Communism. Could it work?

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Let's put this in perspective.

Do you have sex to please the other person and them alone?
Do you cook for other people to enjoy?
Do you work because it's the right thing to do?
Would you take a bullet for a total stranger right now?
Are you devoid of any greedy tendencies, at all?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then you pretty much understand why Communism won't work. Ever. People are always interested in what's best for them. Even the ones that don't seem like it.

For example, I cook all the time. Sometimes friends will come over and I'll happily let them eat dinner. Sometimes I even cook dinner specifically because of this. I do this because I enjoy it when my friends enjoy my cooking. I also like the compliments they tend to give. Even just a "this is good" makes me happy. Yes, I'm doing it because I want to, but if I didn't like doing it, I wouldn't. Plain and simple.

And look at any government in the world. Do you really think things would be better in a communist country? Because it isn't. Look at China. If I have to explain more, you need to read the news more often.

tippy2k2:

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...

I can't because I don't believe it. I felt obliged to dissent because my boyfriend really believes that it can be achieved but, while I agree that it's an ideal to be strived for, I can't share his optimism. Let's face it, people are assholes.

He's the best, though.

FelixG:
It would work in an ideal world.

the Federation in Star Trek is a Communist society, so there is your ideal right there.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that saw the Federation as Communist...

Anyway, as most have been saying, Communism most likely wouldn't work. The main problem being the people within the system. Though we all hate to admit it, the human will is surprisingly easy to warp and corrupt. Ideal Communism depends solely on the thought that everyone within and maintaining the system is completely incorruptible and selfless. That's not human nature.

No. Communism has the asinine assumption that if everyone has the same amount of everything, no one would feel inclined to steal their neighbours shit.

Which is rubbish, obviously. The only way communism could ever work is if everyone had limitless access to everything, rather than the same limits as everyone else.

manic_depressive13:

tippy2k2:

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...

I can't because I don't believe it. I felt obliged to dissent because my boyfriend really believes that it can be achieved but, while I agree that it's an ideal to be strived for, I can't share his optimism. Let's face it, people are assholes.

He's the best, though.

So you come into this thread, insult everyone who thinks it's a bad idea (the vast majority here), and then say that you have no argument, you are only doing it because your boyfriend thinks that way...

Seriously? Did you mistype something in there because that's about the silliest thing I've seen today?

Ekonk:
No. Communism has the asinine assumption that if everyone has the same amount of everything, no one would feel inclined to steal their neighbours shit.

Which is rubbish, obviously. The only way communism could ever work is if everyone had limitless access to everything, rather than the same limits as everyone else.

How is this any less of an issue in capitalism than in communism? And who says communism is people having the same amount of everything?

Nope. We had that shiz in Hungary for over 4 years, then for another 40 something years. It was fucking awful. Only got better towards the end of the system, even then, it was worse than the current democracy - which also sucks.
All political systems suck if the state can't provide for it's people properly, and capitalism seems the most capable of providing(correct me if you must).
But I also hate capitalism. And political systems in general. Guess I'm just a hateful person.

tippy2k2:
So you come into this thread, insult everyone who thinks it's a bad idea (the vast majority here), and then say that you have no argument, you are only doing it because your boyfriend thinks that way...

Seriously? Did you mistype something in there because that's about the silliest thing I've seen today?

"Shame on you" is an insult these days? I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Given the complete lack of elaboration it obviously wasn't a serious post. And yes, I came all the way into this thread and performed the gruelling chore of typing a sentence due to a possibly misguided sense of loyalty, but also because I knew someone like you would probably cry over it. Don't let me stop you. Cry some more.

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?

The United Federation of Planets is a Communist Society. With a little democracy thrown in to make sure that no one person gains the power to make it a dictatorship

Communism can ONLY work on a country that is self sustaining, or on a Worldwide level. No country on Earth is self sustaining though at this point in time. Communism CAN work, just not now, or in the forseeable future.

Combine Rustler:
Nope. We had that shiz in Hungary for over 4 years, then for another 40 something years. It was fucking awful. Only got better towards the end of the system, even then, it was worse than the current democracy - which also sucks.
All political systems suck if the state can't provide for it's people properly, and capitalism seems the most capable of providing(correct me if you must).
But I also hate capitalism. And political systems in general. Guess I'm just a hateful person.

The type of socialism seen in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries was horrible, but I don't think it's representative of other ways in which communism could work.

Bluntman1138:

Communism can ONLY work on a country that is self sustaining, or on a Worldwide level. No country on Earth is self sustaining though at this point in time. Communism CAN work, just not now, or in the forseeable future.

