What's so bad about socialisme (and while we're on it communisme)

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Seriously. When ever you read about American poltics, it's always one calling another a socialist, and that is then considered to be the worst insult in the world.
In my mind socialisme and communisme are just ways of regulating a nations economy just like capitalisme (though capitlaisme could be seen as the lack of regulating a nations economy). Wetter such a way works or not depends on a nations economy,culture,population density, infrastructure, etc, etc.
Now granted some pretty bad stuff happened in communist nations, but pretty bad stuff also happened and is still happening in capitalstic nations.
So once more I ask, what's so bad about socialisme.
Is the aversion a remainder of the cold war, or something else?

McCarthyism mostly. Google him up. When you have an entire generation raised to expect that communism is the devil then what do you expect?

The problem is that communism has translated into any left leaning programs.

Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

Y u no tlk rite?

Frission:
McCarthyism mostly. Google him up. When you have an entire generation raised to expect that communism is the devil then what do you expect?

The problem is that communism has translated into any left leaning programs.

Pretty much this. I imagine the bias will go away in a generation or so as the last of the Boomers die off and the people raised in a world that was less propagandised take over.

Depends on what definition you want to use. Some people insist on a rather childish denial, and go 'but the Soviet Union wasn't a communist country' because they want to believe it's something different. In the accurate definition of socialism and communism, they're pretty bad things yes.

Then again, don't all extremes on the political spectrum have that denying thing going on? On the ultra-right side you also have libertarians raging whenever they're confronted with the ways their ideology curtails people's freedom, and other negative traits of their ideology.

They identify themselves with it already for some reason, so they aren't willing to hear anything negative about it.


Still, I have the idea that it's mostly hardcore conservative Americans using 'socialism' like a swearword, and let's not pretend that ultra-right conservatives are known for their extensive knowledge of any ideology other than their own, or their accurate use of various terms.

Rejection of Socialism and Communism is a rejection of tyranny, slavery and exploitation. Too often, when we hear of what "government" can or should do for us, it is something we can or should be doing for ourselves in a free and prosperous free market economy. When "government" does it for us, what it really means is that government has taken a certain amount of ownership of an otherwise free individual, taken from him/her and then gives what it has taken to a 3rd person.

Gorfias:
Rejection of Socialism and Communism is a rejection of tyranny, slavery and exploitation. Too often, when we hear of what "government" can or should do for us, it is something we can or should be doing for ourselves in a free and prosperous free market economy. When "government" does it for us, what it really means is that government has taken a certain amount of ownership of an otherwise free individual, taken from him/her and then gives what it has taken to a 3rd person.

Well you're wrong, but thanks for being a good example of McCarthyism where you reject a form of economics and a form of government while knowing absolutely fuck all about them. Though i will be fair you rejecting them on the classic conservative small government sentiment is a little better than most conspiracy theorists.

That said to answer the question of what is so bad about socialism and communism, in regards to socialism it's actually a sound economic plan that has been shown to work in some situations, the problem is that it's kind of a fragile system that can easily be brought down by corruption, as we saw with the Soviet Union. Beyond that though when it's brought up in American politics it's always safe to assume people who are dropping accusations of someone being a socialist are complete and utter idiots who aren't worth the oxygen they breath and should be dismissed, ESPECIALLY when it's in regards to the relatively conservative Obama.

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

But that applies to any other economic model too, including free-market liberalism which even goes as far as to vehemently deny some of our motivations (altruism). I won't deny that socialism is a flawed economic model, but levying that critique against it as a reason why it is considered so much worse then other alternatives is unfair considering the massive problems in free-market capitalism that the last 6 years of economic troubles have revealed.

Frission already ended this thread in the first reply however, McCarthyism is probably the biggest reason why socialism takes so much more flak.

Pyramid Head:
That said to answer the question of what is so bad about socialism and communism, in regards to socialism it's actually a sound economic plan that has been shown to work in some situations

Can you name us examples of working socialist economies then? Keep in mind that you can't use regulated capitalism like in northern and western Europe as an argument there.

Because to my knowledge, all socialist economies collapsed spectacularly. Even systems that aren't completely socialistic collapse. Like for instance Venezuela. Nationalising industries caused their economy to crash to the part where relative prosperity turned into food shortages.

Blablahb:

Pyramid Head:
That said to answer the question of what is so bad about socialism and communism, in regards to socialism it's actually a sound economic plan that has been shown to work in some situations

Can you name us examples of working socialist economies then? Keep in mind that you can't use regulated capitalism like in northern and western Europe as an argument there.

