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Author Topic: View on Communism  (Read 24718 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.

Online 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

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).

Offline gaggedLouise

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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. 

Offline gaggedLouise

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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?

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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

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...

Offline Pointless Digression

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 12:43:21 PM »
I don't know that anything more true has ever been written on the internets.

I think HairyHeretic wants to win the Internet or something.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2011, 05:17:41 PM »
Having lived in a communist country I think there are actually two misconceptions about communism.

The first is very simple what the media created. In my case, the USSR was a communism and overall, worked quite well. The problems with it, was the general idea in the western world that the Soviet Union was poor, uncivilized, not free, etc etc. In that time, people were 'as free as they wanted to be'. For the western countries the country wasn't free but in the USSR, most people were 'happy'. The state owned everything and everybody worked for the state and everybody had a job. There was no poverty or wealth, it was all the same. Only when Mr. Gorbatchov decided to shed all those ideals did things go wrong. The world could suddenly see Russia and the other countries and saw poverty, created by the void that Communism left.

The second thing is that Communism as Marx decribed it is Utopia. It's unreal and impossible to ever implement, so to take it back to the start, which kind of communism do you mean? The Communism the Soviet Union had and China has? Or as Marx described it?

Communism as it was in the USSR, it worked for a country that size and people had a house, a life, a family and were happy for their standards. But also here there are two different sides to the tale. Lenin was a 'good' leader. He was a good man and led his people right. Stalin on the other hand was not a leader but a dictator. For Russians this is a delicate subject as some see Stalin as the victor of WWII and others see him a ruthless dictator. But that's a different story I guess :)

The leader is also the weak point of the whole communism ideal. We now all want elections to choose who our leader is going to be and in a communism there is no room for elections because everybody is equal so in theory everybody could run for president. Or another theory, a country with no leader and a common, widespread 'belief'. If every human being on this planet would indeed be equal and we all had the same idea's, no leader would be needed. Unfortunately when Marx dreamed up his Utopia called Communism he didn't think about the human itself. Nobody is identical and thus nobody is equal.

Bit of a long story but in general, the Utopia is nice but nothing more than a Utopia. Communism as it was in the Soviet Union or in China is in my opinion a better form of government than for example the many different party system where the majority of the votes always gets left behind.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2011, 10:17:38 PM »
 The communism of the USSR and China was put in place and been enforced at the barrel of a gun. It has for it's entire history. The allied stated of the USSR were not pleasant places to live. In fact millions died under the communist regime. Hungary tried to break away and the USSR, blessed communist nation it was, crushed that movement under an iron fist.

 If it was such a nice place to live, why was it so hard for people to get in or out?

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2011, 04:30:39 AM »
There are always people who don't like it but I know enough people who had a better life with communism than they have now. Many cities in former Soviet countries only excisted because of communism. Now that the state money is gone, those towns had hardly get around and people live in poverty. What you say about the enforcement is true, although I believe with Lenin much less than with Stalin.

Communism in the Soviet Union and China is flawed in comparison with the Utopia Marx has created but isn't every other form of government flawed as well?

I meant to say that people should look at communism in perspective. Not judge it from a Western point of view and I never meant to say it was a nice place to live. I can't judge for people what is a nice place to live.

Offline Vekseid

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2011, 04:51:10 AM »
The leader problem is an important one, though. You have enough issues with sociopaths and narcissists getting power in the United States, but at least transparency and a free press can bring them down. You could, in principle, use a strong constitution to guard against this, so I don't think this makes Soviet or Chinese-style socialism 'completely' doomed. The Chinese have obviously learned the lesson of the Soviet Union and aren't making the mistake of trying to compete against US heavy industry without also having light and agricultural industrial support, but the root of the USSR's problems were in the ability of the ego of individual party members to trump good sense. In the USSR, this caused a massive overinvestment in heavy industry.

In China's case, I suspect we're going to see something that, for awhile, works better, but in the long run China's large-scale agility is going to be compromised compared to the United States, which has a track record of throwing off corruption when it finally needs to every eighty years or so.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2011, 05:05:51 AM »
I think you just named the two biggest concerns with Communism. Corruption, for the obvious reason and investment in 'useless' things. They would build cities at nuclear facilities or small mining or logging camps. Greatest examples are Pripyat near Chernobyl, solely build to house the workers of the nuclear plant and in a certain way, Mirny in Russia which was build around a diamond mine. Those cities have no other lifeline than the industry they were build for and when that falters, which it eventually will, those cities will have no future.

Also the leaders in the Soviet Union, especially during the Cold War, only had 1 thing in their agenda. Beat the US on everything they do, causing the over investment in industry.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2011, 07:07:19 AM »
The communism of the USSR and China was put in place and been enforced at the barrel of a gun. It has for it's entire history. The allied stated of the USSR were not pleasant places to live. In fact millions died under the communist regime. Hungary tried to break away and the USSR, blessed communist nation it was, crushed that movement under an iron fist.

 If it was such a nice place to live, why was it so hard for people to get in or out?

And In the United States we have homelessness, people going hungry, good young people unable to afford college who should be going, millions without proper medical coverage and make war on everyone we don't like if we can find a reason.

Russia saw everyone with a home, job, food, clothing, education up to the university level and beyond if they could just pass the entrance tests and job training for others and they never fought an aggressive war. Russia did and got creamed but that was once. And most citizens were content they didn't have lots of things but didn't have want either.

And most Russians didn't have cars so building a community near important assets was important since everyone was entitled to a home they had to provide one and other services.

I will note the safety net now gone is leaving Russians homeless, hungry and without health care so I don't see Capitalism helping much there its killing people and community diseases are coming back with a vengence. I will note some EU nations have a Communist Party (in some form) in them and strong socialist ideals trying to balance the two maybe that is the best thing. Provide for all to a certain level yet allow for people to have the freedom to work and be productive and make more money if they can and want to.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2011, 12:27:05 PM »
And In the United States we have homelessness, people going hungry, good young people unable to afford college who should be going, millions without proper medical coverage and make war on everyone we don't like if we can find a reason.

Russia saw everyone with a home, job, food, clothing, education up to the university level and beyond if they could just pass the entrance tests and job training for others and they never fought an aggressive war. Russia did and got creamed but that was once. And most citizens were content they didn't have lots of things but didn't have want either.

 As long as they did as they were told, yes. But step outside of that line and you were punished. The government controlled everything. As I understand it, the population had NO choise in what they did or could do. The state made the decisions on where they lived and what they worked at.

 Need a few thousand workers? round up the nearestgroup of peasants and put them to work. Some of the lip off? Shoot them or put them in a gulag.  Need a factory built? Send a bunch of workers to built it, so what if you uproot them from where they were living.

 In order to have the 'quality' of life in the USSR, the population was at the mercy of the State.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2011, 08:45:52 AM »
And we are at the mercy of big business and those on government welfare are still slaves to the state, so its different how?

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2011, 09:18:26 AM »
Privilege and opportunity come to mind - there's still a booming business in micro-entrepreneurs and startup businesses, even after the dot-com bust. Under Soviet communism, that sort of innovation was actively crushed and suppressed unless you had the patronage or support (or lineage) to a Party official.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2011, 10:35:29 AM »
And we are at the mercy of big business and those on government welfare are still slaves to the state, so its different how?

 This;
Privilege and opportunity come to mind - there's still a booming business in micro-entrepreneurs and startup businesses, even after the dot-com bust. Under Soviet communism, that sort of innovation was actively crushed and suppressed unless you had the patronage or support (or lineage) to a Party official.

