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Communism, obsolete or key to uplifting the third world?

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    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 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 [strike]money[/strike] scarcity anymore and anything you desire is basically yours for the asking

    Fixed. The problem that has been solved in Star Trek is scarcity of resources. In Star Trek, replicators can turn any matter into something else of an equal mass. Gold, for example, is completely worthless. You can just make it out of lead. You don't really need money for day-to-day wants.

    Still, the lack of material scarcity does not alleviate the problem of fuel, land, talent or time scarcity. The reason that Star Trek has no money/compensation for these things is because of an edict by Roddenberry, not because it would make sense for them not to. In fact, other writers, including Moore, have said that the idea of no money in the Federation is silly, and have tried to sneak in other forms of currency (IE transporter credits, etc.) into the cannon.

    In reality, every forced abolition of money currency has not succeeded in stamping out markets. People either move to barter or form a currency of their own to replace it.
    Savant wrote:
    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.

    What you're referring to here is the problem of information. It is [strike]nearly[/strike] impossible for an administrator to know the wants/needs/desires/etc of everyone living under their purview. Central planners make mistakes, and rather than those mistakes being attributed to their lack of omniscience, it was always interpreted as the central planning committee having internal disagreements, conspiracy, etc. The planning committee is reduced in number, either through plotical infighting or assassination, until all matters of consequence with one person. Such will always be the case in any centrally planned economy.

    Unfortunately, Communism does not function in practice without a central planning committee to get things done, and thus will always end in tyranny.


    Edit: I always think this is funny to post in Communism threads.

    Mithrandir86 on
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    saggiosaggio 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.

    You don't understand my usage of the word "historically."

    Marxism is a philosophy of history. Since it's essentially Hegelian in nature, politics and ethics and just about everything is a product of history, and, in Marx's case, history is principally about the material condition of a society and who controls what. In capitalism, workers are disenfranchised and alienated from their labour -- they do not own what they produce. In communism, workers would own what they produce in a collective manner, thereby ending the disconnect between ownership and labour.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread needs to stop talking about Marxism and go and read some books. The Communist Manifesto doesn't count. You need to go and read Das Kapital and The Origin of the State, Private Property, and the Family by Engels.

    saggio on
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    saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Unfortunately, Communism does not function in practice without a central planning committee to get things done, and thus will always end in tyranny.

    No, fuck this. This is the essential problem with Leninism, that being taking a revolutionary theory and then grafting its institutions and doctrines (such as democratic centralism) onto the organs of the state. If you read Marx, you will see that a key component to COMMUNISM, which is seen as the final stage of SOCIALISM (two separate things) is the withering away of the state.

    Central Committees, totalitarian trappings and gulag archipeligos are completely antithetical to basic Marxist notions of what Communism is.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread apparently has gotten their ideas of what Marxism is by watching Chuck Norris films or something.

    saggio on
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    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Unfortunately, Communism does not function in practice without a central planning committee to get things done, and thus will always end in tyranny.

    No, fuck this. This is the essential problem with Leninism, that being taking a revolutionary theory and then grafting its institutions and doctrines (such as democratic centralism) onto the organs of the state. If you read Marx, you will see that a key component to COMMUNISM, which is seen as the final stage of SOCIALISM (two separate things) is the withering away of the state.

    Central Committees, totalitarian trappings and gulag archipeligos are completely antithetical to basic Marxist notions of what Communism is.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread apparently has gotten their ideas of what Marxism is by watching Chuck Norris films or something.


    I have. Both the political Manifesto and economic treatise Das Kapital. His political ideas were relevant and interesting. Their (him and Engels) economics were fundamentally flawed. An extra 1000 hours of labor will not turn a rock of coal into a diamond, for example.

    Lenism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. These are the final destinations of Communism, not some proletarian paradise. I am aware of the extreme idealogical disparity between Marxism and these 'isms'. It is no accident that the Marxist ideal has never been realized, nor is it is an accident that these isms are essentially tyrannies. 'Failure' of the previous implementations was not caused by the flaws of the participants, but because the ideals, values, and theory are fundamentally flawed. The final result of the 'revolution' was hardly his only error.

    Mithrandir86 on
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    The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Unfortunately, Communism does not function in practice without a central planning committee to get things done, and thus will always end in tyranny.

    No, fuck this. This is the essential problem with Leninism, that being taking a revolutionary theory and then grafting its institutions and doctrines (such as democratic centralism) onto the organs of the state. If you read Marx, you will see that a key component to COMMUNISM, which is seen as the final stage of SOCIALISM (two separate things) is the withering away of the state.