This is a good point, but in an ideal communist society, there'd be no need for nation states anyway. The ideal would be a worldwide communist system with no concept of separate countries or states. Whether that's possible is a completely different story.

manic_depressive13:

tippy2k2:
So you come into this thread, insult everyone who thinks it's a bad idea (the vast majority here), and then say that you have no argument, you are only doing it because your boyfriend thinks that way...

Seriously? Did you mistype something in there because that's about the silliest thing I've seen today?

"Shame on you" is an insult these days? I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Given the complete lack of elaboration it obviously wasn't a serious post. And yes, I came all the way into this thread and performed the gruelling chore of typing a sentence through a possibly misguided sense of loyalty, but also because I knew someone like you would probably cry over it. Don't let me stop you. Cry some more.

So now you're going to come in here, act like you didn't just insult everyone (yes, "Shame on you" is indeed an insult), pretend like it was all in the name of "satire" and then throw some more insults at me?

Whatever works for you, I'll just go back to the actual debate instead of insulting people. If you want to ask your boyfriend why he feels the way he does and give an actual argument, feel free.

AnarchistFish:
[quote="Bluntman1138" post="18.348542.13862419"]
C
This is a good point, but in an ideal communist society, there'd be no need for nation states anyway. The ideal would be a worldwide communist system with no concept of separate countries or states. Whether that's possible is a completely different story.

It could be possible. States become more identifiers with what region you are from. Look at STar Trek. The is still Utah, Montana, France, Germany. But not governments, just identifier regions really. Accents an languages stay with the regions, as does the culture and historical significances for the region as well.

Something Many people dont know is that Gene Roddenberry was a certified member of the COmmunist party here in America. The Federation is his "ideal" communist society. Using Communism as the basic principles, but throwing in a bit of Democratic and Capaitalistic ideals in with the mix. What did it take to get to that point though?? A Nuclear WW3 with a billion dead in the process.

WWmelb:

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.

True democracy hasn't been around for centuries. It worked pretty well for the ancient Greeks. The problem is true democracy doesn't work if the country is too big.

But then again the Greek city-states have been known for tons of wars amongst themselves, so splitting the world up into small city-states would probably cause a lot of fighting.

And anarchy screws pretty much everyone.

I vote for a communism led by hyper intelligent robots. Maybe that will work.

tippy2k2:
So now you're going to come in here, act like you didn't just insult everyone (yes, "Shame on you" is indeed an insult), pretend like it was all in the name of satire and then throw some more insults at me?

Whatever works for you, I'll just go back to the actual debate instead of insulting people. If you want to ask your boyfriend why he feels the way he does and give an actual argument, feel free.

Game on.

You do realise nothing in that link indicates that the phrase is insulting, right? When you say it to a child, you're not insulting the kid, you're merely expressing displeasure at their attitude or behaviour. My post could have been seen as patronising, but it could just as easily be interpreted as sarcastic or playful- hence the childish language.

There's no real reason that he thinks that it could work while I don't. He probably just hasn't noticed the prevalence of belligerent assholes in the world ready to respond with hostility and the most trivial things. It's a faith in humanity thing.

AS stated many times before, Communism is actually perfect for an ideal society. However, the problem lies within humans themselves, so therefore, it would NEVER work. Human greed, my friend. Human greed. :\

on PAPER communism works amazingly... but it fails to take into account human greed, laziness, and corruption. if you get paid the same weather you're a doctor or a ditch digger, then what motivation do you have to become a doctor? it forces the society to rely on the few people who actually want to better themselves and the community to actually make it work... and they're too few and far between.

Nope, because it only takes one greedy asshole to ruin the whole thing, and there will always be at least one. Communism requires every single person in the society to be perfectly benevolent. Sadly that will never be the case.

not exactly in a perfect communistic state there isn't a big difference between getting payed for a half-assed job and a great job there needs to be a balance between Communism and Capitalism.

It works if your society consists of 10-20 people. Anything above that and you have to start shifting gears to city-state/gift economy/capitalism/feudalism/etc.

manic_depressive13:

tippy2k2:
So now you're going to come in here, act like you didn't just insult everyone (yes, "Shame on you" is indeed an insult), pretend like it was all in the name of satire and then throw some more insults at me?

Whatever works for you, I'll just go back to the actual debate instead of insulting people. If you want to ask your boyfriend why he feels the way he does and give an actual argument, feel free.

Game on.

You do realise nothing in that link indicates that the phrase is insulting, right? When you say it to a child, you're not insulting the kid, you're merely expressing displeasure at their attitude or behaviour. My post could have been seen as patronising, but it could just as easily be interpreted as sarcastic or playful- hence the childish language.

