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Author Topic: View on Communism  (Read 11385 times)

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Offline deathesubTopic starter

View on Communism
« on: April 30, 2011, 02:54:26 AM »
I would like to know and discuss peoples views on Comunism by wich i mean both the Idea that it represents and the reality that seems to be so very different when it is in place.

Offline Jude

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 05:04:09 AM »
In my view Communism represents the way things should, but can never, be.

Offline deathesubTopic starter

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2011, 06:22:44 AM »
Thats a rather broad statement do you trully beleive that and what do you mean by that Communism means different things to different people what do you take it to mean.

Offline Silk

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2011, 07:27:58 AM »
Well communism is usually the thought of all people being treated equally while working in areas that best suit their talents and skills. With a leadership caste that is benevolent and straight down the middle. But that last part tends to be where issues come in.

Offline Vekseid

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2011, 07:50:17 AM »
Thats a rather broad statement do you trully beleive that and what do you mean by that Communism means different things to different people what do you take it to mean.

Marx's ideals specifically require that the level of automation in society is such that labor could be a purely voluntary effort and that that little bit would be enough to sustain society. I.e. you work a few hours a week to make the world a better place, and you're maybe one of a few million people that does it, and the world works because automata take care of 99.9% of the labor.

This isn't, per se, impossible, but it was obviously centuries off when Marx wrote it, and decades off from now, at least. Certainly, the problem inherent in increasing automation is being felt now - people are producing more, but earning less, and fewer are employed.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2011, 08:47:52 AM »
But to respond people would not have to work much since the people would share essentials and have their needs met, they would then work for private goods and services which is not banned by Marx in the Communist model. Your clothes, personal effects, a tv and the like would be yours even under Stalinist Maxism people had these. So you would work because you want to or to for personal spending. In return though one would have to accept a certain level of equality from the bottom to the top that would be unnerving to those in most countries now.

But do you need automation as I see it you could reduce labor demands by reducing demands for goods and services, if one did not care about having a fancy new gadget or that big new car and had needs met then would you need to work so much? France has far more free time and maintains an economic base with a strong safety net so you can have less work and more free time without robots to do everything.

Offline consortium11

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2011, 09:06:47 AM »
Marx's ideals specifically require that the level of automation in society is such that labor could be a purely voluntary effort and that that little bit would be enough to sustain society. I.e. you work a few hours a week to make the world a better place, and you're maybe one of a few million people that does it, and the world works because automata take care of 99.9% of the labor.

This isn't, per se, impossible, but it was obviously centuries off when Marx wrote it, and decades off from now, at least. Certainly, the problem inherent in increasing automation is being felt now - people are producing more, but earning less, and fewer are employed.

That's basically Marx's entire argument.

Each epoch of history reaches its peak where it collapses under its own success and the next epoch begins. The height of capitalism is the ability to produce a good at (virtually) no cost which can then be sold on... in practical terms something akin to very advanced automation. But at its very peak the collapse is inevitable... the owners of the means of production can produce these goods but there are few to no consumers to actually purchase them as wages/jobs would be highly limited. At that stage logically there is no reason the masses wouldn't rise up and take public ownership of those goods, the fact that any good can be produced at (virtually) no cost means the current capitalist system would fail and we would (supposedly) take out first steps into "real" history and the utopia that would follow.

Offline deathesubTopic starter

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2011, 09:40:10 AM »
Now I'm starting to feel silly as I'm realising I dont really know anything about the subject. Well at least about the Ideal, I know a small amount about the reality of it.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2011, 10:16:24 AM »
At that stage logically there is no reason the masses wouldn't rise up and take public ownership of those goods, the fact that any good can be produced at (virtually) no cost means the current capitalist system would fail and we would (supposedly) take out first steps into "real" history and the utopia that would follow.

  You are assuming they would 1; rise up,  2; put in place an communist style of government and 3; somehow avoid the power hungry and greedy individuals that have always risen to  twist and use governmental systems to ther own ends.  For Marxist communism to work, the leaders  have to be completely honest, trustworthy and dependable to not corrupt the leadership and turn it into something it isn't meant to be. Which is very very unlikely.

 A question, what is 'real' history?

Offline deathesubTopic starter

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 10:48:12 AM »
'Real' History isnt the history as purported by the government but what actually happened.
 Like acording to History in 1978 DDR ummm German Democratic Republic there were no suicides.
While real history shows that cant be true as in 1977 the number was second only to the number of suicides in Hungry.

