>>464928>I believe that it is very based for prisoners to be working in chicken factories and making bricks. This is forced labor in my opinion, but instead of free people doing these menial jobs, the prisoners do it as punishment.
As long as you pay the prisoners the same wage as a normal worker, it might be worth considering under certain circumstances. But you have to pay attention that you are not creating a perverse system that has an incentive to imprison more people because the prison factory has a labor shortage.<PA system crackles:<Attention fellow citizens for the next two months littering carries a 20 year prison sentence, and in unrelated news the protectorate announces that boneless chicken wings will become available again in short order.
I don't know exactly where the threshold should be, i haven't studied this, but my guess is that the prison population should not be above 0.5% of the overall population, probably 0,3% would be better.
>Secondly, I read the bit from Cockshott where he states that cheap labor doesn't bring about automation as fast, I agree. I have noticed that when I watch factory videos, there are many, many jobs that could be automated but aren't.
A socialist system could just instruct factories to automate by decree, and that would work to a certain degree, but it would use up a lot of political energy to enforce it. It's easier to just make labor-power expensive enough so that increasing labor productivity through technological automation is baked into the economic incentive structures.
>I am genuinely interested in socialism, although it seems flawed in the sense that it reduces personal responsibility to the point where workers just don't care.
Socialists tend to have an instrumentalist view on this, as long as systems work and people live good lives it doesn't really matter. I can tell you that capitalist methods are entirely ineffective, negative reinforcement only results in apathy. And i think it's not supposed to work, invoking "personal responsibility" is only an excuse for punishment and neglect.
If you are genuinely interested in figuring out how to build a social environment that fosters personal development and self-reliance, you will get a lot of support from socialists, but the moment you try to use it as just an excuse for punishing and neglecting people, socialists will get the urge to put you against the wall.
>I don't subscribe to a political philosophy, but I am economically right, socially left
I don't know what that means to you because left and right means different things to different people.
"Economically right and socially left" is most often associated with neo-liberalism. So high wealth inequality, a lot of market discipline imposed on labor but not on capital, with a lot of corporate influence in politics combined with class collaborationist liberal social values. That's entirely incompatible with socialism.
>how do we (according to you) overcome the lack of variety that former socialist countries had?
Actually existing socialism in the 20th century did have comparably low variety in consumption goods, but that never was an ideological goal, these societies started out from a very low material base of economically backwards countries. They simply weren't rich enough to have hundreds of choices for every type of consumer good.
In Cockshots cybernetic socialism, workers have a lot of control over their work-place, so there's nothing really stopping people to decide to make a new type of product if they perceive a lack in variety. I guess that the socialist version of an entrepreneurial spirit is tied to inspiring fellow workers to join a cause and set up a workplace to make a thing rather than begging an investor to fund a thing. There could also be a lottery system that funds projects based on chance, so that it doesn't entirely depend on gaining approval from somebody you know because genius can go unrecognized. Also people working in research institutions would likely benefit from a horizontal career shift ability towards product design. I could probably come up with more but this post is too long already.