 ... and freedom of movement. If you do not like an area/place, you can pick up and  move to another place. YOU have the choice of what job you can go for. You can buy what you want, watch and read what you want. Hell, you even have access to the Internet. Something the USSR would have either forbidden or very very heavily regulated.

 Here, we have something those in the USSR never had. A choice.

Offline Noelle

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2011, 06:39:39 PM »
And we are at the mercy of big business and those on government welfare are still slaves to the state, so its different how?

I would be very curious to see your real-life examples of how the United States is even remotely comparable to Soviet citizens being rounded up and put in gulags, if you could be so kind as to provide them. I am curious to know how our country as it is is even in the same ranks as a defunct government that shot its citizens, uprooted them at will, and offered no citizen a choice in the matter.

If not, then this is a gross, misleading, and unfair exaggeration.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2011, 09:08:00 PM »
 It's come to my attention that Russia also has a rather severe population drop off. Not enough babies are being born to replace the dying population. This has picked up since the fall of the USSR.

 Evidently in Soviet Russia, they made you have lots of babies.

Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2011, 09:12:49 PM »
Hmm.  What leisure activities were available in Soviet Russia?  What leisure activities are now available in post-Soviet Russia that weren't before?

When there's nothing else to do...

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2011, 09:16:19 PM »
In Soviet Russia, love made you?

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2011, 09:21:12 PM »
In Soviet Russia, love made you?

 In Soviet Russia, babies have you.

Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2011, 09:28:28 PM »
Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me scream and shout
And Georgia's always on my-my-my-my-mind...

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2011, 05:06:28 AM »
Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me scream and shout
And Georgia's always on my-my-my-my-mind...


Scream and shout in a good way?? If so... start screaming and shouting...


It's come to my attention that Russia also has a rather severe population drop off. Not enough babies are being born to replace the dying population. This has picked up since the fall of the USSR.

 Evidently in Soviet Russia, they made you have lots of babies.

I'm sorry but that is utter bullsh...

What do you base that statement on??

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #43 on: May 07, 2011, 08:44:48 AM »
I'm sorry but that is utter bullsh...

What do you base that statement on??

Do you mean that the USSR had a breeding program or that Russia's population is rapidly declining? Because the later is pretty undeniably true. I've never heard the former.

Anyway, to me pure Communism such as Marx described was a combination of a reaction to the Liberal Revolutions and an attempt to grapple with post-scarcity economics. It was extremely well done for its time but nowadays there are flaws that can be picked out, partially because we're getting closer. The social implications also seem to me to be a bit idealistic, to say the least..

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2011, 08:54:40 AM »
The breeding programme, it's nonsense.

It's both related though. In Communist times having a child meant that the state would care for it... Currently a lot of people have no certainty that they can provide a future for their child so they don't have one. Or they are too busy making carreer, or they leave the country all together.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2011, 09:11:49 AM »
 I'm certain the USSR did not have a breeding program. I was being facetious about that. The population fall off though, that is true. Every first world nation is suffering from a declining population, except for the US, which has a growing population (births and immigration). Russia and Japan have the fastest drop off. not enough babies are being born to offset the older population. Europe's population is dropping. Not real fast, but it is dropping. I think the only growth is from minority immigrants that are having more kids than the natives.

Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2011, 12:55:50 PM »

Scream and shout in a good way?? If so... start screaming and shouting...

I was quoting Sir Paul - the Beatles' 'Back in the U.S.S.R.'  :-)  From the rest of the song, it's certainly the good way.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2011, 02:58:07 PM »
I would be very curious to see your real-life examples of how the United States is even remotely comparable to Soviet citizens being rounded up and put in gulags, if you could be so kind as to provide them. I am curious to know how our country as it is is even in the same ranks as a defunct government that shot its citizens, uprooted them at will, and offered no citizen a choice in the matter.

If not, then this is a gross, misleading, and unfair exaggeration.

Well, we got the WW2 internment of US citizens of Japanese descent, the forced removal of Mexicans from the, at the time, newly conquered territories from Mexico. Those are the closest (not so close, but 'close' is close enough to count as close) examples that I can think of without making a search on Wikipedia.

If you will excuse me, I will have to find Winds of Change on youtube.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 03:01:19 PM by Xenophile »

Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2011, 03:07:45 PM »
There's also the Trail of Tears, the massacre at Wounded Knee and other similar incidents - of course the government at the time didn't consider the First People 'citizens'.

Offline Noelle

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2011, 03:11:30 PM »
Yes, those are all great examples of some pretty crappy things our government has done, but I believe what Ruby is referring to is life as we know it today being comparable to the USSR's treatment of their citizens. I'm saying that most talk about "the man" and "corporate slavery" as was implied is exaggerated.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2011, 03:23:28 PM »
Yeah, comparing the life of the US citizen today with that of the citizen of the USSR is ridiculous. But I am a history nerd and a political scientist, so I had to be a little wise-ass back there <3

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2011, 03:30:33 PM »
Gulags were only for 'criminals'. So in fact in was a sort of prison. Something America hasn't exactly got a good name at. Let alone some European countries. I think a lot of people here judge communism on what they have read in books or internet and not entirely on experiences.

Communism was/is just as good/bad as ANY democracy in the current world. Anybody claiming otherwise has either no idea what communism is like or has no idea how a democracy works.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2011, 03:42:01 PM »
The thing that we in the western world usually call "communism" is attributed to the Soviet Union, which was in effect a totalitarian state using the political doctrine "Communism" and "Socialism" as cover-ups and justifications for it's existence. It was created as an model for an idealistic utopia, but it was hi-jacked by dictators. Communism is one of those rather odd political systems that has never been "properly implemented", so that is why some cling to it as ideal, because no true form of communism has been achieved. China, Cuba and Russia's implementations where just phonies and tools to fool people into working for the state (and the dictator) and at the same time work for a new world order, which was what the citizens where lead to believe.

I can't say that Communism is comparable with Democracy. I can imagine a situation where a heavily socialized nation or state-capitalistic country can be governed by a democratic system. Communism is an idealized political system, while democracy is a method of producing political leaders. But if you mean that a Communistic nation is just as bad or good as any democratic nation, then I vehemently disagree. That would be like saying that the 1980's Soviet Union was as peace-loving as 1980's Norway. It simply isn't true.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 03:43:38 PM by Xenophile »

Offline Jude

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2011, 04:10:59 PM »
Gulags were only for 'criminals'.
Prisons aren't inhabited by criminals.  Their tenants are convicts.  To be a convict you don't necessarily need to have done anything wrong, you just need to be convicted of having done something wrong.  There are two sticking points here, wrong according to who and what's the process of conviction that determines if you have or not?  The Soviet Union was notoriously abusive through both of those caveats:  they imprisoned people using faulty, simplistic, and unfair judicial methods, and had really bad definitions of what wrong was to begin with.  The Gulags were full of people who were convicted by Troika and people who's only crime was being a political dissident, for instance.
So in fact in was a sort of prison. Something America hasn't exactly got a good name at. Let alone some European countries. I think a lot of people here judge communism on what they have read in books or internet and not entirely on experiences.
Experiences are an isolated snapshot of a much larger picture.  They aren't a very good method of determining whether something is good, bad, true, false, or anything else.  There are people who have received raises within the past 3 years, so to them the global economy might seem to be in a state of growth, but that doesn't change the fact that the average person is losing real wages.  Statistics greatly outweigh anecdotes as a tool for determining fact with any degree of impartiality and consistency.

