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    We don't know enough to succesfully plan the course of society yet - although economics research of the kind taking place at the Santa Fe institute may offer a way forward. That said, simply accepting free market capitalism as the best possible system isn't good enough - it is a brutal reality that will not, left to its own devices (as some in the right advocate) result in a fair system. We need new ideas - the political spectrum needs to advance beyond Marx and Smith (or just Smith - Marx isn't a big player in the political spectrum anymore).
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    Personally I think you're confusing the morality of low wages and the morality of working conditions which are below generally agreed standards. For a start the low wages of these workers you're referring are not low at all, they're considerably above what they might earn outside of the slums.
    You're joking me right? Read below.
    The fact that the countries still face intolerable levels of poverty I blame on unfair trading terms, especially with regard to agriculture
    Yes, these don't help, but this can be attributed to the lobbying power of the multinationals upon the domestic governments which international bodies (the EU, NATFA) are composed of
    I do not blame multinationals who will pay what people are willing to work for. It should not be possible as you suggest for the west to keep the third world poor whilst simultaneously taking advantage of the low wages, basic labour market economics suggests that these low factor costs will attract more firms and up the wage. There is evidence to suggest this isn't happening but we should analyse why it isn't happening, not just assume that turning our back on basic economics will help.
    Unfortunatly, I'm no economist. All I know is that there is a market for jobless people who would rather earn very little with few labour rights, than nothing at all. There is demand for jobs in these factories, because otherwise they would have nothing.

    How do you propose that they get wealthier and better educated? Look at the tiger economies now. In some regions, the average wage is higher than that of somewhere like Cardiff.
    Which countries do you consider Tiger Economies? I think you'll find the Tiger economies success is based on adventures in finance and stockbroking, rather than sweatshop manufacturing.


    Economics doesn't suggest that British primary/secondary should become more efficient, it acknowledges that they are limited in their efficiency by the quality and quantity of their factors, ie. British coal is crap and hard to mine. It then goes on to say that ultimately, the british economy should concentrate on the things they are good at, whilst another country takes over the manufacturing sector.
    But Britain was and is good at manufacturing. It was, up until the 1970s, and Heaths first forays into market economics, the workshop of the world. However, basic economics dictates that companies should cut costs to the greatest extent possible. In purely economical terms, it would not make sense to manufacture in the UK.

    For this point, I turn to none other than Naomi Klein:

    "Labour groups agree that a living wage for an assembly-line worker in China would be approximatly US87 cents an hour. In the United States and Germany, where multinationals have closed down hundreds of domestic textile factories to move to zone production [ie, my own insertion here, sweatshops], garment workers are paid an average of US$10 and US$18 respectively. yet, even with these massive savings in labour costs, those who manufacture for the most prominent and richest brands in the world are still refusing to pay workers in China the 87 cents that would cover their cost of living, stave off illness, and even allow them to send a little money home to their families. A 1998 study of brand-name manufacturing in the Chinese special economic zones [Export Processing Zones, or EPZs, which allow companies to flout labour laws and wage restrictions, as well as offering tax breaks, in order to attract foreign investment] found that Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Esprit, Liz Claiborne, Kmart, Nike, Adidas, J.C. Penney, and the Limited were only paying as little as 13 cents an hour.

    I think it speaks for itself.
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    I agree perhaps facist was over the top but labour is supposedly socialist. if you dont belive me check their website!
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    I must say that I have a certain fondness for Prague Spring style communism and on certain things my blood does run red. But Communism, for better or for worse, is against human nature - whilst people are at the bottom they are happy to share wealth more as they will get more, but as people move up in society, they become less and less willing to give away money. So in many ways what is seen as idealism is often just desire for a better life, a perfectly understandable desire.
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    the soviet union was corrupt. stalin used communism as an excuse to gain dictatorship over russia
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    (Original post by ivan)
    the soviet union was corrupt. stalin used communism as an excuse to gain dictatorship over russia
    emmm...dictatorships are inherent within communism. Lenin was a dictator before Stalin and then Khrushev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev didnt give up any of ths power (not defending Stalin btw)
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    yea i know it wasn't true communism
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    (Original post by ivan)
    yea i know it wasn't true communism
    Of course it wasnt true communsm and the bolsheviks never set out to achieve such a thing in a foreseable timeline.....I dont understand your point about Stalin
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    (Original post by Cossack)
    dictatorships are inherent within communism
    Explain...
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    (Original post by ivan)
    what do you think of communism?
    An interesting theory, that will never be put into practice for many reasons, including the fact that the USSR has irrevocably tarnished the word, and nobody will ever give it an opportunity again. Which to be honest is slightly unfair, because Russia traditionally has not had great stability with any form of Government!

