Can communism work???

Discussion in 'Politics' started by unwrapped, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. unwrapped Registered Member

    id like to know what you guys think. i've been thinking about this; i believe in the ideology of Marx but i just dont know how practical this would be in the current world we live in. any one have opinions on this???
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  3. unwrapped Registered Member

    i had a conversation with a friend not so long ago regarding this matter and he said that communism will never work because as humans we are born greedy. we long to be better than the next person because thats how we validate ourselves. i believe that we compete against each other because we are taught that we live in a world of survival of the fittest, and that we are not equal. look i dont have any answers just ideas going thru my mind regarding humanity.
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  5. Light Registered Senior Member

    No, it can never work. The closest it has ever come is only with state enforcement and the inducement of fear. The ex-USSR proved this quite well.

    In addition to what unwrapped said, consider this: someone must assign the work or there would be a large number of jobs unfilled. Few would want to work as garbage collectors, sewer work and other distasteful things - because they are going the get only the same benefits as everyone else. And no one would want the truly hard jobs that take a lot of labor.

    Consider miners. Who would want to take such dirty, hot, and dangerous work when they earn no more than someone who has a job as a store clerk in an airconditioned building?

    The only way it can come even close is force people into jobs. And many times it's absolutely not the kind of work they would have chosen for themselves. Need more farmers? Great, just grab 500 people from the nearest town and make them do it. That's exactly why they had bread lines and food in general was in such short supply. The farmers had no incentive to produce any more than they were forced to do - and they did it very badly.
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  7. GodlessEvil God is dead Registered Senior Member

    Communism might mean everybody gets paid exactly the same no matter what job they do.
    Sounds cool, until you realise that many scientists, engineers, brick layers and so on might think "fuck this i might aswell sweep floors",
    and thats what would happen with equal pay all the top jobs go because if you get payed the same for sweeping the floor then you may aswell do that.
    So the equal system has to be broader but enforced, you cannot be free even if you are equal.

    It will always end up a case of "everyone is equal,BUT some are more equal than others"

    I dont like EQUAL anything, i like the fact that one person considers himself better than someone else, i like it when no equality is forced because i like variety, not because i'm AGAINST variety and difference.

    Making us all the same is like racism except you're racist against every human by saying "hey i put these two guys on some scales and they are both the same, because i say so".
  8. unwrapped Registered Member

    Light and GodlessEvil; thanks for the responces.what you guys have touched on is the very thing im struggling to swallow. i think communism sounds good in theory; it would solve alot of the poverty around the world but wud also create problems. i think we are mentally not prepared for communism. we are taught that we are not equal, and that its survival of the fittest. so it wud be difficult for anyone to take a job that is more demanding if they know they get paid the same as everyone at the end of the day. hey its an idea right, and by the looks of it, it wil remain on paper.
  9. Viva_el_Che Registered Senior Member

    This kinda thing brings up the question "Would we be better off if we gave up free will?" I do not think humanity will ever be mentally ready for communism because there will always be freedom of choice and people are always looking out for number one. There is always gonna be people who think about themselves before others and until we get rid of those people (which will never ever ever ever ever happen) we will not be mentally ready for communism
  10. GodlessEvil God is dead Registered Senior Member

    We are not equal, if i have no arms and you have the normal two arms then you are not equal to me, how can we be equal, if i have no arms i cannot do what you can.

    If you have better qualifications than me, then we are only equal on the firm belief i can achieve those same qualifications but maybe i cannot, maybe my IQ is not high enough, or maybe i have an attitude that does not suit the requirements to achieve such a goal due to my social upbringing.

    If i have stronger muscles than you then i can lift more can i not?
    well then i can do something you cannot so we are not equal clearly.

    And we can go on with examples but you get the point.

    In many ways we should consider races equal, but not when we put culture in the equation, how you are brought up, what religion you have effects how equal you are to whatever it is you are measuring against.

    If i say black people are better singers (and i think they are) then i am not considering them equal and it would be a racist statement to make, i have to say even if it is not true that white people can sing equally aswell even if some medical/scientific evidence says otherwise.