There's no real reason that he thinks that it could work while I don't. He probably just hasn't noticed the prevalence of belligerent assholes in the world ready to respond with hostility and the most trivial things. It's a faith in humanity thing.

This will be my last response with you since it has nothing to do with what we're here to argue against.

Yes, it's insulting. When my grandmother tells me, a grown man, shame on me, she is not saying it because I did something childish. She's telling me that something I said or did is so bad that she has no other words for it. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt at this point that you didn't mean it the way my grandmother would use it. At the very least, you recognize that it's patronizing (which is it's own form of insult).

Had you chosen to say this the first time (without personally insulting me), I feel like I could give you the benefit of the doubt on the satire part. You chose to tell me to keep crying over it, which leads me to believe that you are now just covering up and saying that "It's totally satire guys! How could you not tell?!?". I called you out on a stupid statement and you chose to insult me for it instead of explaining what you meant. Leave out the insult next time and I might be willing to take your word on it.

No. Human nature will force communism to fail every time. It will lead to laziness, and an overall drop in productivity, two things that are devastating to any body of people.

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?

Actual Socialism isn't all that bad. In fact, it would be more accurate to call it Social Democracy. Look at Canada, for instance. The laws of free trade apply, but the essential services are almost all run and maintained by the State. This means that medical prescriptions are free provided you're a member of your province's health insurance system, and that primary and secondary school attendance are also free (i.e. paid for with our taxes). You only start to pay outright once you hit college.

The problem is that in America, there's this stubborn idea that the concept of anything being Socialist in its workings equals to cults of personality, Perestroikas, gulags and what have you. The right wing is pretty good at spreading the image that their neighbors from up North are all weirdo Commies. I can safely say we're pretty much equal to America, apart from our sometimes amusing accents and the fact that French is our second official language.

Of course, it's also possible to pay for medical services in Canada, if it bothers you that much. Just head to one of the private clinics that operate outside of the provincial system, or simply never sign up to be registered in the system. You'll have to cough up the cash per treatment and visit just like you would in America.

Communism only workes with a benevolent dicator. So does monarchy. But humans are scum. So it's never going to happen.

tippy2k2:
-snip-

I beg your pardon. Let me just leave you with this: My initial post wasn't satirical, nor was it intended to be satirical. I never once claimed it was satirical. Say what you like about me, but I know what satire is. If you think that was satire you have some serious reading to do.

I used to say to think not, because of the greed point everyone else seems to be pushing, but now I'm not so sure. Could communism work right now? No, probably not. But, before the enlightenment, a concept like modern capitalism certainly couldn't have worked either. I think it would take centuries and a few fundamental changes in the way Western society functions, but I do think we could get to a stage where communism would work.

Given sufficient time and technological advancement, probably. If nothing else the production energy, goods and services will become so cheap and so automated we end up with something very much like communism by default.

In the short (Or even medium) term? Not a chance in hell. Even if it didn't get abused, we would loose a lot of high skill professions simply because why spend 5-6 years learning them, when you'll be just as well off as some laborer.

It looks good on paper but then always ends up as a dictatorship.

Look at cuba, it went from being a 3rd world country to having the highest output of doctors in the world. All it cost is a little 'freedom'. It can work, it does work, the problem is it puts alot of power to very few peple, and it relys on them not being, well a dick.

halfeclipse:
Given sufficient time and technological advancement, probably. If nothing else the production energy, goods and services will become so cheap and so automated we end up with something very much like communism by default.

In the short (Or even medium) term? Not a chance in hell. Even if it didn't get abused, we would loose a lot of high skill professions simply because why spend 5-6 years learning them, when you'll be just as well off as some laborer.

That's something I can agree with (the goods/services part at the top). At our current state it won't work because there's enough things for humans to compete for that they wouldn't give up that right to compete so that everyone got the equal amount on things.

However, if the Matter Copier thing (I didn't watch Star Trek but I think you know what I'm talking about) existed, communism would be able to work because everyone could get the equal amount of things with an equal amount of work. You'd still need some kind of government since people are still dicks but capitalism would just collapse under that system. Communism would be a fairly good replacement then.

Well, there are small communities that manage communism - the proper way. It's a shame since communism has got a bad reputation, mainly due to the amount of fasci-communism that's been the face of the ideology. I think it can, and has worked, but lots of times human nature's fucked it up a bit. Well... That and the odd, insane dictator.

