Is communism really bad? Watch

AidanLunn
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Lewis :D)
I mean, the idea looks really good, but it isn't viable at all.
People naturally take charge, therefore a higher class is automatically formed.
Plus my geography teacher said communists knew how to look after their own.
Communism limits people's freedom to have the choice to become rich if they want. I am 100% against limiting personal freedom.

The only good things about communism were the symbols (hammer and sickle/five pointed red star and USSR National anthem).

Plus, the Moscow Kremlin is beautiful!
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Beneb
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#22
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#22
It'll work when the robots take over the means of production, and we humans live on a post-scarcity planet. You heard it here first.
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arabcnesbit
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#23
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#23
Read this
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Aj12
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#24
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#24
(Original post by Bowman.Hath)
no, it was destroyed by Capitalist properganda cos it didnt suit them to share their wealth.
Tell that to the millions killed by Stalin and Mao to try to implement the workers paradise.
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lovely_me
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#25
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#25
(Original post by E. O. Wilson)
Communism; great Idea. Wrong Species.
True that.
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dnumberwang
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#26
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#26
(Original post by Oswy)
Who wouldn't want to live in a society where everyone's basic needs are satisfied and in an atmosphere of mutual support and cooperation?
Would you not then be limited to having only your basic needs?
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Oswy
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#27
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#27
(Original post by dnumberwang)
Would you not then be limited to having only your basic needs?
If my basic needs were guaranteed then I would see that as a very enabling force rather than a limiting one. I'm not suggesting that putting everyone's basic needs first means that less pressing needs, or even our mere 'desires', wouldn't also be given consideration or developed, it's more a question of priorities I guess.

Would you like to live in a community where a few people had several pairs of shoes while several people had none, or would you like to live in a community where everyone was guaranteed one pair of shoes first?
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Oswy
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Beneb)
It'll work when the robots take over the means of production, and we humans live on a post-scarcity planet. You heard it here first.
It's possible to argue that we're already at something of a post-scarcity point, only that under capitalism there is lots of artificially maintained scarcity (because satisfying needs is not actually the aim of the capitalist, making and maximising profit is).
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Oswy
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#29
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#29
(Original post by lovely_me)
True that.
According to my Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, humans have spent 99 per cent of their species history living as communities of hunter-gatherers, the central characteristics of which has been the relative absence of social stratification (i.e. relatively high social equality), distributive equality, cooperation and mutual support.
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Doctor, The
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#30
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#30
Communism would be great if we were all robots
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faber niger
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#31
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#31
(Original post by Oswy)
There's a great little book by a very famous philosopher called G.A. Cohen called Why Not Socialism? (Princeton University Press, 2009).

In the book Cohen uses a simple example of a camping trip among friends to show how humans can and do think 'communistically' in the right contexts and that it can easily enhance their conditions and social life.

If I was to concede anything it would be that communism's problems are to do with political organisation and power not to do with economic and social arrangements.

Who wouldn't want to live in a society where everyone's basic needs are satisfied and in an atmosphere of mutual support and cooperation?
I read that and came to it empathetically, but to me it seemed very shallow (not only because it's a small book) and up-in-the-clouds. (I mean, he even started quoting a sixties camp-fire song about the brotherhood of man etc. at one point.) One can't generalise from groups of friends (i.e. everyone's in the same 'in-group') taking part in a consciously co-operative activity with consciously similar aims to humankind as a whole with all of its various competing aims, desires and factions. Indeed, even in the microcosm of camping trips friends do fall out -- or, for example, someone in the group may meet people in another group, get on with them and decide to spend time and resources with them, thereby depriving the original group of his time and resources etc.

I like the idea of socialism, and hope that forms of government/economics are available other than free-market social Darwinism (although I do too have doubts that we ever will get past such a condition of 'might is right' that increasingly seems biologically inherent in the human condition [even individual acts of altruism can be explained via selfish motivation, for example]), but I wouldn't recommend this book as a way of convincing others of the merits of socialism. He was reasonable in pointing out the problems socialism would have to overcome though (e.g. the economic calculation problem).