Because to my knowledge, all socialist economies collapsed spectacularly. Even systems that aren't completely socialistic collapse. Like for instance Venezuela. Nationalising industries caused their economy to crash to the part where relative prosperity turned into food shortages.

We recently had a discussion about tiny Norway and it's relatively flat tax. It also appears to have nationalized many of their resource industries. From what I'm reading, they're doing OK.

EDIT: Sorry, just saw your "can't use regulated capitalism" comment. Would Norway fall into that while they have nationalized resource industries?

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

You're not seriously making fun of the OP's spelling, are you? I apologize if I'm wrong, and you're just really drunk or something, but come on man. You know this is an international community, and that english may not be everyone's first language. You should know better than to mock someone like that. Especially when it is completely clear what the OP is trying to say.

OP: There's nothing inherently bad with socialism, especially not when it comes to things like socialized healthcare. It's probably just remnants of McCarthyism, and republican's screaming how anything that isn't the extreme right is socialist, in order to enrage the population. If we're lucky, it'll die off with time.

Blablahb:

Pyramid Head:
That said to answer the question of what is so bad about socialism and communism, in regards to socialism it's actually a sound economic plan that has been shown to work in some situations

Can you name us examples of working socialist economies then? Keep in mind that you can't use regulated capitalism like in northern and western Europe as an argument there.

Because to my knowledge, all socialist economies collapsed spectacularly. Even systems that aren't completely socialistic collapse. Like for instance Venezuela. Nationalising industries caused their economy to crash to the part where relative prosperity turned into food shortages.

Your knowledge is incomplete. Marxist Communism is total state ownership of the means of production, where the "state" is essentially a direct Democracy; everyone can use everything (which is why when people say that the USSR was not a communist state, they're not being as 'childish' or naive as you think- quite the opposite). What you're clearly thinking of is the many pseudo-communist states which almost unanimously got stuck at the supposedly-temporary 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' stage of Marx's theory.

What is this "regulated capitalism"? There's no such thing as unregulated capitalism- it necessarily requires enforcement of property rights by a legal authority. Your definition is flawed.

Why can't he include Western/Northern Europe? Socialism is, basically, just government ownership of the means of production (capital). Capitalism is private ownership of the means of production. These are not mutually exclusive. You could have a situation where ALL capital is privately owned, which would fulfill the libertarian philosophy of a society where everyone is supposedly free because they can make whatever they like. Alternatively, you could have a situation where ALL capital is owned by the state-- and I mean actually owned not just subject to acquisition orders like it is now in most countries in case of emergency-- which would fulfill the Marxist prediction of the path of human development.

Or, as in those societies you call "Regulated Capitalism", you have a case of Capitalistic Socialism or Socialistic Capitalism, where the state owns some but not all of the means of production, and uses those to the benefit of its members.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," doesn't sound too far off what a perfectly free market is supposed to provide, does it now?

So, there are plenty of examples of working Socialist economies, and no examples of Marxist economies to speak of. Lots of failed authoritarian, ideologically-driven dictatorships though.

Blablahb:

Pyramid Head:
That said to answer the question of what is so bad about socialism and communism, in regards to socialism it's actually a sound economic plan that has been shown to work in some situations

Can you name us examples of working socialist economies then? Keep in mind that you can't use regulated capitalism like in northern and western Europe as an argument there.

Because to my knowledge, all socialist economies collapsed spectacularly. Even systems that aren't completely socialistic collapse. Like for instance Venezuela. Nationalising industries caused their economy to crash to the part where relative prosperity turned into food shortages.

No. As far as you're concerned, no i can not. While developing nations have been able to survive harsh situations with a socialist economy and there are European nations with a socialist economy that have been doing fairly well, you'd bring up problems that come from entire continents suffering and dismiss everything. I could mention Cuba which despite the absolutely fucking stupid embargo that should have been dissolved decades ago has been doing fairly well all things considered, i can challenge your claims on what's wrong with Venezuela, and i could bring up a couple of European nations like Sweden. I could also bring up healthcare systems that are socialist in nature, but then we'd come to a major problem.

You and i probably use different definitions of Socialism. So before i answer, why don't you define Socialism so i know where you're coming from?

Danny Ocean:

Your knowledge is incomplete. Marxist Communism is total state ownership of the means of production, where the "state" is essentially a direct Democracy; everyone can use everything

Everyone can't use everything though. If you use something I can't, because it's gone. So long as we've got a surplus this isn't a problem, but what happens when there's a shortage? If we don't have enough of something to go around, can the people with the minority vote really be said to share ownership?