    Just considering everyone the same is just not the answer because it denies the truth:
    that everybody is indeed different.
  11. Light Registered Senior Member

    You're welcome.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Yes, it does look good on the surface but you don't have to look very deep to see that it's seriously flawed.

    One of it's biggest problems is that it actually promotes and pays laziness! Why should I work twice as hard as the next guy when I'll be paid exactly the same? Not only that but I might as well make it easy on myself and not do any more than the very bare minimum. And why not? I'll still be paid the same.

    Communism completely kills ambition, inventiveness, quality, and self-esteem. And that's why cars made in Russia would not run or fell apart after six months. The people who made them absolutely did NOT care how bad a job they did.

    Now compare that with capitalism and you'll quickly see that those factors that are not important in communism are EXACTLY the ones most desired! That's precisely why America has succeded and the USSR failed. And unless something changes, China will eventually go the same way as Russia did. The only thing they have going for them is the sheer size of their population. I don't think that everyone is aware of it but Mao came very close to causing the whole country to crumble. Eventually it will unless they make some serious changes - and I believe we see that starting to happen right now.

    Communism will be forever doomed to failure for the simple reasons I've stated.
  12. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    In free-market societies now, many people work at those types of jobs NOW and they usually make very little money. Why do they do it now, willingly, yet won't do it under communism? I don't follow your line of thought?

    We don't force them now and they're often the lowest paid work laborers, so why would we have to force them under communism?

    I'm not sure that I follow your basic line of reasoning?

    Baron Max
  13. Rosnet Philomorpher Registered Senior Member

    How can you decide whom to force into what job? And what right have you to do so?

    And basically, they are not <B>physically</B> forced (by the law) now. They still have their freedom of choice without any physical threat from a person or group of persons. They might be forced by nature, by their pysical condition, but no <I>person</I> is forcing them. Because no one has any right to do so. There is a difference in the case of communism, where it is people who force others.
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    It cannot work for you need people in charge that would be trustable and honest. There are no people that I would trust to run a communist type of government because they would only take advantage of those people that follow them. They make the rules and they tell you what to do and when to do it while they sit back and take in all the money for themselves and give little back to the people.

  15. i dont think it can work in the way that it was conceived by marx. i think you could have communism to one degree or another, but no the way he thought it would be with a worldwide proletarian revolution and stuff. its too tenuous, it only takes one holdout or variable out of place to fuck the whole system.
  16. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    It could work on small scales, where everyone agrees to the principles involved.
  17. devils_reject Registered Senior Member

    well said light
  18. Roman Banned Banned

    Exactly. The most common form of communism is the family unit. From each according to their ability, to each their need. When camping, this works especially well. I find myself to be a fairly able outdoorsman, so when camping and the people, I help out. Everyone contributes, everyone gains.

    But communism will only ever work on a small scale where everyone knows each other.
  19. Light Registered Senior Member

    No problem.

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    Let's look at it in more detail.

    To begin with, those people may earn more than you are aware of. The average pay for a "sanitation engineer" (garbage man) in Atlanta is $12.75/hour. He won't get rich but that's considerably above what lots of other jobs pay.

    The primary thrust is this: in a free society there will be people who will choose those jobs, just as you pointed out. But because they have done so by choice, they are better suited to the job psycologically.

    But it's quite different under a communistic system. It's very likely (actually, a certainty) that some of the people forced to do that work had the talent and abilities to be doctors, scientists, farmers, machinists, etc. They will NOT be psycologically suited for the work. And as a result, their performace (efficency) on the job will most likely be sub-standard.

    Does that clear it up some?
  20. Light Registered Senior Member

    Thank you, I appreciate it.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    The main problem is that people who advocate such a system do not really think deeply enough into it to see the obvious reasons that will defeat it.

