Okay; so what the heck *is* Communism, anyway?

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Okay; so what the heck *is* Communism, anyway?

...I've had enough arguments over this recently (both with proponents and detractors) that I'm ready to admit maybe I don't know what the Hell I'm talking about when it comes to the 'C' word (personally, I think that maybe it's just a case where people just shift goal posts to meet their own perspective, but I'll drop that presupposition for this occassion).

I don't own a copy of Marx's Communist Manifesto, and it's been some time since I read it, but this is what I got out of it and have essentially kept in my mind since then:

 

Societies are molded around the Proletariat, whom are the backbone of the entire effort. Traditionally, the Proletariat have been/are manipulated into working toward the benefit of a very few elites (through outright slavery, dogma or industry) while kept submissive at the bottom of the pyramid; this creates a terrific amount of the strife seen in society (though not all of it - Marx was not an absolutist) and leads, inevitably, to revolution.

Marx's solution to this percieved evil was to embrace democratic elections (giving the Proletariat the capacity for forming the legislative body & rule of law) and dissolve wealth accumulation by implementing legislative control over the amount of affluency an individual could collect and ensuring that no person went absolutely without wealth - thereby theoretically deconstructing the pyramid class structure of society and putting every one the same playing field.

 

...Now, is that a fair summary of Marx's arguments, or am I off the mark?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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I'm not studied on Communism

I'm not studied on Communism either, but I'm pretty sure that Marx's ideas also included the idea of violent revolution of the workers. Those who know, correct me if I'm wrong. I was under the impression that this basic concept was what kicked off the enthusiasm for what would later become Soviet-style Communism.

Anyway, regardless, I just wanted to point out the core fundamental flaw in Marxism, which is his idea of historical materialism, which is itself based on the flawed concept of 'dialectic' reasoning. Dialectics is an intuitive way of describing phenomena as opposing 'thesis' and 'antithesis' (think of yin and yang for an Eastern example of dialectic thought), giving rise to a greater 'synthesis'. For example, you might describe Neopolitan ice cream as the synthesis of vanilla (thesis) and chocolate (antithesis). Notice that the synthesis needs a little magical glue (strawberry) to achieve its greater status. This glue is the typical wishful thinking of intuitive reasoning. It is the thing that makes the contradiction (thesis + antithesis) make sense, e.g. what it is that makes the Trinity a 'valid' concept in the minds of Christians. In other words, it is bullshit. So, Thesis + Antithesis + bullshit ---> Synthesis.

Also notice that the choice of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is pretty much arbitrary, and with a little creativity you could figure out how Neopolitan is the thesis, vanilla the antithesis, and chocolate the synthesis. Or you could dump Neopolitan and have pistachio be the synthesis. Point being it's all make-believe. And that's the foundation of Communism, just like so many other dogmas.

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Quote:I'm not studied on

Quote:
I'm not studied on Communism either, but I'm pretty sure that Marx's ideas also included the idea of violent revolution of the workers.

That's... tough to call, IMHO. The Communist Manifesto did mention violent revolution, by from what I understood of what he wrote, he was not advocating for it. He saw it as a repeated trend and aimed to correct that trend.

 

Now, I agree with you on the flaws of Communism (and personally think that Communism's only possible outcome can be totalitarianism), but first I want to make sure I've actually understood the concept. Sticking out tongue

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
I'm not studied on Communism either, but I'm pretty sure that Marx's ideas also included the idea of violent revolution of the workers.

That's... tough to call, IMHO. The Communist Manifesto did mention violent revolution, by from what I understood of what he wrote, he was not advocating for it. He saw it as a repeated trend and aimed to correct that trend.

 

Now, I agree with you on the flaws of Communism (and personally think that Communism's only possible outcome can be totalitarianism), but first I want to make sure I've actually understood the concept. Sticking out tongue

I find it very difficult to believe that you are genuinely inquisitive concerning any alleged flaws in a political system that you have already cursorily dismissed.

 

You know how sometimes we get visitors to the RRS site pretending to be curious about atheism only to find out that they would never abandon theism for reality?

Substitute different ideologies and you'll have my answer to your incitement of a thread wholly devoted to spreading your dogma of capital-libert-canuck-arianism.

 

Besides that...

Which communism? Socialism, Marxism, Maoism, Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, or the kind that every time the government wants to do something for the rich or the poor it gets labeled as communism or socialism by people who really don't give a shit what either word means?

 

My response is one that carries with it a double standard of sorts. I genuinely want unity between atheists worldwide despite the differing 'denominations' of atheism espoused by people. e.g. strong atheists, brights, humanists, non-theists, skeptics, etc. However, we know that isn't 100% possible because of other beliefs we hold. e.g. "I'm an atheist, but I'm not a [fill in the blank with stereotype].

The same thing holds true with socialism. The difference is in the 'NOTS'.

My short answer: Any system using currency or bartering as a means of interaction between people(parts of the society) is NOT socialism. Coupled with that is any system consisting of anything other than direct/real democracy on a manageable scale is NOT socialism.

Quick quiz to see if you might be a socialist:

Housing, food, health care, transportation, and education are:

A. Rights

B. Privileges

C. Expensive

D. Necessary, but not for everyone.

E. None of the above, I don't know, or I don't give a shit.

 

 

 

 

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natural wrote:I'm not

natural wrote:

I'm not studied on Communism either, but I'm pretty sure that Marx's ideas also included the idea of violent revolution of the workers. Those who know, correct me if I'm wrong. I was under the impression that this basic concept was what kicked off the enthusiasm for what would later become Soviet-style Communism.

 

No. Marx was asserting that violent revolution was the only means by which change could come swiftly. He did not live in a representative 'democracy'. Modern rational socialists espouse the use of the ballot in the present system(s) to bring about change.

 

natural wrote:
Anyway, regardless, I just wanted to point out the core fundamental flaw in Marxism, which is his idea of historical materialism, which is itself based on the flawed concept of 'dialectic' reasoning. Dialectics is an intuitive way of describing phenomena as opposing 'thesis' and 'antithesis' (think of yin and yang for an Eastern example of dialectic thought), giving rise to a greater 'synthesis'. For example, you might describe Neopolitan ice cream as the synthesis of vanilla (thesis) and chocolate (antithesis). Notice that the synthesis needs a little magical glue (strawberry) to achieve its greater status. This glue is the typical wishful thinking of intuitive reasoning. It is the thing that makes the contradiction (thesis + antithesis) make sense, e.g. what it is that makes the Trinity a 'valid' concept in the minds of Christians. In other words, it is bullshit. So, Thesis + Antithesis + bullshit ---> Synthesis.

Also notice that the choice of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is pretty much arbitrary, and with a little creativity you could figure out how Neopolitan is the thesis, vanilla the antithesis, and chocolate the synthesis. Or you could dump Neopolitan and have pistachio be the synthesis. Point being it's all make-believe.

 

Pardon my bluntness, but that is the absolute worst examination of the materialist conception of history that I have ever read.

In fact, your ice cream metaphor was ludicrous. I can use it to illustrate the materialist conception of history though...

Ice cream was invented a very long time ago. At certain points in history, technological innovations improved the manufacturing process and/or the quality of ice cream. This caused both a greater demand by the people as well as a need for greater production. This led to the invention of machinery and eventually further innovations in the manufacturing processes of other products as well.

 

Your misconception of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis with regard to the materialist conception is excused, but failing to apply skepticism when someone was teaching this blatantly bastardized interpretation to you is inexcusable. You're better than this.

 

 

natural wrote:
And that's the foundation of Communism, just like so many other dogmas.

 

I'm going to pretend I never read this sentence.

For five seconds.

Before saying... What the fuck?

Dissatisfaction of the people with other people who exist only to OWN things and exploit others for their own gains is the foundation of communism.

Owners of property that would rather burn a crop than give it away for nothing in return are the problem.

The very word 'capital' in regard to people and production is the problem.

Sometime, just for me, ask your boss(if you have one) what the company's greatest 'expense' is. Ask him what the first contingency cut to be made to a company in an economic downturn is.

People. That is the honest answer.

Capitalism treats people like an expendable commodity instead of fellow humans.

Don't believe me? You don't have to. Read the adjusted payroll/jobless report that comes out on the first Friday of every month for the month prior in the US.

533,000 non-farm jobs eliminated in November from the US workforce so that these companies can try to maintain the same profit with less expense from last year.

And yet, people continue to tell me that's okay because it's just a blip on the numbers scale.

Fuck that. Those aren't just numbers. Those are people who are going to lose things that SHOULD be taken for granted in a 'civilized' society.

 

 

 

 

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Quote:I find it very

Quote:

I find it very difficult to believe that you are genuinely inquisitive concerning any alleged flaws in a political system that you have already cursorily dismissed.

 

You know how sometimes we get visitors to the RRS site pretending to be curious about atheism only to find out that they would never abandon theism for reality?

Substitute different ideologies and you'll have my answer to your incitement of a thread wholly devoted to spreading your dogma of capital-libert-canuck-arianism.

Your skepticism is understood & appreciated.

Yes, I've been a detractor of communism for as long as I've been socially conscious. However...

Quote:

Don't believe me? You don't have to. Read the adjusted payroll/jobless report that comes out on the first Friday of every month for the month prior in the US.

533,000 non-farm jobs eliminated in November from the US workforce so that these companies can try to maintain the same profit with less expense from last year.

...A certain crisis in the world (and the many arguments it's caused me to have with my parents, whom are staunch capitalists, and a few of my friends whom are very socialist) is having me at least re-examine my thoughts. To be fair, I was never a strict proponent of capitalism either; it simply seemed to have been the system most capable of withstanding the test of time.

Quote:

Besides that...

Which communism? Socialism, Marxism, Maoism, Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, or the kind that every time the government wants to do something for the rich or the poor it gets labeled as communism or socialism by people who really don't give a shit what either word means?

The ideology penned down by Marx in the Communist Manifesto. I thought I was fairly clear about that?

Quote:
My short answer: Any system using currency or bartering as a means of interaction between people(parts of the society) is NOT socialism. Coupled with that is any system consisting of anything other than direct/real democracy on a manageable scale is NOT socialism.

Okay. So I was more or less correct?

Here is my question (and I am not posing it rhetorically): How can you prevent such a system from degenerating into totalitarianism and (eventually) breaking-down entirely?

If have legislation that sanctions (say) what everyone is to be allocated as a right, how are you going to prevent people from breaking this system on their own through barter/exchange of some commodity they've been allocated? For example, if you give everyone a house and a car, there will likely be some people who would prefer to have a extra house instead of car + house. How can you stop that person from trading a car for a house?

Perhaps more problematically: Some people enjoy making things. I enjoy writing stories and drawing pictures, for example. After someone has made a painting or created a book, often they enjoy sharing their work (personally, I like to give-out some of my artwork here or there as gifts). If someone has a painting or book they were given, and sees another original creation they like, how do you prevent that person from using their gifts to barter with? Or maybe my vehicle breaks down or my plumbing gets clogged - how do you prevent people from offering 'gifts' to the service workers who fix the problem in order to get special treatment?

 

Or are these not problems, in your opinion? If they aren't, why?

Quote:

Housing, food, health care, transportation, and education are:

A. Rights

B. Privileges

C. Expensive

D. Necessary, but not for everyone.

E. None of the above, I don't know, or I don't give a shit.

Hm. Well, I'd say 'A' (...in fact, every item on that list is a right in Canada, with the exception of housing).

Honestly, this does bring us back to the issue of overpopulation, doesn't it?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote: 

Kevin R Brown wrote:
  ...Now, is that a fair summary of Marx's arguments, or am I off the mark?

Let's change the order a little.

