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Communism, obsolete or key to uplifting the third world?

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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    This was brought up earlier by VC, and is something that I find questionable, but seems to be common consensus.

    Human beings are inherently selfish creatures, or alternatively, it is human nature to behave selfishly. This is generally touted as the reason why communism "can't work." Why is this the case? It seems like you are just resorting to psychological egoism, a claim that can't really be defended.

    Part of the reason I ask this question is that it seems to me that from a very young age we teach children the idea of property, of "mine." It's one of the first words that a child learns, and I think that the very fact that it is taught first causes us to have to teach children to share later. We have to teach them how to use the concept "mine" beneficially.

    Am I smoking crack here? I haven't raised any children, but I've been around toddlers who say that everything belongs to them that they can get there hands on.

    Would the problem of selfishness be gone if we were to raise our children without a concept of private property, without the idea that something belongs to them exclusively?

    I don't know, personally.

    I will say that a lot of people confuse the idea of "no private property" with "no possessions" wrt communism. You still have things that are "yours" like your TV your computer your bed, etc. You can even have "your" apartment or "your" house that is yours and no-one else's and you own it just like you own it in a capitalist society. In fact, communism pre-supposes that people have lots of personal possessions, because personal possessions are among the "wealth" that generated by precursor capitalism!

    The Marxist notion of the abolition of private property involves private capital - property that can be used to generate wealth. Farms, factories, mines, etc.

    This is not an unusual concept. In fact we exercise it every day. My desk at work is not "mine" in the sense that I possess it, but it is "mine" in the sense that I have the exclusive privilege of using it as long as I work for this company. Likewise, in a communist society, you wouldn't own a 500-acre farm. You might have exclusive privilege to work that farm as long as you are able and willing, but if you stop, you can't just hire somebody to do it for you and take their profits.

    Where I, personally, become unclear on this concept is at the dividing line between personal property and capital. For example, cottage industries, or people who work from their home. In a communist society, if I use my computer to work and I use it to play games, is it mine, or do I have to put it back in the usufruct when I'm not using it?

    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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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Wait are we assuming that our species naturally lacked a habit of domination and subordination?

    Mostly, yes? It's pretty easy to verify, just look at modern non-agrarian tribal groups. Decisions are typically made by a group of elders in the tribe; the closest you get to a singular leader is an occasional "big man", who has no actual power over the elders but is respected due to his ability.

    Xhero on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Mostly, yes? It's pretty easy to verify, just look at modern non-agrarian tribal groups. Decisions are typically made by a group of elders in the tribe; the closest you get to a singular leader is an occasional "big man", who has no actual power over the elders but is respected due to his ability.

    :|

    So power structures were introduced by... space invaders...?

    Cooperation and domination are both present in people. Certain environments and histories lead to one or another, but one is not more natural than the other.

    Incenjucar on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    "My naturalistic fallacy has a bigger stick than your naturalistic fallacy!"

    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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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    Mostly, yes? It's pretty easy to verify, just look at modern non-agrarian tribal groups. Decisions are typically made by a group of elders in the tribe; the closest you get to a singular leader is an occasional "big man", who has no actual power over the elders but is respected due to his ability.

    :|

    So power structures were introduced by... space invaders...?

    Cooperation and domination are both present in people. Certain environments and histories lead to one or another, but one is not more natural than the other.

    Yes... space invaders, and not the fact that if you imposed agriculture onto that structure you would quickly see the elders and the big men forming a real aristocracy from the accumulation of respect and wealth. It's not entirely a bad thing: if you remove a group of people from the toil of farming, you free up their time to do other things, like developing writing.

    Xhero on
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    LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Philosopher King The AcademyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    This is not an unusual concept. In fact we exercise it every day. My desk at work is not "mine" in the sense that I possess it, but it is "mine" in the sense that I have the exclusive privilege of using it as long as I work for this company. Likewise, in a communist society, you wouldn't own a 500-acre farm. You might have exclusive privilege to work that farm as long as you are able and willing, but if you stop, you can't just hire somebody to do it for you and take their profits.