    My history teacher put it far better than I ever could yesterday (A2 exam on Friday, and just finished the syllabus - nice!). He said "If the Grolsch adverts had been produced 100 years earlier world history would be extremely different..."
    (silly Dutch accent) Schtop! What are you doing? This country is not ready yet! Why do you want to seize power in the first country that comes along? You should wait a little! (/silly Dutch accent)
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    What is capitalism, Comrade?
    The exploitation of man by man.
    What is communism, Comrade?
    The reverse.


    The biggest problem with communism (and all planned economies) is that they assume the future is exactly predictable and claim to know how it will go. The result is that all communist societies have regarded their inhabitants as raw material to make the future perfect society and decided that when things go wrong it is the result of conspiracies or sabotage or- as with some famines- they do not, objectively speaking, exist. A long-term plan will need to be changed as other things change. Capitalism can do this far more easily- capitalists will take risks on innovation, most will go broke and a few will become very rich, but manufacturing and society will be changed far more and more quickly that otherwise. Compare industries in formerly communist states in 1990 and fifty years ago and in market economy states and compare the transformations in them.

    Capitalism itself is not a panacaea: there is a tendency to end up with monopoly power. Some states have had single companies effectively running them- the infamous banana republics- and there is a frightening possibility of the whole world ending up like that, with a few companies more powerful than any government and answerable to none. There is the further complication of brand and image capitalism: advertising, PR etc are among the most profitable and remunerative industries in the world, a company's image- what it says on a tag- can be worth several thousand million quid. Capitalism can make profits out of the delusionary and imaginary.

    The fact that one of the largest and most profitable businesses in the world today is share and currency dealing- more money than there is in the whole world is bought and sold every day and huge profits made from it- is another grotesque aspect. Economies have crashed on a whim for a banker's profit. The attitude of most countries to capitalism is like the old joke: My pet gorilla is very obedient. I told him to do what he wants and he does. In China there is the alarming prospect of a murderous and dictatorial communist government co-operating with old-fashioned capitalism to re- establish good old nineteenth century style social darwinist capitalism.

    Karl Popper, who wrote the best refutation of marxism's claims to be scientific, and von Hayek- often wrongly claimed as a pure capitalist economist- both made the point that while capitalism functions well in some areas it is disastrous in others and it is the duty of government to control the behaviour of capitalists in the public interest. The problem today is that capitalists have reacted to "one world" and globalism far more effectively than any one else and can move to countries where they can do what they want or demand bribes to make profits..
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    Communism is simply an extreme version of oligarchy. It concentrates ultimate power in the hands of a few who decide what everyone else does, it creates slaves because we must obey the system. In capitalism we have the freedom to thrive or freedom to fail, that is what is so good about it, it mostly operates due to invisible signals, there is no 1 grand "puppeteer".

    We as individuals know our strengths and weaknesses greater than the creators of the system therefore we can accurately pursue our own unique aspirations and do what makes us happy, productivity and general wealth will be greater because we do what we are best at and we will be happier.

    Wherever communism has been operated it has failed, east europeans were in real poverty because of it and overthrew it, their human rights were violated absymally and the corruption that existed was far greater than in any capitalist system. Half the population of Cuba (a fairly communist county) try to flee for America every month (the most capitalist economy in the world) they know where the grass is greener. Simple as that.
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    (Original post by Greyhound01)
    Communism is simply an extreme version of oligarchy. It concentrates ultimate power in the hands of a few who decide what everyone else does, it creates slaves because we must obey the system. In capitalism we have the freedom to thrive or freedom to fail, that is what is so good about it, it mostly operates due to invisible signals, there is no 1 grand "puppeteer".