 

Kevin R Brown wrote:
Marx's solution to this percieved evil was to embrace democratic elections (giving the Proletariat the capacity for forming the legislative body & rule of law) and dissolve wealth accumulation by implementing legislative control over the amount of affluency an individual could collect and ensuring that no person went absolutely without wealth - thereby theoretically deconstructing the pyramid class structure of society and putting every one the same playing field.
This should be the communism, but never was.

Kevin R Brown wrote:
  Societies are molded around the Proletariat, whom are the backbone of the entire effort. Traditionally, the Proletariat have been/are manipulated into working toward the benefit of a very few elites (through outright slavery, dogma or industry) while kept submissive at the bottom of the pyramid; this creates a terrific amount of the strife seen in society (though not all of it - Marx was not an absolutist) and leads, inevitably, to revolution.
This is what really was the historical communism, including the revolution. Yes, the communism itself is a thing which had to be removed by a revolution Smiling  It was the same old story of a few leaders and a masses of workers, with a characteristic trait which is a destruction of the middle class. The same, as the hypercapitalism does. Marx's communism is essentially an idealistic, anti-state system of a maximal freedom, and no real government (and specially not a 'communistic' government) can allow it. Whatever our historical 'communism' was, it was all about allegedly "building a better tomorrow", but as we all know, the tomorrow never comes. We did have as many five year plans or 150% efficient workers as we wanted, but none of that really brought the utopic tomorrow of everything being free and flying to terraformed Venus on holiday, no matter how the propaganda was. One of my favorite writers, Stanislaw Lem actually based one of his sci-fi story plots on such a succesful communism Smiling (The Astronauts) And the futurologic predictions from contemporary local magazines are sometimes pretty hilarious, in retrospective.

Basically, the difference between capitalism and "communism" as we know it, is in the rate how a state controls the economics. Then there is a difference in emphasis on a social support, business, and education. For example, the technicians, metalworkers and miners (those specially) earned much more money and privileges in these times, than a professor on an university. But this is what was here in Czechoslovakia, it might differ from a state to state.

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“You know that the

“You know that the institutions, mores, and traditions of various countries must be taken into consideration, and we do not deny that there are countries -- such as America, England, and if I were more familiar with your institutions, I would perhaps also add Holland -- where the workers can attain their goal by peaceful means. This being the case, we must also recognize the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our revolution must be force; it is force to which we must some day appeal in order to erect the rule of labor.”

— Karl Marx, La Liberté Speech

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Quote:: Any system using

Quote:

: Any system using currency or bartering as a means of interaction between people(parts of the society)

I thought that you were a student of human nature. You know as well as I do that such a system is an inevitable consequence of organized society. Ask Hamby. He'll tell you the same thing.

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darth_josh wrote:natural

darth_josh wrote:

natural wrote:

I'm not studied on Communism either, but I'm pretty sure that Marx's ideas also included the idea of violent revolution of the workers. Those who know, correct me if I'm wrong. I was under the impression that this basic concept was what kicked off the enthusiasm for what would later become Soviet-style Communism.

No. Marx was asserting that violent revolution was the only means by which change could come swiftly. He did not live in a representative 'democracy'.

My point was not whether he advocated it as a quick way of revolution, but whether he advocated it at all. IMHO, any movement that advocates violent revolution is pretty much doomed to become the new oppressor that has merely displaced the old oppressor. The only way forward on this planet, especially with our increasing power of destructive technology, is non-violent social change. That Marx did not perceive this is just one mark on his record.

Quote:
natural wrote:
Anyway, regardless, I just wanted to point out the core fundamental flaw in Marxism, which is his idea of historical materialism, which is itself based on the flawed concept of 'dialectic' reasoning. Dialectics is an intuitive way of describing phenomena as opposing 'thesis' and 'antithesis' (think of yin and yang for an Eastern example of dialectic thought), giving rise to a greater 'synthesis'. For example, you might describe Neopolitan ice cream as the synthesis of vanilla (thesis) and chocolate (antithesis). Notice that the synthesis needs a little magical glue (strawberry) to achieve its greater status. This glue is the typical wishful thinking of intuitive reasoning. It is the thing that makes the contradiction (thesis + antithesis) make sense, e.g. what it is that makes the Trinity a 'valid' concept in the minds of Christians. In other words, it is bullshit. So, Thesis + Antithesis + bullshit ---> Synthesis.

Also notice that the choice of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis is pretty much arbitrary, and with a little creativity you could figure out how Neopolitan is the thesis, vanilla the antithesis, and chocolate the synthesis. Or you could dump Neopolitan and have pistachio be the synthesis. Point being it's all make-believe.

Pardon my bluntness, but that is the absolute worst examination of the materialist conception of history that I have ever read.

Again, you misread me. That was not a critique of historical materialism per se, it was a critique of dialectical reasoning, upon which historical materialism is founded. The flaws in historical materialism are in its specific predictions (e.g. the notion of progress). The flaws in dialectical reasoning are in its general method (i.e. making shit up to justify your intuitional leaps). Historical materialism has its flaws because it relies on the flawed method of dialectical reasoning.

Quote:
Your misconception of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis with regard to the materialist conception is excused,

Oh, do enlighten us, great master. What is the *proper* conception of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis?

Quote:
but failing to apply skepticism when someone was teaching this blatantly bastardized interpretation to you is inexcusable. You're better than this.

I arrived at my critique of dialectics on my own, I was not taught it. It is based both on my own experiences with dialectical thought, and on my interactions with people who use it as a form of reasoning and drawing conclusions about reality.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy using dialectical thought for generating imaginative speculations. My critique is of dialectical *reasoning*, not just dialectical thought. The idea that you can use dialectical reasoning to base political and social action on is the problem. I have no problems with imagination and speculation; I do it all the time. I do have problems with people trying to force their imaginative speculations into social policy, especially if they choose violent revolution as the means to achieve it.

Quote:
natural wrote:
And that's the foundation of Communism, just like so many other dogmas.

I'm going to pretend I never read this sentence.

For five seconds.

Before saying... What the fuck?

It is simple:

#1 Dialectical reasoning is the foundation of Marx's philosophy. He borrowed from Hegel and threw in his own interpretation of it.

#2 He used it to develop the philosophy of historical materialism, which is flawed precisely because of its broken foundation.

#3 Communism is based on historical materialism, which even got good-and-baked into dialectical materialism (the idea that reality is fundamentally dialectical, rather than that dialectics is just one way of describing reality).

#4 This inevitably, as do all philosophies based on baked-in intuitional reasoning, turned into a dogma over the years.

Quote:
Dissatisfaction of the people with other people who exist only to OWN things and exploit others for their own gains is the foundation of communism.

The roots run deeper than that. There are many ways to solve the problem of exploitation. Communism chose a particular solution. The reason it chose that solution is due to the form of reasoning they (Marx and Engels) used to arrive at their conclusions. That form of reasoning is called dialectics.

Quote:
Owners of property that would rather burn a crop than give it away for nothing in return are the problem.

The very word 'capital' in regard to people and production is the problem.

Sometime, just for me, ask your boss(if you have one) what the company's greatest 'expense' is. Ask him what the first contingency cut to be made to a company in an economic downturn is.

People. That is the honest answer.

Capitalism treats people like an expendable commodity instead of fellow humans.

I agree, these are problems. And yet, I am not a communist. I see a different way to solve these problems, because I did not use dialectical reasoning to arrive at my conclusions. I used skepticism, rationality, logic, and scientific reasoning to arrive at my conclusions. Where my intuitions lead me astray, I strive to correct them by self-critical examination. I use intuition to play with and to imagine and speculate. But I know its dangers, and I know that it can easily lead to dogma.

Communism is not the only alternative to capitalism. That is a common assumption of many communists (and many capitalists, too!), but it is false.

These problems you are illuminating are not the foundation of communism. They are problems. They are the facts, as it were. Communism is the theory (or rather I should say it is the hypothesis). The theory has its own foundation, separate from the facts, and that is dialectical thought.


Quote:
Don't believe me? You don't have to. Read the adjusted payroll/jobless report that comes out on the first Friday of every month for the month prior in the US.

533,000 non-farm jobs eliminated in November from the US workforce so that these companies can try to maintain the same profit with less expense from last year.

And yet, people continue to tell me that's okay because it's just a blip on the numbers scale.

Fuck that. Those aren't just numbers. Those are people who are going to lose things that SHOULD be taken for granted in a 'civilized' society.

I agree and sympathize. Capitalism sucks ass. But Communism is not the logical alternative. To use dialectical language, if Capitalism is the thesis, Communism is neither the antithesis, nor the synthesis. It is merely one alternative, and not a very good one at that.

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well, i suppose i'll be the

well, i suppose i'll be the first marxist to be lured out of the foxhole.

natural wrote:

IMHO, any movement that advocates violent revolution is pretty much doomed to become the new oppressor that has merely displaced the old oppressor.

so, are you calling american republicanism an oppressive system?  i would actually be inclined to agree with you, but i'm just curious.

natural wrote:
   

That Marx did not perceive this is just one mark on his record.

there has been a great deal of debate, for a veeery long time, among such groups as the first, second, third, and fourth internationals, the eurocommunists, the marxist humanists, etc., etc., as to whether marx "perceived this" or not.  if you feel you can settle this definitively in one internet forum post, please, enlighten us.

natural wrote:

Historical materialism has its flaws because it relies on the flawed method of dialectical reasoning.

not necessarily. the "dialectical" side was first emphasized by later marxists, and insisted upon by stalin and (ironically enough) trotsky.  there is a pretty abrupt break in marx's writings when he shifts gears from philosophy (particularly critiquing the young hegelians, of whom he was once a member) in the economic and philosophical manuscripts and the german ideology to harder economic analysis and revolutionary program in capital, the communist manifesto, his speeches to the communist league and the first international, etc.  the grundrisse forms a sort of bridge between the two preoccupations.

if marx's diagnoses and prognoses of the world's economic dilemma were (tragically) left incomplete, even more-so his theory of history.  all we can really gather from marx's writings is that historical materialism ("dialectical materialism" he never uses) is the idea that all of history is fundamentally motivated by economic factors.  he did emphasize the class struggle, in terms of the "oppressor" and "oppressed," a great deal, but he left us almost no comments on "thesis," "antithesis," and "synthesis," and absolutely none in his later work, when he seriously turned to politics.  these are your own projections.

marx was not a dogmatist.  his economic and revolutionary theories clearly developed overtime, which one can easily see by comparing the communist manifesto, "the civil war in france," the eighteenth brumaire of louis napoleon, etc.  it's completed unfounded to think his conception of history didn't.

natural wrote:
 

#1 Dialectical reasoning is the foundation of Marx's philosophy. He borrowed from Hegel and threw in his own interpretation of it.

difficult to tell from his writings, but anyway, as i said, he wasn't much of a philosopher beyond the age of thirty-five or so.

natural wrote:

#2 He used it to develop the philosophy of historical materialism, which is flawed precisely because of its broken foundation.

to be quite fair, it's doubtful marx developed historical materialism, though he certainly liked people to think he did.

natural wrote:

#3 Communism is based on historical materialism

marxism may be based on historical materialism, though, as i said, marx didn't really develop a closed system of historical materialism.  i would actually say that marxism is based on the idea of the class struggle.  communism did not begin or end with marxism.

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kevin, one of the main

kevin, one of the main problems here is messy terminology.  marxism was neither the first nor the last "communism."  in my following posts, i'm assuming you mean, more or less, "marxism."  by "marxism," i'm referring to the writings of marx and, to a lesser degree, engels.  i'm not taking into account "social democracy" or "marxism-leninism," roughly the ideologies of the second ("socialist" ) and third ("communist" ) internationals, respectively. 

