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Author Topic: View on Communism  (Read 11381 times)

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Offline 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 »

Online 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.

Quote
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.

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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.

Online 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.

Online 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.


Online 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.'   

Online 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. :)

Online 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.



Online 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

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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.

Online 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.