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    Socialism, in theory, is a very good idea. The problem is not only that socialism is flawed, but also that human beings are flawed. We are seemingly incapable of looking past our own self-interest and focussing on the interest of our entire species.

    To become more than a smidgen philosophical here, how can we expect a peacable, equal society when we are incapable of even being peaceful, balanced individuals? There are too many variables, too many conflicting interests, and too much hatred and antipathy between us for a system like Socialism to survive.

    This is why Capitalism thrives. An imperfect system for an imperfect species. The system that has one grand 'slogan':

    Clamber and stumble blindly over your fellow human beings, jostle and fight to 'ascend'. Don't look back, your power, wealth, comfort and safety await you at the pinnacle of materialistic attainment. Then, and only then, can you be truly happy.
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    Capitalism thrives because it appeases the majority. The best system of government is a dictatorship. Socialism is stupid.
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    If capitalism is so natural, why did it take until the last few centuries for it to appear and take hold?
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    It could be argued that self interest is a human characteristic generated by the inherently competitive nature of capitalism.

    When forced to compete we must look out for ourselves. In countries where the culture is more focused on the community rather than the self we see that selfishness is very rare. For instance in Burma, on birthdays you give other people presents rather than receive them.
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    (Original post by benjaminfinch)
    It could be argued that self interest is a human characteristic generated by the inherently competitive nature of capitalism.

    When forced to compete we must look out for ourselves. In countries where the culture is more focused on the community rather than the self we see that selfishness is very rare. For instance in Burma, on birthdays you give other people presents rather than receive them.
    Certain cultures focus more on selflessness, but humans are inherently selfish. In fact I believe it is because we started off being more selfish than selfless that systems like capitalism thrive. Though it is nice to think that we may one day deviate from a motivation driven by self interest, our natural instinct to survive will always win over.
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    (Original post by JPO92)
    Socialism, in theory, is a very good idea. The problem is not only that socialism is flawed, but also that human beings are flawed. We are seemingly incapable of looking past our own self-interest and focussing on the interest of our entire species.

    To become more than a smidgen philosophical here, how can we expect a peacable, equal society when we are incapable of even being peaceful, balanced individuals? There are too many variables, too many conflicting interests, and too much hatred and antipathy between us for a system like Socialism to survive.

    This is why Capitalism thrives. An imperfect system for an imperfect species. The system that has one grand 'slogan':

    Clamber and stumble blindly over your fellow human beings, jostle and fight to 'ascend'. Don't look back, your power, wealth, comfort and safety await you at the pinnacle of materialistic attainment. Then, and only then, can you be truly happy.
    Absolutely. In fact why don't we expand capitalism by getting emergency operators to start asking for credit card details straight away whenever people call needing an ambulance or an immediate police response unit ("So, my little six year old. You need the police because someone broke into your house and is hurting your mommy. I'll need to know how you'll pay for that service first?). I'm sure they'd appreciate having to pay for things like that because, you know, capitalism is awesome...not.

    This is where capitalism leads us. It only serves to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. About 10 years ago the richest 300 people in the world owned half the world's wealth, now it's the richest 62. How can that ever be right?
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    If capitalism is so natural, why did it take until the last few centuries for it to appear and take hold?
    You raise an interesting point; however, aspects of capitalism have existed throughout history.
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    (Original post by GUMI)
    Certain cultures focus more on selflessness, but humans are inherently selfish. In fact I believe it is because we started off being more selfish than selfless that systems like capitalism thrive. Though it is nice to think that we may one day deviate from a motivation driven by self interest, our natural instinct to survive will always win over.
    It's certainly possible when social darwinism is removed. That's the biggest hurdle.

    RE: natural instinct to survive
    Again, when survival isn't guaranteed by the state I believe we're more likely to be selfish.

    And by the way I'm not really advocating either, just sharing (what I think are) interesting ideas on social darwinism.
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    (Original post by JPO92)
    Socialism, in theory, is a very good idea. The problem is not only that socialism is flawed, but also that human beings are flawed. We are seemingly incapable of looking past our own self-interest and focussing on the interest of our entire species.

    To become more than a smidgen philosophical here, how can we expect a peacable, equal society when we are incapable of even being peaceful, balanced individuals? There are too many variables, too many conflicting interests, and too much hatred and antipathy between us for a system like Socialism to survive.