    Anytime people are sent to do work that doesn't suit them personally, they are just not productive. The USSR had vast areas of farming land - and it was covered with farms. Yet there were always food shortages. I just cannot imagine why anyone would wonder what went wrong with that.
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The problem with socialistic economic systems is that there is no ECONOMIC incentive for people to actually work. Of course they'll get spotted if they stop working completely, but they have no reason to work hard or well.

    The only incentive people have to work in this system is communitarian. "If I don't do my share, the community will suffer."

    This only works in relatively small communities. For a couple of reasons.

    1. If the community is too large, then even the most rational person can say, "Hell, my contribution is such a small percentage that it really won't have a noticeable effect on the total if I slack off." You say you don't believe that any responsible citizen of any civilized country would think that way? Oh yeah? Then why do half of Americans NOT VOTE?

    2. People have to care about their fellow citizens in order to care whether the community as a whole suffers. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in groups of about a hundred people and they had socialistic economies. There was no money, no barter. Everyone hunted or gathered or healed or made flint spearpoints or whatever they were good at, and everyone ate the food and wore the clothes that everyone produced. Everybody knew everybody else. Most of them were blood relatives. It was a large extended family. You don't cheat your family. It's instinctive behavior. We wouldn't survive as a species otherwise.

    Even after the invention of agriculture when people began living in larger communities, there was still no formal economy. The goats and the cornfields belonged to everyone. Everybody watched the goats, milked the goats, gave the goats medical care, sowed the corn, kept the vermin from eating it, etc. And everybody got goat meat and goat cheese and tortillas.

    People were able to "extend" their sense of extended family to a much larger "family," two or three hundred people. They didn't all know each other and with the mobility that village life gave people, they certainly weren't all related. Yet our family instincts allowed us to still think of these people whom we lived with and worked with, people we saw almost every day even if we didn't always say hi, as family.

    See my postings on a dozen other threads for my theory that this leap in our emotional ability was largely made possible by the assimilation of dogs into our community. "People" whom we couldn't even communicate with loved us unconditionally and were willing to die for us. What a revelation. Anyway, back to our program...

    Then we got a handle on the whole "division of labor" thing which generates a sizeable surplus. And we invested that surplus in the building of cities, which is the literal meaning of "civilization." We were gathered in communities of a few hundred people. Some of them actually didn't know each other, wouldn't recognize them if they ran into them at the well. They were NOT related. There were many different bloodlines from different tribes who had converged and cooperated.

    That instinctive sense of kinship was starting to strain under the load. Asking someone to weave a basket for somebody he's never heard of, on the faith that somebody else he's never heard of is going to make him a pair of boots or put a new roof on his house? That's a stretch. If the roofer gets sick or can't get the supplies he needs or simply takes too long on his previous job, the basketweaver is going to start thinking, "Why should I do my work when somebody else isn't doing his?"

    For a while, simply having good, beloved, trustworthy leaders solved this problem. They made sure everyone worked equitably and received what they needed.

    But cities kept getting bigger. Five hundred people. Nine hundred people. Good leadership wasn't enough. Even the best leader couldn't remember everybody's name. Nobody knew whether everyone was putting in their fair share and getting their fair share.

    And archeologists start finding primitive accounting records of the number of urns of wine in storage and the number of sheep in the flock. Economics was born.

    Jack makes baskets, gives them to a shopkeeper, and keeps a record of the number. Eventually the shopkeeper gives him some wine and meat and clothes and furniture that other people have made. The relative value is agreed on by what by our standards may seem like a chaotic process, but barter works up to a point. Nonetheless, Jack is motivated to work by the fact that his products will be traded for things he needs or wants. He trusts and cares about the fellow inhabitants of his city up to a point, and economic motivation takes him the rest of the way.

    Once a community gets larger than a few hundred people, economic motivation is necessary to ensure that everyone is treated fairly--by the SYSTEM--not just by each other.

    Still, socialistic economic systems have met with some success in small, homogeneous populations like Sweden and Bulgaria. But they fare terribly in places where it’s the least bit difficult for people to feel kinship—a sense of community—with each other. Just the rivalry between the Czechs and the Slovaks, or the Tong and Han Chinese, is enough to make it fail. Putting people who all hate each other together, such as the Estonians, Russians, Georgians, and Uzbeks, and expecting them to behave like a “community,” was idiotic.

