Communism. Could it work?

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Communism can work, but only on small groups of people, not on a global or even national scale.

no, human selfishness wont allow it

It has the same problem that every other form of government has. They sound good in theory, but only because they were "built" with just the good parts of the human characteristics in mind. The fact that the flaws every human being carries with himself in smaller or bigger amounts is ignored. The most important ones for this matter are the temptations of power, egoism and greed. Sooner or later these three have corrupted every government that ever existed and will do the same in the future until humanity ceases to exist.

Of course it would, but currently humans are far too egocentric to work together like that. Maybe once we start making colonies on other planets....

No change of it working, everyone would have to consciously realize that working for the betterment of the human race else takes priority over personal interest. So, Star Trek basically.

Just on a side note.. take a look at cuba's health care system... it's one of the best in the world, in one of the "poorest" nations... communism has it's advantages even in a flawed form. Australia has a "socialist" approach to medicine, though it's becoming more and more capitalized. Which is a shame, our health system used to be fantastic. Now... not so much.

But ... Basically, what everyone up there said. Communism in it's purest sense cannot work with humans how they currently work. Capitalism doesn't work either. Democracy is a sham... Dictatorships are normally pretty good for about 50% of a poplulation... and way beyond shithouse for the rest.

Government doesn't work for everyone. No form of government.

It's not just that people are greedy. It's that people are both greedy and lazy, jealous and motivated, driven and competitive. People will compete to earn the most, and do better work in the process. But if there's no opportunity to earn more money, either because everyone earns the same or because when you earn more what 'more' you get is taken and redistributed, people will perform with the least possible effort. That leads to shoddy products and needlessly long production times, along with no drive to invent anything or progress any further.

If people, and therefore society, were ideal, and humans would work with 110% of their effort all of the time, no matter what they were getting out of it, then yes, Communism could work. But the world isn't wired that way. From the top of the food chain to the bottom, those that are the fittest survive, and while social Darwinism might be outright wrong in some respects, the basic premise tends to hold true. When you make a product that is stronger than another product, or when you make a similar quality product for less, typically that product will survive while the other dies out. When you produce something new that is useful, it will sell and keep you strong.

There are more problems with it than just that. In a Communist world producing a new product that will make, say, production lines more efficient could easily put people out of jobs. That likely wouldn't be tolerated, so something that would make, for example, cars cheaper, more reliable, and efficient could easily be shot down because in doing so the former factory workers would have to search for something new to do. This causes advancement to slow to a stop, and in the end you get a stagnating society.

Calling it pure greed is a gross simplification of an evolutionary drive that has been around since the first cells came into existence, and if it hadn't been around we would still be primordial ooze, content to sit back and let everything survive at an equal rate, preventing anything from getting ahead and struggling to support the weakest links in the chain when it would be better for the entire species to leave them behind.

Only ever in theory. Never in reality.

Eldrig:
I have been writing an essay for school about the Communist Manifesto (or at least a section of it) and I find myself wondering. Could an ideal society be formed out of the ideas from this document? I seem to feel that a Communist society could be very desirable in an ideal world (unlike ours where unfourtunately dictators seem to be the norm for Communist countries). So, if done right, what do you think? Could Communism be a viable, if not desirable governmental form? If not, what is in your opinion, the best way to go?

Theoretically, providing all ideal conditions, it's actually the best way to go. But considering so many flaws in human nature, it never will be so and Communism will end up a shallow mockery of it's own ideology. See: China.

Only if you had complete co-operation, and if no-one had any form of power that someone else doesn't, because in communism power defeats the system

In small Communities, yes it can work. It also can keep the unwanted people out by banishing them if they refuse to work.

In a Country like setting, it could never work. As shown by Lennin, it would require a single party dictatorship/Oligarchy that demands everything from it's people, it would always have to act revolutionary and anti-capitalism because 95% of the world is Capitalist, even if you had a good dictator one year the next year you could get the next Stalin or the next Mao, and businesses would always be cutting corners, and there would hardly be anything in stores. Plus, it would be 100 times harder to remove those who ruin the system, and it would basically kill anyone who disagreed with it.