    Central Committees, totalitarian trappings and gulag archipeligos are completely antithetical to basic Marxist notions of what Communism is.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread apparently has gotten their ideas of what Marxism is by watching Chuck Norris films or something.


    I have. Both the political Manifesto and economic treatise Das Kapital. His political ideas were relevant and interesting. Their (him and Engels) economics were fundamentally flawed. An extra 1000 hours of labor will not turn a rock of coal into a diamond, for example.

    Lenism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. These are the final destinations of Communism, not some proletarian paradise. I am aware of the extreme idealogical disparity between Marxism and these 'isms'. It is no accident that the Marxist ideal has never been realized, nor is it is an accident that these isms are essentially tyrannies. 'Failure' of the previous implementations was not caused by the flaws of the participants, but because the ideals, values, and theory are fundamentally flawed. The final result of the 'revolution' was hardly his only error.

    This is disingenuous. The point being made is that a democratic implementation of communism is a natural, predicted event following years of shift to socialism (according to Marx). The fact that historical examples of communism had to be imposed and maintained by force upholds the theory that democratic communism (assuming it ever emerges) is a gradual process only following decades of change, once sufficient appetite for it has emerged. What Lenin et al proved about communism (if anything) is that it's difficult (but not impossible) to drag people kicking and screaming with you before they're ready.

    The fact that current examples of communism are necessarily totalitarian does not contradict Marxist theory. Lenin himself had to claim that Marx was wrong and that a 'great leap' could somehow bypass socialism.

    The Fourth Estate on
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    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Unfortunately, Communism does not function in practice without a central planning committee to get things done, and thus will always end in tyranny.

    No, fuck this. This is the essential problem with Leninism, that being taking a revolutionary theory and then grafting its institutions and doctrines (such as democratic centralism) onto the organs of the state. If you read Marx, you will see that a key component to COMMUNISM, which is seen as the final stage of SOCIALISM (two separate things) is the withering away of the state.

    Central Committees, totalitarian trappings and gulag archipeligos are completely antithetical to basic Marxist notions of what Communism is.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread apparently has gotten their ideas of what Marxism is by watching Chuck Norris films or something.


    I have. Both the political Manifesto and economic treatise Das Kapital. His political ideas were relevant and interesting. Their (him and Engels) economics were fundamentally flawed. An extra 1000 hours of labor will not turn a rock of coal into a diamond, for example.

    Lenism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. These are the final destinations of Communism, not some proletarian paradise. I am aware of the extreme idealogical disparity between Marxism and these 'isms'. It is no accident that the Marxist ideal has never been realized, nor is it is an accident that these isms are essentially tyrannies. 'Failure' of the previous implementations was not caused by the flaws of the participants, but because the ideals, values, and theory are fundamentally flawed. The final result of the 'revolution' was hardly his only error.

    This is disingenuous. The point being made is that a democratic implementation of communism is a natural, predicted event following years of shift to socialism (according to Marx). The fact that historical examples of communism had to be imposed and maintained by force upholds the theory that democratic communism (assuming it ever emerges) is a gradual process only following decades of change, once sufficient appetite for it has emerged. What Lenin et al proved about communism (if anything) is that it's difficult (but not impossible) to drag people kicking and screaming with you before they're ready.

    The fact that current examples of communism are necessarily totalitarian does not contradict Marxist theory. Lenin himself had to claim that Marx was wrong and that a 'great leap' could somehow bypass socialism.

    It is the inevitability of the revolution, as well as what the society would look like afterwards that is flawed. People will never be ready for a Communist society. Technology may make it possible to remove material wants and needs, but to remove other forms of scarcity is generally impossible, unless you believe that people will tire of the beauty of the sea, never age, nor never be bored by a dull but necessary task.

    The distribution of these limited resources is either facilitated by a market (with all of its imperfections) or done arbitrarily by tyrannical unit.

    Mithrandir86 on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Unfortunately, Communism does not function in practice without a central planning committee to get things done, and thus will always end in tyranny.

    No, fuck this. This is the essential problem with Leninism, that being taking a revolutionary theory and then grafting its institutions and doctrines (such as democratic centralism) onto the organs of the state. If you read Marx, you will see that a key component to COMMUNISM, which is seen as the final stage of SOCIALISM (two separate things) is the withering away of the state.

    Central Committees, totalitarian trappings and gulag archipeligos are completely antithetical to basic Marxist notions of what Communism is.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread apparently has gotten their ideas of what Marxism is by watching Chuck Norris films or something.

    Which as I've already said completely makes Marx's claims even more ridiculous. People aren't going to share and play nice in a large scale society unless there is strict enforcement of it.