    Where I, personally, become unclear on this concept is at the dividing line between personal property and capital. For example, cottage industries, or people who work from their home. In a communist society, if I use my computer to work and I use it to play games, is it mine, or do I have to put it back in the usufruct when I'm not using it?

    The concept of need is interesting as well. Like, I think that it's perfectly reasonable to claim that people need a bit of luxury. We need some way to take it easy, so I could see that as a justification for you getting exclusive rights to use your computer not only when you're working, but also when you're playing. Playing is psychologically healthy and necessary (I think). Otherwise, it seems to me that the concept of property under a communist system would be the same as your desk at work. Yours in the sense that no one else should use it or mess with it without considering you, but that you can't take it to the grave with you if you are so inclined.

    LoserForHireX on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    I will say that a lot of people confuse the idea of "no private property" with "no possessions" wrt communism. You still have things that are "yours" like your TV your computer your bed, etc. You can even have "your" apartment or "your" house that is yours and no-one else's and you own it just like you own it in a capitalist society. In fact, communism pre-supposes that people have lots of personal possessions, because personal possessions are among the "wealth" that generated by precursor capitalism!

    The Marxist notion of the abolition of private property involves private capital - property that can be used to generate wealth. Farms, factories, mines, etc.

    This is not an unusual concept. In fact we exercise it every day. My desk at work is not "mine" in the sense that I possess it, but it is "mine" in the sense that I have the exclusive privilege of using it as long as I work for this company. Likewise, in a communist society, you wouldn't own a 500-acre farm. You might have exclusive privilege to work that farm as long as you are able and willing, but if you stop, you can't just hire somebody to do it for you and take their profits.

    Where I, personally, become unclear on this concept is at the dividing line between personal property and capital. For example, cottage industries, or people who work from their home. In a communist society, if I use my computer to work and I use it to play games, is it mine, or do I have to put it back in the usufruct when I'm not using it?

    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    Speaker on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The point I'm making isn't that the Nationalist government came out of the Republican one, it's that the Republican one didn't exist long enough for the problems of any centralized governmental structure to become clear. Communism faces the same problem as dictatorships and monarchies in that you're putting all your eggs in one basket, hoping desperately that the ruling elite (which is a far smaller number in a centralized government than in capitalist democracies) is not corrupt and power hungry.

    Except, as The Fourth Estate points out, the Republican government wasn't Centralized, and in fact, it advocated decentralization and regional autonomy. So, while you might argue that their economy would have collapsed in a few years even without the civil war taking place, it doesn't seem plausible to argue that they would have fallen victim to an excessive concentration of power into a single person or group.

    MrMister on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    How do you explain the fact that the sort of capitalism we enjoy today is actually a relatively recent phenomenon?

    You've lost me. You're asking why we aren't serfs anymore?
    Blame the scientific revolution, the accumulation of enough capital and resources for the start of industrialization, anything you like.

    Do you think the Enclosure Acts of England were a natural process?
    The industrialization in England and Europe was inevitable. It could very well have been delayed for another century, but once the "science" word was out of the bag, the social status quo could not be maintained.
    I'm honestly unsure what we're arguing. Please, tell me what is your point in an informative sentence.

    zeeny on
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    1600Points1600Points Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    How did communism change the economic landscape of Russia?

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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    MrMister wrote: »
    Except, as The Fourth Estate points out, the Republican government wasn't Centralized, and in fact, it advocated decentralization and regional autonomy. So, while you might argue that their economy would have collapsed in a few years even without the civil war taking place, it doesn't seem plausible to argue that they would have fallen victim to an excessive concentration of power into a single person or group.

    It might have collapsed into a collection of autocratic fiefdoms, though, which would be roughly consistent with what ES was saying.

    Hachface on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Except, as The Fourth Estate points out, the Republican government wasn't Centralized, and in fact, it advocated decentralization and regional autonomy. So, while you might argue that their economy would have collapsed in a few years even without the civil war taking place, it doesn't seem plausible to argue that they would have fallen victim to an excessive concentration of power into a single person or group.