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Societies are molded around the Proletariat, whom are the backbone of the entire effort.

this is a very, very, very vague sentence.  what do you mean by "proletariat"?  neither the proletariat nor the bourgeoisie are classes that existed from time immemorial, according to marx.  the bourgeoisie arose from the ashes of feudalism, when skilled and semi-skilled workers moved to the towns from the country and, along with the merchant class, successfully challenged the guild system.  the proletariat arose later, with the division of labor in both society and production, and the resulting decline in skilled labor and artisanship.

i have no idea what you mean by "molded around." 

Kevin R Brown wrote:

(through outright slavery

a slave as such is not a proletarian, because a proletarian sells his or her labor as a commodity.  a slave is physically already a commodity.  he himself sells nothing.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

while kept submissive at the bottom of the pyramid; this creates a terrific amount of the strife seen in society (though not all of it - Marx was not an absolutist) and leads, inevitably, to revolution.

yes, more or less, but it's important to remember that marx was not an idealist, not was he sentimental.  he was very utilitarian: the capitalist age was entirely necessary for human development, particularly the development of the means of production, and in that sense it was "good."

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Marx's solution to this percieved evil was to embrace democratic elections (giving the Proletariat the capacity for forming the legislative body & rule of law)

perhaps in certain circumstances, though ultimately the goal was always total seizure of power by the proletariat, by any means necessary.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

and dissolve wealth accumulation by implementing legislative control over the amount of affluency an individual could collect

i'm really curious as to where you got this.  once again, this might be expedient in certain circumstances, perhaps at the beginning of a more or less peaceful transition to socialism.  it isn't about controlling people's "wealth."  "wealth" is only accidental.  the real aim is to put the means of production directly into the collective ownership of the proletariat.  according to general marxist theory, this will optimize production purely for the needs of society, and eliminate wasteful producton for the creation of surplus capital and the capacity for purchasing luxuries for only a few.  one wouldn't have to worry about limiting one person's wealth because one person would not own the means of production.  before you cry "state bureaucracy," this is not a necessity of marxism either (and was trotsky's main criticism of stalinism).  in fact, as near as we can tell, marx advised the rule of workers' communes, sort of like the old russian soviets before state centralization.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

...Now, is that a fair summary of Marx's arguments, or am I off the mark?

kevin, you're stepping into the same trap as the stalinists and many of my fellow marxists: there is no monolithic "marxism" (much less "communism" ).  marx altered his perceptions a lot because he was constantly abreast of current events.  he was notorious for never turning in his manuscripts to the publisher because he was never finished modifying them.  the communist manifesto was a document for a particular time and place, a temporary superstructure built over the foundation of the class struggle.  if leninists and stalinists took it (or rather their their interpretation of it) as a bible, that's not my problem, nor karl kautsky's, nor rosa luxemburg's, nor julius martov's, nor ernest mandel's, nor isaac deutscher's.  when i argue marxism, i almost never reference the manifesto.  marx and engels dashed it off as an afterthought, but marx never finished capital, nor the follow-up works he had planned. 

you can call this "shifting the goal posts" if you like, but the only time i've ever argued with you or anyone else on this site about marxism or communism was when someone, a., grossly oversimplified it, or b., attributed something to the theory that was just way off the mark.  my main problem with many people debunking marxism is that they're totally unfamiliar with marx and thus unfamiliar with the complexities and shifts in his theoretical writings.  they create a straw man.  it would be like me boldly trying to call einstein a bullshitter when i hadn't read anything of his beyond a quote or two in a high school physics textbook.  even worse, some people talk glibly about marxism's legacy when they have no idea of anything beyond the diatribes of jingoist pundits.  they have no idea how much marxism not only influenced the soviet union, but also the european union, as well as scandinavia.  in fact, i would say marx was a greater influence on the latter, because they were willing to be as pliable as marx himself, rather than grinding a dogmatic ax.  they know (or think they know) all about stalin, mao, pol pot (usually those three are shoved together as if it were one name), but i'll wager are totally unfamiliar with eugene debs, alexander dubcek, oto sik, deng xiaoping, paul mattick, raya dunayevskaya, c.l.r. james, etc. 

as i've said before, of all the writers published in the soviet union, marx was one of the most heavily edited and censored (so was lenin, for that matter). 

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
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Quote:kevin, you're stepping

Quote:
kevin, you're stepping into the same trap as the stalinists and many of my fellow marxists: there is no monolithic "marxism" (much less "communism" ).

Quote:
you can call this "shifting the goal posts" if you like

This is the problem; it is shifting goal posts, and it's the very reason these discussions never lead anywhere productive. It's the same with debating a theist about God; since 'God' is not a properly defined term, you can't really have a proper argument over it because nobody is ever really clear about what it actually means.

It's one thing if I read a document and don't understand it. It's another entirely if I read a document, understand at the gist of what the author was conveying, and then to be merely dismissed because, "Well, that document isn't what [i]TRUE 'X' is all about, anyway,"

Einstein is a false analogy. If you read his work on General Relativity (and understand mathematics), you will end-up understanding (in broad terms) General Relativity. His work may be updated and added to as our understanding increases, but it will never be [i]invalidated (any more than Newton's work was invalidated) as it asserts itself as a concrete set of well-defined concepts that have been tested and verified.

 

What you're doing with Communism is essentially saying that it's whatever you want it to be, IMHO cheapening it to the point of fruitless academic excercise. Because works on Communism are vast and conflicting, you dismiss anyone's arguments based on any given author or work and cite another (often deflecting with a no true scotsman fallacy). If we can't agree on a definition, there's no point in debating it.

Quote:
this is a very, very, very vague sentence.  what do you mean by "proletariat"?

No, it was not 'vague'. Proletariat means low-class working citizen, while 'backbone' used metaphorically means the structure that holds everything together/upright (that is, without it, a system would collapse).

Perhaps this is a language barrier for you? If not, please discontinue trying to construe perfectly clear language as incomprehensible.

Quote:
"wealth" is only accidental. the real aim is to put the means of production directly into the collective ownership of the proletariat. according to general marxist theory, this will optimize production purely for the needs of society, and eliminate wasteful producton for the creation of surplus capital and the capacity for purchasing luxuries for only a few.  one wouldn't have to worry about limiting one person's wealth because one person would not own the means of production.

Wealth is not 'accidental'. It is an emergent property of any trade-based system.

Now, I can scrutinize what you've laid down here, but first I need to be clear about exactly what's been proposed:

 - By collective ownership, I would presume you mean something analogous to unionized labor, where employees of a particular organization are given a collective voice in what they are compentsated, what work conditions they will tolerate, etc? If this is not the case, could you elaborate on what you do mean?

 - In saying that it will optimize production purely for the needs of society, you are saying that we would stop producing 'designer' leisure goods, is that right? Items that are functionally no different that a similar low-cost item, but made more expensive strictly for use as status symbols? Again, if this is not what you mean, please correct me.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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iwbiek wrote:natural

iwbiek wrote:

natural wrote:

IMHO, any movement that advocates violent revolution is pretty much doomed to become the new oppressor that has merely displaced the old oppressor.

so, are you calling american republicanism an oppressive system?  i would actually be inclined to agree with you, but i'm just curious.

The aftermath of the American revolution was another oppressive government, yes. Less oppressive than the British, perhaps, but they still had slavery, women couldn't vote, they still wiped out natives, etc.

The point I'm making is that if you don't want to replace one oppressive group with another, then you need an alternative to violent revolution. Violent revolution just kicks out one group and puts in another. But to change the actual structure of the system to be *more* inclusive, you need to change people's minds rather than just killing or ousting them.

Imagine if the black population fought back against racism and won a violent revolution. Would the winners have learned anything in the process? Would they subsequently set up a system where blacks and whites have equal rights? Very unlikely.

Instead, the non-violent civil rights movement made steady progressive changes in the hearts and minds of the people, and the culmination of that effort was the incredible non-violent election of a black man to the presidency.

That's how real progressive change is made. And in a world where technology is becoming increasingly more powerful and at the same time easier to acquire, the viability of violent revolution is getting lower and lower.

If I'm personally to support a cause, it must be explicitly non-violent. I don't have a problem with reasonable self-defense. I'm not a complete pacifist. But we can no longer expect to violently replace one system with another and expect that to lead to peace.

As I perceive it (and maybe there's a minority sect that could prove me wrong), Communism is fundamentally not committed to non-violent social change. Communists (that I've talked to) see violent revolution as a legitimate way to get things done. I don't. And that's why I'm not, and almost certainly will never be, a Communist.

Quote:
natural wrote:
   

That Marx did not perceive this is just one mark on his record.

there has been a great deal of debate, for a veeery long time, among such groups as the first, second, third, and fourth internationals, the eurocommunists, the marxist humanists, etc., etc., as to whether marx "perceived this" or not.  if you feel you can settle this definitively in one internet forum post, please, enlighten us.

You misquoted me and responded to the weaker version of my statement. Marx certainly did *not* perceive that violent revolution is illegitimate, as I've explained it. The fact that he didn't perceive this is a mark on his record. Compare with people like Gandhi.

Quote:
natural wrote:

Historical materialism has its flaws because it relies on the flawed method of dialectical reasoning.

not necessarily. the "dialectical" side was first emphasized by later marxists

Again, you are not responding to what I'm actually saying.

Historical materialism, as Marx espoused it (even if he didn't explicitly call it 'historical materialism'), has some pretty fundamental assumptions that it is based on, and those assumptions derive from dialectical reasoning. The easiest assumption to point out is the assumption of progress in history. Specifically, the idea that one form of society will get replaced by a 'better' form of society, in an inevitable succession. This comes directly from the idea of thesis + antithesis = synthesis. If history follows this pattern, then there's only one direction to history, a succession of syntheses.

In reality, history follows a more evolutionary pattern of branching and adapting societies. Certain conditions can cause massive regression, rather than continual progression. The Dark Ages can be viewed as a mass-extinction event, wiping out much of the 'progress' of the time.

Marx viewed the capitalist phase as inevitable, for example. He also saw the revolution of the working class as inevitable, based on the same reasoning.

My point is simply this: If your method of reasoning is based on a flawed method of using intuitions to justify your conclusions, then whatever system you develop out of that will only be as good as your intuition. And since we know intuition is flawed, your system will be flawed.

Did Marx use any scientific investigation to justify his ideas, or did he rely on his intuitions, however insightful they may have been? Did he use statistical analysis in any of his work? Did he ever rigourously test his ideas? I am unaware of it if he did.

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This is a fantastic thread.

This is a fantastic thread. My home pc died and I am slowly becoming acquainted with Vista.

I don't have as much time at work as I used to have(recessions are a bitchload of work) so I won't be able to answer as effectively as I would like. (I also have two other threads to be obnoxious in. lol.)

 

Kevin wrote:
Here is my question (and I am not posing it rhetorically): How can you prevent such a system from degenerating into totalitarianism and (eventually) breaking-down entirely?

There is no 100% answer. Hypothetically, it could still happen. It has happened several times in our history with capitalism. Socialism has never had a chance to address the problem.

The idea is that truly democratic determination on small scales curtails the totalitarianism threat. It doesn't take long to count a few thousand ballots concerning an issue. It also means a better chance of finding someplace where like-minded individuals can be happy and productive.

 

Kevin wrote:
If have legislation that sanctions (say) what everyone is to be allocated as a right, how are you going to prevent people from breaking this system on their own through barter/exchange of some commodity they've been allocated? For example, if you give everyone a house and a car, there will likely be some people who would prefer to have a extra house instead of car + house. How can you stop that person from trading a car for a house?

You can't live in two houses at the same time, nor can you drive two cars at the same time. Obviously, this idea of 'possessing' instead of 'using' is going to take a long time to get rid of.

