Why won't the nightmare dream of communism die?


#41

Stop deflecting, Buffet made his money legally (unlike the Kennedy clan), that’ s al. we can ask for. Change the law if you think sugar drinks should be illegal.

Gates and Jobs made their money off of consumer and business buyers, starting in the late 80’s. It was IBM and others who got rich off the Govt in the 60’s and 70’s. But in any case they only made money because of delivering superior products and rewarding their people for very had work.


#42

I know that gets tossed around a lot, but it’s not indubitably true.

For example, soviet Russian rocketry was unambiguously better than American rocketry on a design basis. There are, of course, other examples.

The primary reason you see “innovation” in consumerist economies is because those economies survive on churn. In order to get you to buy another car in 5 years, they have to deliberately insert components with “planned obsolescence” into your car or create a new car that appears to be “new and improved” (although how many of us think cars from 15 years ago were more enduring? raises hand).

The soviet car industry, on the other hand, wanted to devote state resources to something other than keeping you in a new car. That’s one of the reasons you see a surprisingly large number of those ugly, boxy, featureless soviet-era Ladas still driving around in various media depicting Russian roadways today.

To the heart of the matter; there are oceans of philosophers, political scientists, environmentalists and economists who feel that consumerist economy is more consumptive than this planet can sustain on an indefinite basis. While consumerism pleases your individual wants more, it may contribute more rapidly to creating a planet that may someday be uninhabitable for the species on the whole.

But who cares, right? I really want that new iphone. :laughing:


#43

It’s not a deflection. You’re presenting this narrative that these men don’t have government to thank for a substantial portion of their fortunes. Objectively, that’s not correct (but I’ll readily concede it’s SOMEWHAT less the case for Jobs, but not entirely).

I don’t think they should be illegal. I just don’t think foodstamps should cover them, and I bet you’d reasonably agree otherwise.

But I don’t have the millions in lobbying money I’d need to have to offset the millions Buffet would deploy to ensure the failure of my noble goal.

Per Vonnegut - “So it goes”


#44

And the beauty of free enterprise is that in the marketplace people with good ideas and no capital can do business with people who have capital and no good ideas.


#45

Yes and no.

One major issue is that if you look at many of the people who had good ideas, they also were people with a good education, which is a thing that costs money. I find it disingenuous to act like someone did everything all by themselves when they benefited greatly from the educational resources supplied by affluent family or community.

But what I think is bigger is, those kinds of good ideas are going to be rare. The way society is structured, a very few people can be the big inventors. Most of us are going to have jobs somewhere where we primarily work for someone else helping with someone else’s product. And I’m totally ok with that! I just want it to be the case that someone who does work hard at a job, but maybe is below average in the kind of high-earning skills that get rewarded (because a lot of people have to be below average), can still make enough money to have a family and house and feed and clothe and educate them, without having to be subsidized by the government to do so.


#46

If so then I don’t think you want communism. The communist mantra “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” in practice became “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”


#47

I don’t, but I completely understand the attraction. People who feel like capitalism is failing them will look around for a solution. If they feel like their votes don’t matter because corporations matter more, they’re going to look for something else.


#48

I’d say Communism is pretty dead. At it’s height half the world was communist; now only three countries are nominally communist (Cuba, China, Vietnam) and in reality none of those take the tenets of communism seriously anymore.


#49

Well, yes. There’s a lot of truth to this.

Communism reduced man to nothing more than an economic unit. Given such a reductionist understanding of human nature, it was bound to fail.

The same can be said of libertarianism. It’s sort of the flip side of the same coin (without the historical track record, of course, since it has never been, and will never be, tried). While Communism rejected the individualist nature of man in the process of defining him as nothing more than an economic unit, libertarianism rejects the social, interconnected side of human nature, again reducing man to not much more than an economic unit.


#50

These stories strike me as not worthy of belief. First of all, it’s clear that the study cited (but tellingly, not quoted) by both stories was obviously conducted by an organization with an axe to grind. I’d really, really like to see the actual questions, and the sampling methodology (if there was any). I’m deeply suspicious. There’s a link, but it only leads to what appears to be a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the results of the poll. The document says only that it was an “online survey,” which makes it highly questionable.