    It might have collapsed into a collection of autocratic fiefdoms, though, which would be roughly consistent with what ES was saying.

    It's true that decentralization isn't a guarantee of liberty, however, that is only consistent with what ES said in the absolute roughest sense.

    MrMister on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Speaker wrote: »
    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    I'm probably not the best person to direct that question to.

    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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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    I'm probably not the best person to direct that question to.

    It seems like a key problem when you contrast Communism with Capitalism.

    How capital is invested.

    Speaker on
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    Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    Mostly, yes? It's pretty easy to verify, just look at modern non-agrarian tribal groups. Decisions are typically made by a group of elders in the tribe; the closest you get to a singular leader is an occasional "big man", who has no actual power over the elders but is respected due to his ability.

    :|

    So power structures were introduced by... space invaders...?

    Cooperation and domination are both present in people. Certain environments and histories lead to one or another, but one is not more natural than the other.

    Yes... space invaders, and not the fact that if you imposed agriculture onto that structure you would quickly see the elders and the big men forming a real aristocracy from the accumulation of respect and wealth. It's not entirely a bad thing: if you remove a group of people from the toil of farming, you free up their time to do other things, like developing writing.

    So how do you explain that almost all social animals exist in a state of laissez faire, wherein the strongest gets the most food, mates, etc?

    The point I'm making is not that dictatorships or that laissez faire are natural, but that in a society which does not have structures in place in order to avoid it (IE, seperation of powers), that rule by a strong man is inevitable. The seperation of powers does not exist in any portion of communist ideology, even in the ideal sense of having seperate towns govern themselves. That the proletariat control all parts of society in Marxist communism means that, in the end, it's going to be all controlled by a small assortment of men and women.

    Ethan Smith on
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    redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    Mostly, yes? It's pretty easy to verify, just look at modern non-agrarian tribal groups. Decisions are typically made by a group of elders in the tribe; the closest you get to a singular leader is an occasional "big man", who has no actual power over the elders but is respected due to his ability.

    :|

    So power structures were introduced by... space invaders...?

    Cooperation and domination are both present in people. Certain environments and histories lead to one or another, but one is not more natural than the other.

    Yes... space invaders, and not the fact that if you imposed agriculture onto that structure you would quickly see the elders and the big men forming a real aristocracy from the accumulation of respect and wealth. It's not entirely a bad thing: if you remove a group of people from the toil of farming, you free up their time to do other things, like developing writing.

    So how do you explain that almost all social animals exist in a state of laissez faire, wherein the strongest gets the most food, mates, etc?

    almost all, other than the ones that function as hives. Which I'm pretty sure actually is the majority in terms of number of species, individuals and biomass.

    Colonies, like manowar, are pretty 'from each by his means, to each by his needs' depending on how you want to count them.

    redx on
    They moistly come out at night, moistly.
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm not sure what relationship animal behavior is supposed to have to anything.

    I mean, is it supposed to resemble capitalism, as though richer people were somehow more evolutionarily fit?

    Is it supposed to resemble communism because the most powerful animals impose their will on the others by force, as the government does in that system?

    Speaker on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Speaker wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    I'm probably not the best person to direct that question to.

    It seems like a key problem when you contrast Communism with Capitalism.

    How capital is invested.

    If you accept the fundamental assumption that people will cooperate productively towards the common good, then it's not really a key problem. If you want to start a factory, find some unused land, and either ask whoever's managing the economy for some machinery, or go out and find machinists who are willing to contribute to your endeavor. I don't accept that assumption, though, not because I believe people are inescapably selfish (I think human nature is inherently collaborative, actually) but because I believe that people are incapable of organizing themselves in anything resembling a horizontal, egalitarian system except in very small groups. You will either end up with a defacto hierarchy or unproductive disorganization.

    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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    Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Speaker wrote: »
    I'm not sure what relationship animal behavior is supposed to have to anything.