But, as I say, I'm all for attempting to better society -- even if all we can do is attempt. As Samuel Becket said, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
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Democracy
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Bubbles*de*Milo)
Why do you log onto TSR, and then take apart a political doctrine with 2 embarassingly simple lines?

I mean let's just stop and think... do you think that Lenin, Marx, Kropotkin, Bakunin (I know they're Anarchists, using it interchangeably here), Engals, Gramsci, Lukacs all these incredibly intelligent men, it never occurred to them "Oh it just can't work, hurr durr, people naturally take charge, we is so stupid for not knowing this!" :rolleyes:

Do you really not think they don't address these issues? Do you think in the whole of the collected works of Marx, there is no reference to this? Do you really? :facepalm:

In short, Marx states that capitalism is the ideology that perverts men. Men are not inherently greedy, selfish, domineering etc.. they're perverted by capitalism. He points to pre neolithic men, before capitalism, before the concepts of money... where everything was just collectively shared. I think it's in the German Ideology (it's been a while since I've read Marx) where he discusses how men are perverted by capitalism into being selfish etc... you manage to break away from capitalism, and eventually you can escape these ideas about taking charge, avarice, jealousy... these are all bi-products of Capitalism, man himself is inherently benevolent. Furthermore, you may not think you can't escape capitalism but you can, you have a false-conciousness. Your material life informs your ideology; "Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour... Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life". < German ideology.

Remove the capitalism, your false conciousness goes, your ideology goes, man will no longer be selfish and individualist.
Commie Bubbles*de*Milo :coma:

To answer the question, no it's not, it will save humanity.
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shadow99
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#33
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#33
Communism was a good idea. I've met people who lived under communism and many said their life was much better then.
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Oswy
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#34
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#34
(Original post by jismith1989)
I read that and came to it empathetically, but to me it seemed very shallow (not only because it's a small book) and up-in-the-clouds. (I mean, he even started quoting a sixties camp-fire song about the brotherhood of man etc. at one point.) One can't generalise from groups of friends (i.e. everyone's in the same 'in-group') taking part in a consciously co-operative activity with consciously similar aims to humankind as a whole with all of its various competing aims, desires and factions. Indeed, even in the microcosm of camping trips friends do fall out -- or, for example, someone in the group may meet people in another group, get on with them and decide to spend time and resources with them etc.

I like the idea of socialism, and hope that forms of government/economics are available other than free-market social Darwinism (although I do too have doubts that we ever will get past such a condition of 'might is right' that increasingly seems biologically inherent in the human condition [even individual acts of altruism can be explained via selfish motivation, for example]), but I wouldn't recommend this book as a way of convincing others of the merits of socialism. He was reasonable in pointing out the problems socialism would have to overcome though (e.g. the economic calculation problem).

But, as I say, I'm all for attempting to better society -- even if all we can do is attempt. As Samuel Becket said, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
Well, Cohen has a reputation for being a very 'heavy' read in terms of his serious Analytical Marxism, so he was probably trying hard - and maybe trying too hard - to write something almost anyone would be prepared to pick up and could grasp as a starting point. You're right that people do fall out on camping trips but I think his general thrust remains intact, that everyone generally recognises the communal nature of their endeavour and tends to behave accordingly, i.e. volunteers to take on a certain task and shares their resources and fruits of their labours. Cohen might respond to you to the effect that if camping trips quickly and universally 'went wrong' his case would be weakened, but that's certainly not my experience. Besides, he might also say that camping trips survive despite the fact that those who take part are routinely raised with capitalist-orientated values of greed and selfishness and that when people do fall out over who is doing what or getting what, this is a symptom of some campers struggling to leave their capitalism behind them.
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Oswy
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#35
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#35
(Original post by Doctor, The)
Communism would be great if we were all robots
If you're right then that's ok, capitalism is turning us into robots.
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faber niger
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#36
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#36
(Original post by Beneb)
It'll work when the robots take over the means of production, and we humans live on a post-scarcity planet. You heard it here first.
That would allow for humanless production, but there would still only be limited natural resources (i.e. means of production) -- and people (and, perhaps, robots on our behalf) would still fight over them.