Though I do agree with you about the internet; you can find some reliable information online, but you have to be careful of the source -- the same is true for books to a lesser degree.  However, accepted global history is where people really get a negative view of communism, not any isolated source of information.  I'm sure some of what we've come to accept as history is unfairly harsh, but it's hard to deny that the overriding sentiment of negativity towards it has basis in reality.  Then there's little thought experiments like these (which are admittedly again based on historical analysis):  name one stable communist state that has ever existed which wasn't guilty of massive human rights abuses.
Communism was/is just as good/bad as ANY democracy in the current world. Anybody claiming otherwise has either no idea what communism is like or has no idea how a democracy works.
That's a pretty bold claim that really flies in the face of a lot of strongly held opinions and the educated treatises of most historical/political experts.  It is widely held, and for good reason given how one can name countless failures to implement communism and how they led to horrific tragedies, that communism is a failed ideology.  However, I am more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if you can produce some interesting evidence to the contrary.  There could be bias clouding our global judgment of communism that emanates from cultural chauvinism.  If that's the case, I'd love to be exposed to a source of information that could lay out the truth for me, but as is I see no reason to believe anything but the opposite of that.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 04:17:58 PM by Jude »

Offline Newbie

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #54 on: May 08, 2011, 04:19:51 PM »
As many other people have said already, Communism is a beautiful idea, poorly implemented.

But all evolution--be it political, social or genetic--is a long process, and we are simply bearing witness to a small fraction of time in human history where Democracy is the way of the land.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2011, 04:23:02 PM »
As many other people have said already, Communism is a beautiful idea, poorly implemented.

But all evolution--be it political, social or genetic--is a long process, and we are simply bearing witness to a small fraction of time in human history where Democracy is the way of the land.

And all of our history, wherever communism was used as a slogan by a state, that state became corrupt. At least democracy gives us some variation.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #56 on: May 08, 2011, 04:29:26 PM »
Well what is happening to that soldier who 'leaked' to wikileaks? Reports are that whatever is happening to him isn't all that good. And then I haven't even started about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. So as for prison camps or whatever you want to call it, Communism and America aren't that far off.


Secondly... they are both as bad but in different ways. Sure communism in Russia wasn't perfect but if you were an ordinary person, you'd have a good life. You had food, you had a house, you had your free time etc. Sure the western world was 'free' but, I know this sounds so corny, they were a slave to the money. If you have/had money, you could do anything you want but unfortunately that system had a problem, being poverty.

With all due respect to most 'western' countries, by the time of the Cold War, the Soviet Union did not have a lot of debt to other countries wereas America was and still is consumed by debts. Everybody in Russia had a basic education and again, with all due respect, I don't believe that everybody in America or other western countries have had basic education. So where 'free world' economies were better for a select few of rich people who could afford to live 'free' and in luxury but to the majority, it was bad because they lived in poverty.

Now communism wasn't perfect as I agree. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and I very much believe in this. Stalin is responsible for the biggest human induced famine and holocaust in the world ever, not Hitler, simply because he had all the power, which is the biggest problem of the Soviet Union. By the time it opened up, it had such a terrible image that the good things about communism are totally forgotten and that is what seriously bothers me with the view of some people. Don't judge the Soviet Union or China's communism on the bad things because when you do that, do compare them to the bad things caused by the western world and if you want examples of what I see as bad things caused by 'capitalism' I will PM that to you if you ask because I feel that it's not really appropriate to discuss that here on this topic.

Offline Newbie

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #57 on: May 08, 2011, 04:31:50 PM »
And all of our history, wherever communism was used as a slogan by a state, that state became corrupt. At least democracy gives us some variation.
Yep!

And I imagine Democracy will continue to be the government of choice for most people in the world for a long, long time to come.  But I also believe communism is sound in that, in the same way that nations and oppressed states overthrew aristocratic monarchies and oppressive tyrants, people will eventually grow tired of a need to be governed at all.

But communism as a government, in the sense of a ruling party or individual governing a larger group of people, is simply absurd and contradictory to itself.  It's, more or less, choosing a government to not govern!  It doesn't make sense!

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2011, 04:46:24 PM »
So as for prison camps or whatever you want to call it, Communism and America aren't that far off.

The USA is HARDLY a fair representation of the democracy in all of the world. Besides, you are confusing Communism, a political doctrine, with a nation that will have fluctuating political doctrines from time to time.


Sure the western world was 'free' but, I know this sounds so corny, they were a slave to the money. If you have/had money, you could do anything you want but unfortunately that system had a problem, being poverty.

The USSR had rich people and poor people too. The thing was that the ratio was very, very different. The wages for the majority was just enough so that they could feed and clothe themselves. With most democratic nations, there is some disposable income that gives them the kind of freedom that people with minimum wage simply cannot enjoy.

With all due respect to most 'western' countries, by the time of the Cold War, the Soviet Union did not have a lot of debt to other countries wereas America was and still is consumed by debts.

The USSR was destroyed by a failed economy. And by the time of the Cold War? That was a time period of more than 40 years! Debts and surplus fluctuated as time passed for all nations during that time!

Everybody in Russia had a basic education and again, with all due respect, I don't believe that everybody in America or other western countries have had basic education.

Illiteracy does not exist in some democratic countries, like Sweden, due to a long tradition of mandatory basic education. That is not a unique communist event.

By the time it opened up, it had such a terrible image that the good things about communism are totally forgotten and that is what seriously bothers me with the view of some people. Don't judge the Soviet Union or China's communism on the bad things because when you do that, do compare them to the bad things caused by the western world and if you want examples of what I see as bad things caused by 'capitalism' I will PM that to you if you ask because I feel that it's not really appropriate to discuss that here on this topic.

The bad press that the USSR and the PRC suffer is rightfully due. Whatever good things they have created is overshadowed by the bad things they have done. Whatever good that totalitarian communistic states have brought to the world could have been done with, say, socialistic democratic nations. It didn't need the whole package.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #59 on: May 08, 2011, 04:47:56 PM »
Well what is happening to that soldier who 'leaked' to wikileaks? Reports are that whatever is happening to him isn't all that good. And then I haven't even started about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. So as for prison camps or whatever you want to call it, Communism and America aren't that far off.


Secondly... they are both as bad but in different ways. Sure communism in Russia wasn't perfect but if you were an ordinary person, you'd have a good life. You had food, you had a house, you had your free time etc. Sure the western world was 'free' but, I know this sounds so corny, they were a slave to the money. If you have/had money, you could do anything you want but unfortunately that system had a problem, being poverty.

With all due respect to most 'western' countries, by the time of the Cold War, the Soviet Union did not have a lot of debt to other countries wereas America was and still is consumed by debts. Everybody in Russia had a basic education and again, with all due respect, I don't believe that everybody in America or other western countries have had basic education. So where 'free world' economies were better for a select few of rich people who could afford to live 'free' and in luxury but to the majority, it was bad because they lived in poverty.

Now communism wasn't perfect as I agree. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and I very much believe in this. Stalin is responsible for the biggest human induced famine and holocaust in the world ever, not Hitler, simply because he had all the power, which is the biggest problem of the Soviet Union. By the time it opened up, it had such a terrible image that the good things about communism are totally forgotten and that is what seriously bothers me with the view of some people. Don't judge the Soviet Union or China's communism on the bad things because when you do that, do compare them to the bad things caused by the western world and if you want examples of what I see as bad things caused by 'capitalism' I will PM that to you if you ask because I feel that it's not really appropriate to discuss that here on this topic.

 Name one First World nation that regularly shoots, imprisons or actively 'disuades' it's citizens then they disagree with the government. Except for the last few years, the USSR did that for it's entire existance. The First world nations also let it's citizens free to move around. You couldn't do that in the USSR. Here you can do what you want, move if you want,change jobs, shout at the government and politicians. There that would get you shot.