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

You just won the internetz.

Have a cookie.

Many people believe that ambition and breaking through limits to attain more is the most important or fun part of human freedom and personal liberty. To put a cap on what they can own or control to them seems to be the worst sort of crime.

Communism is, in the main, a way of destroying systems of artificial scarcity. Say when a man starves to death while living above a bakery that is destroying half of it's bread because nobody can afford it. When the economy and law are imposing artificial limits because it is seen as being a fun human game to break through limits by luck or learning how to work the system then communism seems more appealing. In effect people in control of the economic levers and media should be hostile to communism in as much as they are casino owners and communism is a law set up to control gambling.

Another main way of explaining the reason for the hatred of communism is the love of power. Like it or not, many powerful people love power because of the things it lets them get away with and how it lets them screw other people over. But naturally these people can easily defeat communism through argument by pointing out all the abuse of power that can happen when a strong communist state is run by a party leader. But this is the sort of argument that says that it is acceptable for me to steal a little from the poor because some other guy stole a lot more.

BrassButtons:

Danny Ocean:

Your knowledge is incomplete. Marxist Communism is total state ownership of the means of production, where the "state" is essentially a direct Democracy; everyone can use everything

Everyone can't use everything though. If you use something I can't, because it's gone. So long as we've got a surplus this isn't a problem, but what happens when there's a shortage? If we don't have enough of something to go around, can the people with the minority vote really be said to share ownership?

I meant that in purely legal terms. I can use something, like, I'm allowed to. I'm not allowed to use something that belongs to someone else without their permission here, because someone else privately owns it and contract laws prevent me from doing so.

Your point is slightly flawed in the conflation of consumer goods and capital, which is understandable given the ambiguity in my use of "Everyone can use everything". I meant that "Everyone can use all capital." Capital is not destroyed by use like consumer goods are.

I also need to clarify the use of the phrase "essentially direct democracy". I have to emphasize "essentially" because that was just an easy way to explain how Marx theorized how the Communist society would function. There wouldn't really be a state, just group ownership. No issue of 'voting'. Which, due to my upbringing in the West, is admittedly hard to wrap my head around.

The issue could be that some people will use capital more than others, but then that's OK as long as they're the best with it "From each according to his ability", and they don't enjoy disproportionate access, "To each according to his need". That was indeed the problem in some of these psuedo-communist states (classic example is Chinese steel). Where they stuck the capital in the hands of those without the ability to use it.

More Fun To Compute:

Communism is, in the main, a way of destroying systems of artificial scarcity.

And then afterward, it replaces them with a systems of actual real scarcity.

I'd say most world leaders at the moment grew up during the Cold War, so that shapes a lot of the thinking. I was born near the end of it, so communism doesnt send off immediate red flags like it might on older generations.

I think it also goes against the grain of the great american myth where if you work hard with your own talents, you'll prosper. Large government programs trying to make sure everyone is a winner clash against a this central tenet of US culture. Of course, I think a lot of people in my generation are realizing that working hard generally translates to living with your parents until you are 30 in a job that barely allows you to get by with laughable benefits. I think socialism and whatnot will become more popular as less people are able to achieve their goals without the government helping out.

Hardcore_gamer:

More Fun To Compute:

Communism is, in the main, a way of destroying systems of artificial scarcity.

And then afterward, it replaces them with a systems of actual real scarcity.

That's a fair criticism. Communism is pretty optimistic in that it assumes that materially scarcity will become less of a problem over time due to human ingenuity. While the modern capitalist system is based on the faulty theory of perpetual growth based on limited resources the communist reply is that arguments based on hard limits of real scarcity are just a way of blaming the low intensity consumers for problems created by high intensity consumers.

Comocat:

I think it also goes against the grain of the great american myth where if you work hard with your own talents, you'll prosper. Large government programs trying to make sure everyone is a winner clash against a this central tenet of US culture. Of course, I think a lot of people in my generation are realizing that working hard generally translates to living with your parents until you are 30 in a job that barely allows you to get by with laughable benefits. I think socialism and whatnot will become more popular as less people are able to achieve their goals without the government helping out.

Everybody takes advantage of government in one way or another. Yes, there are programs to help the poor and needy. At the same time, the upper class does not hesitate to take tax breaks, or to contract with the government for work, or to accept government subsidies of their industries, or to use regulation to inhibit competitors, or to use bribery and intimidation on government figures to bring any of the aforementioned benefits to themselves. The elite also accept the police state-scale protection that allows them to live in absolute luxury while jailing a number of people unseen in the developed world and allowing hungry people to starve to death at the doorsteps of penthouses.

