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Communism, obsolete or key to uplifting the third world?

DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
edited January 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
In a discussion with a friend today about governance and economic models an interesting topic occured to me. Communism has, since the fall of the Soviet Union, been associated with oppressive government and inefficient economics, in western Europe and the United States condemning it has become a gut reaction, much like an unconscious fear of nuclear power. I brought up the point that before communism, Russia and much of eastern Europe had very little in terms wealth or industry, and the communal (forced) working model of communism helped to create an industrial superpower that eventually became victim to an oppressive government and the cold war.

In the modern world, we can look at China and see that since Mao, they too have become an industrial superpower going from a subsistence society to an affluent and increasingly wealthy nation. They have also managed to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union by changing their economic model gradually to a capitalist model. Individual freedoms and speech are still suppressed but none can argue that conditions are rapidly improving for the majority of Chinese.

I have already mentioned that Communism traditionally associated with oppressive government, but as an economic model I believe it could be successfully implemented along with democracy in developing nations in Africa. Take any poor wartorn african nation, ensure security and begin a program of agriculture and industry by the Chinese model (sweatshops, basicly) giving people basic services in return. I believe if managed correctly by a democratic government the poor and starving people of these nations would in turn embrace it as their basic needs are met (food, sanitation, education and healthcare). Over the period of a single generation the industry and literacy of such nations could be developed enough to allow gradually reverting to capitalism as conditions improve.

There are likely large holes in my argument, political pitfalls and ethnic tensions but I'd like to hear your oppinions and build on this idea.

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    ShurakaiShurakai Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I think its an interesting idea. I believe that in general africa does need some kind of intervention, as the majority of the governments have proven that they have no idea how to self govern. Even though it would cause many groups to protest, I would like to see a group such as the UN or even a major power step in and handle things until there is some kind of ground to work upon. Right now its usually just corrupt dictator after corrupt dictator. Something dramatic has to happen for that to change.

    Shurakai on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Demiurge wrote: »
    I brought up the point that before communism, Russia and much of eastern Europe had very little in terms wealth or industry, and the communal (forced) working model of communism helped to create an industrial superpower that eventually became victim to an oppressive government and the cold war.

    If I understand what you're saying, I'm pretty sure you haven't looked in dept into how the so called "economy" worked in the ex-Soviet block and you're attributing it results it doesn't deserve.
    I'd still ask, what exactly is that "industrial superpower"?
    I have already mentioned that Communism traditionally associated with oppressive government, but as an economic model I believe it could be successfully implemented along with democracy in developing nations in Africa. Take any poor wartorn african nation, ensure security and begin a program of agriculture and industry by the Chinese model (sweatshops, basicly) giving people basic services in return. I believe if managed correctly by a democratic government the poor and starving people of these nations would in turn embrace it as their basic needs are met (food, sanitation, education and healthcare). Over the period of a single generation the industry and literacy of such nations could be developed enough to allow gradually reverting to capitalism as conditions improve.

    Sounds nice. I don't believe it's economically feasible outside a foreign aid program, if that's what you meant, then ok, if you were saying it could actually result in a sustainable economy for an African country, then I'm very, very skeptic.

    zeeny on
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    DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    zeeny wrote: »

    If I understand what you're saying, I'm pretty sure you haven't looked in dept into how the so called "economy" worked in the ex-Soviet block and you're attributing it results it doesn't deserve.
    I'd still ask, what exactly is that "industrial superpower"?

    Communism in its basic form is the idea of communal ownership and you work for the greater good of the state. A farmer produces food and in return is given living space, sanitation, healthcare, education, electric power etc etc, but does not recieve compensation in the form of currency. This philosophy covers all aspects of production and industry. In the Soviet Union, in combination with forced labor, this was key to making the Soviets one of two world superpowers, but it eventually failed due to poor governance. The same has happend in China with a few key differences, China is still oppressive and forced labor is common, but they have adopted a mixed economy where affluent population centers operate much like any capitalist society, but rural populations still use the communist model.

    zeeny wrote: »
    Sounds nice. I don't believe it's economically feasible outside a foreign aid program, if that's what you meant, then ok, if you were saying it could actually result in a sustainable economy for an African country, then I'm very, very skeptic.

    Foreign aid is neccessary, but their situation requires them being able to provide basic needs to their people, they aren't.

    Demiurge on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The problem with Africa is that most of it's problems stem from issues that began with colonialism. So whenever anyone suggests intervening, that doesn't seem to be taken into account all that much.