 The USSR actively crushed any dissidents and controlled their economy with an iron fist. Sure the citizens had food in their bellies a roof over their head and state funded education,m but what you seem to be missing is it was ALL under the control of the state. You did what the government said, when it said and how it was said, or you suffered for it. The citizens of the USSR were far more slaves than any citizen of a First World nation.

 Here we have the option and ablity to change our government. That was lacking there.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2011, 04:50:49 PM »
And I imagine Democracy will continue to be the government of choice for most people in the world for a long, long time to come.  But I also believe communism is sound in that, in the same way that nations and oppressed states overthrew aristocratic monarchies and oppressive tyrants, people will eventually grow tired of a need to be governed at all.

Most communist rebellions have been made in countries with little or no democratic experience, so the people had a skewed idea of their alternatives. If you had no idea what democracy was, what would be most appealing?

#1 We all spend lots of time and money to pick one of us to lead all of us. Kinda like a king for a few years!

#2 We all rule this land together and forever as equals!

And it is for that "charismatic bonus" that makes communism so easy to exploit the masses with.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2011, 04:57:29 PM »
I can name a few and for the sake of it I will.

1.) America. For obvious reasons and the whole wikileaks story.
2.) The whole Middle East. For obvious reasons as well.
3.) Most European countries as well. Mostly Eastern European countries, but also Germany, the Netherlands and France. If yo do exactly as the government wants you to do, you are fine but if you are slightly different, you end up ignored or behind bars.

What was the general idea of Emo's, Skaters, Hippies? Were they accepted or be looked on as a bit weird? I'm sorry I don't call that free.


Secondly, maybe the people weren't free but what's the point in being free of the government and then end up having no money, no food or no house?


I'm not sure which country you are from Zakharra but name one country that actually changed after a change of government? They are still bothered with their own well being and don't give a crap about the normal people. If you fit the system but if you fall out of the system.. bang.. tough luck. It's happening in America, it's happening in Europe and sadly it's happening in Russia in high speed now as well. Communism wouldn't have that.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2011, 05:03:53 PM »
Emo's and skaters? You're talking about outsider social groups that don't mesh with the mainstream, we're discussing about persecution of individuals by the state. Just as the skaters are free to muck about in their skate parks, others are free to deny them jobs because they look and behave like slackers, or avoid them socially.

Dashenka, I can name one nation that changed after a change of government. 1930's Sweden. The country changed for all time after a dominance by the Social Democratic Party that lasted 40 years, and it started with one election.

Offline Newbie

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2011, 05:04:09 PM »
Most communist rebellions have been made in countries with little or no democratic experience, so the people had a skewed idea of their alternatives. If you had no idea what democracy was, what would be most appealing?

#1 We all spend lots of time and money to pick one of us to lead all of us. Kinda like a king for a few years!

#2 We all rule this land together and forever as equals!

And it is for that "charismatic bonus" that makes communism so easy to exploit the masses with.

And that's exactly why people aren't ready for Communism!  I agree, Communism, as an idea, is infinitely more appealing to a nation that has never experienced a tyrant.  To a nation that has experienced "communism", as we've seen it, Democracy becomes preferred.  And once a people have grown tired of having one person, or one group, make decisions, even for a short while, what next?  There is always another step, and I think it would be vain of us to think that Democracy is the be-all-end-all of governments.  There has to be something else, and it seems like communism is the direction we are headed to.  There may be variants between the two, but I think it is inevitable that something resembling communist theory becomes the norm for countries who have become socially and culturally mature enough to have it as the norm.  And eventually, we'll find something "better", or at least more appropriate, than communism.

I believe communism, as envisioned by Marx (and not Trotsky, Lenin et al.), is inevitable, but there is no way any living society on this earth could function under communism at this point in our history.

Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2011, 05:10:44 PM »
What was the general idea of Emo's, Skaters, Hippies? Were they accepted or be looked on as a bit weird? I'm sorry I don't call that free.

There's more than a slight difference between being 'looked on as a bit weird', and 'not being free to express oneself', whether that's by wearing one's hair long, dressing in black with black eye-liner, or building a half-pipe in the back yard.  There were no laws put into effect mandating haircuts, anyone who wants to can still buy black clothes and makeup, and Tony Hawk still makes tons of money on that whole skateboarding thing.

Check out a movie called 'Swing Kids' for a situation where that freedom of expression was actively dissuaded.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2011, 05:12:01 PM »
And that's exactly why people aren't ready for Communism!  I agree, Communism, as an idea, is infinitely more appealing to a nation that has never experienced a tyrant.  To a nation that has experienced "communism", as we've seen it, Democracy becomes preferred.  And once a people have grown tired of having one person, or one group, make decisions, even for a short while, what next?  There is always another step, and I think it would be vain of us to think that Democracy is the be-all-end-all of governments.  There has to be something else, and it seems like communism is the direction we are headed to.  There may be variants between the two, but I think it is inevitable that something resembling communist theory becomes the norm for countries who have become socially and culturally mature enough to have it as the norm.  And eventually, we'll find something "better", or at least more appropriate, than communism.

I believe communism, as envisioned by Marx (and not Trotsky, Lenin et al.), is inevitable, but there is no way any living society on this earth could function under communism at this point in our history.

I think it is inevitable for groups to attempt to create a communist utopia, but it would be difficult to have a communist system without a either a strictly centralized government, or a very decentralized government. Both lead to their own negative consequences.

But I do not agree that the type of communism that was envisioned by Marx will inevitably become reality. He was a man of his time, who rebelled against the conditions of his time and painted up a hypothetical scenario as HE said would become inevitable. He was a national economist at heart, but he was not a historian, a political scientist or a sociologist. I would not think that he is the prophet of some inevitable utopia of the future.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2011, 05:12:58 PM »
Funny how all of you seem to ignore how the US treats it's citizens when they are suspected to be 'enemy of the state' and the whole Guantanamo Bay issue.

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2011, 05:21:08 PM »
Funny how all of you seem to ignore how the US treats it's citizens when they are suspected to be 'enemy of the state' and the whole Guantanamo Bay issue.

Guantanamo Bay does not hold US citizens, full stop.

Further, such laws which are used for unlawful enemy combatants have only been used on three American citizens, one of whom renounced his citizenship and the other two were given trials eventually.

And while I'm at it, I should probably mention that all three citizens were captured by US forces in Afghanistan, not arrested while in the US.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 05:24:49 PM by Sure »

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2011, 05:24:17 PM »
But it was run by America, which makes it even worse. But it wasn't about prisons I was trying to make a point that both Communism and any form of Democracy are equally bad... they both have their strong points and both have their weaknesses and I believe that they equal eachother out pretty nicely.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2011, 05:26:01 PM »
Funny how all of you seem to ignore how the US treats it's citizens when they are suspected to be 'enemy of the state' and the whole Guantanamo Bay issue.

But nobody claimed that the USA should represent the entire western world. It is a superpower, and superpowers have super-sized worries. And often bloated fears, but never a shortage of enemies. I can only speak for myself, but Gitmo is one of those "secret businesses" that every western nation has been involved in, but for some reason is common knowledge. Yes, it breaks all kinds of international laws, but some of it can be justified. Detaining suspected terrorists? Alright. Detaining them indefinitely and sometimes without evidence? That's awful.