That I can think of there is no 'allocation' problem. We produce enough of everything. There is a 'surplus distribution' problem though. Currently, we butcher a whole animal, but the percentage of that animal that is actually eaten by someone is low. We grow an abundance of food, but how much rots waiting for someone to get enough 'capital' to buy it to put it to use? How many televisions sit on shelves for years or get recycled or disposed of for no reason? How many houses sit empty because someone could no longer 'afford' the mortgage while people live in tents?

 

Kevin wrote:
Perhaps more problematically: Some people enjoy making things. I enjoy writing stories and drawing pictures, for example. After someone has made a painting or created a book, often they enjoy sharing their work (personally, I like to give-out some of my artwork here or there as gifts). If someone has a painting or book they were given, and sees another original creation they like, how do you prevent that person from using their gifts to barter with? Or maybe my vehicle breaks down or my plumbing gets clogged - how do you prevent people from offering 'gifts' to the service workers who fix the problem in order to get special treatment?

I'll mention one phrase and you might see a problem with the question as it fits the parameters: "using their gifts to barter with"

Trading gifts (metaphorical or physical) isn't bartering by the very definition of the word 'gift'. Who are these service workers? You make it sound as if you would not have any part in the production, maintenance, and distribution of things. If the toilet is broken or clogged do you throw up your hands and shit in the woods? Is that like it is for you now? Of course not.

In the present system, if I am a plumber then I don't want you to be one because then you become 'competition'. In a system where I eat, live, work less then I would want you to be a plumber too. Wouldn't I? Likewise, if you have produced something that cannot be used then you are left with nothing to bargain with anyway. Has there not always been the often hated, but unnecessary starving of artists?

Is writing the book all of the work that goes into it? Is there not ink, paper, presses, fountain solution, aluminum, chemicals involved with the book? A book isn't just comprised of the words on a page, but the production of it.

Upon what is the painting made and how is it made? Munch painted nine versions of 'The Scream' on different media. He did so out of a need to paint it, not out of a need to sell it. He was fed, clothed, comfortable from his wealthy parents. By contrast, Van Gogh, at some points in his life, allegedly spent his brother's money on paints and canvas rather than food. Whether or not this contributed to his alleged depression and subsequent suicide is a guess.

Imagine never hearing the words 'starving artist' again. Oh, look at this beautiful painting of a starry night the one-eared man gave to me to showcase after I taught him how to install a toilet.

Sure. It sounds utopian. It sounds too good to be true. To me, it sounds like a worthy goal for the human race.

 

Kevin wrote:

Hm. Well, I'd say 'A' (...in fact, every item on that list is a right in Canada, with the exception of housing).

Honestly, this does bring us back to the issue of overpopulation, doesn't it?

Wait. Wait. Wait. I've heard this too, but in a different format. Let me put two things side by side for your comparison: Same or different principle.

1. Without objective morality, people would just run willy-nilly about committing crimes such as rape, robbery, and murder and never control themselves or each other. Everyone wants to rape, steal, and kill.

2. Without fiscal responsibility, people would just fuck everyone and bear a fuckton worth of babies and never control their babymaking. Everyone wants to make babies.

In Canada, you still pay money for those things which you and I agree are rights. In summation, you have the right to pay for those rights.    ???

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Quote:You can't live in two

Quote:

You can't live in two houses at the same time, nor can you drive two cars at the same time. Obviously, this idea of 'possessing' instead of 'using' is going to take a long time to get rid of.

That I can think of there is no 'allocation' problem. We produce enough of everything. There is a 'surplus distribution' problem though. Currently, we butcher a whole animal, but the percentage of that animal that is actually eaten by someone is low. We grow an abundance of food, but how much rots waiting for someone to get enough 'capital' to buy it to put it to use? How many televisions sit on shelves for years or get recycled or disposed of for no reason? How many houses sit empty because someone could no longer 'afford' the mortgage while people live in tents?

In North America perhaps we have a surplus of everything. The argument quite breaks down when we look outside our own backyards, though, doesn't it? Do we have enough raw material and gasoline to provide 6-7 billion people with a sedan, a two-bedroom house, a fridge full of food and a small closet full of clothing?

Of course we don't.

I agree that the waste over here is disgusting; I would never agree, however, that even with the greatest of reasonable efficiencies could we maintain a surplus for every person on Earth (unless the population backed-down. Which, although I sincerely wish it would, am dubious of it doing).

Quote:
Trading gifts (metaphorical or physical) isn't bartering by the very definition of the word 'gift'. Who are these service workers? You make it sound as if you would not have any part in the production, maintenance, and distribution of things. If the toilet is broken or clogged do you throw up your hands and shit in the woods? Is that like it is for you now? Of course not.

No, but using a plunger to unclog a toilet requires significantly less skill than, say, installing a new water line, doesn't it? If you're arguing that we could reach a point where we would never require skilled laborers I'd have to laugh at you - an individual human being does not have an infinite capacity for aquiring skills; in fact, there is much research that indicates that we're mostly stuck with what we learn up into our early twenties. Beyond that, learning entirely new fields of expertise becomes orders of magnitude more difficult.

I imagine you would agree that trying to teach every person every single talent from tailoring to plumbing to microbiology to engineering while they are still in their learning prime would be outright impossible.

If this isn't what you are suggesting, feel free to ignore the above - but in that case, you should know very well where the plumbers in my scenario came from: they were people in my community who learned how to do what they do for their own benefit. Perhaps (even likely) it's the case that they get enjoyment out of making other people happy with their talents; however, it's stretching credibility to suggest that wouldn't enjoy doing things more when their work is recognized and appreciated through some form of reciprocity.

Quote:
In the present system, if I am a plumber then I don't want you to be one because then you become 'competition'. In a system where I eat, live, work less then I would want you to be a plumber too. Wouldn't I? Likewise, if you have produced something that cannot be used then you are left with nothing to bargain with anyway. Has there not always been the often hated, but unnecessary starving of artists?

I would disagree with your first statement, actually. Competition can be an excellent way of galvinizing support for your work, if you prove to be the better plumber, and it builds awareness of your trade & business. And there is no such thing as 'something that cannot be used' (well, in conventional terms, anyway). The use of a painting is in making your home look more impressive. The use of a book is to entertain you, or educate you, or make you look smart by having a shelf full of them, etc.

Quote:
Imagine never hearing the words 'starving artist' again. Oh, look at this beautiful painting of a starry night the one-eared man gave to me to showcase after I taught him how to install a toilet.

...And then you've created a bartering system, haven't you? He educated you, you gave him something pretty in return. It could be argued that perhaps this wasn't 'necessary' - that perhaps the plumber gives-out free lessons because he enjoys doing that - but along the line, reciprocation (like you just described) is likely to occur. What happens after that? The plumber likes the people who reciprocate more than he likes the people who don't, and he helps them more than he helps the rest. Over time, competition is built-up again.

I mean, how do you think markets/marketing began in the first place? Do you honestly think somebody sat down one day and 'invented' capitalism in the same way Marx penned-down his ideas on communism?

That's not what happened at all!

Societies evolved over time from bartering hunter-gatherer communities.

Quote:

Wait. Wait. Wait. I've heard this too, but in a different format. Let me put two things side by side for your comparison: Same or different principle.

1. Without objective morality, people would just run willy-nilly about committing crimes such as rape, robbery, and murder and never control themselves or each other. Everyone wants to rape, steal, and kill.

2. Without fiscal responsibility, people would just fuck everyone and bear a fuckton worth of babies and never control their babymaking. Everyone wants to make babies.

I did not say this. Now, I will definately argue that 'everyone wants to make babies' is a correct assertion (and is therefore not really comparable to 'everyone wants to rape, steal and kill', which is untrue)  that has been proven empirically, and popularized in books like 'Selfish Gene', but I think you're correct - without a monetary system, people would still have self-control.

Where the problem lies is when we want to do big, technical things like make homes and vehicles and roads. Somebody has to do that, and they have to have a reason for doing it. The reason does not have to be, 'So I can make a lot of money so I can be a big shot in my town', but I've yet to see an argument for a realistic, workable system that does not veer either in this direction or towards totalitarian dictatorship.

Quote:
In Canada, you still pay money for those things which you and I agree are rights. In summation, you have the right to pay for those rights.    ???

Josh, if things had gone terribly wrong during the Cold War, societies had been annihilated and we were now struggling to survive in a barren and lawless wasteland, I would still have to pay for those things we agree are rights. I would just have to pay in calories and time rather than money, and frankly, I prefer to spend the latter.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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The flaw of Marxists

Kevin R Brown wrote:

...I've had enough arguments over this recently (both with proponents and detractors) that I'm ready to admit maybe I don't know what the Hell I'm talking about when it comes to the 'C' word (personally, I think that maybe it's just a case where people just shift goal posts to meet their own perspective, but I'll drop that presupposition for this occassion).

I don't own a copy of Marx's Communist Manifesto, and it's been some time since I read it, but this is what I got out of it and have essentially kept in my mind since then:

 

Societies are molded around the Proletariat, whom are the backbone of the entire effort. Traditionally, the Proletariat have been/are manipulated into working toward the benefit of a very few elites (through outright slavery, dogma or industry) while kept submissive at the bottom of the pyramid; this creates a terrific amount of the strife seen in society (though not all of it - Marx was not an absolutist) and leads, inevitably, to revolution.

Marx's solution to this percieved evil was to embrace democratic elections (giving the Proletariat the capacity for forming the legislative body & rule of law) and dissolve wealth accumulation by implementing legislative control over the amount of affluency an individual could collect and ensuring that no person went absolutely without wealth - thereby theoretically deconstructing the pyramid class structure of society and putting every one the same playing field.

 

...Now, is that a fair summary of Marx's arguments, or am I off the mark?

The desire for fairness and equality in a classless society which Marx advocated is laudable. Yet the fundamental flaw of all Marxists is that they all possess the same genome as capitalists which imbues our natural tendency to form tribes with the us/them dichotomy. No matter how noble one perceives Marxism to be, it will never eliminate prejudice nor will it realistically create equality. In fact, like relgion Marxism takes on a quasi-religious fervor and when taken to dogmatic extremes, results in Stalinism or the Khmer Rouge. I have yet to see a Marxist society that has truly been successful in creating human happiness.

Capitalism is human nature. Every self-proclaimed Marxist I know who vents about poverty, class warfare, imperialism or the evil bourgeousie is no less selfish than his/her non-Marxist counterparts. They all place their own interests or the interests of their family above everything else. And thus, Marxist politicians don't suddenly shed these traits when governing a society. They say out loud "everyone must be Marxist for there to be equality!!" and then whisper "everyone except me of course." And what happens in the end? Totalitarianism!!

The only system that works is a flawed mixed economy (ie. an admixture of capitalism and socialism ) in a free and democratic society wherein a single ideology never forever hijacks that society.


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darth_josh wrote:In the

darth_josh wrote:
In the present system, if I am a plumber then I don't want you to be one because then you become 'competition'. In a system where I eat, live, work less then I would want you to be a plumber too. Wouldn't I? Likewise, if you have produced something that cannot be used then you are left with nothing to bargain with anyway. Has there not always been the often hated, but unnecessary starving of artists?

 

Sorry if I break the flow of this conversation by asking this, but, do you know of anything else the drives progress and innovation faster than competition? I am in business for myself and I quite appreciate competition for the exact reason that it motivates me to produce the best work possible. Also, besides direct governmental interference, how would you prevent monopolies from emerging?

Thats cute.


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One thing I have wondered

One thing I have wondered about communism is: how would they stop capitalism from re-emerging? People want to  favor those who give them the best services and products over those who do not. This seems to me to naturally lead to markets and competition.