    The running gag throughout the Eastern Bloc nations was, "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us." Many people felt dispirited or downright depressed and only produced the minimum necessary to keep their jobs. Since their supervisors and their supervisors' managers all felt the same way and weren't doing their own jobs very well either, the minimum necessary was REALLY minimal.

    So: Communism on a commune in Taos or Israel? Yes, probably okay. Communism in the USA or China? No way.
  22. Roman Banned Banned

    I think Fraggle really nicely wrapped everything up.
  23. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    It has been suggested that communism will not work because people are greedy, evil, et cetera. Those who present this argument are suggesting that people are not good enough to allow communism to work, but the system is basically good.

    The system is basically evil, and should not be allowed even if it could be made to work. From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs. The basic principle sounds like a lofty ideal until you analyze it. A closer look shows that it is a principle no better than thievery. It is a promise to steal from the best and the brightest. They are expected to work hard and produce much, but it is definitely implied that they will not be compensated fairly for their efforts.

    The other part of the principle: To each according to his needs. It sounds like a promise to help the less fortunate, which it might do if the system is highly productive. Actually it is an invitation to whiners and free loaders, who are adept at working the system.

    As pointed out in previous posts, why should the best and the brightest work up to their capabilities? Aside from those who did not produce as much as they could, many left the USSR. As an advocate of communism once mentioned in another thread, as long as the whole world is not run using communist principles, there is a problem keeping the best and the brightest from leaving.

    A serious problem with a communist system is that it requires a really huge bureaucracy and a police state to administer it. There is implied central control of who does what job and who gets what benefits. This is a monstrous task, even if you ignore the police state mechanisms required to keep people from leaving the country and the control required to force people to do jobs they might not like.

    What do bureaucrats and politicians typically do? They try to run the system to benefit themselves, their families, and their cronies. Why should a person not favor his family, friends, and those who bribe him? A businessman cannot do too much of this or he will lose business due to inefficiency. Bureaucrats and politicians do not have to worry about the cost effectiveness of their activities. A communist system is basically inefficient as is any system which supports a large bureaucracy (which might be the downfall of the USA & other technological countries).

    A related side issue: Why do you think that slavery no longer exists in modern technological cultures? Slavery stopped because it became impractical and was no longer cost effective. In a simple agricultural economy, the man with the whip knows when the slave is taking it easy. You do not need much intelligence to notice that the slave is not plowing much of the field each day or getting anywhere digging a ditch. How does the man with the whip decide that a computer programmer or an engineer is not doing his job? Worse yet, how does he know when an inventor is not thinking about a new idea? How do the bureaucrats know when the best and the brightest are doing their best in a communist system?

    Neither religion nor reason got rid of slavery in over 5000 years of recorded history. Ruthless capitalism of the industrial revolution was its down fall. It just was not efficient. The trend started long before him, but why did Henry Ford pay $5 per day for a factory worker when $3 was the going rate? He had two reasons.
    • 1: He had an ambition to manufacture and sell one million cards in a year. He could not achieve this goal by selling to the wealthy (there were not that many). He wanted to see the average person become affluent enough to buy a car, which was a luxury item when he started his company. He knew that other manufacturers of various products (other than cars) would tend to increase wages due to his having done so.

    • 2: He wanted the best and the brightest to work for his company, and expected their best efforts coupled with his assembly line techniques to make the extra pay cost effective.
    As the industrial revolution developed, paid workers became customers, resulting in synergistic effects. In earlier times, ordinary people made their own clothes, built their own houses (hovels), and grew their own food. The simple agricultural economies were not efficient enough to provide much for the average person, but the ruthless capitalists and entreprenuers of the Robber Baron Era created a system in which the average person thrived in comparison to his feudal predessor.

    I thank those Robbers Barons for my car, my comfortable home, my computer, my TV, and all the other goodies I enjoy.

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