But that is nothing compared to the Soviet gulags, or the treatment of the client nations like Poland and the Ukraine. or political activists that only wanted some measure of freedom. A constitutional democracy has laws that protect citizens and grants them liberties, especially if they want to criticize their government and it's politicians, but there is no such safety-net in a communist nation. There you either are with the revolution, or against the revolution.
Guantanamo Bay was intentionally a dump for terrorists that couldn't immediately be processed by the legal system, and it evolved to a holding ground of suspects and detainees that would have embarrassed the USA if they got out. The Gulags where made to force criminals and political dissidents into slave labours or at best re-education, hoping that they would just whittle down and die either bodily or in spirit. It stayed pretty much the same for the entire time of the camp's existence, as all contra-revolutionaries where criminals and they needed to be either re-educated or sent away as an example for all other would-be criminals to the state and the people.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 05:32:20 PM by Xenophile »

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2011, 05:30:32 PM »

But that is nothing compared to the Soviet gulags, or the treatment of the client nations like Poland and the Ukraine. or political activists that only wanted some measure of freedom. A constitutional democracy has laws that protect citizens and grants them liberties, especially if they want to criticize their government and it's politicians, but there is no such safety-net in a communist nation. There you either are with the revolution, or against the revolution.



So you rather be 'free' and homeless and starving, than 'not free' but with a house and food and everything taken care off? That's basically the question from what I understand about all of you. If it is, it's fine but my grandparents and my parents never felt 'a prisoner' in the Soviet Union. In fact my grandparents like it better when it was all taken care off, because you didn't have to worry about money as they have now. I rather live in the Soviet Union with a roof over my head and food on the table, than in any other country on the street living off other people's left overs.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #71 on: May 08, 2011, 05:31:21 PM »
And since the Wikileaks soldier was brought up briefly, I did some poking around. Bradley Manning is his name, and he's currently being held in medium security at Fort Levenworth, with access to entertainment, visitors, and other prisoners.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #72 on: May 08, 2011, 05:35:04 PM »
And since the Wikileaks soldier was brought up briefly, I did some poking around. Bradley Manning is his name, and he's currently being held in medium security at Fort Levenworth, with access to entertainment, visitors, and other prisoners.

For somebody who told the truth, that's a bit harsh isn't it?? Again it's not the point of this conversation, but how is his treatment any better than what happened in gulags? Detaining 'innocent' people because somebody said something bad about a country? In my opinion that's even worse than a gulag and it proof that the US government is just as dirty as the Soviet government was. Except in the US people actually voted to install them and in the Soviet Union they had no choice. Now you pick.. which is worse?

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2011, 05:39:21 PM »
But it was run by America, which makes it even worse. But it wasn't about prisons I was trying to make a point that both Communism and any form of Democracy are equally bad... they both have their strong points and both have their weaknesses and I believe that they equal eachother out pretty nicely.

I fail to see how that is. You are not a US Citizen, you do not have the same rights as a US citizen.

Sheer numbers make up the difference. There have never been more than six hundred detainees as Guantanamo Bay. In 1931, more than 200,000 Soviet Citizens were in the gulags. Their numbers got bigger from there. On top of that, the survival rate at Guantanamo Bay is much higher than that of a Gulag.

You have failed to prove your point so far, other than basically pointing out that Democracy is not perfect. It isn't. We are claiming it is better than Soviet-style Communism.

Quote
So you rather be 'free' and homeless and starving, than 'not free' but with a house and food and everything taken care off? That's basically the question from what I understand about all of you. If it is, it's fine but my grandparents and my parents never felt 'a prisoner' in the Soviet Union. In fact my grandparents like it better when it was all taken care off, because you didn't have to worry about money as they have now. I rather live in the Soviet Union with a roof over my head and food on the table, than in any other country on the street living off other people's left overs.

The fault presumption underlying this is that you would be better off economically under Communism. With the exception of Hungary, the norm of the Soviet Communism was long queues and a shortage of all sorts of goods, plus basics like food. It was a common practice in urban areas to apply for housing at a child's birth, knowing it would take long enough he would get the house in his twenties.

Further, there were a good deal of strikes triggered by working conditions, generally suppressed by force. I'd say ask the Polish Udarniks how good their economic life was, but they were shot for striking.

There was definitely homelessness and starvation in the Soviet Union, by the way.

Quote
For somebody who told the truth, that's a bit harsh isn't it?? Again it's not the point of this conversation, but how is his treatment any better than what happened in gulags? Detaining 'innocent' people because somebody said something bad about a country? In my opinion that's even worse than a gulag and it proof that the US government is just as dirty as the Soviet government was. Except in the US people actually voted to install them and in the Soviet Union they had no choice. Now you pick.. which is worse?

He didn't criticize the US, he leaked US files. He is, if nothing else, guilty of theft. Also, Kansas is not comparable to Siberia. As for criticism, you do realize that the KGB would arrest people for embarrassing the Soviet Union? Not criticizing it, just embarrassing it.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 05:42:19 PM by Sure »

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #74 on: May 08, 2011, 05:40:02 PM »

So you rather be 'free' and homeless and starving, than 'not free' but with a house and food and everything taken care off? That's basically the question from what I understand about all of you. If it is, it's fine but my grandparents and my parents never felt 'a prisoner' in the Soviet Union. In fact my grandparents like it better when it was all taken care off, because you didn't have to worry about money as they have now. I rather live in the Soviet Union with a roof over my head and food on the table, than in any other country on the street living off other people's left overs.

And the reason why you can say that you would rather live in a nation with a different government is because you are not currently living in a Soviet dictatorship.
Are you really defending the USSR? it murdered millions, and the leaders enforced a vicious campaign to root out dissidents, or even people that only wanted a choice of politicians. They lived in a prison. A prison with a comfy bed and nice food is a comfy prison, but it is still a prison. Many, many tried to flee the oppression. Are you going to ignore the fact that a great number of people where willing to risk their lives to flee, what you describe as a pretty nice place?

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #75 on: May 08, 2011, 05:42:33 PM »
Whether he told the truth isn't important, it's that he broke the law against disclosing classified data, and violated his sworn oaths as a soldier in the process. Diplomatic cables are conducted under diplomatic seal, which means they are private, and there are laws against sharing that information. He didn't even reveal any horrific crimes or human rights atrocities, he just committed the military equivalent of tampering with the mail (which is also illegal, for similar reasons).

But this is off-topic. I'll let more eloquent people carry the argument, I just wanted to dispute one blatantly false and spurious claim.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 05:44:18 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #76 on: May 08, 2011, 05:49:09 PM »
Well for one, I was born in the Soviet Union, my parents lived there and my grandparents still live there, so I do have quite a good insight on how it was from first hand experiences. I agree I don't want to live in a country like the Soviet Union but that is simply because I'm in a position to have money to enjoy my freedoms, not because I believe in the righteousness of a democracy because I believe that 90% of all democracies are a big farce and not all that democratic at all.

As I said before I'm not defending the USSR policy on some items, I'm saying that in my opinion the communism in the USSR, in general, wasn't any worse or better than your average 'democracy'.

It's not about murdering or wars or whatever it's about the quality of life in that time. My grandparents never had queues for food and had no problems with the system. I admit they don't live in Moscow which I'm sure would generate some queues with that number of people but again, generally speaking, it wasn't as bad as Sure stressed out.


Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #77 on: May 08, 2011, 06:06:03 PM »
Well for one, I was born in the Soviet Union, my parents lived there and my grandparents still live there, so I do have quite a good insight on how it was from first hand experiences. I agree I don't want to live in a country like the Soviet Union but that is simply because I'm in a position to have money to enjoy my freedoms,

 That right there. In the USSR you wouldn't have that.

Quote
not because I believe in the righteousness of a democracy because I believe that 90% of all democracies are a big farce and not all that democratic at all.