    I mean, is it supposed to resemble capitalism, as though richer people were somehow more evolutionarily fit?

    Is it supposed to resemble communism because the most powerful animals impose their will on the others by force, as the government does in that system?

    The point is that rule by the strong is a natural system.

    It's not a particularly good system, which is why modern societies avoid it with things like strong and independent judiciaries, higher education which allows members of the lower class to join the ruling class, and a seperation between the military, economy, and polity which makes it hard for any one branch to control all of society. The ideal of communism (in which the masses control all) has problems in that, while it may not happen for a time, if a single dictator comes up, he could turn this Marxist utopia into a Stalinist dystopia.

    Ethan Smith on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    I'm probably not the best person to direct that question to.

    It seems like a key problem when you contrast Communism with Capitalism.

    How capital is invested.

    If you accept the fundamental assumption that people will cooperate productively towards the common good, then it's not really a key problem. If you want to start a factory, find some unused land, and either ask whoever's managing the economy for some machinery, or go out and find machinists who are willing to contribute to your endeavor. I don't accept that assumption, though, not because I believe people are inescapably selfish (I think human nature is inherently collaborative, actually) but because I believe that people are incapable of organizing themselves in anything resembling a horizontal, egalitarian system except in very small groups. You will either end up with a defacto hierarchy or unproductive disorganization.

    Okay.

    But medieval villages weren't especially noteworthy for producing surplus in times and places without a market.

    I mean, you have a belief about human nature - great. But since capitalism that is more or less modern emerged a few centuries ago the wealth of humanity has advanced at an amazing and previously unprecedented rate.

    Do you have any empirical evidence you can point to to justify your belief that people would be equally innovative and productive absent a profit motive? Some example from history?

    Speaker on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    I'm probably not the best person to direct that question to.

    It seems like a key problem when you contrast Communism with Capitalism.

    How capital is invested.

    If you accept the fundamental assumption that people will cooperate productively towards the common good, then it's not really a key problem.

    That's not the only assumption of Marxism, unfortunately. The existence of a crystal ball is another.
    If you want to start a factory, find some unused land, and either ask whoever's managing the economy for some machinery, or go out and find machinists who are willing to contribute to your endeavor.

    You're describing an utopia, not Marxism.
    You can't start a factory as an entrepreneur in a planned economy. You're free, yes, to execute your part of the plan.
    Do you have any empirical evidence you can point to to justify your belief that people would be equally innovative and productive absent a profit motive? Some example from history?

    Did you actually read his last sentence?

    zeeny on
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    The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Speaker wrote: »
    How do people start new farms and businesses?

    I'm probably not the best person to direct that question to.

    It seems like a key problem when you contrast Communism with Capitalism.

    How capital is invested.

    If you accept the fundamental assumption that people will cooperate productively towards the common good, then it's not really a key problem. If you want to start a factory, find some unused land, and either ask whoever's managing the economy for some machinery, or go out and find machinists who are willing to contribute to your endeavor. I don't accept that assumption, though, not because I believe people are inescapably selfish (I think human nature is inherently collaborative, actually) but because I believe that people are incapable of organizing themselves in anything resembling a horizontal, egalitarian system except in very small groups. You will either end up with a defacto hierarchy or unproductive disorganization.

    Soviets. Soviets were worker-controlled organisations running individual industries (in theory. In Russia they quickly evolved into political bodies). In the given example, you would either claim unused land or ask another Soviet for use of their land. You could then ask a machinery Soviet for equipment and go to town. Organisational structures can (and do) exist in a communist society, just not corporate (where labourers are not represented) or state structures. In soviets workers are no longer robbed of their labour as all the members share equitably in the proceeds.

    The Fourth Estate on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Speaker wrote: »
    Do you have any empirical evidence you can point to to justify your belief that people would be equally innovative and productive absent a profit motive? Some example from history?

    No, but I'm not a communist. I find certain concepts from Marxism - like the laborer's alienation from his labor - interesting and useful, but do not believe that communism is tenable.