    Fencingsax on
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    GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The governmental system whether it's democracy or communism isn't the problem in Africa (or any third world country). The problem is corruption and tribal hatred.

    As much as we like to think that setting these nice straight lines on maps differentiate countries in the third world they do not. When the colonial powers were splitting them up into separate countries they rarely took into consideration tribal areas setting up future wars, like over Kashmir for example. (African wars are too numerous to mention let alone the civil wars)

    As to communism, it's a very nice idea. However, it falls down on a basic tenet of human behaviour. Greed.

    If you give people absolute power for essentially indefinite periods they'll become more self confident in their choices regardless of other people and as time goes on it'll develop into arrogance. (see Stalin for example)

    Corruption in such systems is endemic to their concept, which is why essentially switching over the entire government and starting fresh (via democracy) so often works. It's not perfect but it works. (But I doubt it will with Africa, see tribal hatred and already existing endemic corruption)

    Democracy however can be subverted and essentially turned into dictatorships; Mugabe. He was voted in and did a lot of good initially. However, he has essentially neutered democracy in Zimbabwe and because he became arrogant in his belief that it is in the best interests of the country that he stay in power, he has essentially doomed it for quite possibly the next 20 years.

    You can see the same kind of thing happening in Venezuela and to a lesser degree Russia.

    Another example, this one was more stopped by the fact we have a free press. Tony Blair, he was voted in and did a hell of a lot of good. But then ignoring 2 million demonstrators in London proceeded to take Britain into a stupid war. It was this that ultimately was his downfall, he wasn't voted out (resigned) but because of public pressure and the knowledge that with future elections the labour party would never win the next election with him leading it he left. Not a perfect example of democracy but it did work.

    My belief? I don't think democracy, communism etc will make the third world better. If they want to make it better they'll need to crack down on corruption and genuinely work towards it, democracy helps reduce it but it isn't a magic bullet.

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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Demiurge wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »

    If I understand what you're saying, I'm pretty sure you haven't looked in dept into how the so called "economy" worked in the ex-Soviet block and you're attributing it results it doesn't deserve.
    I'd still ask, what exactly is that "industrial superpower"?

    Communism in its basic form is the idea of communal ownership and you work for the greater good of the state. A farmer produces food and in return is given living space, sanitation, healthcare, education, electric power etc etc, but does not recieve compensation in the form of currency.
    This philosophy covers all aspects of production and industry.
    That's some pretty "basic form" right there.
    In the Soviet implementation you can add the premise that people's abilities are equal enough to deserve equal renumeration, that intellectual labor is inherently inferior to sweat on the 'brows and that all of the above won't result in lack of motivation in bright individuals(also a dirty word).
    Also, you don't get food, you get what is currently available to eat. You don't get healthcare, you get whatever medecine was overstocked/overproduced. Education? Well, yeah, you could be one of those destined to get it. Oh wait, your father was a farmer? High school is perfectly fine.

    In the Soviet Union, in combination with forced labor, this was key to making the Soviets one of two world superpowers, but it eventually failed due to poor governance.

    You're deluding yourself. The House of Saud is not the reason for the recent economical surge in those parts of the Middle East and the Communist party did not raise Russia into a superpower.
    The same has happend in China with a few key differences, China is still oppressive and forced labor is common, but they have adopted a mixed economy where affluent population centers operate much like any capitalist society, but rural populations still use the communist model.

    You really shouldn't be giving China as an example of working economy. The world's dependence on China's production facilities is reciprocal and despite that, there is absolutely no way The Chinese can sustain their current growth rate. Give me 12 more months of tanking economy and I'm betting on riots.
    zeeny wrote: »
    Sounds nice. I don't believe it's economically feasible outside a foreign aid program, if that's what you meant, then ok, if you were saying it could actually result in a sustainable economy for an African country, then I'm very, very skeptic.

    Foreign aid is neccessary, but their situation requires them being able to provide basic needs to their people, they aren't.

    Agree, and there are many, many programs looking into agriculture in Africa. Cooperative agriculture does not require communism.
    As to communism, it's a very nice idea. However, it falls down on a basic tenet of human behaviour. Ambition, individualism etc etc etc.

    Fixed that for you.

    zeeny on
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    widowsonwidowson Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Communism makes people slaves to the state and the last thing Africa needs is more slavery.

