Capitalism Begets Socialism

Imagine the average wage a bit higher and the average intelligence a bit lower but other than that this bit of dialog from Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson caught my attention this morning while I spent 2.78 hours at the Nevada DMV. Speaking of which--you know if you change the address on your driver's license and you get a sticker to put on the back with the new address. Then some time in the future you wish to change it back to the address that is already on the license, well that cannot be fathomed by the computer mediated system. I fear I no longer exist in the Silver State, but I am registered to vote in Neverland.

But back to capitalism, socialism and other fantasies:

"The average surplus value created by American workers is thirty-three dollars an hour."

Anna said: "I wonder how they define surplus value."

"Profit," Frank said.

Edgardo shook his head. "You can cook the books and get rid of profit, but the surplus value, the value created beyond the pay for labor, is still there."

Anna said, "There was a page in here that said the average American worker puts in 1,950 hours a year. I thought that was questionable too, that's forty hours a week for about forty-nine weeks."
. . .

"What's the average income?" Edgardo asked. "Thirty thousand?"

"Maybe less," Frank said.

"Call it thirty, and what's the average taxes paid?"

"About ten? Or is it less?"

Edgardo said, "Call it ten. So let's see. You work every day of the year, except for three lousy weeks. You create around a hundred thousand dollars. Your boss takes two thirds, and give you one third, and you give a third of that to the government. Your government uses what it takes to build all the roads and schools and police and pensions, and you boss takes his share and buys a mansion on an island somewhere. So naturally you complain about your bloated inefficient Big Brother of a government, and you always vote for the pro-owner party."

He grinned at Frank and Anna. "How stupid is that?"

I know. Too simplistic, the bosses take all the risks. Socialism doesn't work; Capitalism does (see Federal Financial Institutions Bailout, Sept. 2008). Be kind, I was into my third hour at the DMV, the man next to me was reading Super System II.