Until we can handle it at a global scale, I think socialism should be implemented. It's not as horrible as it sounds, and studies've shown that the higher the taxes are, the happier the general population is. Not sure how good the studies were, but that would make sense. More people don't have to worry about the basics in society.

In short: Communism could very well work, but hasn't in most cases. Capitalism sort of works, and socialism's a good compromise according to me.

tippy2k2:

halfeclipse:
Given sufficient time and technological advancement, probably. If nothing else the production energy, goods and services will become so cheap and so automated we end up with something very much like communism by default.

In the short (Or even medium) term? Not a chance in hell. Even if it didn't get abused, we would loose a lot of high skill professions simply because why spend 5-6 years learning them, when you'll be just as well off as some laborer.

That's something I can agree with (the goods/services part at the top). At our current state it won't work because there's enough things for humans to compete for that they wouldn't give up that right to compete so that everyone got the equal amount on things.

However, if the Matter Copier thing (I didn't watch Star Trek but I think you know what I'm talking about) existed, communism would be able to work because everyone could get the equal amount of things with an equal amount of work. You'd still need some kind of government since people are still dicks but capitalism would just collapse under that system. Communism would be a fairly good replacement then.

Replicator is what your thinking of, but yup: Goes further then that though. A robot doctor could perform surgeries far better and far faster then any human could, could have instant access to the collective knowledge of every doctor ever, and be trained in the time it takes to load the program.

Star Trek makes a pretty good example of that kind of society though without wide-scale use of advanced AI. The Enterprise while idle manages a level of power output generally reserved for stars and that's just a single ship (and presumably a much smaller power source then what you would stick in a planetary power plant.)

It seems that no one here has actually read the Communist Manifesto, because they keep talking about people getting paid, or everyone having the same amount of stuff, or greed, or doctors not getting more than other people. As the OP referred to the original vision of communism, rather than the derivative philosophies of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc, let's stick with what Marx himself said. In The German Ideology he lays out what his vision of communist life:

"...each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now."

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm#a4

One of the key developments of capitalism that Marx hailed was the incredible level of productivity possible using industrialized machinery. A communist society, as originally envisioned, was one of infinite prosperity; there would be no need to be paid because there would be more than enough for anyone. This is hard to understand, given the level of scarcity we live under, but then at the time it's easy to see how the Industrial Revolution could create the illusion of infinite production.

So, under what conditions, as Marx intended, would communism work? First, that capital is not owned privately, but is owned commonly (the comm- part of communism) by all people. Second, that capital is effectively infinitely productive, which is to say, there is such abundance of power and raw materials that anything can be produced with little to no opportunity cost. Third, which really follows after the first and second but needs to be said on its own, that no one is compelled to act against their own wishes.

In this situation, will human greed wreck the system? Not at all; after all, if capital is infinitely productive, you can have everything you want. The only way a 'greedy' person could ruin this is if they also wanted others to have nothing, but I think that's rather crossing the line from normal human greed into psychopathy. In this system, government also becomes useless, as the state exists primarily to enforce property laws; this is what Marx referred to as the withering of the state. After the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' - a statement very often misunderstood to mean a literal dictatorship, when it actually refers to the dominance of proletarian ideology replacing bourgeoisie ideology - the political process will become less and less necessary as capital is transformed from private purposes towards common purposes. At the point when everyone has everything we no longer need a representative state to make those decisions, and each person can be free to do as they like.

Communism, it's worth noting, cannot work in a small community, as communism depends on infinitely productive capital, which itself requires massive economies of scale.

So, if you wish to discuss the feasibility of communist ideology, please do so referring to the actual theory. Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, whatever Castro is doing, etc, are different animals, each with their own assumptions, ideologies, goals and theories. Lenin, for instance, famously declared that Russia would industrialize using 'capitalism without capitalists'; the attentive will remember that communism requires infinitely productive capital, something Russia didn't have at the time of the revolution, thus necessitating a program of industrialization. Mao threw Marx right out, declaring agrarian labor to be superior to industrial labor, which is about as far from communism as you can get, as agrarian labor uses little to no capital, and without industrialized agriculture, is far from infinite in productivity. Etc.

And before you say that infinitely productive capital is impossible, let me refer you to 3d printing. What happens when we create a 3d printer that can produce the parts necessary to refine and recycle the plastics it uses, the parts necessary to produce power, and the parts to build another? It's intriguing.

It will never work, so long as a human would have to be in charge.

nope, sorry bud. communism is ideal in a purely hypothetical setting. in reality, human nature's desire for power corrupts and even in a classless society, there is an elitist communist party (stalin, lennin, mao, kim jong il, etc). there's no way it could happen.

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