As I said before I'm not defending the USSR policy on some items, I'm saying that in my opinion the communism in the USSR, in general, wasn't any worse or better than your average 'democracy'.

 The USSR was worse than any First world nation in nearly everything and far less free.

Quote
It's not about murdering or wars or whatever it's about the quality of life in that time. My grandparents never had queues for food and had no problems with the system. I admit they don't live in Moscow which I'm sure would generate some queues with that number of people but again, generally speaking, it wasn't as bad as Sure stressed out.

 Better a pampered slave than a free man than by your thinking.  That is what it seems you are saying.

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #78 on: May 08, 2011, 06:06:31 PM »
Well for one, I was born in the Soviet Union, my parents lived there and my grandparents still live there, so I do have quite a good insight on how it was from first hand experiences. I agree I don't want to live in a country like the Soviet Union but that is simply because I'm in a position to have money to enjoy my freedoms, not because I believe in the righteousness of a democracy because I believe that 90% of all democracies are a big farce and not all that democratic at all.

When?

You're going to have to define what countries you mean by 'democracies' for that statement. 90% of countries that call themselves democratic might well not be all that democratic. China and the Soviet Union claimed to be democracies, for example.

I fully agree with the principle that Democracy has no inherent superiority based on the way it is formulated. I believe Democracy is better than Soviet Style Communism because it delivers a better standard of life and more freedom to a greater number of people. If that were not true, it would not be better.

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As I said before I'm not defending the USSR policy on some items, I'm saying that in my opinion the communism in the USSR, in general, wasn't any worse or better than your average 'democracy'.

What do you mean by 'in general'? I think we're basically going on the principle of 'what does the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people'. Communist countries were poorer, more in debt, less free, and more oppressive than first world democracies, were they not? So I would say that's less good for less people.

Quote
It's not about murdering or wars or whatever it's about the quality of life in that time. My grandparents never had queues for food and had no problems with the system. I admit they don't live in Moscow which I'm sure would generate some queues with that number of people but again, generally speaking, it wasn't as bad as Sure stressed out.

Neither did mine, nor did anyone in New York over here. Capitalism is more efficient in that way. Did they have queues for other goods, however?

And I'm afraid it depends on time period, but it was that bad depending on time period. It did get better as time went on, but from the Revolution to the 1960s Russia was still basically recovering from various amounts of damage (first World War 1, then the Civil Wars/Polish Wars, then World War 2). This is part of the reason why, for example, pre-war Tsarist Russia had greater gross food production than the Soviet Union until the 1960s. Also, the Soviet Union never achieved a quality life as good as the West. Russia is still behind in this area, in fact.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #79 on: May 09, 2011, 05:05:07 AM »
That right there. In the USSR you wouldn't have that.

 The USSR was worse than any First world nation in nearly everything and far less free.

 Better a pampered slave than a free man than by your thinking.  That is what it seems you are saying.


That's why I said that I wouldn't want to live in a communism in my current situation.

And yes, I rather be a pampered slave with food and a house than a homeless starving free man. If that's a crime sue me :) I apparently don't believe in the superiority of your 'democracies' and think they are corrupted (not only by money but also power) to a point where it gets comparable to the Soviet Union.




I fully agree with the principle that Democracy has no inherent superiority based on the way it is formulated. I believe Democracy is better than Soviet Style Communism because it delivers a better standard of life and more freedom to a greater number of people. If that were not true, it would not be better.

And I'm afraid it depends on time period, but it was that bad depending on time period. It did get better as time went on, but from the Revolution to the 1960s Russia was still basically recovering from various amounts of damage (first World War 1, then the Civil Wars/Polish Wars, then World War 2). This is part of the reason why, for example, pre-war Tsarist Russia had greater gross food production than the Soviet Union until the 1960s. Also, the Soviet Union never achieved a quality life as good as the West. Russia is still behind in this area, in fact.



Where did find that the quality of life was better for a greater number of people in the first world country? I would love to see that source.


The reason why Russia is still behind on quality of life is directly related to Communism. Moscow is wealthy and 80% of the people there live quite luxurious. The people in the country however are poor because they now have to fend for themselves where the government used to do that for them. For these people, communism was better than the 'free country' Russia is now. This not only goes for Russia but for most ex Soviet states, which is why you see massive migrations to the big cities, causing all sorts of problems in those cities.

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #80 on: May 09, 2011, 06:03:24 AM »
Quote
Where did find that the quality of life was better for a greater number of people in the first world country? I would love to see that source.

Pick any year, the US had a higher HDI than the Soviet Union. Here's a longer paper basically about how life improved everywhere except the former Soviet Union with the collapse of Communism, which shows how the US had a higher standard of living generally than the Soviet Union or any Communist country at several points:
http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/papers/HDRP_2010_16.pdf

Quote
The reason why Russia is still behind on quality of life is directly related to Communism. Moscow is wealthy and 80% of the people there live quite luxurious. The people in the country however are poor because they now have to fend for themselves where the government used to do that for them. For these people, communism was better than the 'free country' Russia is now. This not only goes for Russia but for most ex Soviet states, which is why you see massive migrations to the big cities, causing all sorts of problems in those cities.

So... you're agreeing with me?

Anyway, urban migration and the like is part of economic development, though. The fact that Communism artificially improved the standards of life for people in what are economically indefensible communities in order to discourage them from moving to more economically beneficial communities made things worse in the long run.

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #81 on: May 09, 2011, 06:37:36 AM »
To me quality of life is more than a high GDP or free choices. Also I still believe that those numbers are taken AFTER perestroika. If you asked a random person on the streets in the Soviet Union if they were happy, they would say they were and not because they were afraid of the government, but simply because they didn't know about 'The West.'

With that in mind, I do agree with you. People in the west were on a higher quality of life. Communism improved standards and that is what Gorbatchov did so terribly wrong. You cannot discard communism over night and that is causing the problems Russia is in now. Massive migrations to the big cities up to a point where Moscow is actually considering a full migration stop to the city and to a point where small towns are being totally abandoned. This is causing massive problems for a lot of people and for the general economy.

After perestroika a select few got very very rich but the majority were still left with the 'old ways' and found life extremely difficult all of a sudden. That doesn't make the communist system bad, but the transition from the old to the new system and that is what Russia is struggling with, not the fact that it was a poor country, because the Soviet Union wasn't poor.

I am one of those select few so I couldn't imagine what a communism would be like and personally I wouldn't want to live in one, but compared to where a lot of Russians are now and where they were 30 years ago, I'd say Communism wasn't all that bad.

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #82 on: May 09, 2011, 10:10:03 AM »
 There's a reason the USSR collapsed, it was economically unstable. Among things, it couldn't compete with the West economically or militarily at the same time. The West was and still is freer and has a higher standard of living.

 You said this;
Quote
I apparently don't believe in the superiority of your 'democracies' and think they are corrupted (not only by money but also power) to a point where it gets comparable to the Soviet Union.

 Which seems to mean you are looking for ANY reason to say the western democracies are as bad as the USSR. We're not, in any way, shape or form. I find it interesting that you also say 'your democracies'. Then why do you live in one? You benefit from living in one (standard of living, money, freedom to speak and post on the internet, which incidently, the USSR would have either forbidden or very very heavily regulated).
 
 I remember there was a time in Yeltsin's term when a faction of the Army tried to reinstate communism. The response against that attempt was.. vigorous and the attempt failed. I guess the people didn't want to return to the old ways.


Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #83 on: May 09, 2011, 10:16:54 AM »
I think we should just accept that we have different opinions. For the third time now I'll say that I do not want to live in a communism and that I am happy in a democracy. However I do not believe in a true democracy. There will always be corruption up to a certain level and some will always be abusing their power so as far as that's concerned I think a democracy and communism are equally bad.