    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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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    zeeny wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    If you accept the fundamental assumption that people will cooperate productively towards the common good, then it's not really a key problem.

    That's not the only assumption of Marxism, unfortunately. The existence of a crystal ball is another.
    If you want to start a factory, find some unused land, and either ask whoever's managing the economy for some machinery, or go out and find machinists who are willing to contribute to your endeavor.
    You're describing an utopia, not Marxism.
    You can't start a factory as an entrepreneur in a planned economy. You're free, yes, to execute your part of the plan.

    I see both of these, fundamentally, as problems of organization. That perspective may simply be a product of my own psychology and terminology though... I suspect we're ultimately talking about the same thing.

    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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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The example just given of how new capital would be invested in in a communist society seems woefully inefficient. It's essentially just a worse way of implementing what we do currently in the mixed market economies. So why bother with it at all? What do we gain?

    electricitylikesme on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    If you accept the fundamental assumption that people will cooperate productively towards the common good, then it's not really a key problem.

    That's not the only assumption of Marxism, unfortunately. The existence of a crystal ball is another.
    If you want to start a factory, find some unused land, and either ask whoever's managing the economy for some machinery, or go out and find machinists who are willing to contribute to your endeavor.
    You're describing an utopia, not Marxism.
    You can't start a factory as an entrepreneur in a planned economy. You're free, yes, to execute your part of the plan.

    I see both of these, fundamentally, as problems of organization. That perspective may simply be a product of my own psychology and terminology though... I suspect we're ultimately talking about the same thing.

    I see them as partly organizational, partly technological, and partly inherent in human nature. The organizational part is simply that the more massive this endeavor becomes, the more bureaucratic layers you need. And the more bureaucratic layers you have, the harder it is to get information from point A to point B.

    The technological part feeds on that - large organizations need effective communication, and the more you can reduce the time required to perform this communication, the larger your organization can be before collapsing into disarray. Imagine running some of the larger companies we have today without things like relational databases or computers in general - it would be nigh-impossible. The more technology advances, the fewer people you can have keeping an eye on everything without being overwhelmed.

    The last part, though, is a little trickier. I think people like organizing towards a common good, to a point. I think they like being productive, to a point. But I also think people are fundamentally lazy and prone to being side-tracked. I include myself, as well. I'm smart and talented and can do excellent work, but I'm also easily distracted and can waste an entire day doing nothing if I don't have some pretty compelling checks in place to keep myself focused. And this is when doing something I like doing. You have people "cooperating towards a common good", and a lot of them are going to be sitting on their asses goofing off because really, why not? Their only rewards are: personal satisfaction; and lack of disdain from their peers. To steal from Office Space, that'll only make a person work hard enough to not get glared at. And that sort of productivity level is not what bustling economies are made of.

    ElJeffe on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited January 2009
    The example just given of how new capital would be invested in in a communist society seems woefully inefficient. It's essentially just a worse way of implementing what we do currently in the mixed market economies. So why bother with it at all? What do we gain?

    Warm fuzzies?

    ElJeffe on
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    The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The example just given of how new capital would be invested in in a communist society seems woefully inefficient. It's essentially just a worse way of implementing what we do currently in the mixed market economies. So why bother with it at all? What do we gain?

    I wasn't suggesting it would be preferable, just demonstrating that such progress and construction is possible in a communist society.
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    The example just given of how new capital would be invested in in a communist society seems woefully inefficient. It's essentially just a worse way of implementing what we do currently in the mixed market economies. So why bother with it at all? What do we gain?

    Warm fuzzies?

    This has bothering me throughout the thread. People are capable of doing things without a monetary incentive. Love of the craft, an overdeveloped sense of personal responsibility for communal problems. History is awash with thinkers and scientists (less so artists, but still a good number) who, as part of their endeavors have had take time out to struggle with immediate monetary concerns. For them, the business of money has been a hindrance but they still persisted. Yes, money is a great incentive for some, and a useful motivational tool to get people working more efficiently, but it is not a necessary factor. I want to become a scientist; I would earn more money in business; my cousin is treading that path and demonstrating the financial rewards; I have the head and talent for it but I would rather go down a less profitable route to follow (and hopefully enrich) my passion, science. Money is unlikely to be a reward; I will find it a problem for many years. By your logic, I should have no motivation to do this and am an idiot for doing so.