    Communism and the state are inextricably linked. You cannot have one without the other because without the state people will simply stop being communist. They'll opt out of it or exploit it to benefit themselves, and lie and cheat the system and others in it.

    Capitalism works because the selfish motivations of people still happen to benefit the rest of society. Communism in any form always fails because it gives people the benefit of the doubt, and they always turn around and compromise the system.

    KevinNash on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    It is the inevitability of the revolution, as well as what the society would look like afterwards that is flawed. People will never be ready for a Communist society. Technology may make it possible to remove material wants and needs, but to remove other forms of scarcity is generally impossible, unless you believe that people will tire of the beauty of the sea, never age, nor never be bored by a dull but necessary task.

    I don't understand the relationship between removing scarcity and realizing a Marxist society. Unless I've overlooked something, nobody claimed communism solved scarcity. And it's a bit too early to say that people will never be ready for a communist society. There are several countries running right now that have advanced to a sophisticated form of socialism; only time will tell where they end up. I'm not saying Marx will be proven 100% right, but I think your analysis does him too little credit and assigns him blame for misinterpretations carried out by his so-called disciples.

    Hachface on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    KevinNash wrote: »
    Capitalism works because the selfish motivations of people still happen to benefit the rest of society. Communism in any form always fails because it gives people the benefit of the doubt, and they always turn around and compromise the system.

    The solution to this problem is to convince everybody that their own self-interest is best served by the interest of the polity as a whole. This might sound impossible, but historically people have tended to realize that their interests and the interests of others converge at least as often as they differ. Read Nonzero by Robert Wright. Or hell, just wiki it.

    Hachface on
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    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    It is the inevitability of the revolution, as well as what the society would look like afterwards that is flawed. People will never be ready for a Communist society. Technology may make it possible to remove material wants and needs, but to remove other forms of scarcity is generally impossible, unless you believe that people will tire of the beauty of the sea, never age, nor never be bored by a dull but necessary task.

    I don't understand the relationship between removing scarcity and realizing a Marxist society. Unless I've overlooked something, nobody claimed communism solved scarcity. And it's a bit too early to say that people will never be ready for a communist society. There are several countries running right now that have advanced to a sophisticated form of socialism; only time will tell where they end up. I'm not saying Marx will be proven 100% right, but I think your analysis does him too little credit and assigns him blame for misinterpretations carried out by his so-called disciples.

    In Layman's terms, one of the reasons that the theory is flawed is want. Communism tries to lessen the problem of want by removing private property. In theory, the people own everything. In practice, the government owns everything, the people own nothing, including their own lives. This is just for the simple tragedy of the commons; people will use a free public resource without regard to its sustainability, unless you assume that no one will lie, cheat, or have problems communicating or tracking their own (and everyone else's) usage.

    Still, there is the general problem of people wanting things. Things in their hands, etc. People want and need different things. The most efficient way for them to provide these things is to work at a single task that they are good at and then use that compensation to buy those things at a market. They are also the ones who are the best at making these choices, not some other person (local or otherwise).

    As for the peaceful movement to socialism in Europe, Scandanavia. Well, we should disregard Norway since it will always be an outlier due to their great energy wealth. The state provides a great level of care and services to the individual, in return for a great share of their income. These economies have been pretty successful, but they are still essentially market economies, albeit with a high role of the state. (You shouldn't misinterpret my posts to suggest that I believe that socialized medicine will eventually lead to communism, by the way). People still bid on beachfront property in Denmark. Not everyone can have a big house on the beach.

    What I am trying to say is that there will always be a role for the market, and while a higher role of the state may be inevitable (though I detest this certainty as it implies a natural flow; nothing happens in politics without the assertion of human will) or even desirable, there will always be things that will be sold over a market. Unless, of course, it is forcefully forbidden. This is why Communism cannot exist without a show of force.

    Mithrandir86 on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    Read Nonzero by Robert Wright. Or hell, just wiki it.

    I apologize as you've actually read the book and it's possible that he makes a better case for his theory than the wikipedia article's description, but honestly, the only reason the main criticism comes from an evolutionary psychologist is that it doesn't actually deserve a scientific response.

    zeeny on
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    saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Mithrandir, you are approaching the question of property from the wrong end. The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.

    The abolition of "private" property would end this practice, thereby allowing the worker to no longer be alienated from his labour -- no one would be able to steal from him and take the products of his labour if notions of private property did not exist.
    The most efficient way for them to provide these things is to work at a single task that they are good at and then use that compensation to buy those things at a market.