    We as individuals know our strengths and weaknesses greater than the creators of the system therefore we can accurately pursue our own unique aspirations and do what makes us happy, productivity and general wealth will be greater because we do what we are best at and we will be happier.
    How have you come to the conclusion that communism 'concentrates ultimate power in the hands of a few who decide what everyone else does'? Have you ever read either Marx, or the work of modern Marxists? The principle aim of Marxism is putting the economy in the hands of the people so what they need is produced, rather than merely what the wealthy want is produced. This is democratic handling of the economy. If anything, the structure of a capitalist society like our own concentrates power in the hands of a minority. Those who own masses of wealth have by far more power than what we have. You can't seriously tell me that you have as much influence on Blair or Bush as Rupert Murdoch! Regardless of who we vote into power, these very rich and powerful people have to be satisfied (sometimes through the dedication of $billions to producing and deploying devestating weapons so we can secure foreign markets for our firms - think about all the good that could be done with those billions). This is almost always at the expense of what the rest of the world require.

    Furthermore, I dont know about what happens in your middle-class utopia, but we do not have the freedom to starve or the freedom to succeed. You appear to look at the world in a very black and white fashion (some of what you have said sounds like it has been cut and paste straight out of my A-level politics textbook) but there are a great many of other factors which determine how succesful we are in life. Using your analysis, the reason most children born into working-class families remain in the class they were born is because they simply arent as clever as the children of middle-class families. This is obviously absurd. There are a great variety of other determinints in whether we reach our potential than simply talent. Children born into poorer backgrounds who do not get the chance to go to a private school, or dont grow up in a good evironment are naturally going to have to work much harder than a child who's mummy and daddy pay for them to go to a posh school and lives in an area much less affected by crime and poverty. This doesnt sound like any sort of freedom for the child from a poorer background. This is why (greater) social equality is a key for delivering social justice - this is something capitalism can not provide.

    I wont even bother extending your theory of equal opportunities and freedom to the factory workers of the Far East, the peasant farmers of Latin America, and the starving millions in Africa - all of whom work within economies under strict regulation by the IMF and World Bank.

    (Original post by Greyhound01)
    Wherever communism has been operated it has failed, east europeans were in real poverty because of it and overthrew it, their human rights were violated absymally and the corruption that existed was far greater than in any capitalist system. Half the population of Cuba (a fairly communist county) try to flee for America every month (the most capitalist economy in the world) they know where the grass is greener. Simple as that.
    Yes, Stalinism was/is a terrible historical scar, but if we could get back to the topic of communism...simple as that.
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    (Original post by ivan)
    what do you think of communism?
    its all about the hammer and sickle
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    very true
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    (Original post by ivan)
    what do you think of communism?
    Communism has a few major problems Il list the most important ones:

    1:Ambigious goals. Communism typically has as a goal that everyone should be equal, however there is a very huge difference between equal opportunities, equal income distribution and equal living standards. Another common definition of communistic goals is "Receive according to need work according to ability". Now, this goal is a completely idealistic one because "need" and "ability" are so undefined that they are impossible to determine objectively. In addition, there is no distinct limit to how much a person can work, in practice the harder the work the greater impact it will have on the health and wellbeing of a person. There is however not a discrete limit where a person is either able or not.

    2:Political power is concentrated. Due to the nature of communism, all political power is concentrated in the governing institution. This makes communism very sensitive to corruption and governmental hijacks. As soon as an interest group has seized controll of the government they effectively controll all resources of the country. Because resources are not partially privately controlled (as they are in mixed economies) a communistic country is therefore ultimately dependent on the competence and humanity of its government.

    3: Resource allocation. Communists typically atempt to overide market forces without compensating for teh severe effects this has on the production and resource allocation in the country. Resources are allocated according to political power rather than relative scarcity and hence production becomes innefficient. The result is a massive waste of resources with economical collapse as the result. In practice a communistic country cannot maintain its economical balance without resorting to resource allocation through a partially free market, in which case the country is really a mixed economy rather than a communistic country.
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    (Original post by Jonatan)
    Communism has a few major problems Il list the most important ones:

    1:Ambigious goals. Communism typically has as a goal that everyone should be equal, however there is a very huge difference between equal opportunities, equal income distribution and equal living standards. Another common definition of communistic goals is "Receive according to need work according to ability". Now, this goal is a completely idealistic one because "need" and "ability" are so undefined that they are impossible to determine objectively. In addition, there is no distinct limit to how much a person can work, in practice the harder the work the greater impact it will have on the health and wellbeing of a person. There is however not a discrete limit where a person is either able or not.
    No. Marxism has one clear goal-the dissolution of central government, replaced with local decision making bodies, ideally in the form of communes which would own the means of production. Since the workers ran the communes, then they would own said means of production. Ideally within this community living standards would be equal, as a result of fair income distrubution; and everyone should have relatively equal opportunities. Also, "From each accrding to his ability, to each according to his needs" describes the general ethos of socialism. It is by no means a dead on definition of recompense within a communist society. As for how much a person can/should/how long should they work, surely this should occur on a case by case basis, guided by some overriding principles. I think that, for example, France's 35hr week is a good example of a labour law that looks after the interests of the worker.

    2:Political power is concentrated. Due to the nature of communism, all political power is concentrated in the governing institution. This makes communism very sensitive to corruption and governmental hijacks. As soon as an interest group has seized controll of the government they effectively controll all resources of the country. Because resources are not partially privately controlled (as they are in mixed economies) a communistic country is therefore ultimately dependent on the competence and humanity of its government.
    No. The central government will be dissolved and power devolved to the worker in a truly marxist society. To claim that Cuba, Vietnam, China or the former USSR were even remotely communist is a fallacy. They were/are socialist states with the ultimate aim of becoming communist states (with the exception of China which has unfortunatly fallen by the wayside)


    3: Resource allocation. Communists typically atempt to overide market forces without compensating for teh severe effects this has on the production and resource allocation in the country. Resources are allocated according to political power rather than relative scarcity and hence production becomes innefficient. The result is a massive waste of resources with economical collapse as the result. In practice a communistic country cannot maintain its economical balance without resorting to resource allocation through a partially free market, in which case the country is really a mixed economy rather than a communistic country.
    I think that a small private market should be tolerated-to rule out trade on any level would be ridiculous; after all, what is the point of having a proletariat revolution if the proletariat cannot shift what they produce. However, the creation of large private bodies cannot be allowed, and in any private body I think it should be clear that all workers (from the top down) own an equal share of any business (This theoretically makes it a public company). So, whether a business is a partnership or a huge cooperative, it always works in the intertest of its workers. Trade can occur between these bodies.

    They're just some of my thoughts, but I think Jonatan has communism, socialism and Marxism mixed up (I do too a little-that last point about allocation of resources is a difficult one).
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    (Original post by carldaman)
    They're just some of my thoughts, but I think Jonatan has communism, socialism and Marxism mixed up
    So did Karl Marx and all his followers.
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    (Original post by carldaman)
    I think that a small private market should be tolerated-to rule out trade on any level would be ridiculous; after all, what is the point of having a proletariat revolution if the proletariat cannot shift what they produce. However, the creation of large private bodies cannot be allowed, and in any private body I think it should be clear that all workers (from the top down) own an equal share of any business (This theoretically makes it a public company). So, whether a business is a partnership or a huge cooperative, it always works in the intertest of its workers. Trade can occur between these bodies.
    The average costs of developing a new medical drug can exceed several billion pounds sterling. If you prohibit large private boddies these investments simply won't be made. If you allow large boddies which are somehow governed by the workers, then in reality what you have is political power centralised to those who are able to get most support from the population. Furthermore, that the workers has played a part in the decision making within a firm does not imply that the outcome will work in the interest of its workers. If that was teh case then the American , British and French givernments would work in the interest of its population. Also, the problem with a democracy is that notoriously innefficient and incopmpetent leaders may be elected simply by winning the support of the voters. If a large company is to maintain efficient use of resources, then decision making must not be reduced to wage receiving popularism. A firm where all the workers vote for larger wages and less work would quickly lose its economical balance and go bankrupt. Complete direct democracy is efficient in ensuring that a government takes the population into consideration when making decisions, but it cannot ensure that decisions will benefit the people in the long run.
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    (Original post by Weejimmie)
    So did Karl Marx and all his followers.
    On the other hand, I think some of the "communists" had their Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, socialism and communism mixed up. Marx couldn't have mixed communism as he, along with Engels (don't ask me how this works exactly), invented communism.
 
 
 
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