Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by loneAzdgari, Jun 29, 2003.
I said state controlled and keeping everyone equal, how does that mean rich and poor? :shrug:
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Because apparently communism is a dirty word. It's far better to keep the poor that way forever whilst we can lord it over them. :shrug:
No, it's because communism doesn't work. It only works in small countries with homogeneous populations, where everyone truly regards everyone else as a brother so they're willing to work together as a family without keeping track of whether everyone is carrying his weight. In larger communist countries and those with heterogeneous populations (I visited several of them in 1973 and saw this phenomenon first-hand), no one feels kinship with more than his own community, and feels that the members of the other communities are goldbricking and letting everyone else do the work while they relax. And of course the reason they believe this is that they themselves do it! The motto of the working class in Czechoslovakia, for example, was "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."
We are a pack-social species, programmed by our instincts to depend on and care for only the members of our extended family, whom we have known intimately since birth. It's a triumph of our uniquely enormous forebrains that we have been able to override that instinct and expand our notion of "extended family" to include dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other people. But most of us can't extend that to millions, much less billions of other people especially when those other people are genuinely not very similar to us in appearance, culture or attitude.
Some of us can. And the internet helps, because those people now all have faces, names, families, hopes and dreams, and turn out to be not quite as different from us as we thought they were when they were merely anonymous abstractions in the newspaper. But it will be quite a few more generations before the majority of human beings trust people a thousand miles away, much less on the other side of the planet, to work productively without the incentive of wages.
Sometimes we simply have work with our own biology instead of ignoring it.
Communism failed, precisely because they thought they could accelerate the evolution of their people's instincts, and they were wrong.
The difference being that the concepts of the system itself are not actually flawed, only the people who fail to use it correctly. The systems in place in those countries were greatly corrupt, and most examples of communism in practice have fallen short for many reasons, often because they were actually more of a hybrid system which kept some people better off than others and not a true communist system.
Capitalism on the other hand prevents all people from being provided for, as there would be no profit in it. Essentially those with the money have the power, and will refuse a change of system as it does not benefit them, and those on the higher end of the scale will likely support them. The negatives of being in this system only help breed the contempt people feel for others and the cynicism that a more even system would fail. We could do more to encourage such a system, and to help people feel more of a global community. We are all human, occupying the same territory. Of course it is easier to trust those we come into contact with who can demonstrate honesty, but there are also people we meet in our closer communities who are not honest too.
I believe a society could be constructed without money, perhaps a computerizes system which determines how much resources you can utilize per day based on how much you contribute. It would still be like money as the computer would assign you a value, and subtract from it when you get things and add to it when you don't get things. It could be more affective and fairer then money depending on how much computing power is place on constantly tabulating your value and your inputs & outputs.
Barter is a bad idea! Barter worked fine for the agricultural communes of pre-history, but society could no longer operate in small communes indefinitely. About 5,000 years ago human mainstream society organized and began developing what we now know as the capitalistic system (i.e., the so called "free market" or "free enterprise" system) because barter ceased to work.
We returned to it at times, however. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, the
people began to set up collectives out of desperation. As they becoming, in turn, communes, the now debased and worthless Roman coinage forced them to turn back to a barter economy. Since this is what the Christianized Goths were anyway familiar with, it was an easy move. Barter continued in the West through most of the Feudal age.
Similarly, as the Chinese civilization issued round after round of inflation-causing paper money, it collapsed after the end of the 15th century, and there was then also some return to barter.
If we in turn do finally return to it in the next half century, it woulld be because of a wholesale disaster to our civilization. It would signal a return back to subsistence living.
I hate nit-picking responses!
Separate names with a comma.