    With communism failing so consistantly and repeatedly, butchering tens of millions of innocent people, wrecking the environment, and destroying individual civil and political liberties, how can rational people still even consider it as a possible solution?

    Ethiopia already tried and it failed there as well.

    widowson on
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    saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.

    If anyone in this thread had actually read any Marx, they would see that communism cannot occur before capitalism. The whole notion of communism is predicated on Marx's philosophy of history and the class struggle, and its thesis is that the enormous wealth generated by capitalism will be generated in an unjust way, leading to oppression of the working class and gross disparity in wealth. This will lead to, historically, a revolution whereupon the workers will take hold of the means of production and equitably distribute the wealth that capitalism has itself generated.

    The revolutions in China and Russia weren't Marxist by any stretch, since those nations weren't advanced industrial capitalist economies.

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    widowsonwidowson Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.

    If anyone in this thread had actually read any Marx, they would see that communism cannot occur before capitalism. The whole notion of communism is predicated on Marx's philosophy of history and the class struggle, and its thesis is that the enormous wealth generated by capitalism will be generated in an unjust way, leading to oppression of the working class and gross disparity in wealth. This will lead to, historically, a revolution whereupon the workers will take hold of the means of production and equitably distribute the wealth that capitalism has itself generated.

    The revolutions in China and Russia weren't Marxist by any stretch, since those nations weren't advanced industrial capitalist economies.

    One party rule.

    No individual property.

    No civil liberties.

    No freedom of travel.

    You can slice Marx any way you can, his ideas blow. It relies upon the assumption that an advanced economy is fixed; i.e. that for someone to be rich, someone else has to be poor and oppressed, and discounts the economic expansion brought on by technological development that you learn in, what, Econ 101? How the supply/demand function curve shifts right with tech increases?

    Econ development is best brought on by an entrapranorial spirit, where your hard work and innovation is rewarded, not stolen from you "for the benefit of the people".

    Also, hell, power corrupts. Communism gives WAY too much control to a small group of people who, suprise, suprise, become corrupted.

    People are not ants.

    Theory doesn't mean crap if it can't be implemented in reality.

    You might as well argue in favor of facism; it's at least worked in certain situations...no, I'm not a facist, because it grinds people under oppressive rule, but if you think oppressive, controlling rule is bad, you should hate communism.

    The hammer and sickle killed more people than the swastika.

    Fuck communism.

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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.

    If anyone in this thread had actually read any Marx, they would see that communism cannot occur before capitalism. The whole notion of communism is predicated on Marx's philosophy of history and the class struggle, and its thesis is that the enormous wealth generated by capitalism will be generated in an unjust way, leading to oppression of the working class and gross disparity in wealth. This will lead to, historically, a revolution whereupon the workers will take hold of the means of production and equitably distribute the wealth that capitalism has itself generated.

    The revolutions in China and Russia weren't Marxist by any stretch, since those nations weren't advanced industrial capitalist economies.
    Yeah, well Marx assumed that familial bonds would easily be broken, so it's not like he was all that socially aware, himself. Marx may have written predictions about the glorious struggle or whatever, but he had to ignore some hard social realities to do it.

    Fencingsax on
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    RussellRussell Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    How would this idea fix a country like Zimbabwe... where a brutal, incompetent strongman is in charge and the economy has been circling the drain for decades? What about Somalia, where parts of the country are in permanent low level conflict, the central government has zero power / authority and the economy has been shattered?

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    EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2009
    widowson wrote: »
    One party rule.

    No individual property.

    No civil liberties.

    No freedom of travel.

    You can slice Marx any way you can, his ideas blow. It relies upon the assumption that an advanced economy is fixed; i.e. that for someone to be rich, someone else has to be poor and oppressed, and discounts the economic expansion brought on by technological development that you learn in, what, Econ 101? How the supply/demand function curve shifts right with tech increases?

    Econ development is best brought on by an entrapranorial spirit, where your hard work and innovation is rewarded, not stolen from you "for the benefit of the people".

    Also, hell, power corrupts. Communism gives WAY too much control to a small group of people who, suprise, suprise, become corrupted.

    People are not ants.

    Theory doesn't mean crap if it can't be implemented in reality.

    You might as well argue in favor of facism; it's at least worked in certain situations...no, I'm not a facist, because it grinds people under oppressive rule, but if you think oppressive, controlling rule is bad, you should hate communism.

    The hammer and sickle killed more people than the swastika.

    Fuck communism.

