted, it will be entertaining to hear what kinds of excuses Cubaphiles will dream up for the pathetic state of the post-sanctions Cuban economy.

When government runs production, you can be guaranteed of three things: (1) shitty products and services, which are (2) over-priced, and which are (3) chronically in short supply.

KenS

When US banks are given a free hand to run markets you can be guaranteed of three things: (1) there will be massive investment bubbles, (2) the perpetrators who made the big profits on the run-up won't be paying for the damage, (3) there will be collateral damage even in countries where the regulatory regimes kept financial institutions from playing the same rackets.

Slumberjack

Sven wrote:
Hell, governments can't even perform relatively simple tasks, like garbage collection, well. When the moronic American trade sanctions against Cuba are eventually lifted, it will be entertaining to hear what kinds of excuses Cubaphiles will dream up for the pathetic state of the post-sanctions Cuban economy. When government runs production, you can be guaranteed of three things: (1) shitty products and services, which are (2) over-priced, and which are (3) chronically in short supply.

Well, Cuba was forced to take certain measures of self defence in response to the global tormentor perched like an overly fattened vulture to its North. State run entities aren't inferior in comparison with the private sector in all cases. Take for instance the parasitic US health care industry.

With my own anarchist tendencies momentarily set aside on this point, more as a nod to the debilitating nature of conditioned pragmatism which permeates society, the value of work should be greatly expanded at the expense of profit. Many things should be made illegal, such as corporate propaganda outlets, back pocket electioneering, the corruption of whipped party politics, etc. Labour, wherever it can take root, should be valued and not suppressed, as the dead end Marxists would have it.

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