It just can't work in large scales. It can only work in a small community or two.

On paper communism is the ideal way, everyone gets just as much and that is enough for every to live happily.
But there is no way that that could happen when you start to look at it.
We had a similar project in school with a few fellows and we came to the conclusion that the idea of communism is absolutely fantastic but in reality it could never work.

I disagree with the people here. No, not on if it could work, but that it's a good idea. I see Communism as slavery, pure and simple. People are owed the work of others for no reason but that they're living. This is not good, this is evil.

Communism can't work. Communism wont work. Communism shouldn't work.

I will say, however, that ants seem to be doing just fine with it. Perhaps we should leave it to the insect world and be done with such nonsense. http://www.cracked.com/article_19651_7-reasons-ants-will-inherit-earth.html

Never, people always want more and people who have more will rarely be willing to give all of it up.

Apollo45:
struggling to support the weakest links in the chain when it would be better for the entire species to leave them behind.

You know, from the perspective of the survival of the species, protecting the "weakest links" might not altogether be a bad idea. What is considered fit is relative, an individual who is fit in one situation, might not be fit in another. The larger our numbers and the more diverse our species, the higher the probability will we survive what mother nature throws at us.

Well, yes and no, the idea is that without garbage men then having doctors would be.. almost pointless because most of the population would have died from disease related to having massive cities with piles of garbage everywhere (Obviously a simplification) and deserve the same pay due to the way that labor is interconnected (I.E without farmers we wouldn't have food, without people to transport it the cities wouldn't have food,without disturbers the food would waste or some would go without etc)

I my personal opinion we can only have a purely equal pay system a few generations down the track, we need to have an education system where everyone has to go to college, therefore it will be a case where anyone can do what they want to do, a highly educated and brilliant man may decide to become a refuse collector, and if that makes him happy, so be it

tippy2k2:
No, it could never work for one simple reason:

People are greedy

In order for something like communism to work, everyone needs to be OK with having the same amount of things. That would never happen, therefore, communism would never be a good government system.

Pretty much this. In an ideal world where people are basically good all forms of government are theoretically good systems but Communism, like everything else, relies on people not being greedy and power hungry. Plus it gives no incentive for somebody to train for years and years for certain professions if you don't get any benefits beyond the job satisfaction so almost nobody would bother being a doctor or a lawyer or whatever.

Too all the people saying that it can never work, they just need to look at ant society. Everyone is part of the system and they work for the betterment of the hive. Communism works best if the people are living under constant fear of being destroyed by the elements, predators and kids with magnifying glasses.

Working with humans... not impossible, just very rare.

Athenian-Democracy ftw

Lazier Than Thou:
I disagree with the people here. No, not on if it could work, but that it's a good idea. I see Communism as slavery, pure and simple. People are owed the work of others for no reason but that they're living. This is not good, this is evil.

Communism can't work. Communism wont work. Communism shouldn't work.

I will say, however, that ants seem to be doing just fine with it. Perhaps we should leave it to the insect world and be done with such nonsense. http://www.cracked.com/article_19651_7-reasons-ants-will-inherit-earth.html

Yep.. working for the greater good of all humanity and yah know.. wanting people to be giving equal opportunity.. evil commies

I think ultimately, human nature will get in the way of any altruistic effort to live in a communist or otherwise Utopian society. In other words, no, I don't think it's possible to achieve a truly benevolent Communist state. There will always be a ruling elite, and people who desire to be in power, which is at odds with the whole idea in the first place.

IMO it could only work in a society such as Iain M Banks' Culture, that is run by intelligent machines. Human nature can and will always screw things up otherwise.