    The Fourth Estate on
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    XheroXhero la contr'une Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    zeeny wrote: »
    The industrialization in England and Europe was inevitable. It could very well have been delayed for another century, but once the "science" word was out of the bag, the social status quo could not be maintained.
    I'm honestly unsure what we're arguing. Please, tell me what is your point in an informative sentence.

    How do you propose England would have obtained the massive amount of labor required for industrialization if not for something similar to the enclosure acts, kicking the peasantry off of their several-centuries-held farmland and forcing them to move into the cities? It certainly doesn't seem "natural" at all.

    Xhero on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    You have people "cooperating towards a common good", and a lot of them are going to be sitting on their asses goofing off because really, why not? Their only rewards are: personal satisfaction; and lack of disdain from their peers. To steal from Office Space, that'll only make a person work hard enough to not get glared at. And that sort of productivity level is not what bustling economies are made of.

    Agreed, in spirit.

    Overall it comes down to production/population numbers. I'd invoke the labor concept of the "reduced workday" to argue that if the conditions allow one individual would be responsible for 4-6 hours of work per day with the remaining 18 minus 8 for sleep leave the individual with ten full hours of personal, family, household and extra-curricular pursuits. Even if one were to use half of those hours for "boring" work, that's still a hell of a lot more time than I, and most working people, get to myself. The question becomes: Is an infrastructure in place which will allow for enough production to occur in order to allow workers significantly less than a full "western" work week?

    A socialist state under a twenty hour work week would still produce poets and intellectuals. An argument can be made that it would, indeed, increase the amount of art and intellect produced by a society when every member is allowed the same chance to pursue those arts.

    The Crowing One on
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    The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    You have people "cooperating towards a common good", and a lot of them are going to be sitting on their asses goofing off because really, why not? Their only rewards are: personal satisfaction; and lack of disdain from their peers. To steal from Office Space, that'll only make a person work hard enough to not get glared at. And that sort of productivity level is not what bustling economies are made of.

    In a soviet system (soviet in the sense of workers' collectives) unproductive workers could be divorced from the proceeds of labour. Not perfect, but a system nonetheless.

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Give and take.

    The Fourth Estate on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    People are capable of doing things without a monetary incentive.

    They just do things faster when they're getting paid. And they make more compromises when they're getting paid. If I'm doing a job for personal fulfillment or personal gain, I may or may not show up at 9 am. I am or may not bother to take a shower first. I may or may not want to work across the hall from the guy whose voice grates on my nerves.

    The purpose of a mixed economy, with welfare and strong labor laws, is to ensure that these compromises are reasonable. Nobody should have to compromise their health, or their ability to raise a family, to work. Those are unreasonable compromises. But asking me to show up on time, appropriately groomed, and reasonably collaborate with my coworkers even if I find them personally unpleasant, or else I don't get a bonus (or end up on unemployment) are reasonable compromises.

    And there are some things nobody wants to do. Unless you have some pretty advanced technology, or are assigning people jobs at gunpoint, any communist collective is going to have a shortage of garbagemen.

    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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    The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    People are capable of doing things without a monetary incentive.

    They just do things faster when they're getting paid. And they make more compromises when they're getting paid. If I'm doing a job for personal fulfillment or personal gain, I may or may not show up at 9 am. I am or may not bother to take a shower first. I may or may not want to work across the hall from the guy whose voice grates on my nerves.

    The purpose of a mixed economy, with welfare and strong labor laws, is to ensure that these compromises are reasonable. Nobody should have to compromise their health, or their ability to raise a family, to work. Those are unreasonable compromises. But asking me to show up on time, appropriately groomed, and reasonably collaborate with my coworkers even if I find them personally unpleasant, or else I don't get a bonus (or end up on unemployment) are reasonable compromises.

