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To bring up solidarity, you must defeat consumerism

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Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 05 May 2012, 04:03
One of my leftie friends made this remark the other day, while we were discussing the lack of solidarity and class consciousness today.

To paraphrase, if you want to start promoting a culture where people view each other as an asset, you need to first overcome the culture of consumption and consumerism, as it is created to push negative individualism and "What's in it for me?" culture.

Discuss.
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 05 May 2012, 09:57
Quote:
To paraphrase, if you want to start promoting a culture where people view each other as an asset, you need to first overcome the culture of consumption and consumerism, as it is created to push negative individualism and "What's in it for me?" culture.

No, i disagree.
What does "consumerism" have to do with negative individualism anyway?

People today are forced into consumerism. That, and "anticonsumerists" generally suck.
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 05 May 2012, 14:49
I'd say because consumerism:

Encourages people to focus their lives on buying and accumulating more stuff.

Creates artificial needs.

Defines happiness and material gain as buying things.

Drives petty competition and encourages people to get ahead at the loss of others.

It helps drive the mindset that capitalism is eternal, and that we are at the end of history.
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 05 May 2012, 15:13
The obsession over "anticonsumerism" is petty bourgeois identity politics.
One can be crazy about iPhones and what not and still be a good Marxist. Of course, most aren't like that but still...
We aren't against people having stuff.
Socialism, even if seen from a "What's in it for me?" point of view, is vastly superior to capitalism for most working people.

Quote:
Encourages people to focus their lives on buying and accumulating more stuff.

Of course it does, but that doesn't man that it's the only option you have. You can do both and still engage in, say, party work or something.

Quote:
Defines happiness and material gain as buying things.

If the only thing that makes you "happy" is material gain, then you're a lost case.

Quote:
Drives petty competition and encourages people to get ahead at the loss of others.

Yes, this has been here for a long time. Even before the rise of "consumerism".

Quote:
It helps drive the mindset that capitalism is eternal, and that we are at the end of history.

Bourgeois propaganda which can be countered by our own theories and propaganda...the biggest problem is though getting people to listen to it.
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 06 May 2012, 00:01
Loz wrote:
Bourgeois propaganda which can be countered by our own theories and propaganda...the biggest problem is though getting people to listen to it.


That's sort of the point though.

There isn't a coherent left view today, in the present scene, because capitalism has proven exceedingly adept at absorbing proles into it.
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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Soviet cogitations: 172
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Feb 2012, 16:12
Ideology: Left Communism
Pioneer
Post 06 May 2012, 02:33
runequester wrote:
Creates artificial needs.


Supply. Creates. Demand.

Every prosperous society, ever, has had "artificial" demand for non-essential stuff. People are driven to acquire stuff that they consider useful, comfortable, stylish or pleasing. When someone produces the stuff, people will want the stuff. This is not a bad thing: It's an evolutionary trait. People's taste for creature comforts is the tried and true way for material progress to break through risk-aversion and resistance to change!!!


Socialists are supposed to want the working classes to be prosperous. Considering technological and material improvements as artificial needs to be decried is not progressive.
Cm'on baby, eat the rich!!! - Motörhead
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Soviet cogitations: 1201
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 May 2008, 14:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Forum Commissar
Post 06 May 2012, 02:48
KlassWar wrote:
Supply. Creates. Demand.


That's artificial. It's supposed to be the other way around.
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Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 06 May 2012, 03:02
KlassWar wrote:
Socialists are supposed to want the working classes to be prosperous. Considering technological and material improvements as artificial needs to be decried is not progressive.


But a technological or material improvement is not an artificial need. That would be irrational.

A purely advertising created need for an object that is inferior, overpriced redundant is, however, an artificial need.
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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Soviet cogitations: 172
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Feb 2012, 16:12
Ideology: Left Communism
Pioneer
Post 06 May 2012, 03:05
It works both ways in theory and in practice, both in socialist and capitalist economics.

Research (and eventually supply) follow untapped demand. Capitalists will seek profits in those untapped markets. Socialist economies are expected to provide for the needs of their citizens. Demand creates supply, and this is a natural phenomenon.

But often new technologies, tools and products open up new possibilities, creating demand. Before computers existed, there wasn't a demand for software. Before the tank existed, there wasn't a demand for anti-tank weaponry. Before radio existed, there wasn't a demand for radio. People didn't know what it was, they couldn't want it! Sure, if they thought about long-distance, real time voice transmission they'd have thought it would be cool and useful, but there wouldn't be a demand as such until radio started being developed and publicicized.

Supply also creates demand, and it's also a natural economic process.
Cm'on baby, eat the rich!!! - Motörhead
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Soviet cogitations: 21
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Apr 2012, 17:05
Pioneer
Post 08 May 2012, 02:14
Let us not lose sight of basics here.

Every person needs good health to function, good health requires access to good, nutritious food, clean air and water, necessary medical care.

Every person needs shelter, a place to rest, get clean, eat and a suitable climate controlled environment is needed if one lives within a geographic zone of extreme temperatures.

Every person needs an education both for self actualization and to acquire skills needed to produce goods and or services that others value and are willing to pay for, so that person can obtain goods and services that he or she needs in return.

Every person needs adequate clothing to shelter them from various climatic elements and to maintain modesty when appropriate.

We are very, very far away from these minimal humanitarian goals.
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 08 May 2012, 14:34
Loz: do you believe that capitalism is based on, and function without, ever-increasing profits?
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
Loz
[+-]
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 08 May 2012, 14:51
I'm terribly ignorant on these issues, but didn't Marx speak of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall?

Marx also writes that:

Quote:
It is the constant aim of capitalist production to produce the maximum surplus value or surplus product with the minimum of capital advanced; in so far as this result is not attained by overworking the labourer, it is a tendency of capital to seek to produce a given product with the least expenditure - economizing labour power and costs. .. .


Stalin, in the "Economical Problems", writes that:

Quote:
“Capitalism is in favour of new techniques when they promise it the highest profit. Capitalism is against new techniques, and for resort to hand labour, when the new techniques do not promise the highest profit.

That is how matters stand with the basic economic law of modern capitalism. The main features and requirements of the basic economic law of modern capitalism might be formulated roughly, in this way: the securing of the maximum capitalist profit through the exploitation, ruin and impoverishment of the majority of the population of the given country, through the enslavement and systematic robbery of the peoples of other countries, especially backward countries, and, lastly, through wars and militarization of the national economy, which are utilized for the obtaining of the highest profits.

It is said that the average profit might nevertheless be regarded as quite sufficient for capitalist development under modern conditions. That is not true. The average profit is the lowest point of profitableness, below which capitalist production becomes impossible. But it would be absurd to think that, in seizing colonies, subjugating peoples and engineering wars, the magnates of modern monopoly capital-ism are striving to secure only the average profit. No, it is not the average profit, nor yet super-profit - which, as a rule, represents only a slight addition to the average profit - but precisely the maximum profit that is the motor of monopoly capitalism. It is precisely the necessity of securing the maximum profits that drives monopoly capitalism to such risky undertakings as the enslavement and systematic plunder of colonies and other backward countries, the conversion of a number of independent countries into dependent countries, the organization of new wars - which to the magnates of modern capitalism is the "business" best adapted to the extraction of the maximum profit - and, lastly, attempts to win world economic supremacy
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 08 May 2012, 19:46
Correct. Proft can be realized in three ways:

externally by increasing sales, entering new markets etc
internally by improving "efficiency", lowering expenses
or through straight up speculation and manipulation (banks f.x.)
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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