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John Redwood at the Oxford Union: Socialism does NOT work

John Redwood at the Oxford Union: Socialism does NOT work

(11:14) Privilege is alive and well, socialism has failed. British Conservative politician John Redwood gives his arguments for why socialism does not work. 2013.

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Guest: DJT (840 days ago)

Unlike most of the posters here I have met Mr. Redwood. I have called at his house on business, where he was polite and patient. I have worked at a hotel where he held his Christmas party; he was always polite to all the staff and left generous tips. Unlike most events the venue was not trashed. I refered someone outside his constiuency to him for assistance, which he promptly provided. Whatever his politics or upbringing, he has always been a gentleman in person.

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Unlike most of the posters here I have met Mr. Redwood. I have called at his house on business, where he was polite and patient. I have worked at a hotel where he held his Christmas party; he was always polite to all the staff and left generous tips. Unlike most events the venue was not trashed. I refered someone outside his constiuency to him for assistance, which he promptly provided. Whatever his politics or upbringing, he has always been a gentleman in person.

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Guest: (840 days ago)

I think Redwood is one of those professional politicians who hasn't had to do a day's work in his life and whose parents were well able to afford what he wanted/needed as he grew up. I don't take the word of people like that as a reasoned argument because they only know how life works if you have enough of everything. I'll listen more intently if the speaker started with nothing and got what they have by hard work. Those people have a better understanding of the world as a whole.

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I think Redwood is one of those professional politicians who hasn't had to do a day's work in his life and whose parents were well able to afford what he wanted/needed as he grew up. I don't take the word of people like that as a reasoned argument because they only know how life works if you have enough of everything. I'll listen more intently if the speaker started with nothing and got what they have by hard work. Those people have a better understanding of the world as a whole.

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Guest: (840 days ago)

And that folks is good ole fashioned class bigotry. Quite some chip on your shoulder there.

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And that folks is good ole fashioned class bigotry. Quite some chip on your shoulder there.

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Guest: (840 days ago)

No chip on my shoulder at all. I just naturally distrust people who have only ever seen things from one side. I grew up with rationing in this country, have worked all my life, paid what I owe and have enough to live on through my own efforts - unlike John Redwood I'm guessing. I've listened to politicians of both (all three) persuasions since I was old enough to take notice of how my country is run, and by who. I have no particular poitical affiliation and have worked and socialised with people from a multitude of backgrounds which, I hope has given me a fairly open perspective on the world so, when I hear a politician stating that, from a position of privilege or privation, this or that cannot or will not work, I kind of stop listening because our country would be better served by elected officials who really have the interests of the entire nation at heart. That would mean agreeing to compromise and finding the best solution regardless of their personal agendas or what their party boss thinks.

So, no, it's not bigotry because I'd be the same if it was a man from the opposite end of the political spectrum saying that capitalism doesn't work.

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No chip on my shoulder at all. I just naturally distrust people who have only ever seen things from one side. I grew up with rationing in this country, have worked all my life, paid what I owe and have enough to live on through my own efforts - unlike John Redwood I'm guessing. I've listened to politicians of both (all three) persuasions since I was old enough to take notice of how my country is run, and by who. I have no particular poitical affiliation and have worked and socialised with people from a multitude of backgrounds which, I hope has given me a fairly open perspective on the world so, when I hear a politician stating that, from a position of privilege or privation, this or that cannot or will not work, I kind of stop listening because our country would be better served by elected officials who really have the interests of the entire nation at heart. That would mean agreeing to compromise and finding the best solution regardless of their personal agendas or what their party boss thinks.

So, no, it's not bigotry because I'd be the same if it was a man from the opposite end of the political spectrum saying that capitalism doesn't work.

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Guest: (840 days ago)

Heck people like you make me angry. Grown up with rationing? Please, you're a self-parody. For the record I dislike John Redwood and disagree with much of his politics, but your bigotry (yes it is bigotry, aimed at class) against him or anyone else really riles me. The most basic search reveals that Redwood was brought up in a council house, only got into private education through a scholarship (which anyone could do), and jobwise has been a teacher, a postman, a uni professor, a shop assistant and a bank clerk amongst other jobs. I'm guessing that's a more varied CV than yours, and cuts across more social levels too. So why might you be inclined to think he was born with a silver spoon in his gob? Because he talks posh and has been to Oxbridge. So, let's ignore his policies, let's ignore his biography, let's ignore his intellect, let's ignore his rational - he's just a poshboy who can't ever imagine what it's like to be one of us 'umble earnest hard-working souls. Why not go the whole way and say policies for the public can only be suggested by people on the minimum wage because they're the only ones not operating from a position of privilege or privation? If you've worked your way up through society, sorry, you're too high up now to represent us.

Sure, some upper-class politicians fail to represent their public - some lower class do as well. Equally some lower class politicians don't have the eloquence, empathy or education to present feasible policies, and guess what, some upper-class don't either.

You coming up with a shorthand to write off someone's opinion based on your perception of their class, or your perception of their background, is appalling. Can you imagine it from the other camp? Lords in their country houses spurning any politician from a working class background, because how on earth can they empathise with millionaire issues? In both directions, it's scandalous bigotry and we should have lost it at the same time as rationing. Shame on you, old timer.