    You're not describing communism. You're describing Soviet Russia. There's a bit of a difference.

    Echo on
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    ResRes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    China has been a mixed economy for the last four decades.

    Res on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    widowson, from your above post, I can only come to the conclusion that either you didn't read Marx, or you didn't understand him.

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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.

    If anyone in this thread had actually read any Marx, they would see that communism cannot occur before capitalism. The whole notion of communism is predicated on Marx's philosophy of history and the class struggle, and its thesis is that the enormous wealth generated by capitalism will be generated in an unjust way, leading to oppression of the working class and gross disparity in wealth. This will lead to, historically, a revolution whereupon the workers will take hold of the means of production and equitably distribute the wealth that capitalism has itself generated.

    Yep, exactly this, which is why the notion of communism being the key to uplifting the third world is absurd.

    But there's nothing in the OP that directly implies communism, so I suspect he really means either socialism or welfare statism.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Authoritarian state-capitalism would undoubtedly allow the third world to rapidly industrialize. It's lead to massive industrial gains in every instance it's been implemented. Whether or not that's worth the cost of totalitarian governance and all the atrocity and "incompetence" (extreme centralization of decision making means big mistakes but also the potential for very positive policy) associated with it is up to you to decide.

    Xhero on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    It's an interesting premise, but isn't it essentially the one the U.S. had going into Iraq? i.e., overthrow oppressive/dictatorial government, install 'supervised' capitalist/democratic state, then finally leave this state to stand on it's own?
    you will note that I studiously avoided the ..., PROFIT joke

    Aside from encouraging private industry vs. running an out-and-out centrally planned economy, I don't really see what the difference is. It also ignores the fundamental problem we're seeing in Iraq: most of today's totalitarian and/or "failed" states are not really cohesive enough to respond well to a central reconstruction effort.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.


    I'm sure if they aren't slaves then the state wouldn't mind those people leaving the country then...

    Since communism doesn't like it when everybody doesn't opt in I'm not sure what else you call it.

    KevinNash on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Dyscord wrote:
    It also ignores the fundamental problem we're seeing in Iraq: most of today's totalitarian and/or "failed" states are not really cohesive enough to respond well to a central reconstruction effort.

    Do you think the USSR in its infancy was "cohesive"?

    Xhero on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    And with capitalism all the people are killed because corporations put bleach in their milk.

    What other straw men are we making?

    Quid on
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    L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.


    I'm sure if they aren't slaves then the state wouldn't mind those people leaving the country then...

    Since communism doesn't like it when everybody doesn't opt in I'm not sure what else you call it.

    Oh cool, we're still saying that stalinism is a valid form of communism here? Great.

    L|ama on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    L|ama wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.


    I'm sure if they aren't slaves then the state wouldn't mind those people leaving the country then...

    Since communism doesn't like it when everybody doesn't opt in I'm not sure what else you call it.

    Oh cool, we're still saying that stalinism is a valid form of communism here? Great.

    I'm of the opinion that human nature ensures that the only form of communism that can exist when the state gets involved is Stalinism. Marxism reads nice in a book, Stalinism is how it ends up in practice.

    KevinNash on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    It's always seemed like a problem of miracles to me. Either an enlightened despot miraculously takes power in these African states that are embroiled in civil wars and uprisings every other day, or foreign aid is done, also miraculously, without the foreign country's own economy taken into account first, which creates the kind of abuses we've seen in the past and are still seeing.

    I'd love to see a reasonable way to help bring these countries up to humanitarian, economic, and governmental standards of the developed world. The first step is implementation, though, as just about any reasonable approach to governance could help them at this point regardless of which end of the spectrum it's on.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    theclamtheclam Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    L|ama wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.


    I'm sure if they aren't slaves then the state wouldn't mind those people leaving the country then...

    Since communism doesn't like it when everybody doesn't opt in I'm not sure what else you call it.

    Oh cool, we're still saying that stalinism is a valid form of communism here? Great.

    I'm of the opinion that human nature ensures that the only form of communism that can exist when the state gets involved is Stalinism. Marxism reads nice in a book, Stalinism is how it ends up in practice.

    That's not entirely true. There are plenty of examples of equitable, prosperous communist societies...as long as you only look at societies made of a few dozen people, sitting in the middle of a first-world country. :)

    I don't think capitalism, communism, democracy, or dictatorship would save the third world. What's really important is competent leadership and stability, more than anything. That's why China's growth exploded.

    theclam on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote:
    It also ignores the fundamental problem we're seeing in Iraq: most of today's totalitarian and/or "failed" states are not really cohesive enough to respond well to a central reconstruction effort.