    Once again, you show your unsophisticated understanding of Marxism. The abolition of private property as a means of control will not necessarily impact negatively or otherwise, on labour specialization. Further, markets and mediums of exchange (like money) become a whole lot more curious when notions of private property are abolished; exchange will still occur, but there will not be an inherent injustice in the exchange, as is the case in capitalism. I haven't read enough political economy (not my focus) to see all of the possibilities this may lead to, but changing the metrics on how goods are exchanged does not somehow lead us to a command economy, not by any stretch.
    As for the peaceful movement to socialism in Europe, Scandanavia. Well, we should disregard Norway since it will always be an outlier due to their great energy wealth.

    Yes, let's disregard examples that contradict your argument. That's always the best way to do things.
    These economies have been pretty successful, but they are still essentially market economies, albeit with a high role of the state.

    They are democratic socialist, a la Bernstein. Elements of socialism implemented via the institutions and mechanisms of liberal capitalist democracy. This is not Marxism. Perhaps, at some point in the future, these countries may become Marxist, but they are not there yet.
    KevinNash wrote:
    Which as I've already said completely makes Marx's claims even more ridiculous. People aren't going to share and play nice in a large scale society unless there is strict enforcement of it.

    You need to read more political theory, because what you are saying is complete hogwash. You are essentially saying that all humans have unnatural and uncontrollable urges that tend toward complete selfish, violent individualism that must be crushed and controlled by the state for any polity to exist.

    Hogwash. You've been reading too much Freud or something, because this assertion about the state of human reason and decision making is categorically false and absurd. If this were to be true, a state would have to exist before there was society.

    saggio on
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    LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Philosopher King The AcademyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Mithrandir, you are approaching the question of property from the wrong end. The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.

    The abolition of "private" property would end this practice, thereby allowing the worker to no longer be alienated from his labour -- no one would be able to steal from him and take the products of his labour if notions of private property did not exist.
    The most efficient way for them to provide these things is to work at a single task that they are good at and then use that compensation to buy those things at a market.

    Once again, you show your unsophisticated understanding of Marxism. The abolition of private property as a means of control will not necessarily impact negatively or otherwise, on labour specialization. Further, markets and mediums of exchange (like money) become a whole lot more curious when notions of private property are abolished; exchange will still occur, but there will not be an inherent injustice in the exchange, as is the case in capitalism. I haven't read enough political economy (not my focus) to see all of the possibilities this may lead to, but changing the metrics on how goods are exchanged does not somehow lead us to a command economy, not by any stretch.
    As for the peaceful movement to socialism in Europe, Scandanavia. Well, we should disregard Norway since it will always be an outlier due to their great energy wealth.

    Yes, let's disregard examples that contradict your argument. That's always the best way to do things.
    These economies have been pretty successful, but they are still essentially market economies, albeit with a high role of the state.

    They are democratic socialist, a la Bernstein. Elements of socialism implemented via the institutions and mechanisms of liberal capitalist democracy. This is not Marxism. Perhaps, at some point in the future, these countries may become Marxist, but they are not there yet.
    KevinNash wrote:
    Which as I've already said completely makes Marx's claims even more ridiculous. People aren't going to share and play nice in a large scale society unless there is strict enforcement of it.

    You need to read more political theory, because what you are saying is complete hogwash. You are essentially saying that all humans have unnatural and uncontrollable urges that tend toward complete selfish, violent individualism that must be crushed and controlled by the state for any polity to exist.

    Hogwash. You've been reading too much Freud or something, because this assertion about the state of human reason and decision making is categorically false and absurd. If this were to be true, a state would have to exist before there was society.

    Will you be my friend?

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    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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    saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Yes.

    saggio on
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    Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    Salvation122 on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    zeeny wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Read Nonzero by Robert Wright. Or hell, just wiki it.

    I apologize as you've actually read the book and it's possible that he makes a better case for his theory than the wikipedia article's description, but honestly, the only reason the main criticism comes from an evolutionary psychologist is that it doesn't actually deserve a scientific response.

    It's a good thing that Wright's ideas are not a formal scientific theory, then.

    Hachface on
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    LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Philosopher King The AcademyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    If by fair compensation you mean less than it's actual market value, then sure, they're being fairly compensated. The very nature of profit requires that the laborer be paid less than his labor is actually worth. His labor being worth the difference between material costs and the value that the object is sold for.

    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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    SavantSavant Simply Barbaric Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

    Marx can have tons of eloquent argumentation about the theft of the labor of the working class or what not, but if his ideas don't stand the test of reality then they aren't particularly useful. Talk about being "ready" for Marxism all you want, but it may be the case that humanity is never "ready" for it because being "ready" for it is not a realistic situation.