One is generally seen as a better potential partner the more resources that one has access to (since, even if society collapses or someone steals from you etc., you'd still be able to provide very well for children), so our Darwinian wiring dictates that we will never be happy with just the minimum necessities of life. It's the same in all animals; we humans aren't particularly special.
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Oswy
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#37
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#37
(Original post by jismith1989)
That would allow for humanless production, but there would still only be limited natural resources (i.e. means of production) -- and people (and, perhaps, robots on our behalf) would still fight over them.

One is generally seen as a better potential partner the more resources that one has access to (since, even if society collapses or someone steals from you etc., you'd still be able to provide very well for children), so our Darwinian wiring dictates that we will never be happy with just the minimum necessities of life. It's the same in all animals; we humans aren't particularly special.
If the evidence of hunter-gatherers is anything to go by, and we have essentially evolved as hunter-gatherers, then our 'hard wiring' tends to be towards wanting 'fairness' above all else. There's a big danger of thinking human evolution is a) only about self-interest and b) behaviour directed towards mutual support and cooperation doesn't serve self-interest anyway, it easily does. Humans haven't evolved 'going it alone' and we don't even do that now, even while capitalism promotes an ideology to that end.
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faber niger
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#38
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#38
(Original post by Oswy)
If the evidence of hunter-gatherers is anything to go by, and we have essentially evolved as hunter-gatherers, then our 'hard wiring' tends to be towards wanting 'fairness' above all else. There's a big danger of thinking human evolution is a) only about self-interest and b) behaviour directed towards mutual support and cooperation doesn't serve self-interest anyway, it easily does. Humans haven't evolved 'going it alone' and we don't even do that now, even while capitalism promotes an ideology to that end.
I agree that groups of hunter-gatherers were very communal and aimed to share resources etc. It's also the case that working-class families are more communally minded than middle-class ones, and that folk in Indian villages are more communally minded than folk in London. However, was human society in the time of the hunter gatherers less competitive or less confrontational? No. It's simply that groups fought against other groups for resources rather than individuals against individuals (cf. the camaraderie of the tribal unit and African intertribe warfare, for example). They needed to be in groups because the chance of, say, catching an animal on one's own was pretty slim -- so even the most selfish person would want to share so that when someone else made the catch they would share with him; it was in his own selfish interest to be communal. Fewer resources mean more communality is necessary to survive. Just as, to go back to my other examples, working-class families will often help each other more with childcare or odd jobs etc. whereas middle-class folk can just send their kids to creches or employ someone to do housework, and it's a similar case in modern Indian villages (compared to Delhi or Kolkata).

The important point is that as soon as there are enough resources for most people, this communality is no longer necessary for most (i.e. it confers no more benefits to act as a group rather than in one's own individual interest), and so stops -- as it has done in the prosperous West. As soon as one has a good chance of accruing resources on one's own that's what happens. It's only when there's little chance of that that communality naturally occurs. Of course, I don't think that that's necessarily a happy situation, but it seems to be how nature works.

Now if you want to argue that the 'savage' life, despite having fewer resources available, is more dignified like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that's something else.
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paella
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#39
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#39
Small populations, basic state essential support and capitalism are probably the best things for the world. So everyone has a big space of their own to live in, everyone has sanitary conditions, basic education, food and water, and if people want more then they can be capitalistic and make profits.
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adam_zed
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#40
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#40
(Original post by Lewis :D)
I mean, the idea looks really good, but it isn't viable at all.
People naturally take charge, therefore a higher class is automatically formed.
Plus my geography teacher said communists knew how to look after their own.
You are basically dismissing the ideas built and fine-tuned during one man's lifetime based on a clichéd criticism. I think Marx would have accounted for such evolutionary considerations. I dont see why a people united after years of oppression and practical slavery, willing to shed the unregulated capitalism of which the workers of industrialized nations in the 18th/19th centuries had to suffer, isnt viable?

Also surely your suggesting that nature creates a higher class also renders egalitarian ideas in which countries such as America were based on?
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