JoJoDeathunter:

I don't see any problems with some people having more than others as long as everyone has a reasonable standard of living, provided by most western nations social security.

Which is basically a mixture of capitalism and socialism, which is what most countries have.

Lazier Than Thou:
I see Communism as slavery, pure and simple. People are owed the work of others for no reason but that they're living. This is not good, this is evil.

That's the exact opposite of communism and pretty much what it's fighting against in the first place so god knows how you got that idea.
Edit: woops wrong person

OT: I think communism can work, but I'm not sure under what conditions. It doesn't really help that there are so many different types and forms of communism and ideas of how to implement it and there's so much ignorance around the subject.

I think the "motivational" issue isn't particularly a problem. Would you really rather be a burger flipper than a doctor? Doctor's wages aren't necessarily that high anyway, depending on the type of doctor. Besides, there could be ways of motivating people to work by excluding them from the benefits of society if they don't put the effort in.

What does "fairness" or "equality" mean anyway? People presume it means everyone receives the same amount, but it doesn't have to. It could mean assigning benefits proportionate to input of effort, or anything. Wages wouldn't even exist in a communist society, they're too restrictive. Capitalism works people too hard anyway.

Communism doesn't necessarily mean no private ownership of possessions either. Although I don't think the materialistic world we live in is worth all the downsides of capitalism. I always find it odd how people are so quick to dismiss communism with a few clichéd and badly thought through arguments (even if communism does have its flaws, which can still be worked on) when you look at all the problems and failures capitalism has caused and continues to all the time.

And human selfishness? Capitalism breeds selfishness in how it works. It may not be the same in another system. How exactly would it be a problem anyway?

Well, one thing it true for sure is that our Capitalist society has become so overall tainted that at this point it will be impossible to fix conventionally. I think it might be a good idea to create a system that uses both concepts of both Socialism (at least temporary socialism) and more regulated Capitalism.

Communism in and of itself won't work for reasons like Idocreating said.

While an actual communist society would be cool, it simply isn't possible considering human nature.

Nrussell397:
I think it might be a good idea to create a system that uses both concepts of both Socialism (at least temporary socialism) and more regulated Capitalism.

As I said before, that's what most western societies use.

Matthew94:
No.

Within seconds this will happen

"I'm a doctor who had to study for years doing gruelling studies to get my job and I get paid the same as a dishwasher in a restaurant, what gives?"

Cue anarchy

This is similar to an argument I get from people who are against universal health care. Privatized health care apparently means you automatically get the best doctors. A good chunk of people who decide to become doctors probably do so because they want to help people or end disease. Not to say that there isn't any doctors who aren't in it for the money, but to assume that everyone is a faulty assumption.

Also no, communism wont work because of human nature and generally only in small populations. The closest so far is a province in India called Kerala which is the first democratically implemented full fledged socialist society.

deadish:

Apollo45:
struggling to support the weakest links in the chain when it would be better for the entire species to leave them behind.

You know, from the perspective of the survival of the species, protecting the "weakest links" might not altogether be a bad idea. What is considered fit is relative, an individual who is fit in one situation, might not be fit in another. The larger our numbers and the more diverse our species, the higher the probability will we survive what mother nature throws at us.

The difference here is that if they have the possibility of providing something for the group they wouldn't be considered the weakest links. There are those that actually bring down the group as a whole. As a disclaimer, I'm in no way advocating that we actually 'leave people behind'. This is as much theory as ideal Communism is. But, if you have people in a society that serve only to eat up resources and not give anything back to the community - drug addicts that have had their chance to improve their lives and have instead chosen to continue to do said drugs and leech off of the system - would it not be better for the whole to stop letting them leech? If they're to survive, they should be able to do it on their own. In a debate between pure Communism and pure Capitalism, Capitalism wins in my book.