    Advancing Marxism would be better served by finding some sort of scientific verification that it can work outside of the limited circumstances where the problems listed by its critics are not major ones, rather than saying "read more Marx."

    Edit: This is like dealing with bizzaro Randianism, or vice versa.

    Savant on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Savant wrote: »
    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

    Marx can have tons of eloquent argumentation about the theft of the labor of the working class or what not, but if his ideas don't stand the test of reality then they aren't particularly useful. Talk about being "ready" for Marxism all you want, but it may be the case that humanity is never "ready" for it because being "ready" for it is not a realistic situation.

    Advancing Marxism would be better served by finding some sort of scientific verification that it can work outside of the limited circumstances where the problems listed by its critics are not major ones, rather than saying "read more Marx."

    I understand the frustration of Marx admirers. They are constantly told that "in practice, communism doesn't work," when in reality nothing even close to Marx's idea of communism has ever actually been tried--for the basic reason that Marx's vision isn't something that an agent can try to implement, but something that is believed will occur in some form naturally. Leninism doesn't resemble Marxism even in theory; it is a totally distinct approach to governance that only draws inspiration from Marx. I am not a Marxist, but it is premature to say one way or another whether Marx was basically correct. Again, let's wait and see how the Scandinavian socialist societies develop.

    Hachface on
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    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Mithrandir, you are approaching the question of property from the wrong end. The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes.

    This is why his political commentary is both interesting and relevant. Class commentary, identification, these are all important ideas. I’m not saying we should just start burning Marx’s books or even ignoring them.
    It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.

    Not then, but perhaps now. More people in the United States, for example, own their house than rent. Even with a mortgage, the distinction the real and important. Credit has allowed normal people to own more things than they ever had before. When the general public, rather than an elite, own meaningful property, there become problems in the prediction of an inevitable uprising of the proletariat, especially when the proletariat (those who own only their labour) becomes a minority (in the West). It was infeasible for an agent (whether skilled or not) in the 19th century to own property except through appropriation. Now it’s not necessary.
    The abolition of "private" property would end this practice, thereby allowing the worker to no longer be alienated from his labour -- no one would be able to steal from him and take the products of his labour if notions of private property did not exist.

    The concept of public property is not conducive to responsible private usage. See my previous post on the tragedy of the commons. Collective usage leads to resource exhaustion, as individuals do not self-regulate. The total abolition of property or money makes regulation more difficult, as the measurement tools no longer exist. Lower value on future access is a further problem, and extends the existing problem inherent in discounting. Access must be regulated in some way, and if money/market is precluded, it is done arbitrarily.

    Thus, Marx trades labour-theft, a social injustice, for economic failure. This is hardly preferable.

    saggio wrote:
    The most efficient way for them to provide these things is to work at a single task that they are good at and then use that compensation to buy those things at a market.

    Once again, you show your unsophisticated understanding of Marxism. The abolition of private property as a means of control will not necessarily impact negatively or otherwise, on labour specialization.

    According to Marx, yes. According to general practice, the nature and alignment of labour specialization has to be altered. Assuming a long-term scenario, how are you to make sure that there are enough of a given profession except through imposition of quotas or other requirements? Perhaps you will have enough doctors, but what about something dangerous and dirty, like mining? Specialization is required for efficiency, and it takes time and resources to train someone. At the very least a real opportunity cost.

    The method of determination of labor specialization in a market economy is self-evident and the decision-making process is diffused.
    saggio wrote:
    Further, markets and mediums of exchange (like money) become a whole lot more curious when notions of private property are abolished; exchange will still occur, but there will not be an inherent injustice in the exchange, as is the case in capitalism. I haven't read enough political economy (not my focus) to see all of the possibilities this may lead to, but changing the metrics on how goods are exchanged does not somehow lead us to a command economy, not by any stretch.

    Well, what I attempted to argue a few posts ago was that the abolition of money does not erase capitalism. In lieu of money, people turn to barter, though barter is generally inefficient, and has serious problems (discounting is difficult, information is difficult to gather, it isn’t universal and it doesn’t transport well). There is a reason we use money, and it predates the notions of capital enterprise, and has more to do the efficiency of exchange than a political ideal.

    Also, I reject a few of the other notions of Marxism implied there – the inherent injustice of a free exchange does not exist between well-informed, non-coerced parties. A ban on begging, like in Germany during the Second Industrial Revolution, is coercion. A ban (nominal or effective) on unemployment is coercion. Thus, I do not deny that bargaining between the workers and owners in 18th century Germany was inherently unfair.

