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Socialist Economics

  1. Sep 25, 2005 #1
    Can anyone inform me about how socialism works economically - or if it does/has at all? I want to do a 30 minute seminar on Socialism for English; however, I'm not sure how to present the theory postively from an economic standpoint.

    Everyone knows capitalism because it has been taught to them since they were born, and, furthermore, the concept of capitalism is quite simple.

    Socialism, however, has more variations. Is there an Adam Smith, so to speak, of Socialist Economics.

    This project is not do for about two months, but we are going to a university library wednesday so I'd like to have some suggestions where to search.

    Socialist topics not associated with economics are also welcome.

    Ideas I have so far:

    Communism/Socialism Contrast
    Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy
    Revolution vs Evolution
    Modern Socialism vs Marxist Socialism
    Idealism vs Realistic Socialism
    Einstein's Socialist Views
    Leon Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin (Soviets)
    Karl Marx
    Antonio Gramsci
    Civil Rights and Socialism
    Maoism, Tibet, Modern China
    Cuba - Fidel Castro
    Communist/Socialist Instability - the definition crisis.
    Human Nature - Malleable or Fixed.

    Some of these topics aren't going to be discusses as I would like to focus on socialism rather than communism; however, I must talk about communism consideirng that socialism and communism share heritage and ideological beliefs.

    Socialism in fictional literature would be good, if you know of any examples. Not sure where to post this - i can delete/repost or it can be moved if it needs to go elsewhere.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2005 #2
    Wiki is your friend. Why does no one ever listen to me?

    Yes, there is an "Adam smith" of socialist economics. His name was Karl Marx, you may have heard of him.


    I think this forum is a fine place to put this.

    If your looking for books your first choice should (obviously) be Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto.

    Additional reading:

    You might also look here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_economics but I wouldn't recommend it.

    If I were you I'd want to do a more general report on alternative economic theories in general, not limit to "socialism". That would make for a more interesting (and pursuasive) presentation.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2005
  4. Sep 26, 2005 #3
    It doesn't work. Never has, never will (not until marginal costs approach zero). Scientifically, it is as relevant today as phrenology.

    As for literary references, read Dostoevsky. He understood what it means to be a Leftist.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2005
  5. Sep 26, 2005 #4
    I could get more info for you if you want Dooga, and feel free to ask questions. If you've never done any serious socialism research before I think you'll be quite surprised when you realise just how in-depth socialist thinking really is.
  6. Sep 26, 2005 #5
    I've done some research. I'm ok at the moment, but thanks for the links and information everyone. Unfortunately, I have to narrow my topic down, and, with something as complex as socialism, that might not be possible. I used some more percise topics and added some non-socialist topics onto my list just incase. I'll be taking them to my teacher tommorow. For more percise socialist topics, I have:

    A Marxist Analysis of Canadian Political Parties
    An Examination of Democratic Socialism in Canadian Politics
    Anti-Revolutionary Democratic Socialism
    Libertarian Socialism
    Atheism's Importance in a Socialist State
    A Contrast of Revolutionary and Evolutionary Socialism
    Communism and Socialism: How They Differ
    Antonio Gramsci
    Karl Marx

    Regardless, I regularly try to read up on socialism. I'm an anti-revolution, non-violent, Democratic Socialist myself, so I enjoy reading up on left-wing politics.

    Though I am a Democratic Socialist, I am not sure if that qualifies me as an Anarcho-Communist or what. Is there an Anarchist, Democratic Socialism, lol?

    Anyway, I use wikipedia.org all the time. I am having a bit of trouble with the economic arguments and how they will work pratically. It doesn't really specific how they will deal with human characteristics of greed and such. I know socialism and communism view human traits as more of an evolutionary and culturally influence thing - which I agree with, however, I have a hard time seeing the people I know working well in a socialist society, heh.

    Also, do you know anything about Einstein's socialist views? I know about "Why Socialism", but I heard that many of his writings on the subject have been destroyed by the government - not sure if this is true?

    Is there any more information?
  7. Sep 26, 2005 #6


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    Use wiki

    I'm surprised no one has pointed you to it yet.

    And why are you giving a seminar on Socialism in an English class?
  8. Sep 26, 2005 #7
    robin hahnel has written about globalisation from a socialist perspective.
    there's another book called 'participatory economics' by michael albert which covers anarchist economics.
  9. Sep 26, 2005 #8


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    Smurf posted five links to wikipedia and Dooga replied that he uses the site frequently. Come on, Pengwuino!
  10. Sep 26, 2005 #9
    Democratic socialism, yes. Social democracy, no.
    Well, what exactly are you hoping to touch on? I thought you were focusing on economics but now it looks like you're new topics are mostly political.
  11. Sep 26, 2005 #10


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    You didn't seem to get the joke did you :P
  12. Sep 26, 2005 #11


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    Are you making a commentary on the unreliability of wikipedia? That site definitely requires independent verification. It isn't bad for at least pointing one to other sources.
  13. Sep 26, 2005 #12


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    No, smurf goes "Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me" and i post up the same article as if he never posted in the first place :tongue2:
  14. Sep 27, 2005 #13
    Hi Dooga Blackrazor - I haven't read the whole thread yet, so maybe someone has already pointed you to the following resource: www.marxists.org. This website has many original works (of a huge list of intellectuals, not only Marxists). On this website, you can also find a 'primer' that'll introduce the key concepts of socialism and communism - its specific URL is http://www.marxists.org/subject/students/index.htm. And here's the direct URL to Einstein's page of writings (including his views on socialism): http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/einstein/index.htm. Have fun:-)

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  15. Sep 27, 2005 #14
    Good suggestions, Smurf, though I'd recommend the Manifesto first (Das Kapital is pretty hard-going - well worth studying, but not something you can do in a hurry). I would also recommend 'A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy' by Marx (especially the Preface to this book).

  16. Sep 27, 2005 #15
    heh, he doesn't need to do it in a hurry, he has two months. :biggrin:
  17. Sep 27, 2005 #16
    Unfortunately, I've switched my topic because it was too broad and the class probably wouldn't find it as interesting as I do - :(. Thanks for the help though. I will certainlly continue to check out the links and hopefully I will get a chance to read your recommendations. Busy, Busy, Busy.

    Incase your wondering, my new topic is Scientific Racism - I will deal with Standardized Tests and Eugenics. I am looking at "The Bell Curve" and "The Mismeasure of a Man" for possible reading material. There is another book as well - Wealth of the Nations or something like that.
  18. Sep 27, 2005 #17
    .... Socialism was too boring, so you chose Eugenics?
  19. Sep 27, 2005 #18
    I had a list of possible topics and showed them to my teacher. She was leaning towards Eugenics, and, since she is marking it, I choose that. Then a mentioned Scientific Racism and she suggested combining Eugenics and Standardized Tests into it (I had that as another topic). So, yeah, I guess Eugenics is more exciting to grade 12's. She also mentioned that I am trying to argue something, and she explained that it would be more difficult to convince the class that socialism is correct. Very few people will have a problem with me speaking against racism and promoting equality, and, if they do, they probably won't say anything.

    I would still like to do socialism, but it doesn't seem to work for this instance. For my final essay in the class, however, I am going to do a Marxist Deconstruction of Animal Farm, Hamlet, and Fahrenheit 451. So I will at least get some Marxist criticism going, lol.
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