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Original comment

Heck people like you make me angry. Grown up with rationing? Please, you're a self-parody. For the record I dislike John Redwood and disagree with much of his politics, but your bigotry (yes it is bigotry, aimed at class) against him or anyone else really riles me. The most basic search reveals that Redwood was brought up in a council house, only got into private education through a scholarship (which anyone could do), and jobwise has been a teacher, a postman, a uni professor, a shop assistant and a bank clerk amongst other jobs. I'm guessing that's a more varied CV than yours, and cuts across more social levels too. So why might you be inclined to think he was born with a silver spoon in his gob? Because he talks posh and has been to Oxbridge. So, let's ignore his policies, let's ignore his biography, let's ignore his intellect, let's ignore his rational - he's just a poshboy who can't ever imagine what it's like to be one of us 'umble earnest hard-working souls. Why not go the whole way and say policies for the public can only be suggested by people on the minimum wage because they're the only ones not operating from a position of privilege or privation? If you've worked your way up through society, sorry, you're too high up now to represent us.

Sure, some upper-class politicians fail to represent their public - some lower class do as well. Equally some lower class politicians don't have the eloquence, empathy or education to present feasible policies, and guess what, some upper-class don't either.

You coming up with a shorthand to write off someone's opinion based on your perception of their class, or your perception of their background, is appalling. Can you imagine it from the other camp? Lords in their country houses spurning any politician from a working class background, because how on earth can they empathise with millionaire issues? In both directions, it's scandalous bigotry and we should have lost it at the same time as rationing. Shame on you, old timer.

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Guest: (838 days ago)

Uh oh. Somebody getting their panties in a bunch because somebody else dared to offer an opinion about some chinless Brit.

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Uh oh. Somebody getting their panties in a bunch because somebody else dared to offer an opinion about some chinless Brit.

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Guest: (838 days ago)

Uh oh. An American is trying to involve themselves in something they don't get, by offering shallow observations about someone's physical appearance.

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Uh oh. An American is trying to involve themselves in something they don't get, by offering shallow observations about someone's physical appearance.

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Guest: one more time (840 days ago)

Haven't watched Redwood yet but I will. Meantime, folks, calm down. It's not a choice between 0% and 100% socialism or capitalism. A mix is required even by the most ardent on either side. The question is where to set the boundary, and the answer to that depends on ... well, different things to different people. That's why we get heated disagreements, and precious little analysis and debate.

Which of these should be privatised or nationalised - and most importantly, why? - roads, defence, emergency services, telecommunications, railways, water, electricity, postal services, currency, banking, health services ... add your own.

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Haven't watched Redwood yet but I will. Meantime, folks, calm down. It's not a choice between 0% and 100% socialism or capitalism. A mix is required even by the most ardent on either side. The question is where to set the boundary, and the answer to that depends on ... well, different things to different people. That's why we get heated disagreements, and precious little analysis and debate.

Which of these should be privatised or nationalised - and most importantly, why? - roads, defence, emergency services, telecommunications, railways, water, electricity, postal services, currency, banking, health services ... add your own.

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Guest: one more time (840 days ago)

OK, have watched now. Redwood’s argument is that centrally controlled economies do not deliver the goods - literally. As evidence, he points to failed socialist economies, as contrasted with the UK. I agree.

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OK, have watched now. Redwood’s argument is that centrally controlled economies do not deliver the goods - literally. As evidence, he points to failed socialist economies, as contrasted with the UK. I agree.

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TheBob TheBob (840 days ago)

He's a very entertaining speaker, but his argument is essentially: Romania called itself socialist; Romania failed; therefore socialism doesn't work.

Logically this is the same as: America called itself capitalist; the system crashed in 1929; therefore capitalism doesn't work.

Neither of those arguments stands up to scrutiny, so even though he's entertaining, John Redwood hasn't proved that socialism doesn't work.

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Original comment

He's a very entertaining speaker, but his argument is essentially: Romania called itself socialist; Romania failed; therefore socialism doesn't work.

Logically this is the same as: America called itself capitalist; the system crashed in 1929; therefore capitalism doesn't work.

Neither of those arguments stands up to scrutiny, so even though he's entertaining, John Redwood hasn't proved that socialism doesn't work.

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Guest: one more time (835 days ago)
Latest comment:

TheBob - fair point. The trouble is that with only 10 minutes, neither speaker can put a well reasoned case. Instead, they fall back on emotional appeal. However Redmond did bring in some examples.

To my mind it's not an all-or-nothing issue. The other day I was thinking how ludicrous it would be to privatise all the Lighthouses in the UK. Then I remembered that the RNLI is private already and does a great job. With examples like these, I cannot see what principles are involved in deciding whether something should be privatised or not.

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Latest comment:

TheBob - fair point. The trouble is that with only 10 minutes, neither speaker can put a well reasoned case. Instead, they fall back on emotional appeal. However Redmond did bring in some examples.

To my mind it's not an all-or-nothing issue. The other day I was thinking how ludicrous it would be to privatise all the Lighthouses in the UK. Then I remembered that the RNLI is private already and does a great job. With examples like these, I cannot see what principles are involved in deciding whether something should be privatised or not.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (841 days ago)

Capitalism is about making shit cheaper. Socialism is about making shit better.

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Capitalism is about making shit cheaper. Socialism is about making shit better.

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Guest: (841 days ago)

Capitalism is about everyone being responsible for their own welfare. Socialism is forcing the rich to be responsible for those the choose not to take care of themselves.

Socialism is where a large majority of businesses such as hospitals, schools, utilities, and transportation are owned and controlled by the government. In capitalism, the majority of the businesses are privately owned.

In socialism, the wealth is redistributed from the rich to the poor. In capitalism, you keep what you earn so people consider jobs that are in demand instead of just doing the bare minimum in life and still expecting a living.

Historically, the more socialist a nation becomes, the bigger the chance of a downfall. Look at what happened to the Roman empire after 500 years of world domination.

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Capitalism is about everyone being responsible for their own welfare. Socialism is forcing the rich to be responsible for those the choose not to take care of themselves.

Socialism is where a large majority of businesses such as hospitals, schools, utilities, and transportation are owned and controlled by the government. In capitalism, the majority of the businesses are privately owned.

In socialism, the wealth is redistributed from the rich to the poor. In capitalism, you keep what you earn so people consider jobs that are in demand instead of just doing the bare minimum in life and still expecting a living.

Historically, the more socialist a nation becomes, the bigger the chance of a downfall. Look at what happened to the Roman empire after 500 years of world domination.

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Guest: Bullshit (841 days ago)

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! I belive you have not read a single book about economy or history before you wrote all the bullshit.

But where is the so called wellfare is the in US you like so much today? Its a historical epic downfall for the capatilistic ideas, where only a small powerfull procent has all the benefits. And there is no room for you.

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Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! I belive you have not read a single book about economy or history before you wrote all the bullshit.

But where is the so called wellfare is the in US you like so much today? Its a historical epic downfall for the capatilistic ideas, where only a small powerfull procent has all the benefits. And there is no room for you.

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Guest: (841 days ago)

The US does have a welfare program. In fact, there are several programs available. The US is moving toward a socialist country with the last few liberal presidents in control.

Regarding the few that have all the benefits, that seems to be true but only because someone earned it by either risk or work.

Take 10 people and put them on a deserted island. One person refuses to do any work and wants to just live off the generosity of the others who are gathering firewood, hunting, gathering, and basically contibuting to their society. What do you think the other 9 people will do? Just gracefully let that person sponge off the rest? Or kick them out of the group and let him fend for himself? There's no money involved so nobody has any more riches than anyone else. But once you can understand this concept, you will finally understand why some people don't like socialism.

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Original comment

The US does have a welfare program. In fact, there are several programs available. The US is moving toward a socialist country with the last few liberal presidents in control.

Regarding the few that have all the benefits, that seems to be true but only because someone earned it by either risk or work.

Take 10 people and put them on a deserted island. One person refuses to do any work and wants to just live off the generosity of the others who are gathering firewood, hunting, gathering, and basically contibuting to their society. What do you think the other 9 people will do? Just gracefully let that person sponge off the rest? Or kick them out of the group and let him fend for himself? There's no money involved so nobody has any more riches than anyone else. But once you can understand this concept, you will finally understand why some people don't like socialism.

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Guest: Bull (840 days ago)

You know very well that that is totally bullshit again. You take a very simplified model at project it on a global model, and it has No what so ever hold on reallity. Have you ever done team work ever in your life?

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You know very well that that is totally bullshit again. You take a very simplified model at project it on a global model, and it has No what so ever hold on reallity. Have you ever done team work ever in your life?

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Guest: Rødgrødmedfløde (841 days ago)

Walter, have you ever been to a socialist country? I can assure you, shit is really the operative word here. To take but one example: compare a Trabant to a simple Volkswagen (or Nissan cherry for that matter). The Trabant may actually have been cheap in terms of the price tag, but access was rationed and it drove on an oversized lawnmower engine. I don't think I need to explain what even bottom of the range capitalist cars look like. This analogy works for just about any other product I can think of. There is a reason why Corbyn (in the other video) stuck to praising the welfare state (which exists within largely capitalist economies) rather than pointing to real examples of fully socialist economies. He has probably experienced a ride in a Trabant, and, if so, his backside likely still hurts.

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Original comment

Walter, have you ever been to a socialist country? I can assure you, shit is really the operative word here. To take but one example: compare a Trabant to a simple Volkswagen (or Nissan cherry for that matter). The Trabant may actually have been cheap in terms of the price tag, but access was rationed and it drove on an oversized lawnmower engine. I don't think I need to explain what even bottom of the range capitalist cars look like. This analogy works for just about any other product I can think of. There is a reason why Corbyn (in the other video) stuck to praising the welfare state (which exists within largely capitalist economies) rather than pointing to real examples of fully socialist economies. He has probably experienced a ride in a Trabant, and, if so, his backside likely still hurts.

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