    And there are some things nobody wants to do. Unless you have some pretty advanced technology, or are assigning people jobs at gunpoint, any communist collective is going to have a shortage of garbagemen.
    Money is a great incentive for some, and a useful motivational tool to get people working more efficiently.

    The Fourth Estate on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Money is a great incentive for some, and a useful motivational tool to get people working more efficiently.

    Well there you go.

    BTW, Crowing One, I also support a shorter workweek.

    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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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Xhero wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    The industrialization in England and Europe was inevitable. It could very well have been delayed for another century, but once the "science" word was out of the bag, the social status quo could not be maintained.
    I'm honestly unsure what we're arguing. Please, tell me what is your point in an informative sentence.

    How do you propose England would have obtained the massive amount of labor required for industrialization if not for something similar to the enclosure acts, kicking the peasantry off of their several-centuries-held farmland and forcing them to move into the cities? It certainly doesn't seem "natural" at all.

    By the same fucking model it happened on the continent? In some cases slowly following supply and demand in labour markets with the labour force shifting towards urbanization?
    I'll say it again, Industrial revolution was happening. Scientific progress made it inevitable, in England it was a lightening fast process enabled in big part because of the enclosure act. That's it. It was a bill facilitating an inevitable event.
    If you're going to quote another Marxist argument instead of taking the time to think, don't bother. I'm honestly done with this thread.

    zeeny on
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    The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    Money is a great incentive for some, and a useful motivational tool to get people working more efficiently.

    Well there you go.

    BTW, Crowing One, I also support a shorter workweek.

    I agree with you, I'm just playing devil's advocate a little. Communism might be less efficient but it still has systems and incentives, just not controlled by the market or the state; a surprisingly difficult concept for some people in modern capitalist societies to get their heads round.

    The Fourth Estate on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Not actually a mod. Roaming the streets, waving his gun around.Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited January 2009
    Feral wrote: »
    Money is a great incentive for some, and a useful motivational tool to get people working more efficiently.

    Well there you go.

    BTW, Crowing One, I also support a shorter workweek.

    I agree with you, I'm just playing devil's advocate a little. Communism might be less efficient but it still has systems and incentives, just not controlled by the market or the state; a surprisingly difficult concept for some people in modern capitalist societies to get their heads round.

    I don't think the people in this thread are having difficulty getting their heads around the system of incentives. I think people are saying that the system of incentives is pretty anemic compared to those in a capitalist system, even if we assume that every person winds up in a job he likes. Which is, in itself, a pretty retarded assumption unless we're talking about a universe in which inherently unpleasant jobs don't exist.

    You apparently agree with this, so unless you'd like to devil up a different tack of advocacy, I'm not sure where there is to go.

    ElJeffe on
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    saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    zeeny wrote: »
    Xhero wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    The industrialization in England and Europe was inevitable. It could very well have been delayed for another century, but once the "science" word was out of the bag, the social status quo could not be maintained.
    I'm honestly unsure what we're arguing. Please, tell me what is your point in an informative sentence.

    How do you propose England would have obtained the massive amount of labor required for industrialization if not for something similar to the enclosure acts, kicking the peasantry off of their several-centuries-held farmland and forcing them to move into the cities? It certainly doesn't seem "natural" at all.

    By the same fucking model it happened on the continent? In some cases slowly following supply and demand in labour markets with the labour force shifting towards urbanization?
    I'll say it again, Industrial revolution was happening. Scientific progress made it inevitable, in England it was a lightening fast process enabled in big part because of the enclosure act. That's it. It was a bill facilitating an inevitable event.
    If you're going to quote another Marxist argument instead of taking the time to think, don't bother. I'm honestly done with this thread.

    Once again, if people actually read Marx, they would discover that his philosophy of history saw the rise and development of capitalism and the industrialization of the West as historically inevitable and beneficial. Marx does not deny that capitalism is great at wealth generation, and way way way better than Feudalism. In fact, he says it outright - capitalism is superior in just about all ways to feudalism. It allows for the generation of much more wealth, which leads to all sorts of progress in culture, science, medicine, and all things like that.

    The problems that capitalism does not solve are the ones that communism is supposed to. Namely, the alienation of one from their labour, inequity in the distribution of capital, and the class struggle.

    I should also mention that communism is always presented as a historical inevitability. Marx's view of revolution is a very subtle one, and completely different than anything Lenin or Mao wrote.
    zeeny wrote:
    And how would you describe Marxism?

    Marxism is a philosophy of history that describes in philosophical and economic terms what is theorized to happen once capitalist societies reach a certain point of development and workers become sufficiently aware of the class struggle. The economic aspect of Marx emphasizes labour theories of value and the importance of the equally distributing the wealth generated by the preceeding stage of capitalism so as to raise all peoples' material existence to an acceptable, standard level.

    Philosophically, Marxism is a materialist Hegelian philosophy, so holds things like history is progressive and that the material condition of a society is the chief determinant of just about everything.

    Marxism is not a revolutionary theory (as is Leninism, or Maoism). It is a philosophy of history.
    zeeny wrote:
    It's just the most advanced form of society/production we've achieved and our understanding of it keeps evolving.

    Marx would hold that you are correct. Indeed, communism is simply a further development of capitalism that will occur naturally once society progresses to a certain point in time. Just as capitalism overtook feudalism and eclipsed it as the preferred method of economic organization, socialism, then communism will do the same to capitalism.

    ---

    Finally, I'm not sure why everyone is talking about a communist or socialist society as being without money. I don't recall anywhere in the writings of Marx or Engels that money is supposed to be abolished. Exchange of goods and services will still take place in a communist society, the key is that people won't be alienated from their labour and the fundamental exploitation of the market place will not come to bear.

    saggio on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    If you're going to quote another Marxist argument instead of taking the time to think, don't bother. I'm honestly done with this thread.
    Once again, if people actually read Marx,

    Could you please stop saying that? I have read enough Marx and I have those slim doubts that others in the thread have read him too. Now we can rest it down and move on. From the quote it's pretty obvious that I'm talking about supporters of the ideology and not about the person.
    ...the rest.

    Alienation, surplus value("the problems") and planned economy lost the battle to marginalism, free markets & entrepreneurship about half a century ago.
    Shit, that Marx dude was good, and his philosophical and social thought had no equals. Too bad his economic models, while interesting and provoking, were wrong.

    Oh yeah, and a theoretical communist society is not without money of course. You simply have very, very limited spending opportunities.

    zeeny on
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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Money is a great incentive for some, and a useful motivational tool to get people working more efficiently.

    Well there you go.

    BTW, Crowing One, I also support a shorter workweek.

    I agree with you, I'm just playing devil's advocate a little. Communism might be less efficient but it still has systems and incentives, just not controlled by the market or the state; a surprisingly difficult concept for some people in modern capitalist societies to get their heads round.

    I don't think the people in this thread are having difficulty getting their heads around the system of incentives. I think people are saying that the system of incentives is pretty anemic compared to those in a capitalist system, even if we assume that every person winds up in a job he likes. Which is, in itself, a pretty retarded assumption unless we're talking about a universe in which inherently unpleasant jobs don't exist.

    You apparently agree with this, so unless you'd like to devil up a different tack of advocacy, I'm not sure where there is to go.
    ^ This.

    People who think it's some sort of huge deal to insist that people work for reasons other then money, I take pretty clearly as being either ideologues or idiots. Capitalism has absolutely nothing to say about how you should spend your money, how much money you should work for, and how you alot your time. You can give things away if you want, you can have a small town economy based on reciprocity etc. What capitalism does do however is assign value to all of these activities in an efficient way which, with proper correction of externalities, keeps things operating efficiently and fairly.

    electricitylikesme on
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