It can also be the difference between what is generally beleived and what is the actual truth of what happened.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2011, 12:43:52 PM »
I have always chalked it up as a great theory, but impractical.  Power corrupts and every form of government seems to require power.

Offline Shjade

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2011, 02:55:26 PM »
Power corrupts and every form of government seems to require power.
Of course every government requires power. Without power you can't accomplish anything - that's basically the definition of power.

I think Jude summed it up pretty nicely at the start. Well, maybe not "should be;" that's making some moral leaps I'm not sure I'd follow. Communism is a system that, in theory, sounds like it'd be great, but fails to live up to that potential in practice due to the existence of humans.

Offline consortium11

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2011, 04:31:49 PM »
  You are assuming they would 1; rise up,  2; put in place an communist style of government and 3; somehow avoid the power hungry and greedy individuals that have always risen to  twist and use governmental systems to ther own ends.  For Marxist communism to work, the leaders  have to be completely honest, trustworthy and dependable to not corrupt the leadership and turn it into something it isn't meant to be. Which is very very unlikely.

Oh, I agree entirely... I think communism (like Anarchism, which its end position shares many similarities with) is a wonderful utopian position that is utterly impractical. It is worth noting that under Marxist communism there wouldn't be a government... the state would whither away much like the leftist forms of Anarchism suppose it would and the vanguard party with it.

As Lenin and countless others showed that's highly unlikely to ever happen... although it is worth noting that non of the attempts to install communism in the world have occurred in the circumstances Marx said communism should flourish in; in a peculiar way the best thing for a communist who wants to follow Marz to do is to make Capitalism as ruthless as they can... in essence act in direct opposition to all of the normal tenants of communism, an agent provocateur if you will.

 
A question, what is 'real' history?

In Marxist theory "real" history is the history of the world from the moment communism takes over with everything that came before being "pre-history."

Quoting from Wiki

Quote
Few applications of historical materialism, the philosophical system used by Marxism to explain the past progressions of human society and predict the nature of communism, account for a stage beyond communism, but Marx suggests that what has ended is only the "prehistory" of human society; now, for the first time, humankind will no longer be at the mercy of productive forces (e.g. the free market) which act independently of their control. Instead human beings can plan for the needs of society, inclusively, democratically, by the vast majority, who now own and control the means of production collectively. By implication, then, only now does the real history of human society begin.

Offline Oniya

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2011, 04:59:50 PM »
As I recall (and I may be misremembering), the concept was 'From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.'

Note that it's 'ability' and 'needs', not 'desire' and 'wants'.  In other words, those who can work would be expected to work at something, and people would be provided with the basic requirements.  You may 'need' Internet access (for work, news, banking, etc.), but you don't 'need' high speed WoW-quality access.  You may need food, but you don't 'need' Maine lobster or Kobe beef.  You may need shelter, but you don't 'need' more than a bedroom per person and a bathroom for every 2-3 people (if that).

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2011, 05:40:00 PM »
Not getting into a discussion of communism, socialism and how far 20th century communist regimes were the fulfilment of something "essential" in Marx and the others - just a disclaimer: I have never counted myself as a communist or anything "that far left", far from it -  but I do think the maxim "From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs" is a good yardstick and at least useful as a way to bring on critical discussion of work, livelihood and money. And let me add I think we need to find other exchange instruments than money. It's insane how many people are stuck with a relative overflow of time but few real possibilities to pitch forward and  make something of it, or even to run their lives in a decently speedy, smooth way - because they lack ready cash to make the investments in housing, higher education or web access/computers/electronic media/phones/tv/software, and so on - they basically don't get on the ladder even though they know where the ladder is, because getting on the bottom rungs demands a much steeper personal input of cash now than it did a generation ago.

I don't think anyone can deny that houses, living spaces have become much more expensive in most places in the last thirty years. Where I live you basically just get trash as long as you rent a flat by ordinary contract in a larger city , plus you may have to wait for quite some time, unless you personally know a wealthy landlord and can get an offer on the goodies. Everything that's being built or renovated - or that's readily available, for young people and young families - ends up as condos, which means you need the equivalent of 150-400.000 bucks to get in; in effect people are renting their residences from the bank (by loans on the purchasing sum) as well as from the joint ownership association. If the interest rates go up, everyone who don't have a lot of assets in the bank are in a weak spot.  Insane, really, but building new apartment houses for immediate rental is not considered profitable enough. Or again, we invest a huge amount more money, as consumers, into electronic communications, subscriptions and ditto media these days than anyone would have thought possible twenty-five years ago, and a lot of that is basically required to keep the ordinary life going, because the old analog systems have been taken down and things are constantly getting upgraded. You steal, borrow, inherit or work up the money or you just don't fit into the structure.