Quote:


You can't live in two houses at the same time, nor can you drive two cars at the same time. Obviously, this idea of 'possessing' instead of 'using' is going to take a long time to get rid of.



Good luck with achieving that goal. Property rights are a fundamental human right. People go apeshit if you mess with their property. I hate to sound this way, but my property rights are worth much more than the lives of people who would deny me them. Telling people that they possess nothing, and that they are merely using things, should result in violence. If I somehow accumulate enough money to purchase two cars then I own them, and I can rightfully use violence to prevent others from taking my property. The fact that I can only drive one at a time has nothing to due with my fundamental human right to be able to own property. I consider not allowing people to possess property to be on the same level as attempting to deny freedom of speech. What on earth would possess someone to make them want others to not hold ownership over things?

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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In speaking of alleged

In speaking of alleged dogmas, I believe one need only read the abject hopelessness of the three posts prior to this one.

I read: Capitalism is the only way and will always be the only way.

 

Whether this be a false analogy or not is up to the reader, but I have often asked theists if they could conceive of a universe devoid of god. I wonder if capitalists can conceive of a world without greed and money.

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Kevin R Brown wrote:This is

Kevin R Brown wrote:

This is the problem; it is shifting goal posts, and it's the very reason these discussions never lead anywhere productive. It's the same with debating a theist about God; since 'God' is not a properly defined term, you can't really have a proper argument over it because nobody is ever really clear about what it actually means.

it's also the same as debating a democrat on what the democratic party stands for.  kevin, i'm sorry, dude: there are no goal posts.  communism and even marxism are not closed systems of thought, they're schools of thought with ongoing trends.  yes, are some fundamental ideas that makes marxism marxism, but most of them are economic, i.e., the labor theory of value (which marx certainly didn't come up with anyway), labor as a commodity, the need of the capitalist to exploit the proletariat for the purpose of gaining surplus value.  these fundamental ideas marx more or less never departed from.  but they're all diagnostical.  it's the solutional side that everybody wants to attack and it's precisely this side that marx constantly revised.  pretty much the only fundamental idea that marx stuck to here was the need for a revolution of the proletariat.  how that revolution would be arrived at and what the new socialist or communist society would look like, he constantly changed places on.

the fact is, kevin, as much as you love to make the assertion, you're not debating some sort of marx-worshipping, quasi-theist here, and i'll prove it to you right now: marx contradicted himself.  numerous times.  and most of his proposed paths to a proletarian revolution are hopelessly out of date.  i'm not a marxist because i worshipfully agree with everything marx ever wrote.  i'm a marxist because i agree with his fundamental analysis of the capitalist system and the general idea of a proletarian revolution.  this is politics and economics, not mysticism, meaning i pick and choose what i agree with and leave the rest, just like any sane person does when trying to make sense of the world's problems.  like marx, i also change my position many times.  if this disappoints you because it doesn't leave you with a handy red target to pierce with your awe-inspiring logic, tough titty. 

Kevin R Brown wrote:

It's another entirely if I read a document, understand at the gist of what the author was conveying, and then to be merely dismissed because, "Well, that document isn't what [i]TRUE 'X' is all about, anyway,"

but the communist manifesto isn't what communism is all about.  it's what part of it is about.  you still haven't even told us what you mean by communism.  you're asking us if you "get" communism.  i don't know if you do or not, but it seems to me a more pertinent question in your case would be if you "get" the manifesto.  yes, it seems for the most part, you do.  but that doesn't automatically give you everything you need to discredit all of marxism, and certainly not all of communism.

the communist manifesto takes it's name from the communist league, of which both marx and engels were founding members.  it doesn't take it's name from being a foundational document of communist thought.  in fact, a lot of people, like pierre-joseph proudhon, were quite pissed that marx's circle tried to monopolize the term "communist."  there are quite a few republicans who are horrified by ann coulter.  that doesn't mean they're "shifting the goal posts" or not playing fair in some way.

Kevin R Brown wrote:
 

What you're doing with Communism is essentially saying that it's whatever you want it to be

no, what i'm saying is, 1., there are many schools of communist thought and marx's is only one (albeit the most famous), and 2., the whole shebang can't be encapsulated in one thirty-page document.

[quote-Kevin R Brown]

Because works on Communism are vast and conflicting, you dismiss anyone's arguments based on any given author or work and cite another (often deflecting with a no true scotsman fallacy).

kevin, there is no true scotsman in this case.  sometimes that's just the way it is, i'm sorry.  all i'm trying to tell you is don't cram communism in a box and try to debate two hundred years of divergant thought in a handy, pocket-sized format.  why don't you tell us what about communism you would like to debate, instead of just, "i want to debate communism"?  the labor theory of value?  the theory of surplus value?  capitalist accumulation?  historical materialism?  the revolution of the proletariat?  the dictatorship of the proletariat?  communism as the highest stage of socialism?  i mean, let's narrow it down a bit, please.

Kevin R Brown wrote:
 

If we can't agree on a definition, there's no point in debating it.

that also goes for if you won't put in the research.  i would never try to debate yellow number five on the fossil record, for example, because i haven't read anything about fossils past high school biology.

i would also like to point out i didn't start this debate.  in fact, i don't recall ever starting a debate about communism on this site.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Proletariat means low-class working citizen

 

maybe to a novelist, but you want to debate "communism."  so let's use the general "communist" definition, which, as i said, is someone who sells his labor power on the market because he has no idependent access to the means of production.  my problem with your sentence was you seemed to imply two things: 1., a slave and a serf are both "proletarians," which is untrue, and 2., the proletariat have been the "backbone" of every civilization, which is also untrue.  we can probably trace the rise of the proletariat to the fifteenth century, at the earliest.

(in fact, even a cursory reading of the manifesto would tell you that the bourgeoisie were once the oppressed class.)

if this was not, in fact, what you were implying, then, as i said, sloppy terminology is to blame.  if this was what you were inplying, then obviously you didn't "get" the manifesto, as marx and engels give a synopsis of the histories of both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat at the beginning of the work.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Wealth is not 'accidental'. It is an emergent [i]property of any trade-based system.

this is my bad.  i didn't like to use the term "accidental" but i couldn't think of a better one.  what i meant was, "redistribution of wealth" or legally limiting it, is not the fundamental aim of the proletarian revolution.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

 - By collective ownership, I would presume you mean something analogous to unionized labor, where employees of a particular organization are given a collective voice in what they are compentsated, what work conditions they will tolerate, etc? If this is not the case, could you elaborate on what you do mean?

i mean direct worker self-management and ownership of the means of production.  by self-management, i mean precisely that: workers would be managed by one of their own, perhaps even on a rotating basis.  no manager would be exempt from work nor would said manager get any more pay (in money or in kind) than anyone else.  by worker ownership of the means of production, i mean that no capitalist class would own the means and thus exploit surplus labor for their own enrichment.  no more work would be done than what is required to meet the needs (and by that i don't just mean at the subsistence level or "bare necessities" ) of society.  as i'm sure you can guess, how this would be accomplished is one of the main issues marxists differ on.  i have my own poorly-formed ideas, but they're not pertinent to this particular discussion.

it would have nothing to do with unions because we only need unions as leverage against a non-laboring, "employing" class.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

 - In saying that it will optimize production purely for the needs of society, you are saying that we would stop producing 'designer' leisure goods, is that right?

not necessarily.  what i mean is that there will no longer be any surplus labor time put in by a worker purely for the profit of a capitalist.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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Quote:Whether this be a

Quote:
Whether this be a false analogy or not is up to the reader, but I have often asked theists if they could conceive of a universe devoid of god. I wonder if capitalists can conceive of a world without greed and money.

I can. It is one where we've left our biological humanity behind us, and is quite some distance into the future.

 

Not that I'm much of a capitalist anyway, to be fair.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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natural wrote:As I perceive

natural wrote:

As I perceive it (and maybe there's a minority sect that could prove me wrong), Communism is fundamentally not committed to non-violent social change. Communists (that I've talked to) see violent revolution as a legitimate way to get things done. I don't. And that's why I'm not, and almost certainly will never be, a Communist.

believe it or not, there are communists who insist on nonviolence.  maybe not marxists, but communists.

by the way, i completely respect your opinion.  for the first half of my twenties, i was a strict pacifist as well.

natural wrote:

You misquoted me and responded to the weaker version of my statement. Marx certainly did *not* perceive that violent revolution is illegitimate, as I've explained it. The fact that he didn't perceive this is a mark on his record. Compare with people like Gandhi.

i apologize for misunderstanding you.  first, i was reading quickly, and two, i was slightly drunk.  sorry.

you are right about marx and violent revolution.  gandhi has quite a few marks on his record too, though, but he was explicit on nonviolence.

 

natural wrote:

Historical materialism, as Marx espoused it (even if he didn't explicitly call it 'historical materialism'), has some pretty fundamental assumptions that it is based on, and those assumptions derive from dialectical reasoning. The easiest assumption to point out is the assumption of progress in history. Specifically, the idea that one form of society will get replaced by a 'better' form of society, in an inevitable succession. This comes directly from the idea of thesis + antithesis = synthesis. If history follows this pattern, then there's only one direction to history, a succession of syntheses.

you're right, but my argument was that we have little idea from his writings how much this influenced his economic and revolutionary thought, because he abandoned elaborating on historical materialism fairly early.  i agree with a basic materialist conception of history, but i'm not a dialectical materialist, and i find it disturbing that stalin reached into this rather obscure part of marxist theory for a lot of his justification.  as i said to kevin above, one doesn't have to take everything marx said at face value to be a marxist.  there have been a lot of philosophical and utopian ideas behind every political system, but that doesn't mean all their ideas are somehow "tainted."  that's just some kind of absurd secular donatism.

certainly not every marxist has agreed with dialectical thought, or a progressive conception of history.  even mao zedong in on contradiction discounts the hegelian notion of "negation of the negation," which is something like synthesis.

natural wrote:

Marx viewed the capitalist phase as inevitable, for example. He also saw the revolution of the working class as inevitable, based on the same reasoning.

you're right.  this is one of the areas where he and i disagree, and i think, were marx alive today, he would seriously reconsider this.

natural wrote:

And since we know intuition is flawed, your system will be flawed.

every system is "flawed."  no system is perfect, i.e., finished, in and of itself.  this is precisely what evolutionary thought teaches us.

natural wrote:

Did he use statistical analysis in any of his work?

marx's life's work was statistical analysis of the english economy, which was the most advanced capitalist economy at that time.  capital is loaded with stats, as is much of his correspondence with the communist league and the international workingmen's association.

natural wrote:
 

Did he ever rigourously test his ideas?

to be quite fair, politics cannot be tested in a laboratory, so no, he never had the opportunity.  but as i said, many societies since have tested, accepted, or rejected many of his ideas.  depending on their critical wisdom, some were doomed to failure (the soviet union), some were horribly botched (bela kun's hungary), and some were successful (scandinavia).

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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darth_josh wrote:In speaking

darth_josh wrote:
In speaking of alleged dogmas, I believe one need only read the abject hopelessness of the three posts prior to this one.

I read: Capitalism is the only way and will always be the only way.   

Whether this be a false analogy or not is up to the reader, but I have often asked theists if they could conceive of a universe devoid of god. I wonder if capitalists can conceive of a world without greed and money.

Oh, you might get some backlash. 

It's not that I can't conceive of a world without capitalism, I just see it as the best economic system available. Of course, all such economic ideas, when taken to their ideological extremes, are not only ridiculous, but impossible to achieve. So, really, I favor a mostly capitalist system with socialistic elements. 