Of course, in reality things will work differently than that. The poor in general are a different story entirely. Many of them work extraordinarily hard at their jobs, and are simply stuck in circumstances that prevent them from rising any more, whatever those circumstances may be. If I had to suggest a form of economics that I believe would work effectively, I'd go with a Capitalist society with some socialist aspects to it. Give everyone an equal chance to rise in society, but let those with more drive and ability to rise higher. How this would be accomplished is up in the air - I'm not an economist nor am I a politician - but it seems like giving people a strong starting point would be the best for society. If they choose to rise or fall at that point it becomes their own problem.

PS3Aussie:
Well, yes and no, the idea is that without garbage men then having doctors would be.. almost pointless because most of the population would have died from disease related to having massive cities with piles of garbage everywhere (Obviously a simplification) and deserve the same pay due to the way that labor is interconnected (I.E without farmers we wouldn't have food, without people to transport it the cities wouldn't have food,without disturbers the food would waste or some would go without etc)

I my personal opinion we can only have a purely equal pay system a few generations down the track, we need to have an education system where everyone has to go to college, therefore it will be a case where anyone can do what they want to do, a highly educated and brilliant man may decide to become a refuse collector, and if that makes him happy, so be it

There's a big problem with that. If someday it is feasible for anyone to get an education and have completely equal opportunities like you describe, what reason would anyone have to take a job with worse working conditions? In a system with wages, they can adjust to even out all the other factors. If there are two jobs, and one is more stressful/demanding/unpleasant than another, why would anyone take that job? Society needs many people to do jobs that take an unreal amount of dedication, and you just can't get enough people to sacrifice that much if all you're offering is social incentives.

I'm not saying the current system is perfect, far from it. But a market system is necessary for a modern society to function.

At one point in time people believed the slave class was a necessary part of society, it could only be a matter of time before people find out that the financial classes need not exist at all. We've also over the years adopted ideas that have pushed us closer to communism: public schooling, health care, unemployment checks, loans, the raise of the middle class.

Humans used to live in what could be described as some kind of primal-communism. Tribes across the world still live like that, sharing literally everything and only owning trinkets of sentimental value. Works very well for them.

Communism and Capitalism are both extremes on opposite side of the spectrum. I despise extremes. While communism basically exists only in China and Cuba, Capitalism is global. So it bothers me a bit more. Marx had some really interesting ideas about Capitalism. He said for example that capital cannot abide to a limit, it can only circumvent or transcend it. Capitalism also never solves its problems, it just shifts them around. Which is why we keep getting crisis after crisis.

Communism is a little harder to discuss, because there are so many different types of it. Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Trotskism....you name it.

True, except in our country, regulation has been more or less eliminated.

manic_depressive13:
Of course it could work if given a fair try. Shame on all you nay-sayers.

You've converted me to your ideas with your compelling argument!

Can you give us anything? Any type of argument at all for why it would work? You can call "for shame" on nay-sayers all you want but you're going to have to give us something here...

Agow95:
Only if you had complete co-operation, and if no-one had any form of power that someone else doesn't, because in communism power defeats the system

Essentially, as long as we're robots and not humans, communism works great

Communism is little more than a naive attempt to apply a tribalism economic system on a scale too large for itself. There's a reason tribes start stratifying society, property rights and currency if they get over a 100 or so members. You can't know everyone and feel connected with everyone at that point, and thus no longer really care what happens to them. It's inherent to the small extended family groups in which humans evolved. Everything bigger than that carries a sort of 'belongs to another herd' notion and can never be as close.

Neither socialism nor communism can ever work as a result. Also you always need heavy oppression to even introduce it, let alone to keep it.

Communism would be the best economic model if EVERYONE was working for the common good.

Unfortunately humans are not perfect so that will never happen.

tippy2k2:

Agow95:
Only if you had complete co-operation, and if no-one had any form of power that someone else doesn't, because in communism power defeats the system

Essentially, as long as we're robots and not humans, communism works great

Yeah, in that specific scenario communism could work, as long as no-one has a EMP

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