    Do you think the USSR in its infancy was "cohesive"?

    I'm going to assume the answer is no, but as the USSR never really had a functioning democratic government and instead remained an essentially totalitarian state, I'm not sure of the point you're making.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    ResRes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    theclam wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    L|ama wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    Communism makes people slaves to the state

    Bullshit.


    I'm sure if they aren't slaves then the state wouldn't mind those people leaving the country then...

    Since communism doesn't like it when everybody doesn't opt in I'm not sure what else you call it.

    Oh cool, we're still saying that stalinism is a valid form of communism here? Great.

    I'm of the opinion that human nature ensures that the only form of communism that can exist when the state gets involved is Stalinism. Marxism reads nice in a book, Stalinism is how it ends up in practice.

    That's not entirely true. There are plenty of examples of equitable, prosperous communist societies...as long as you only look at societies made of a few dozen people, sitting in the middle of a first-world country. :)

    I don't think capitalism, communism, democracy, or dictatorship would save the third world. What's really important is competent leadership and stability, more than anything. That's why China's growth exploded.

    Uh, one of the many responsibilities of leadership is guiding (or choosing not to guide) the economy. So, yes, the choice of how to control (or not control) the economy does in fact affect the economy.

    Res on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I'm going to assume the answer is no, but as the USSR never really had a functioning democratic government and instead remained an essentially totalitarian state, I'm not sure of the point you're making.

    Oh, I forgot we were operating on the assumption of the "communism" being democratic, there. Definitely an impossibility from whatever angle you approach it from.

    Xhero on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I'm going to assume the answer is no, but as the USSR never really had a functioning democratic government and instead remained an essentially totalitarian state, I'm not sure of the point you're making.

    Oh, I forgot we were operating on the assumption of the "communism" being democratic, there. Definitely an impossibility from whatever angle you approach it from.

    I have no idea what you are talking about at this point.

    The OP is about how we might reconstruct third world countries into functional capitalistic (and presumably democratic) socities, to wit
    Take any poor wartorn african nation, ensure security and begin a program of agriculture and industry by the Chinese model (sweatshops, basicly) giving people basic services in return.

    My question is, aren't we seeing a direct example of why this doesn't work right now in Iraq? We are discovering that there are a lot of problems with forcibly importing a governmental/social system into a foreign, third world country; I don't think importing a communist system instead solves any of them.

    It isn't really relevant to the point I was trying to make, but my understanding is the saudi arabi is currently involved in exactly the sort of enterprise you seem to be talking about: massive, centrally controlled wealth subsidizing massive national industrialization. We'll see how far they get with that, but my guess is that on balance in the long term it will go over fairly well (especially as western countries export their industrial needs.) There's likely to be all sorts of social strife, though.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Examples like China, which the OP uses, have achieved their "prosperity" (GDP gains) through massive, state-directed industrialization programs, followed by economic liberalization to capitalize on a new, industrial source of mass labor. Countries like China (and the USSR) achieved the political cohesiveness and command necessary to achieve that industrialization through being totalitarian. This is what I'm talking about. Any "communist" experiment in the third world would be functionally identical in structure to the USSR and Maoist China, even if it's instituted by an international body such as the U.N. There is, admittedly, much less of a chance of gulags or famine popping up, however.

    Xhero on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I think we agree?

    I am assuming the foreign power implied by the OP has no interest in running what would amount to a series of kinder, gentler gulags. Ergo the question of how to transition them into being functional democratic states.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    I'm of the opinion that human nature ensures that the only form of communism that can exist when the state gets involved is Stalinism. Marxism reads nice in a book, Stalinism is how it ends up in practice.

    Communism assumes the dissolution of the state, or a significant reduction in its power.

    Feral on
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    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Man, what's driving me nuts is that I want to engage this OP in a substantive manner, but I don't think the entire third world can be addressed in the same way. Different countries face different challenges.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    This will lead to, historically, a revolution whereupon the workers will take hold of the means of production and equitably distribute the wealth that capitalism has itself generated.
    Historically, it leads to the workers looting the fuck out of everything, and then going back to capitalism, except that their economy is a burned-out husk. So, no.

    Salvation122 on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    I'm of the opinion that human nature ensures that the only form of communism that can exist when the state gets involved is Stalinism. Marxism reads nice in a book, Stalinism is how it ends up in practice.