    This is why Capitalism thrives. An imperfect system for an imperfect species. The system that has one grand 'slogan':

    Clamber and stumble blindly over your fellow human beings, jostle and fight to 'ascend'. Don't look back, your power, wealth, comfort and safety await you at the pinnacle of materialistic attainment. Then, and only then, can you be truly happy.
    I think Socialism sounds fantastic and i would love to live in a country where it was implemented perfectly but there are too many evil people in the world wanting to **** over everyone else to make some extra profits
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    If capitalism is so natural, why did it take until the last few centuries for it to appear and take hold?
    (Original post by Aceadria)
    You raise an interesting point; however, aspects of capitalism have existed throughout history.
    humans are hardwired to seek to distinguish their personal role within a society. A socialist system provides natural incentives when a society is small/familiar. A capitalist system provides natural incentives when a society is large/anonymous. The distinction is important.

    When a society is relatively small, its population is motivated by a desire to prove their personal character. Since individuals are familiar with one another a citizen's value is based on their reputation. Their contributions to the community and their personal reputation serves as a means to validate their value. That measure endows them with respect and privilege within that community.

    When a society is relatively large, its population is motivated by a desire to build and maintain an elite status. Since individuals are mostly anonymous to one another a citizen's value is based on their social class. Their wealth and sophistication serves as a means to validate their value. That measure endows them with respect and privilege within that community.
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    People are too attached to their notions of liberty, that's the problem. Socialism in society as it exists today might be silly, but it's not as silly as, for instance, libertarianism, which is just ridiculously flawed.
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    Socialism is not fundamentally a good idea. People ought to have the right to private property - this is not possible in a socialist society.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    People are too attached to their notions of liberty, that's the problem. Socialism in society as it exists today might be silly, but it's not as silly as, for instance, libertarianism, which is just ridiculously flawed.
    Please elaborate.
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    (Original post by JPO92)
    Socialism, in theory, is a very good idea.
    I disagree. It's a bad idea both in theory and practice.

    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    People are too attached to their notions of liberty, that's the problem.
    Yes, if only people would give up their freedom and their rights for what a small clique of self-righteous individuals thinks is best, then everything would be perfect. :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    I disagree. It's a bad idea in both theory and practice.



    Yes, if only people would give up their freedom and their rights for what a small clique of self-righteous individuals think is best, then everything would be perfect. :rolleyes:
    I just saw on my followers list: Socialism, Hydeman, 8 minutes ago. Grabbed popcorn and I'm here to watch. :lol:
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    I just saw on my followers list: Socialism, Hydeman, 8 minutes ago. Grabbed popcorn and I'm here to watch. :lol:


    Spoiler:
    Show
    I'm going out for a while so that popcorn will most likely have run out by the time any real conversation gets going. :emo:
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    (Original post by Hydeman)


    Spoiler:
    Show
    I'm going out for a while so that popcorn will most likely have run out by the time any real conversation gets going. :emo:
    :coma: I've already inhaled it.
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    (Original post by Aceadria)
    You raise an interesting point; however, aspects of capitalism have existed throughout history.
    As have communism/socialism
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    (Original post by Aceadria)
    Please elaborate.
    There are a number of reasons but the most important are a) the disparity between monetary wealth and utility; b) the fact that the free market makes every market tend to failure; and c) the non-provision of public goods. Note that I'm talking about pure libertarianism here.

    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Yes, if only people would give up their freedom and their rights for what a small clique of self-righteous individuals thinks is best, then everything would be perfect. :rolleyes:
    People don't have rights. They're a legal construct. The thing is, socialism works much better with a state which is powerful in every regard. It also works better if emigration isn't a realistic option. Sure, it's **** for the first century or so, but after that the benefits to future generations make it all worthwhile.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    People don't have rights. They're a legal construct.
    I don't see how one follows from the other. Rights being a legal construct doesn't mean that people don't have them.

    The thing is, socialism works much better with a state which is powerful in every regard. It also works better if emigration isn't a realistic option.
    Like the Soviet Union, (the People's Republic of) China, and other wonderful places that are usually denounced as perversions of the noble principles of 'true' socialism? :rolleyes:

    Sure, it's **** for the first century or so, but after that the benefits to future generations make it all worthwhile.
    And this is why I'm not a consequentialist.
 
 
 
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