All the other things why I think communism wasn't all that bad, I've already stated. I respect your opinions but I do not agree :)

Offline Zakharra

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #84 on: May 09, 2011, 10:44:04 AM »
 If you  are saying that any abuse of power is bad, that I agree with.  There is some level of abuse in every nation, but never in the last hundred years has the level of corruption and abuse of power in the any First world nation been as bad as it was under the USSR. That I will not agree too. The mechanisms for fixing corruption exist in a democracy (a true democracy will never be a sustainable government since it is mob rule), they don't in a USSR type of communism.

 That's what I and I think others keep disagreeing with you. The scale of it. It was a lot worse under the USSR than here. You keep trying to say they are equal. They're not. Not by a large margin. It's easier to correct that under a democracy though.

 Anyways, we'll have to agree to disagree.

 I have one last thought to leave here, a quote from a friend of mine; 'Better to die on your feet than live on you knees.'   

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #85 on: May 09, 2011, 11:12:29 AM »
I have one last thought to leave here, a quote from a friend of mine; 'Better to die on your feet than live on you knees.'

That is a nice quote.. unfortunately that doesn't work for me. It's how I am. :)

Offline Dashenka

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #86 on: May 09, 2011, 11:35:59 AM »
In fact... May I put a quote down as well?

'The people who cast the votes, decide nothing. The people who count the votes, decide everything.'

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #87 on: May 09, 2011, 12:11:10 PM »
Ooh, I have a quote too:
A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

Anyway, HDI is not GDP. It's a measure of material well being. The US does not have the highest HDI in the world, but it has the highest GDP by far. It has gone down in Russia over the years, along with corruption going up. Whether the Russian Federation is a worse place to live than the USSR is not something I would be as certain of, but I would also not be quite comfortable asserting that the Russian Federation is a western-style democracy in the same way I would be in asserting America is.



Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #88 on: May 09, 2011, 12:19:26 PM »
There's also the Trail of Tears, the massacre at Wounded Knee and other similar incidents - of course the government at the time didn't consider the First People 'citizens'.

It could be argued, given the treatment the Native American's receive through the department of interior even today that they aren't considered 'important' by the Government.

I respect President Jackson for some of the things he did, such as the breaking of the Second National Bank of America, his treatment of my ancestors is nothing short of hideous. (Yes, I have ancestors who survived the Trail of Tears). And I do not see a lot of 'fair' treatment in the way the Reservation system and state/local governments have worked since.


Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #89 on: May 09, 2011, 12:56:34 PM »
I'll agree with you there.  I was cherry-picking to find something closely akin to gulags and shooting dissidents.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #90 on: May 09, 2011, 01:05:54 PM »
I'll agree with you there.  I was cherry-picking to find something closely akin to gulags and shooting dissidents.

Well let's see..there is the total lack of support of the reservations, the way the Native Americans were treated in the 60s, 70s and early 80s for trying to get reform and no method at ALL for representation. You can't appeal the Department of Interior, the electorate has nothing to fear from them (they can't vote) and the only time the Feds get irrate is when they lose out on Casino cash and such.

Looking on the non-reservation side there is an ENORMOUS disparity in getting recognized as a legitimate Native American for benefits. For example, if you are ANYTHING but pure Native American it is IMPOSSIBLE to be recognized as such by the State of Virginia (whose officials for recognition have steadfastly refused to give any such recognition for DECADES)

Offline Inkidu

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Re: View on Communism
« Reply #91 on: May 09, 2011, 04:45:21 PM »
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.
If you're too-long-didn't-read is any indication. Capitalism is the proper order for humanity in that regard.

Personally, the best government is a benevolent dictatorship. Good luck finding one of those.

Offline Lyell

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #92 on: May 12, 2011, 02:12:19 AM »
I think communism looks good on paper but fails in practice because of human greed. On its own, examined solely as a system by which to manage government and economy, it's nigh flawless. History will attest to what happens when the human factor is applied.

I actually wrote a paper on this subject that replaced my final exam in highschool.

 

Offline RubySlippers

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #93 on: May 13, 2011, 05:50:52 AM »
Maybe if we rethought this on scale could a town in the USA work under a communist model lets say with 2000 adult citizens over say a nation? Seems to me in cases it works ,Amish community for one a Christian form of communism, it can work very well. As a political model they care for their sick and disadvantages, all have homes and land that is privately owned but the proceeds are shares with the community for needed expenses, they help one another and non-Amish with aid this can be money to and labor and no one is really over another in the community over things. True elders are respected but often due to age and experience not money and a lust for power they serve in these roles chosen by those in the community.

So it seems to me we could take a town and work with that as a model could say a a town work in the US assuming it met the elected standards being chosen as the government at the time, electing communists into power as the supermajority.


Offline Noelle

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #94 on: May 13, 2011, 07:17:11 AM »
You're comparing a voluntary model to something that would be compulsory if it were implemented in any formal way. You're also comparing a model where excessive goods aren't taken into account -- it works for Amish people because for one, they don't consume a lot to begin with. They produce much of what they need and possess the skills to do things like build their own houses and maintain crops within their community. They don't buy computers or fancy cars or or video games or anything of the sort.

Not only would you need to have a self-sustaining community and hope nobody ever moves out or dies, but you'd be effectively squashing any chance at obtaining extra things you might want. I'm pretty sure the Amish also wouldn't be too keen on letting you pursue whatever dreams tickle your fancy because everyone actually has to contribute. If your dream is to chase butterflies all day or to paint with your feet or to write awful poetry, you're going to have to relegate it to your free time and do something of substantial worth as your main job, which kind of puts a knife in your main tenant here, which seems to be giving people more time to do what they like and not being a "slave" to work. The Amish people are extremely hard workers who are driven to labor through their religious beliefs. I don't think they're the example you want in this case.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #95 on: May 14, 2011, 11:27:55 PM »
In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. - Marx, The German Ideology

Does this sound like work is not something to be done? People would work but in return for giving to the community what they can they also in return get their needs met without being ordered about by superiors. I would argue most people will work of that work is of interest to them and if its drudgery technology should be used to do it as far as possible we are not there yet but could at some point. What if someone wants to be an artist and you don't get in their way if they are poor and need to work or have someone telling them they can't make a living at it we just say go ahead go to this art colony and work on your painting. In return for that and seeing people get them to enjoy by selling them for what you can get you will get your needs met. Isn't that more equal? You might love to cook so you might opt to cook for a wage twenty hours a week in return for also not having any wants using the money for your personal desires for things.

I agree with Marx most would try lots of things not being forced to do one thing over another if they were free to do so.

Offline Noelle

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #96 on: May 15, 2011, 01:14:26 AM »
Does this sound like work is not something to be done? People would work but in return for giving to the community what they can they also in return get their needs met without being ordered about by superiors.

This is not realistic in the slightest. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who don't want to give up most of what they earn for "the common good". Hell, I consider myself pretty liberal on most fronts, and even I have limits to how much and for what I'm willing to shell out. I want to reap the fruits of my labor, not have most of it sucked out for an idealistic communist paradise where everyone's a winner. Not everyone can be a winner. Not everyone is a winner. Bookmark this statement in your mind -- I'm going to be coming back to it.

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I would argue most people will work of that work is of interest to them and if its drudgery technology should be used to do it as far as possible we are not there yet but could at some point.