One day, I ran into the "Socialist Alternative" at my university, and I got into a discussion with someone. I believe he was from some national socialist organization. In our conversation, my main questions was, "If all money and property is evenly distributed, what incentive is there to work?" His answer, unsurprisingly, was social status. This answer has always vexed me. After a couple more exchanges I asked, as a follow up, "What incentive would there be to work as a janitor?" Here, he replied that this job could be shared among everyone, as in, people take turns being janitors. At this point, I dropped the bomb and asked, "What if I refused to be a janitor?" He replied, "You'll be outcast from society." After that, I was simply disgusted and decided to end the conversation.

Any ideology that maintains the status quo by simply punishing dissent, like Fundamentalist Creationism, MattShizzle's dystopia, or the world in 1984, is clearly suspect, for this implies that the ideology cannot stand on its own merits. I know almost nothing about economics, but things like that made me worry about how the hell socialism or communism are supposed to work. And, the fact that I haven't heard of a single mostly communist country in the history of the world that didn't either fall apart or lead to an oppressive regime.  

 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Quote:some national

Quote:

some national socialist organization.

A national socialist? As in a neo-Nazi?

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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butterbattle wrote:I believe

butterbattle wrote:

I believe he was from some national socialist organization.

eww.  yuck.  yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck.

butterbattle wrote:

In our conversation, my main questions was, "If all money and property is evenly distributed, what incentive is there to work?"

this is a popular across-the-board indictment of marxism, communism, and even socialism, but it is hardly across-the-board.  marx talked very, very little about "distribution."  he never claimed everyone would be materially "equal."  he never claimed there wouldn't be social stratification.  the only thing he claimed was that a proletarian revolution, properly executed and with the right objective conditions, would result in a classless society.  one has to be very clear on what marx meant by "class."  "class" doesn't mean "amount of stuff one has."  "class" is inseparable from the class struggle.  "class" is organized along the lines of which people have ownership of the means of production and which don't.  marxism argues that if we eliminate private ownership of the means of production, it means no class of people can possess it, and thus the class struggle disappears, and thus class disappears.  marxist theory does not argue that class disappears through social levelling--marx ridiculed this as crude, primitive socialist thinking.  marxist theory argues that class disappears by the elimination of private ownership of the means of production.

as for socialism in general, i would hope no serious socialist would ever argue for levelling.  as for communism in general, there have been communists who have argued for this, but they were mostly early, utopian communists.

 

butterbattle wrote:

And, the fact that I haven't heard of a single mostly communist country in the history of the world that didn't either fall apart or lead to an oppressive regime.  

i'm willing to bet that the only "communist" countries you've ever heard of follow the stalinist line.  many people would consider finland "communist."  trotsky argued that the soviet union was neither "communist" nor "socialist," nor even "leninist."  both "communist country" and "oppressive regime" are pretty subjective terms. 

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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Communism is the opiate of the masses.

If we look at what has been implemented and much of what Communist dogma is about, we can say it operates in way that is similar to both a mafia and a religion. The communists claim to be atheists, yet they often treat Marx's works like some kind of bible. They don't go with rational scientific methods to demonstrate and prove their theories are correct and would not lead to massive poverty. They are often angry, jealous people that want a free lunch. Just like religion, Communism appeals to people's feelings of pain instead of rationality about how the world really works.

If you look at the USSR, instead of eliminating the proletariat, the communist party leaders became the new bourgeoisie and the high priests of communism. They lived on easy street, shaking down the workers, while the masses lived in poverty and oppression. They acted as the middleman in the economy between the workers and the consumers just like a capitalist. Except they had a monopoly, so they could exploit the workers because they didn't allow private business and the consumer could not buy at another business. Lenin and Marx were treated as holy figures with shrines, temples and statues. Children were indoctrinated with Communism and not allowed to be exposed to other ideas. Communist dogma became the opiate and religion of the masses.

In the USA, people saw the oppression, poverty and brainwashing of communism. But because the USSR was "atheist" and and trying to spread communism via violent revolutions, the USA turned to God and militarism in response. Americans believed that the evils of communism was caused by non-belief in God. Hence the cold war. We got "In God we Trust" on our money and "Under God" in the pledge, thanks to the cold war. We got this association of Christianity with patriotism and false belief that the USA was founded as a Christian nation.

As rational people, we have method for evaluating claims. The Commies claim their system will work, well then they can do an experiment on a small scale and demonstrate to us that it doesn't lead to poverty and oppression. Then if there are any good ideas, their ideas can be voted on in a democratic fashion. Then the implementation can occur gradually so as not to produce large negative side effects. There is no need for violent revolutions among rational people unless you have a dictatorship that ignores hard evidence.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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iwbiek wrote:marxism argues

iwbiek wrote:

marxism argues that if we eliminate private ownership of the means of production, it means no class of people can possess it, and thus the class struggle disappears, and thus class disappears.  marxist theory does not argue that class disappears through social levelling--marx ridiculed this as crude, primitive socialist thinking.  marxist theory argues that class disappears by the elimination of private ownership of the means of production.

No, then the Communist party would own the means of production. They would have a monopoly so they would really fuck over the workers and consumers. So the class then becomes the Communist party bosses "enlightened on Marxism" (i.e. iwbiek) at the top that don't work and suck up all the wealth, the exploited workers and consumers living out lives of poverty, indoctrination and oppression and the anti-communists that are imprisoned or killed.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Quote:"class" doesn't mean

Quote:
"class" doesn't mean "amount of stuff one has."  "class" is inseparable from the class struggle.  "class" is organized along the lines of which people have ownership of the means of production and which don't.

You're wrong. In fact, social classes and stratification can be seen outside the human species, meaning it has nothing to do with private ownership of production.

Social class is, again, an emergent property - in this instance, an emergent property of social interaction. Assertive & aggressive people take the lead, passive people tend to follow along.

Quote:
marxism argues that if we eliminate private ownership of the means of production, it means no class of people can possess it, and thus the class struggle disappears, and thus class disappears.  marxist theory does not argue that class disappears through social levelling--marx ridiculed this as crude, primitive socialist thinking.  marxist theory argues that class disappears by the elimination of private ownership of the means of production.

This is foolish on a number of levels. Firstly, if (say) I want to start a private company, how can you stop me from doing that? Without directly imposing your will on me through legislation (thus creating a trend towards Totalitarianism), you can't!

Secondly, how is 'private ownership' ever dissolved while maintaining a functional structure (or implementing any structure)? You said before:

Quote:
by self-management, i mean precisely that: workers would be managed by one of their own, perhaps even on a rotating basis.  no manager would be exempt from work nor would said manager get any more pay (in money or in kind) than anyone else.

...But this reveals a fundamental naivity of leadership & management. Firstly, a lot of persons in management in Canada are already taking home less money than regular staff (thanks the the joy ad wonder than is salary pay. Ick). Secondly... you really believe, then, that management is a 'non-job'? That proper organization and direction by someone with the expertise to lay-out good game plans isn't necessary at all?

I wonder if you've even stopped to consider why managers would exist and be paid at all, then?

Managers do work. The put in long hours, they have a tough job and they have to meet high standards & expectations. There are anomalies, of course, where this isn't true - but on average, you'll find that the manager is often in a worse position (overall) than the regular employees.

Lastly, how do you form an organization to produce goods without it being owned? Somebody (or a group of somebodies) has to invest considerable amounts of time and capital (even if this 'capital' isn't money) to create the business to begin with. Even if we look at this as, say, an 'Open Source' concept where there is no central controlling interest and anyone can just take the label for themselves and do what they wish with it, there has to be somebody putting forth the initiative in their community to get things done.

I think the fact that perhaps you can't accept or are uncomfortable with is that there can never be 'equal ownership' because there is never equal initiative, drive and motivation. The Kevin Brown's of the world are not going to be able to claim an equal share in an endeavor to the DeludedGods or BobSpences, because - frankly - we aren't as driven, and are more than a bit lazy.

As a result, I am not an accredited scientist or successful business owner - and there's no reason I should be, either.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Quote:No, then the Communist

Quote:
No, then the Communist party would own the means of production. They would have a monopoly so they would really fuck over the workers and consumers. So the class then becomes the Communist party bosses "enlightened on Marxism" (i.e. iwbiek) at the top that don't work and suck up all the wealth, the exploited workers and consumers living out lives of poverty, indoctrination and oppression and the anti-communists that are imprisoned or killed.

In the spirit of fairness:

This isn't what he's saying, EXC. The communist party would not own the means of production, as this would also imply private ownership. A business would operate sort-of like the Linux 'business model'; there is no central controlling interest or leadership, just a platform that someone proposed and started the groundwork on and a community has since sprung-up around to work on. This shouldn't be too problematic to visually intuit - imagine a system somewhat analagous to a magazine who pays freelancers for their submissions. You walk into a business, do a job, take your pay and do whatever you want from there.

I still think this system can only trend towards either what we presently have or totalitarianism, but it is not a rehashing of Stalinist Soviet policy.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:You're

Kevin R Brown wrote:

You're wrong. In fact, social classes and stratification can be seen outside the human species, meaning it has nothing to do with private ownership of production.

no, you're wrong.  in marxist terms, that is.  the definition you give "class" (which is perfectly valid in other discourse) is not what marx was talking about with the class struggle.  you're the one who wanted clear definitions to debate from, and marx gives a very clear definition of what he means when he says "class."  if you want to transpose social stratification in general into marx's class struggle theories, you certainly are going to misunderstand them. 

if you think marx's definition of class is irrelevant, fine, but that wasn't the question.  the question was whether you "understood" communism (or rather the communist manifesto), and if you refuse to bear marx's terminology in mind, then no, you don't.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

This is foolish on a number of levels.

fine, but i didn't start with this thread in order to address your objections to marxism.  you asked what "communism" is and whether you understood right.  i tried as best i could to answer that.  that's as far as i'm going.  if what you really wanted to do was get a rise out of a commie and try to flash your skill at pedantry and argue politics and economics, you should have just started there so i wouldn't have wasted my time.

don't get me wrong, i enjoy debating marxism as opposed to other systems with people who are conversant with marx and/or marxist theorists.  natural seems to have a good grasp.  will does too.  neither agree with marxism.  you, on the other hand, usually seem to be interested only in one-upsmanship so i'll leave you on someone else's hands.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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EXC wrote:iwbiek

EXC wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

marxism argues that if we eliminate private ownership of the means of production, it means no class of people can possess it, and thus the class struggle disappears, and thus class disappears.  marxist theory does not argue that class disappears through social levelling--marx ridiculed this as crude, primitive socialist thinking.  marxist theory argues that class disappears by the elimination of private ownership of the means of production.

No, then the Communist party would own the means of production. They would have a monopoly so they would really fuck over the workers and consumers. So the class then becomes the Communist party bosses "enlightened on Marxism" (i.e. iwbiek) at the top that don't work and suck up all the wealth, the exploited workers and consumers living out lives of poverty, indoctrination and oppression and the anti-communists that are imprisoned or killed.

do you stalk me on threads waiting for me to reference politics in the slightest?  on the other hand, do i eagerly follow you and take potshots and your right-wing bullshit?

FUCK OFF.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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darth_josh wrote:In speaking

darth_josh wrote:

In speaking of alleged dogmas, I believe one need only read the abject hopelessness of the three posts prior to this one.

I read: Capitalism is the only way and will always be the only way.

 

Whether this be a false analogy or not is up to the reader, but I have often asked theists if they could conceive of a universe devoid of god. I wonder if capitalists can conceive of a world without greed and money.

 

Did I really say all of that? I asked an honest question, hoping that you would give me an interesting answer. Instead, I got this ^ POS. It must be convenient to call anyone who disagrees with you dogmatic and compare them to theists.