In an age when many people are out of work and when many are sitting on abilities and half-realized assets they can't find the space or structure to sell for regular, decent money that would be enough to live on - being good at something isn't the same as being good at selling your stuff or convincing other people that they should buy it, or should support your line: get it? - I think we need to find other ways to release those abilities. If we don't, society as such will erode and then it doesn't matter if some people have billions in the bank.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 08:39:36 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Vekseid

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2011, 06:27:41 PM »
As I recall (and I may be misremembering), the concept was 'From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.'

The context of that is important - his statement was meant to be under the precondition that society was so advanced that that would not actually constitute slavery - you do an hour of work and provide for millions of people.

In this sense, it very much includes wants - because automata already are taking care of your base physical needs.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2011, 06:39:55 PM »
Communism works in the short run, and it works when everyone has nothing. The problem is when someone gets something, suddenly they don't want to share. When communism has to be enforced it goes downhill.

It's like bureaucracy. Yeah, it could work, but people are going to cut corners. 

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2011, 06:40:20 PM »
The context of that is important - his statement was meant to be under the precondition that society was so advanced that that would not actually constitute slavery - you do an hour of work and provide for millions of people.

In this sense, it very much includes wants - because automata already are taking care of your base physical needs.

I think it also implies a deliberate demand that working to earn a living should not include having to risk your neck on a daily basis. Unless you have actually freely chosen such a line of work (like, professional soldier, deep-sea diver, astronaut). And in the 19th century, and still in some places today, capitalism meant that some people had to risk their lives under inhuman working conditions. Children and adults working in mines twelve hours a day or more for a pittance, factory workers with gravely deficient security measures and so on. Obviously some people will survive even in conditions where some are killed or maimed - just as it is in battle - but it would be foolish to deny that it's actually the conditions as such that claim lives in e.g. mining accidents in poorly equipped places. Not just the particular mistakes or random facts that triggered an incident.

Of course the businessmen and owners, in general didn't feel very sympathetic to these issues until the working people (and unions) had become strong enough to pose demands - and were gaining the right of equal vote.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 06:54:28 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Yorubi

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2011, 09:53:39 PM »
I have to say communism is by far way better then capitalism ever could be. Sure everyone gets nothing, but a large chunk of society doesn't get screwed over by the wealthy half.

In the end, simply put, neither system is right at all and it would have to take a more middle ground. I just happen to feel communism is the closer solution then capitalism ever could be to being fair, as flawed as it is.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2011, 10:39:26 PM »
I have to say communism is by far way better then capitalism ever could be. Sure everyone gets nothing, but a large chunk of society doesn't get screwed over by the wealthy half.

In the end, simply put, neither system is right at all and it would have to take a more middle ground. I just happen to feel communism is the closer solution then capitalism ever could be to being fair, as flawed as it is.

Is it communism that's flawed, or humanity? Collectivism of the sort that true, idealistic communism implies is a benefit to the society as a whole at the cost of the individual, at least as far as personal wealth and power is concerned - and as long as we're still driven by genetic imperatives to pass on our genes specifically and not just those of the species is a whole, we'll be driven to advance ourselves at all costs, even that of others. I don't think we'll ever achieve a truly socialist utopia state until we've ascended past biological reproduction (which is still the realm of realllly far-out science fiction, nothing plausible).

TLDR: Humans are selfish bastards at the core, it's hard-coded into our genes. That won't change any time soon.

Offline Pointless Digression

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2011, 10:56:28 AM »
I would like to know and discuss peoples views on Comunism by wich i mean both the Idea that it represents and the reality that seems to be so very different when it is in place.

Ummm...I'm against it?

Online HairyHeretic

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2011, 03:50:21 PM »
Most systems sound good in theory. Then people get involved.

Online Remiel

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2011, 04:22:34 PM »
I agree entirely with Winston Churchill: Democracy is the worst form of government known to man, except for all of the other ones that have been tried.

Offline Shjade

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2011, 12:17:46 PM »
Most systems sound good in theory. Then people get involved.
I don't know that anything more true has ever been written on the internets.

Offline Oniya

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2011, 12:19:30 PM »
I don't know that anything more true has ever been written on the internets.

And more applicable in more different situations.  Economics, governments, gaming...