    Communism assumes the dissolution of the state, or a significant reduction in its power.

    Which is a ridiculous premise since human beings are selfish and won't play nice in a communist society without strict enforcement. Hence communism == Stalinism and Marx's vision has no serious practical application outside of small conclaves.

    KevinNash on
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    SavantSavant Simply Barbaric Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I remember learning in econ what the central problems facing communism was (defined in general as a system centered around "from each according to his ability to each according to his needs"), but I forget exactly what they were. I think one was an information problem, where determination of abilities and needs and following through on allocation of that is inefficient or downright unrealistic outside of certain circumstances.

    I do remember that there was a specific realistic case where a communistic setup could be successful: when dealing with a small group of people with very strong social connections to each other. The example we were given were the Amish. If you have people who know each other well and know each others needs and abilities while having an imperative to look after each others wellbeing then they can effectively bind together for communal prosperity.

    In a massive and disparate nation? Probably not so much.

    I don't know how this interacts with somewhere like Africa, though I'm not sure promoting China as a "good" prototype of communism is prudent. I forget the order of magnitude of the number of people that starved to death because of Mao, I just know that it was a lot.

    Savant on
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    Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    That's one of the big ones, Savant. One of the other big ones is that centralized economies are slow. When Katrina started getting close you can bet your ass gas prices spiked over a course of hours. In a command economy, requests to increase prices take a much longer time to process, and can lead to huge shortages and surpluses.

    Another issue was that of definition - supposedly in the old USSR, paper mills were given a quota in sheets, so they produced (effectively) tissue paper. The next year, they were given a quota in weight, so they produced, like, inch-thick pieces of paper. Obviously this can be overcome, but it requires a withering level of specificity, or the managers of the organs of production will take whatever shortcuts are necessary to ensure that they reach quota.

    Salvation122 on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Savant wrote: »

    I do remember that there was a specific realistic case where a communistic setup could be successful: when dealing with a small group of people with very strong social connections to each other. The example we were given were the Amish. If you have people who know each other well and know each others needs and abilities while having an imperative to look after each others wellbeing then they can effectively bind together for communal prosperity.

    Catholic parishes and monastic orders do the same thing. They are another good example of functional marxism or at least semi-marxist.

    KevinNash on
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    LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Philosopher King The AcademyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote: »
    I'm of the opinion that human nature ensures that the only form of communism that can exist when the state gets involved is Stalinism. Marxism reads nice in a book, Stalinism is how it ends up in practice.

    Communism assumes the dissolution of the state, or a significant reduction in its power.

    Which is a ridiculous premise since human beings are selfish and won't play nice in a communist society without strict enforcement. Hence communism == Stalinism and Marx's vision has no serious practical application outside of small conclaves.

    I'm interested in how you know it to be fact that human beings are inherently selfish beings. Also, since the human race will be selfish for its entire existence, your explanation should include how selfishness is part of human nature. Please don't reference Psychological Egoism in your explanation please, I don't think that we need to go over it again. Also I would recommend against citing examples of selfish behavior, since there are also examples of altruistic behavior.

    Granted, the OP presumes Communism now, however, any serious Marx scholar that I've ever heard of would never advocate a Communist system under our current conditions. Severely limited resources, divisive national loyalties, only the beginnings of worldwide information trade. It's a system that is supposed to be a natural economic evolution in the future, not a forced change now.

    As for the historical angle, however much Communism wouldn't work today, Russia in 1917 was certainly not ready.

    LoserForHireX on
    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Communism, or anything resembling it, can't really work until we get to some kind of weird Star Trek world where we don't have money anymore and anything you desire is basically yours for the asking

    override367 on
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    RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I could write essay after essay on this topic.

    Communism isn't the way to modernize the developing world - effective socialism/corporatism is the way to go, and in the case of Africa it's interesting that African Socialism never really panned out - although for the most part, most African nations that considered themselves socialist after independence really just wanted $ from the Kremlin.

    A big problem with development, especially in many African states (where most of my research has been focused on) is that, upon independence, agriculture was seen as "backwards" and essentially the peasantry was crapped on (See: Agricultural Marking Boards) in favor of industrialization in the form of inefficient parastatals. When agriculture gets ignored, effective development is neigh-impossible.

    Sorry if I'm rambling a little bit. There's a lot of territory to cover here.

    Reckless on
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