P.S. I will take your complete lack of an answer as an "I don't know". Truth be told I don't know either. I am willing to chalk it up to ignorance on my part if there is in fact a better system for promoting innovation, but I am not privy to it. If anyone could explain, roughly, a system that would increase quality, innovation and competitive pricing (outside of government force, cause thats an easy answer) I would be truly interested.

And honestly, I cannot conceive of a world without greed or money. It isn't a realistic expectation at this stage in human evolution I suppose. Can you conceive of a world without beer and sex?

Thats cute.


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iwbiek wrote:FUCK OFF.That's

iwbiek wrote:

FUCK OFF.

That's all you got going for you. No hard evidence that communism would work. Just threats and the need for a violent worldwide revolution so you and your fellow communists can steal all the worldwide means of production as a monopoly.

Here's something worse than FUCK OFF:

Go live in a Marxist commune.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote: Here's something

EXC wrote:

 

Here's something worse than FUCK OFF:

Go live in a Marxist commune.

 

that's totally unrelated.  FUCK OFF means stop talking to me, stop addressing comments to me, ever.  i don't like you.  in my estimation you're a piece of shit and i have tried to avoid you, but you seem to want to stick to me like crabs.  you're free to cock-a-doodle-doo about "commies" or anything you want, i don't give a shit, but kindly address it either to someone else or to the general public. 

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to sever all contact with you.  you can even say i'm being a coward and that this proves your superior logic ass-reamed me royally, i don't care--just say it to someone else, please.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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darth_josh wrote:In speaking

darth_josh wrote:

In speaking of alleged dogmas, I believe one need only read the abject hopelessness of the three posts prior to this one.

I read: Capitalism is the only way and will always be the only way.

 

Whether this be a false analogy or not is up to the reader, but I have often asked theists if they could conceive of a universe devoid of god. I wonder if capitalists can conceive of a world without greed and money.

I don't see the abject hopelessness. Lets see what hopelessness is shown in the posts: Post #16: People naturally do things that produce capitalist systems, even communists will attempt to gather more resources for their own private use. Post #17: Asking a question about the link between innovation and competition. Asking another question about monopolies. Post #18: I said that in a communist world capitalism would reemerge and I claimed that property rights are a fundamental human right on the level of freedom of speech. Looking at those posts I really don't see the abject hopelessness.

I don't think that anyone claims that capitalism is the only way. North Korea is able to run a command economy, so it is possible to have a modern country that is not capitalistic. But even other communists countries had plenty of capitalism in the form of black markets. I think the point is that in a communist society there still would be people wanting to create private businesses and keep the profits from those businesses for themselves. If I understand correctly, some communists claim that people would eventually loose the drive to collect private wealth and everyone would automatically follow communist ideals and not rock the boat by attempting to accumulate private capital.

I can conceive of a world devoid of greed, but that is a fantasy world. Short of fundamentally altering human desires I don't see that world coming about. It is like saying that I could imagine a world without sex, and that world could function through artificial insemination, but that is a fantasy world and only fundamentally altering people's desires could bring it about.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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iwbiek wrote:show a little

iwbiek wrote:

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to sever all contact with you. 

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to not have their property stolen or be killed by a Communist mob.

Tell you what, I'll give you your wish to Fuck Off if you renounce violence and instead embrace rationalism as means of revolution and change.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:iwbiek wrote:show

EXC wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to sever all contact with you. 

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to not have their property stolen or be killed by a Communist mob.

Tell you what, I'll give you your wish to Fuck Off if you renounce violence and instead embrace rationalism as means of revolution and change.

 

i'm not renouncing any of my principles, actual or imputed, for your monkey ass.  i will, however, renounce the last word, since you're obviously determined to have it.  take it away...

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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daretoknow wrote:darth_josh

daretoknow wrote:

darth_josh wrote:

In speaking of alleged dogmas, I believe one need only read the abject hopelessness of the three posts prior to this one.

I read: Capitalism is the only way and will always be the only way.

 

Whether this be a false analogy or not is up to the reader, but I have often asked theists if they could conceive of a universe devoid of god. I wonder if capitalists can conceive of a world without greed and money.

 

Did I really say all of that? I asked an honest question, hoping that you would give me an interesting answer. Instead, I got this ^ POS. It must be convenient to call anyone who disagrees with you dogmatic and compare them to theists.

The accusation of dogma was directed at me first by someone else. It would have been dishonest of me not to reply exactly what I was thinking.

 

Quote:
P.S. I will take your complete lack of an answer as an "I don't know". Truth be told I don't know either. I am willing to chalk it up to ignorance on my part if there is in fact a better system for promoting innovation, but I am not privy to it. If anyone could explain, roughly, a system that would increase quality, innovation and competitive pricing (outside of government force, cause thats an easy answer) I would be truly interested.

I can't predict the future either yet everyone is asking "How would you prevent [fill in the blank] in world socialism.

My best answer is that currently we are limited in innovation by economic concerns. Some pretty good ideas have been quashed by money problems and a competing product causing sabotage. Do you think the oil companies really want hybrid vehicles???

Devoid of the 'price' to build or design something then one only needs to get support from other people. Essentially, we have to do the same thing now by submitting ROI(return on investment) plans and promising people monetary profit to get their support. In a society without money then it only becomes necessary to gather raw materials and get support from others to help you. You're all fed, housed, and healthy so when considering whether or not to lend your effort(whatever 'gift' that may be) then you don't have to worry about being homeless, hungry, or sick.

In this debate, socialists have the upper hand because we can look at the way things are and judge them. Meanwhile, capitalists have to resort to "What if this happens?"

Quote:
And honestly, I cannot conceive of a world without greed or money. It isn't a realistic expectation at this stage in human evolution I suppose. Can you conceive of a world without beer and sex?

I don't drink very often at all. My last tipsy night was Labor Day of 2005.

That aside. What the fuck do beer and sex have to do with greed and money in this discussion? If you're going to be upset with me analogizing theism and capitalism then why break hypocritical and do the same thing?

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EXC wrote:iwbiek wrote:show

EXC wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to sever all contact with you. 

show a little maturity, and respect someone's wishes when they say they would like to not have their property stolen or be killed by a Communist mob.

Tell you what, I'll give you your wish to Fuck Off if you renounce violence and instead embrace rationalism as means of revolution and change.

 

Huh? Are you two carrying a conversation over from another thread???

The 'violence' accusation was already addressed.

Anyone that knows me has read about my aversion to violence towards fellow humans. What part of using the ballot slipped through that feeble mind into delusions of communist mobs? Am I going to see a comic about this?

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Jormungander wrote:I can

Jormungander wrote:

I can conceive of a world devoid of greed, but that is a fantasy world. Short of fundamentally altering human desires I don't see that world coming about. It is like saying that I could imagine a world without sex, and that world could function through artificial insemination, but that is a fantasy world and only fundamentally altering people's desires could bring it about.

Ummm. Just pointing out that our 'desires' have changed with regard to a great many things from the past. Even within the past 8 years or so.

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iwbiek wrote:Kevin R Brown

iwbiek wrote:

Kevin R Brown wrote:

This is foolish on a number of levels.

fine, but i didn't start with this thread in order to address your objections to marxism.  you asked what "communism" is and whether you understood right.  i tried as best i could to answer that.  that's as far as i'm going.  if what you really wanted to do was get a rise out of a commie and try to flash your skill at pedantry and argue politics and economics, you should have just started there so i wouldn't have wasted my time.

don't get me wrong, i enjoy debating marxism as opposed to other systems with people who are conversant with marx and/or marxist theorists.  natural seems to have a good grasp.  will does too.  neither agree with marxism.  you, on the other hand, usually seem to be interested only in one-upsmanship so i'll leave you on someone else's hands.

I concur. I should have stuck with the initial skepticism and walked away.

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deludedgod wrote:A national

deludedgod wrote:

A national socialist? As in a neo-Nazi?

iwbiek wrote:
eww.  yuck.  yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck.

Oops.

No, I was just referring to an organization that is "national," as in extending throughout the country, not Nazis.

Although, since he threatened that I would be expelled from society, I wouldn't be surprised if he did share many similar, uuuuuhhh, convictions.  

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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darth_josh wrote:My best

darth_josh wrote:

My best answer is that currently we are limited in innovation by economic concerns. Some pretty good ideas have been quashed by money problems and a competing product causing sabotage. Do you think the oil companies really want hybrid vehicles???

A solid example of capitalism quashing innovation is in research and development of clean energy technologies, specifically solar. Even if you don't rely on the 'oil companies sabotage it' argument, which personally I think is pretty weak, it is easy to make the case that there's no money in solar power, and so there's very little research into it. If instead we had a socially directed plan of research, then this would greatly speed up the innovation in this area. Direct solar harvesting is ultimately the best source of renewable energy, since we get it directly from the sun, rather than waiting for that energy to filter through the environment via photosynthesis or the hydrologic cycle.

But the technology is too weak at this stage to make it economically viable for a large industry to invest in it. There needs to be some motive greater than the profit motive to push this research through. So, yeah, pure capitalism does hinder innovation in important areas.

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darth_josh wrote:The

darth_josh wrote:
The accusation of dogma was directed at me first by someone else. It would have been dishonest of me not to reply exactly what I was thinking.

Fair enough. I wasn't sure if it was directed at me, but I hate to see the word thrown around so casually. It seems that people on the boards are increasingly using the word as a cop-out when they disagree with their interlocutor.

 

darth_josh wrote:
I can't predict the future either yet everyone is asking "How would you prevent [fill in the blank] in world socialism.

I wasn't even making the assumption that you were speaking of socialism as the solution to anything. Are you?

Quote:
My best answer is that currently we are limited in innovation by economic concerns. Some pretty good ideas have been quashed by money problems and a competing product causing sabotage. Do you think the oil companies really want hybrid vehicles???

Well, in the current system economics must be concerned because those who run said interests must make money to survive. Even in a socialist society you could not run everything at a complete loss. Even if the loss isn't money, but raw materials or loss of accommodations and comfort etc...

Quote:
Devoid of the 'price' to build or design something then one only needs to get support from other people. Essentially, we have to do the same thing now by submitting ROI(return on investment) plans and promising people monetary profit to get their support. In a society without money then it only becomes necessary to gather raw materials and get support from others to help you. You're all fed, housed, and healthy so when considering whether or not to lend your effort(whatever 'gift' that may be) then you don't have to worry about being homeless, hungry, or sick.

Before I answer the main premise I must implore you to explain how we get to the point that everyone is without want for food, shelter and medical treatment so that everyones motivation is utilitarian as opposed to selfish.

Quote:
In this debate, socialists have the upper hand because we can look at the way things are and judge them. Meanwhile, capitalists have to resort to "What if this happens?"

I honestly have no idea what you mean here :S

Quote:
I don't drink very often at all. My last tipsy night was Labor Day of 2005.

That aside. What the fuck do beer and sex have to do with greed and money in this discussion? If you're going to be upset with me analogizing theism and capitalism then why break hypocritical and do the same thing?

It was my lame attempt at humor. I hate beer and sex is slim, but I thought your statement was just as meaningless, so I said it in a fit of sarcasm. Apologies.

Thats cute.


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natural wrote:darth_josh

natural wrote:

darth_josh wrote:

My best answer is that currently we are limited in innovation by economic concerns. Some pretty good ideas have been quashed by money problems and a competing product causing sabotage. Do you think the oil companies really want hybrid vehicles???

A solid example of capitalism quashing innovation is in research and development of clean energy technologies, specifically solar. Even if you don't rely on the 'oil companies sabotage it' argument, which personally I think is pretty weak, it is easy to make the case that there's no money in solar power, and so there's very little research into it. If instead we had a socially directed plan of research, then this would greatly speed up the innovation in this area. Direct solar harvesting is ultimately the best source of renewable energy, since we get it directly from the sun, rather than waiting for that energy to filter through the environment via photosynthesis or the hydrologic cycle.