    I also reject the idea that free trade is de facto imperialism (not mentioned, but I believe it is important to the topic), as I believe that those are competing rather than complimentary ideas. Whereas the former benefits both parties to the degree of their realized surplus exchange, the latter has a clear benefactor. The former is cooperation, the latter appropriation.
    saggio wrote:
    As for the peaceful movement to socialism in Europe, Scandanavia. Well, we should disregard Norway since it will always be an outlier due to their great energy wealth.

    Yes, let's disregard examples that contradict your argument. That's always the best way to do things.

    Wait, what? You will honestly argue the point that Norway’s high economic output has something to do with a political alignment rather than the great amount of oil they have in their territorial waters? Are we going to argue next that the reason that Alberta is the richest province is because they have a Conservative government rather than a Liberal one?

    Don’t be silly.

    I always exclude Norway from Scandinavian or European analysis; looking at most economic indicators, Norway is always a clear outlier.
    saggio wrote:
    These economies have been pretty successful, but they are still essentially market economies, albeit with a high role of the state.

    They are democratic socialist, a la Bernstein. Elements of socialism implemented via the institutions and mechanisms of liberal capitalist democracy. This is not Marxism. Perhaps, at some point in the future, these countries may become Marxist, but they are not there yet.

    I feel like we’re just arguing semantics for this. Would you concede that they are mixed economies at least?

    Look, I’m not saying Marx = dumbest. It would be unfair to say that Marx was complicit in 20th century atrocities (as much as it would Jesus for the Crusades). You don’t even have to argue that those ideas are perversions of what he wrote. Nor should you interpret that I believe the market is perfect; there are very, very real problems with an unfettered market, even if you ignore social injustice. Market failure is endemic to the system – but this is cause for its regulation, not its abolition.

    Mithrandir86 on
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    ThorionThorion __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    widowson wrote: »
    One party rule.

    No individual property.

    No civil liberties.

    No freedom of travel

    You're not describing communism. You're describing Leninism or Maoism. There's a bit of a difference.

    FTFY

    Thorion on
    Wanted for failure to pay
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    Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    If by fair compensation you mean less than it's actual market value, then sure, they're being fairly compensated. The very nature of profit requires that the laborer be paid less than his labor is actually worth. His labor being worth the difference between material costs and the value that the object is sold for.

    The nature of an exchange is to increase value, not one party to steal from the other. Private bargaining is the process on which the two parties declare their threat values, decide whether to cooperate and then decide on how to divide the surplus.

    Mithrandir86 on
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    KevinNashKevinNash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    KevinNash wrote:
    Which as I've already said completely makes Marx's claims even more ridiculous. People aren't going to share and play nice in a large scale society unless there is strict enforcement of it.

    You need to read more political theory, because what you are saying is complete hogwash. You are essentially saying that all humans have unnatural and uncontrollable urges that tend toward complete selfish, violent individualism that must be crushed and controlled by the state for any polity to exist.

    Hogwash. You've been reading too much Freud or something, because this assertion about the state of human reason and decision making is categorically false and absurd. If this were to be true, a state would have to exist before there was society.

    I've read plenty. We can start with Rousseau and John Quincy Adams whose writings help back my ideas. Societies are backed by some kind of state or governing body, even if it's just an alpha leader of some kind. I've already said Marxism works on a very small scale, it doesn't work on a large scale, especially in one without a state. Humans don't have to be violent, but they are just interested in self preservation. This generally means they are selfish but not evil. Helping others is usually a means to an end that generally benefits the individual doing it or their offspring, even if it's only in a round about sort of way.

    KevinNash on
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    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    True communism can't ever happen for the same reason that a Libertarian dream state really just ends up with a bunch of guys driving around in trucks with guns running things

    override367 on
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    LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Philosopher King The AcademyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    If by fair compensation you mean less than it's actual market value, then sure, they're being fairly compensated. The very nature of profit requires that the laborer be paid less than his labor is actually worth. His labor being worth the difference between material costs and the value that the object is sold for.

    The nature of an exchange is to increase value, not one party to steal from the other. Private bargaining is the process on which the two parties declare their threat values, decide whether to cooperate and then decide on how to divide the surplus.

    Okay, so if I'm a man who is capable of performing manual labor, I go to my potential employer. He is willing to pay me $5 to manufacture something that he's going to sell for $10 (it takes $3 in materials to fuel the process). How is this an even exchange? Also, since we have private property and all the means of production are owned privately, I am forced to negotiate with someone to be able to use my labor at all. So please, tell me how this a fair and equal exchange and that one party does not have the majority of the power. You might be able to claim that I freely enter into the exchange, but at the same time, I need to eat so I can't just refuse to work.

    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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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    When the person comes to buy your product, he is paying for both the cost of your labor and your employer's effort in arranging the exchange. If you want perfectly equal exchange between yourself and the consumer, manufacture a product and sell it directly. Profit is not inherently unjust.

    Hachface on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    True communism can't ever happen for the same reason that a Libertarian dream state really just ends up with a bunch of guys driving around in trucks with guns running things
    Are you implying Somalia's a bad thing override?

    Quid on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Okay, so if I'm a man who is capable of performing manual labor, I go to my potential employer. He is willing to pay me $5 to manufacture something that he's going to sell for $10 (it takes $3 in materials to fuel the process). How is this an even exchange?

    You don't own anything necessary for the manufacture, shipping and retail of the product?
    Also, since we have private property and all the means of production are owned privately, I am forced to negotiate with someone to be able to use my labor at all.

    Rather like the company you work for has to negotiate to sell the product you make.
    So please, tell me how this a fair and equal exchange and that one party does not have the majority of the power. You might be able to claim that I freely enter into the exchange, but at the same time, I need to eat so I can't just refuse to work.

    You can work at a different job.

    The same way consumers are free to buy another company's version of the product you make.

    Speaker on
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    dispatch.o on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Mithrandir, you are approaching the question of property from the wrong end. The key criticism of private property leveled by Marx is that it is used as a way of controlling the working class, the actual people, who, through their labour, create the goods which are then taken from them by the "owners." This is the alienation of labour. This is the foundation of the inequality of the classes. It has very little to do with consumerist desires for jeans or iPods, and everything to do with institutionalized theft of one's labour.

    The abolition of "private" property would end this practice, thereby allowing the worker to no longer be alienated from his labour -- no one would be able to steal from him and take the products of his labour if notions of private property did not exist.
    The most efficient way for them to provide these things is to work at a single task that they are good at and then use that compensation to buy those things at a market.

    Once again, you show your unsophisticated understanding of Marxism. The abolition of private property as a means of control will not necessarily impact negatively or otherwise, on labour specialization. Further, markets and mediums of exchange (like money) become a whole lot more curious when notions of private property are abolished; exchange will still occur, but there will not be an inherent injustice in the exchange, as is the case in capitalism. I haven't read enough political economy (not my focus) to see all of the possibilities this may lead to, but changing the metrics on how goods are exchanged does not somehow lead us to a command economy, not by any stretch.
    As for the peaceful movement to socialism in Europe, Scandanavia. Well, we should disregard Norway since it will always be an outlier due to their great energy wealth.

    Yes, let's disregard examples that contradict your argument. That's always the best way to do things.
    These economies have been pretty successful, but they are still essentially market economies, albeit with a high role of the state.

    They are democratic socialist, a la Bernstein. Elements of socialism implemented via the institutions and mechanisms of liberal capitalist democracy. This is not Marxism. Perhaps, at some point in the future, these countries may become Marxist, but they are not there yet.
    KevinNash wrote:
    Which as I've already said completely makes Marx's claims even more ridiculous. People aren't going to share and play nice in a large scale society unless there is strict enforcement of it.

    You need to read more political theory, because what you are saying is complete hogwash. You are essentially saying that all humans have unnatural and uncontrollable urges that tend toward complete selfish, violent individualism that must be crushed and controlled by the state for any polity to exist.

    Hogwash. You've been reading too much Freud or something, because this assertion about the state of human reason and decision making is categorically false and absurd. If this were to be true, a state would have to exist before there was society.

    And which drugs will you be pumping into the atmosphere to convince people that they don't ever want to have anything?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    "Communism" is awesome if you were formerly living in an unindistrialized, subsistence-agriculture/feudal society with an average lifespan of 35-50.

    Xhero on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    "Communism" is awesome if you were formerly living in an unindistrialized, subsistence-agriculture/feudal society with an average lifespan of 35-50.

    When that society has no resources and already have a military dictatorship, how is communism different?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    "Communism" is awesome if you were formerly living in an unindistrialized, subsistence-agriculture/feudal society with an average lifespan of 35-50.

    When that society has no resources and already have a military dictatorship, how is communism different?

    No society is without resources. It's a literal impossibility, since labor is itself a resource. Also, is the military dictatorship in question concerned primarily with sitting its ass on a comfortable throne while it watches Western companies profit from agricultural cashcrop extraction/basically free labor/whatnot, or implementing broad, state-capitalist, industrial reform?

    Xhero on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    "Communism" is awesome if you were formerly living in an unindistrialized, subsistence-agriculture/feudal society with an average lifespan of 35-50.

    When that society has no resources and already have a military dictatorship, how is communism different?

    No society is without resources. It's a literal impossibility, since labor is itself a resource.

    Only if you have food.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    "Communism" is awesome if you were formerly living in an unindistrialized, subsistence-agriculture/feudal society with an average lifespan of 35-50.

    When that society has no resources and already have a military dictatorship, how is communism different?

    No society is without resources. It's a literal impossibility, since labor is itself a resource.

    Only if you have food.

    Really. Tell me more; I'm looking forward to the sequels: "Only if you have dry land to work on." and "Don't forget, you've gotta have oxygen! Water might be nice, too."

    Xhero on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Communism is awesome if you are an ant.

    "Communism" is awesome if you were formerly living in an unindistrialized, subsistence-agriculture/feudal society with an average lifespan of 35-50.

    When that society has no resources and already have a military dictatorship, how is communism different?

    No society is without resources. It's a literal impossibility, since labor is itself a resource.

    Only if you have food.

    Really. Tell me more; I'm looking forward to the sequels: "Only if you have dry land to work on." and "Don't forget, you've gotta have oxygen! Water might be nice, too."

    And how do we get these things when they don't occur within our borders because our borders encircle an area of land that is utterly useless for at least the time being?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    PrionburgerPrionburger Registered User new member
    edited January 2009
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    Laborers are fairly compensated? You realize "fairness" is subjective. If you place an objective measure on the exchange, laborers do not appear fairly compensated. That's part of Marx's argument, and it isn't stupid. I would suggest you read up on it before criticizing it.

    This is one of my biggest problems with any discussion involving communism. There are so many people willing to make ballsy statements on the subject without knowing anything at all. All you need to know is that the Soviet Union = Cuba = North Korea = Take Away Your Things! = Marx = Evil Empire. Talk about stupid arguments. Forget reading Marx, forget understanding the evolution of the Soviet Union and the basis of that evolution, forget knowing anything about the Bolsheviks. How about we just forget having a basis on anything real, and we can be just good dumb patriots and regurgitate what we're told.

    Prionburger on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    And how do we get these things when they don't occur within our borders because our borders encircle an area of land that is utterly useless for at least the time being?

    Nothing like this exists. Sorry.

    Xhero on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    Laborers are fairly compensated? You realize "fairness" is subjective. If you place an objective measure on the exchange, laborers do not appear fairly compensated. That's part of Marx's argument, and it isn't stupid. I would suggest you read up on it before criticizing it.

    This is one of my biggest problems with any discussion involving communism. There are so many people willing to make ballsy statements on the subject without knowing anything at all. All you need to know is that the Soviet Union = Cuba = North Korea = Take Away Your Things! = Marx = Evil Empire. Talk about stupid arguments. Forget reading Marx, forget understanding the evolution of the Soviet Union and the basis of that evolution, forget knowing anything about the Bolsheviks. How about we just forget having a basis on anything real, and we can be just good dumb patriots and regurgitate what we're told.

    So what you're saying is: communism is just a red herring.

    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
    Yes, but it's a stupid criticism. The laborers are fairly compensated, therefore it is not theft. Nobody gives a fuck that the jeans they make are sold by someone else, because at the end of the day they're getting paid either way.

    Laborers are fairly compensated? You realize "fairness" is subjective. If you place an objective measure on the exchange, laborers do not appear fairly compensated. That's part of Marx's argument, and it isn't stupid. I would suggest you read up on it before criticizing it.

    This is one of my biggest problems with any discussion involving communism. There are so many people willing to make ballsy statements on the subject without knowing anything at all. All you need to know is that the Soviet Union = Cuba = North Korea = Take Away Your Things! = Marx = Evil Empire. Talk about stupid arguments. Forget reading Marx, forget understanding the evolution of the Soviet Union and the basis of that evolution, forget knowing anything about the Bolsheviks. How about we just forget having a basis on anything real, and we can be just good dumb patriots and regurgitate what we're told.

    This just in: I am not an idiot.

    Provided that there are very minimal safeguards in place - price floors on labor, caps on overtime, safety reqs, etc - and free labor flow within a nation, just compensation within that nation is pretty much guaranteed. If it gets to the point where compensation is not just, then yes, there'll be a revolution, but it'll be one of the old-school loot-and-burn deals, not some enlightened catalyst to a land free of want.

    Revolutions, with few exceptions, are caused by hunger or slavery. Neither of these conditions exist in the market societies Marx posits as necessary to the transition to communism in the modern world.

    Salvation122 on
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