The Fox story says that the “poll” (if we can call it that) says that a quarter of millennials think Vladimir Lenin is a hero? I’d be surprised if a quarter of millennials know who Vladimir Lenin was, frankly. And I find it incredible that a quarter of millennials believe that Kim Jong-un is a hero (unless the survey sample included North Korean millennials, which seems highly unlikely). It’s also odd that the numbers in the PowerPoint presentation don’t bear out what the Fox story is saying. They’re not even close. It appears that Fox is overstating the already overheated poll.

Both stories engage in the deceptive trick of lumping social democracy (i.e., Scandinavian or even German-style government), which we might call lower-case socialism, together with upper-case Socialism and Communism. They are very much not the same things at all.

While it’s well worth discussing why the dream (or more accurately, fantasy) of Communism still lingers on in a few corners of the world, I don’t believe that these stories tell us anything useful.


#51

Communism existed in Ohio, in a settlement named Zoar…it thrived for two generations, and collapsed in the third, as those who worked hard became frustrated with those who didn’t.


#52

Communism won’t die until capital is abolished. Despite what the article states, communism is not some vision for an ideal society to be implemented by ideologically motivated communists. It’s the real movement of the proletariat that abolishes the present conditions of society, that abolishes capital, wage labour, exchange (and therefore money) and the state. It isn’t any kind of new society to be created, but rather the radical negation of our present society.

While the Russian revolution was partly a genuine proletarian revolution, it failed to abolish the conditions of capitalist society and what emerged was the capitalist society of the USSR. Most of the nations listed in that article weren’t even produced from failed proletarian revolutions, but were nations produced on the basis of the capitalist system in the USSR.


#53

ROFL, that is completely impossible, it’s a necessary component of civilization. Every primitive culture studied seems to have independently developed a form of money to aid barter and exchange. It’s also why math was even developed.


#54

Communism basically IS in a death rattle. Russia and China both practice capitalism (albeit with a lot of corruption and cronyism, and China still maintains a pretense of Communism) and Cuba is going through a process of privatization. North Korea is basically the only old-style Communist command economy in the world, and no one is looking at North Korea as a model to emulate. As a system that has any kind of credibility or appeal, Communism is definitely on the way out the door.


#55

I don’t even see NK as communist. They are a totalitarian dictatorship with a god emperor at the helm.

They have more in common with a Monarchy than communism.


#56

I also don’t think a binary capitalist/communist distinction is helpful. It’s a continuum. Every country operates somewhere on the spectrum between full blown “Ayn Rand wet dream” and “dopey Marxist ideal”. Basically every developed economy is a blend of free markets and state action.


#57

I think even Rand saw the role of Govt, somebody needs to regulate the basics for an economy and enforce the rule of law. Rand never proposed a ‘free for all’, just that citizens have the motivation and opportunity to compete and succeed, or fail.


#58

I think it can be illuminating to look at the kind of capitalism that Marx was looking at when he was writing. (Remember that he was in London)

The view that the poor were poor because of some moral defect was very common. The workhouse was viewed as little more than a warehouse for the poor - few people who entered left, and reports of insufficient provision for the inmates were common. It was also very common for the poorhouse to split up families, requiring men, women, and children to all live in separate areas. There were few safety laws and no minimum wage. There were property minimums to vote, meaning your average worker was unable to vote. There were also laws in force restricting the worker’s ability to change jobs or to take action like strikes.

Now, in Marx’s time, much of this really was starting to change. But Marx saw a system where it seemed like political power belonged largely to those with money, and that they were able to use the apparatus of the state to enforce bad conditions on the working poor. He saw this as a natural tendency of capitalism.


#59

What a silly question. We just haven’t implemented communism correctly yet. When we do, you’ll see how perfect it is. We just need to go about a different way of cracking the eggs…


#60

Pope condemns ‘bloodsuckers’ who exploit poor workers
https://www.google.com/amp/embedded#amp=http%3A%2F%2Fmobile.reuters.com%2Farticle%2Famp%2FidUSKCN0YA1GQ&vgi=-1493182278&ampidx=0


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