It's not that if at one point you reach a level of success you can stop taking money from the government. It's that the government purposefully serves the elite and only keeps the lower-class well enough satisfied that there is not anarchy.

There is no social freedom without economic freedom. Socialists generally try to create an arbitrary distinction between the two with a nation based off maximum theft of property but the liberty to do what one pleases besides that. Of course it always falls into tyranny as in the Soviet Union. Mao's China. Pol Pot's Cambodia. Castro's Cuba. North Korea. Venezuela. Romania. Etc.

EDIT: It is quite absurd when commentators claim aversion to socialism in some countries derives from some sort of post-traumatic stress from "fighting" the Cold War, as if we live in a hive mind and cannot process anything beyond paranoid Red Dawn fantasies. It's equally absurd to dismiss the Soviet Union as a "rouge" or "false" example of socialist since they followed the centralized planning model to completion for about sixty years with predictably disastrous results.

Spence Thompson:
The elite also accept the police state-scale protection that allows them to live in absolute luxury while jailing a number of people unseen in the developed world and allowing hungry people to starve to death at the doorsteps of penthouses.

The level and severity of crime in those countries justifies hiring that kind of protection, you know. I mean, we as westerners complain about crime, fear it sometimes, often irrationally, but compared the kind of thugs you run across in third world countries, our surroundings are safe as a vault and even our most hardcore criminals are wimps.

Pyramid Head:
You and i probably use different definitions of Socialism. So before i answer, why don't you define Socialism so i know where you're coming from?

Socialism, as in, socialism. Replacing a market economy with either centrally controlled production, or replacing the entire economy with a planned one (communism).

Everything short of that is capitalism.

Cuba for instance came to the brink of collapse, despite raking in money using exports from free and forced labour, and reformed to a capitalism. Nonetheless their attempt at socialism caused massive economic damage to the country. Due to size, position, resources and such, Cuba could've been one of the most succesfull countries in the Caribbean area, but it's not. It's impoverished with shortages of many things.

All communist countries in history had horrible standards of living in comparison to their western counter parts, were industry, worse (if any) consumer goods, fewer freedoms, and essentially legalized "upper" and "lower" classes. Even though communism was all about lifting up the poor, it was VERY good at bringing everyone down to that level. The only fully communist nation on the nation that had even something resembling a functioning economy was the USSR, which had massive amount of mineral resources, and had all kinds "exclusive comrade" trade deals with the warsaw pack nations.

Not G. Ivingname:
All communist countries in history had horrible standards of living in comparison to their western counter parts, were industry, worse (if any) consumer goods, fewer freedoms, and essentially legalized "upper" and "lower" classes. Even though communism was all about lifting up the poor, it was VERY good at bringing everyone down to that level. The only fully communist nation on the nation that had even something resembling a functioning economy was the USSR, which had massive amount of mineral resources, and had all kinds "exclusive comrade" trade deals with the warsaw pack nations.

Also don't forget that the USSR relied upon Western stock exchanges to set prices within their own country. Yet they still experienced hunger difficulties even though no Western European nation had had a hunger problem since the mid 1800s.

Gethsemani:

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

But that applies to any other economic model too, including free-market liberalism which even goes as far as to vehemently deny some of our motivations (altruism). I won't deny that socialism is a flawed economic model, but levying that critique against it as a reason why it is considered so much worse then other alternatives is unfair considering the massive problems in free-market capitalism that the last 6 years of economic troubles have revealed.

Frission already ended this thread in the first reply however, McCarthyism is probably the biggest reason why socialism takes so much more flak.

Firstlye, ine freee marketse Ie cane stille donatee moneye toe charitye, ore helpe oute ae friende ore strangere. Secondlye, ite ise note juste McCarthye, ite ise thee wholee ofe thee colde ware.

CAMDAWG:

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

You're not seriously making fun of the OP's spelling, are you? I apologize if I'm wrong, and you're just really drunk or something, but come on man. You know this is an international community, and that english may not be everyone's first language. You should know better than to mock someone like that. Especially when it is completely clear what the OP is trying to say.

Moree borede thane anythinge reallye. Juste havinge ae littlee fune.

Hardcore_gamer:

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

You just won the internetz.

Have a cookie.

Ie prefere sugare cookiese.

Toe thee OPe. Ife youe finde thise insultinge, Ie wille stope.