But the technology is too weak at this stage to make it economically viable for a large industry to invest in it. There needs to be some motive greater than the profit motive to push this research through. So, yeah, pure capitalism does hinder innovation in important areas.

 

I never said that there are no problems with capitalism in respect to innovation. I believe there is no such thing as a perfect system and can only go with whichever system offers the most while still maintaining our human rights. I am actually involved in the clean energy sector and have first hand experience with this. I am currently trying to find funding for a much more efficient form of lighting that can be installed into old flourescent fittings and am struggling to convince people of the shortterm profitability of switching over. If every commercial and industrial space were converted it would eliminate the need for a large number of nuclear power plants and emit 60% less polution per unit. And the point of my rant is that I am intimately familiar with what you are saying, and it is a troubling problem, yet I still don't see how any other system would better account for this problem.

 

On a side note, solar energy research is receiving a tremendous backing currently and is considered the to be one of the most important fields of energy research in the near future.

Thats cute.


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daretoknow wrote:natural

daretoknow wrote:

natural wrote:

darth_josh wrote:

My best answer is that currently we are limited in innovation by economic concerns. Some pretty good ideas have been quashed by money problems and a competing product causing sabotage. Do you think the oil companies really want hybrid vehicles???

A solid example of capitalism quashing innovation is in research and development of clean energy technologies, specifically solar. Even if you don't rely on the 'oil companies sabotage it' argument, which personally I think is pretty weak, it is easy to make the case that there's no money in solar power, and so there's very little research into it. If instead we had a socially directed plan of research, then this would greatly speed up the innovation in this area. Direct solar harvesting is ultimately the best source of renewable energy, since we get it directly from the sun, rather than waiting for that energy to filter through the environment via photosynthesis or the hydrologic cycle.

But the technology is too weak at this stage to make it economically viable for a large industry to invest in it. There needs to be some motive greater than the profit motive to push this research through. So, yeah, pure capitalism does hinder innovation in important areas.

 

I never said that there are no problems with capitalism in respect to innovation. I believe there is no such thing as a perfect system and can only go with whichever system offers the most while still maintaining our human rights. I am actually involved in the clean energy sector and have first hand experience with this. I am currently trying to find funding for a much more efficient form of lighting that can be installed into old flourescent fittings and am struggling to convince people of the shortterm profitability of switching over. If every commercial and industrial space were converted it would eliminate the need for a large number of nuclear power plants and emit 60% less polution per unit. And the point of my rant is that I am intimately familiar with what you are saying, and it is a troubling problem, yet I still don't see how any other system would better account for this problem.

 

On a side note, solar energy research is receiving a tremendous backing currently and is considered the to be one of the most important fields of energy research in the near future.

Your competition is working against you, other energy sectors are working against you, but I ask why are they working against you?

Is the answer that they want the profit whilst depriving you of any piece of it?

It's the macroeconomic equivalent of 'keeping up with the Joneses' by billing the Johnsons and undercutting the Wilsons.

Earlier, you basically stated that competition keeps you on your toes. You try harder. If your work is something you enjoy then wouldn't you still do it if your needs were met? How much do you 'believe' in the work as a benefit to all of society?

I have a 'dirty job' and I would still do it because it is fun (in moderation). I'm also salaried with bonuses being the alleged motivation for doing my job well. I get the bonuses often enough to warrant a degree of arrogance/pride. That said, I would still be happy particularly if I didn't have to worry about other people I work with having trouble feeding/housing/clothing their families.

 

 

On the side note: What is your opinion on wave power like Spain is doing?

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darth_josh wrote:Earlier,

darth_josh wrote:

Earlier, you basically stated that competition keeps you on your toes. You try harder. If your work is something you enjoy then wouldn't you still do it if your needs were met? How much do you 'believe' in the work as a benefit to all of society?

There are different kinds of competition as well, not all of them economic. For example, two scientists who get paid a modest wage may compete simply to see who can get to the answer quicker. This can even be a friendly type of competition that leads to more cooperation than actual undercutting of the other guy. In fact, this has long been the strength of science. People shared results freely without much worry. Only recently, with corporate incentives/funding have scientists started to really keep the lid on their projects, reducing information sharing drastically. Previously, you would get some scientists who keep stuff secret out of pride; now, it's standard practice.

Point is, not all competition needs to be economic. And in many cases, introducing economic competition can actually reduce innovation from other more natural types of competition, especially where information sharing is critical.

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daretoknow wrote:darth_josh

daretoknow wrote:

darth_josh wrote:
I can't predict the future either yet everyone is asking "How would you prevent [fill in the blank] in world socialism.

I wasn't even making the assumption that you were speaking of socialism as the solution to anything. Are you?

Yes. As such it does put the burden of proof upon my position.

daretoknow wrote:

Quote:
My best answer is that currently we are limited in innovation by economic concerns. Some pretty good ideas have been quashed by money problems and a competing product causing sabotage. Do you think the oil companies really want hybrid vehicles???

Well, in the current system economics must be concerned because those who run said interests must make money to survive. Even in a socialist society you could not run everything at a complete loss. Even if the loss isn't money, but raw materials or loss of accommodations and comfort etc...

You say they must make money to survive. I assert they are making that money to prosper at the expense of others. My ethics prevent me from rationalizing this into anything other than avarice.

In a socialist world, a crop loss could mean hunger but doubtful it would lead to starvation. Currently, people starve from farm subsidies meant to maintain the price of the crop.

There are entire areas of arable land in countries set aside for other purposes than use. There are millions of acres of agricultural land being converted to use for other economic concerns more profitable for the owner solely. 

daretoknow wrote:
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Devoid of the 'price' to build or design something then one only needs to get support from other people. Essentially, we have to do the same thing now by submitting ROI(return on investment) plans and promising people monetary profit to get their support. In a society without money then it only becomes necessary to gather raw materials and get support from others to help you. You're all fed, housed, and healthy so when considering whether or not to lend your effort(whatever 'gift' that may be) then you don't have to worry about being homeless, hungry, or sick.

Before I answer the main premise I must implore you to explain how we get to the point that everyone is without want for food, shelter and medical treatment so that everyones motivation is utilitarian as opposed to selfish.

Food is easy. Kill money and allow farmers the access to equipment needed to modernize their operations. i.e. New harvesters, planters.

Abolish government land prohibitions. I'm sorry; I don't fucking care how many square kilometers a lion pride in Africa needs when millions of people could eat better, or at all.

daretoknow wrote:
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In this debate, socialists have the upper hand because we can look at the way things are and judge them. Meanwhile, capitalists have to resort to "What if this happens?"

I honestly have no idea what you mean here :S

That was kind of random. lol. The upper hand remark is a result of my being able to point out problems with the present situation of capitalism and offer the hypothetical solution of socialism.

 

daretoknow wrote:
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I don't drink very often at all. My last tipsy night was Labor Day of 2005.

That aside. What the fuck do beer and sex have to do with greed and money in this discussion? If you're going to be upset with me analogizing theism and capitalism then why break hypocritical and do the same thing?

It was my lame attempt at humor. I hate beer and sex is slim, but I thought your statement was just as meaningless, so I said it in a fit of sarcasm. Apologies.

I honestly see the dogma of capitalism. Statements such as "That could never work in a million years." or "People would never be like that." "We have to have money."

That causes me to ask "Why must it be that way?" and I am given doomsday scenarios for answers.

It causes me to react in much the same way as I do when people threaten me with hell telling me that I must have something.

 

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Kevin R Brown
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Quote:if what you really

Quote:
if what you really wanted to do was get a rise out of a commie and try to flash your skill at pedantry and argue politics and economics, you should have just started there so i wouldn't have wasted my time.

don't get me wrong, i enjoy debating marxism as opposed to other systems with people who are conversant with marx and/or marxist theorists.  natural seems to have a good grasp.  will does too.  neither agree with marxism.  you, on the other hand, usually seem to be interested only in one-upsmanship so i'll leave you on someone else's hands.

I did not call you a commie. In fact, other than to mock the American attitude stemming from the Cold War about Communism, I don't believe I've called anyone a commie.

It was not my goal to 'bait' you or Josh; yes, the conversation has now steered from it's original place. I saw what I perceived to be errors in your argument and contested them. If you feel that I went off-track, fine - I'd considered the original issue more or less settled (that is, I may get the gist of what's in Marx's most popular book, but it's of questionable relevance because that's not what true marxism is about).

As for me just being interested in proving my 'superiority' to you: I did not exactly drag you kicking and screaming into this thread, did I? If you don't want to argue, that's fine - but it's a tad irritating to have someone approach, espouse a viewpoint, and then when challenged on it they get mad that 'you just want to argue!' (though, to be fair, this is usually more or less true).

 

Why did you suddenly get so defensive and angry? Was it EXC's brain-dead posts? If I may - you've been here long enough to know how much worthwhile content they'll contain, so I wouldn't get too worked up about them. If it really was just me getting under your skin, honestly, I can only recommend the same thing. It's not like I know what I'm talking about even half of the time.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote: I did

Kevin R Brown wrote:

 

I did not call you a commie. In fact, other than to mock the American attitude stemming from the Cold War about Communism, I don't believe I've called anyone a commie.

you're right, you didn't.  it was a jab at the loose use of terminology all around, as well as me being overly defensive.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

(that is, I may get the gist of what's in Marx's most popular book, but it's of questionable relevance because that's not what true marxism is about).

then you didn't get my gist.  my gist was that marx's most popular book was a political pamphlet written in a very specific context.  there is no true marxism, if by "true" you mean orthodox or systematized, to be found anywhere in marx's writings: that's a later soviet trend, particularly resulting from such books as bukharin and preobrazhensky's abc of communism and stalin's short course.  marx was writing on behalf of a heterogeneous workers' movement, not an established bureaucracy.

besides, your original question was about "communism," which you never qualified, but which for my own convenience i took to mean "marxism."

Kevin R Brown wrote:

espouse a viewpoint, and then when challenged on it they get mad that 'you just want to argue!' (though, to be fair, this is usually more or less true).

show me where i espoused a viewpoint.  all i did was try to explain marx's viewpoint, to the best of my ability, in answer to your question.  my marxism is pretty fast and loose; i don't agree with everything he wrote, and i've never formulated my views extensively because i don't feel i've studied enough yet.

the only "viewpoint" i espoused was that you seem to want a concrete system where none exists.  i've never tried to tell you, here or on any other thread, that you don't understand "true" communism or marxism, except for one instance i can recall, where you tried to say it was about "all resources being divided equally."  i've only ever told you that you're trying to squeeze it into a prefabricated framework built around your admittedly limited knowledge of it. 

i really don't even see where i've ever pulled a "no true scotsman" on you.  just one time (that i can remember), i called you out on basically trying to label a welshman a scotsman; the rest of the time, i've advised you to visit scotland before making a judgment.

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Why did you suddenly get so defensive and angry? Was it EXC's brain-dead posts? If I may - you've been here long enough to know how much worthwhile content they'll contain, so I wouldn't get too worked up about them. If it really was just me getting under your skin, honestly, I can only recommend the same thing. It's not like I know what I'm talking about even half of the time.

kevin, i think we've grated on each other's nerves a few times, but please believe me, i hold you in infinitely higher regard than exc.  looking back, i can see i was on a hair-trigger yesterday, and for that i apologize.  i wasn't angry at you, just exasperated.  i was angry at exc, however, not because of his specific comments but just because he won't stop following me on these threads, and that affected my general discourse.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson