Capitalism and socialism are two sides of the same coin. If socialism is the state controlling the means of production, capitalism cannot exist without the coercive power of the state.

Private property, fundamental to the workings of capitalism, cannot exist without the law, armed police, and military of the state. Although one system favors equality over capital accumulation, the lynchpin of both is still the state’s coercive apparatus. That’s why it’s tough to get socialism right because by definition the state is authoritarian. It’s easy to abuse that power. Those that capture the state can quickly switch from oppressing the poor to appropriating from the rich, and vice-versa.

Capitalism and socialism are ideas of the 19th century, the age of nationalism. For us to move beyond capitalism, I think, we have to think beyond the nation-state paradigm.

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PhD candidate of politics and philosophy at ECNU.Shanghai | Of Rivers and Mountains @ jiangshan.substack.com

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