Because states that actually go for the ideology of socialism tend to turn pretty shitty? See: North Korea, China, Soviet Union. While they might have remained militarily and politically relevant, the states of their citizens tend to be awful.

Revnak:

Moree borede thane anythinge reallye. Juste havinge ae littlee fune.

Hardcore_gamer:

Revnak:
Theye aree ultimatelye flawede methodse ofe runninge ane economye thate doe note accounte fore manye ofe oure motivationse. Thate ande thee colde ware.

You just won the internetz.

Have a cookie.

Ie prefere sugare cookiese.

Toe thee OPe. Ife youe finde thise insultinge, Ie wille stope.

(Are you replicating of the french accent or something? I can't place it)

EDIT: I just noticed the extra -e. Well, that was just stupid of me.

But thatz ze chocolat cookiees, ze ar dhe beist.

I finde that socialism is in a way already part of our political model as welfare systems, social security and food stamps. Socialism is not necessarily evil, and they are good counterbalance to the cutthroat business model of "pure capitalism".

Especially in periods of economic distress. They can prevent tragedies like during the great depression.

Do we live in a pure capitalist system? No, because that would be terrible. Same with socialism. Socialism is also not equal to communism. That's just a badly remembered view of the cold war.

Socialism is not equal to Communism. It's just an amount of programs designed to help some of the population. We're not going to destroy business or hang the rich on street lanterns.

EDIT: Relying solely on charity to help the destitute is a bit naive.

Je ne comprends pas pourquoi la plupart des américains ne sont même pas capable de faire la différence.

It would have been interesting to see how the world would have been if Gorbachev's reforms had managed to rejuvenate the Soviet Unions economy and turn it into a more democratic and liberal entity. Just to see how global opinions and culture would have looked if we had a working pesudo-democratic socialist power block with equal living standards to the west, with a structure more similar to the EU. Perhaps we would have western european nations applying to join the USSR rather than former soviet states joining the EU.

But as it is we have no socialist states currently that are not at the same time oppressive dictatorships. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that isn't as much because of the socialism part as it is because of the corruption and conservativeness inherent to dictatorships.

But it should also be noted that the welfare state is not inherently socialist. Many things considered integral to the welfare state originated as conservative ideas. You shouldn't have to be a die-hard socialist to realise that people will be healthier and happier in a state that cares for their needs. And the idea that we should perhaps help our needy is older than feudalism.

People worry about losing rights. Whatever those rights may be, I mean fuck people worry that the federal government knowing exactly who has guns is the first step to the president knocking down your door because of the weapon and because your not a fan of the liberal agenda.... Americans fear the government, which is funny because we've always had relatively small government. Now people in Russia and former soviet satellite states you'd think they would be in absolute terror of a state run business and anything relating to a central bureau of investigation yet they seem to accept government programs far more than the US.

Oh for god sake you bloody American right-wingers. It's like banging my head against a wall. Learn the differences between Communism and Socialism.

Here's a random infographic I found:

Click it for a big version. Warning: big picture is big.

image

And although this image is clearly biased, it might help you understand why it's so appealing to so many:

image

Danny Ocean:
Snip

Ah, OK. Thanks for explaining :)

Danny Ocean:
/pictures
image

I already knew that, but it never loses the shock value. I think this is more a problem of the U.S in general, though when you have people writing a book saying that inequality is good, you know something's wrong.

That and I made a whole thread about the fact that most of the money is going into the military.

Danny Ocean:

image

How much nonsense can be packed into a single infogram? I guess that's why everything on it is so small.

Homes are empty because the government inflates housing prices with cheap money and broken incentives... not capitalism.

The suggested definitions of "poverty" are meaningless. An individual on the "poverty line" in America makes more than 2.5 times what an average individual on this planet makes. If the definition of poverty is continually adjusted, then indeed, there will always be poverty. I am sure that the makers of this infogram will be complaining about the state of the impoverished in America 50 years from now when an individual on the poverty line can only afford one iSurgicalImplant in his head to watch movies and play video games.

"Average Wages" is an equally meaningless statistic since it doesn't account for prices or incalulable changes in living standards. (how does one calculate the difference between $100 forty years ago when you could by a record player with that money, and $300 dollars today which can purchase a blue ray player?)

The racist criminal justice stats is an excersice in miscorrelation. I am sure there is racism in the legal system, but just pointing out incarceration rates proves nothing. Oh, and it has nothing to do with capitalism.

And most laughably of all, over 55% of federal expenditure goes towards entitlement spending, while a mere 18ish% goes to the military. Yet for some reason the graph sees no reason to include the largest component of the budget.

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