And what if someone enjoys that "drudgery"? What even constitutes "drudgery"? What if that's all a person is good at? Is it still drudgery if one person likes/wants to do it? If ten people? Twenty? What if we can't automate it? There are certain tasks that are difficult to automate because they require a human eye -- is it fair to make those people keep working their crap jobs while everyone else gets to go on a hobby vacation? What if that technology malfunctions and suddenly we have a massive lack of qualified sewage workers, for instance?

Quote
What if someone wants to be an artist and you don't get in their way if they are poor and need to work or have someone telling them they can't make a living at it we just say go ahead go to this art colony and work on your painting. In return for that and seeing people get them to enjoy by selling them for what you can get you will get your needs met. Isn't that more equal? You might love to cook so you might opt to cook for a wage twenty hours a week in return for also not having any wants using the money for your personal desires for things.

That's not equal, that's distributing money to people who don't necessarily deserve it.

I'm going to come back to my earlier statement now. Not everyone is a winner. Some people are actually pretty terrible at what they do -- I see it all the time in art and literature. Watching bad artists make bad art is not a joy to me and I frankly find it a little juvenile to encourage and support people as if we are all equal in talent and we are all deserving of merit. To put it more colloquially, if you suck at being a doctor, then I really don't want you to be my doctor and other people probably won't either. If you're bad at acting, you don't deserve to be in films. Failure serves a purpose.

Quote
I agree with Marx most would try lots of things not being forced to do one thing over another if they were free to do so.

How are people today forced into their career? Nobody is making you do anything, you get precisely what you prepare for and if you want to change careers, nobody is stopping you. If you didn't go to college, guess what? You're probably going to have to work a lot of unskilled jobs before you work your way up to something better.

I fail to see what limitations are placed on people such that they can't explore other subjects in their free time. If you work a full-time job, let's break this down -- There are 120 hours in the weekdays / - 40 hours (8 hours of sleep a day * 5 days) / - 50 hours (full-time job + room for overtime) = 30~40 hours on the weekdays alone that you are free to do whatever. That's the equivalent of having another full-time job, or time you could spend working on something else. Factor in the weekend and that's an additional 32 hours or so, giving you ~72 hours of free time in your week.

Offline Jude

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #97 on: May 15, 2011, 10:40:56 AM »
It is not a given that the future will be full of automation or robot slaves.  In such a society, every person who consumes but does not contribute has to have their share of work done by non-human means, resulting in an increased energy expenditure.  Eventually we're going to run out of fossil fuels and all we'll have left is renewable sources that have much lower output; low enough that there's a good chance that this utopia of automation will never happen.  And until that happens, every person who doesn't put their metabolic, baseline survival energy to use in productive ways is essentially a poor tradeoff between carbon pollution and effective work.

Abundance seems like the situation wherein this works, but even if abundance exists, people who contribute nothing but consume still hold society as a whole back.  Any civilization that starts condoning such actions -- or free exploration of one's dreams without any quality control measures -- is basically doomed to fall behind more productive models.

Offline Pointless Digression

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #98 on: May 15, 2011, 01:02:03 PM »
Jude,

It sounds as if you don't believe that a post-scartity society is possible.

Offline Jude

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #99 on: May 15, 2011, 04:20:44 PM »
I don't think anyone can accurately predict what will happen in the distant future, myself included, so I won't pretend to know whether or not it's possible.  As far as it being probable within our life time?  I highly doubt it.  There's already a looming crisis of resources on the horizon in the form of energy which will probably ripple out into every other industry.

Offline Pointless Digression

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #100 on: May 15, 2011, 04:26:28 PM »
Hmmm. A very conservative and skeptical reply. I think I share your unwillingness to make predictions about the far future, but I think it may be on the verge of possibility with nano-assembly to see some parts of a post scarcity society appear in our lifetimes.

Offline Jude

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #101 on: May 15, 2011, 04:36:53 PM »
I have to confess, beyond a bit of reading I've done on carbon nano tubes, I don't know as much about nano tech as I should.  You could be right.

Offline Xenophile

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #102 on: May 15, 2011, 08:59:46 PM »
Post-Scarcity societies can only be possible when we have the kind of surplus energy that is so cheap and so effective, that a handful of people could support thousands, or even millions. That is not possible in the foreseeable future, and it is best give to the speculations of science fiction writers than political scientists.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #103 on: May 15, 2011, 09:03:29 PM »
Kardachev 1.0 at least, so yeah, way too far away for serious consideration.

Offline Sure

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #104 on: May 16, 2011, 03:34:40 AM »
Ultimately, a post-scarcity society is impossible because something will always be scarce. Even if we invented replicators that could make anything, the manufacture, power requirements, and infrastructure requirements (among other things) would be scarce. Prestige would still be scarce, as an intangible. As a tangible, seats for a performance would still be scarce and other such things, as would things with the quality of 'originality'. A replicator can make a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa but it is still not THE Mona Lisa.

Offline Pointless Digression

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #105 on: May 16, 2011, 04:08:57 AM »
As a tangible, seats for a performance would still be scarce and other such things, as would things with the quality of 'originality'. A replicator can make a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa but it is still not THE Mona Lisa.

That's a great topic for a philosophical debate. Let me take the counter position. First of all, this quality of "originality" you mention is impossible to quantify or measure. If I send the Mona Lisa through my nano-duplicator, and it recreates a second Mona Lisa identical to the original down to the brushstroke, down to every last pigment, down to every last molecule and atom, then you would have no way to distinguish between the two of them. If I put my nano-assembled Lisa on the wall at the Louvre, and no one was able to tell that it was a duplication, then it seems to me that they would have the same experience of having seen the Mona Lisa, had whatever personal experience with the artwork that they would have had with the original.

If this quality of originality cannot be demonstrated, if its absence makes no difference to people who encounter the work without knowing its providence, then what difference does it ultimately make whether or not the work was created by da Vinci in the Renaissance or me with my nano-assembler? What is this quality of originality, and why should I consider it?

Second of all, even when we know works of art are replications, it doesn't universally hold in other arts that a duplication is less worthwhile than the original. I have on my bookshelf in front of me As I Lay Dying. It is certainly not a first edition of the book, published in 1930. Nor is it Faulkner's original manuscript. My edition was published by Vintage Books in 1996. Yet the contents of the book are the same; it is the same story that contributed to the body of work that won Faulkner the Nobel in 1949. Even for a work I know at a glance to be a recreation 66 years after first publication, the work affects me no differently than if I had read a first edition, or even the original manuscript. What would I gain by reading a first edition or the manuscript? Consequently, what do I lose in my Vintage edition?

But I digress. Communism, yeah? Still against it.

Offline Oniya

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #106 on: May 16, 2011, 10:44:56 AM »
Sorry, but when it comes to books, there's a certain thrill in thinking about how many other hands might have handled an older edition.  Of course, I am a self-confessed bibliophile.

Offline Noelle

Re: View on Communism
« Reply #107 on: May 16, 2011, 05:02:42 PM »
Art itself has already had a dialogue on the culture of copying, everything from appropriation to plainly taking a picture of a picture, to simply scribbling straight over the Mona Lisa herself. Art has already developed a culture of making prints and replicas -- hell, Degas was making bronze casts of his ballerina sculptures long before anyone even had the discussion about the value of copies. Once the camera came out, all hell broke loose due to the existence of negatives from which you could produce an infinite number more of the same picture.

In some cases, it makes art more accessible. I sell prints of my own work and I can do so cheaply thanks to advent of digital art production. However, in some cases, when it's done correctly, copies and prints are just as subject to supply and demand when they are withheld or made in short supply, driving up the price for especially renowned pieces. That's a slice of capitalism in of itself -- something Mr. Marx probably wouldn't like too well.