(Original post by wilkinson1291)
socialism doesn't work because of the fundamental human faculties to compete, empathise only with people immediately close to them and in a similar social group. the divisions of these social groups often being completely arbitrary. Why am i wrong?
For something to be a "fundamental[ly] human" it would have to be applicable throughout the ages, from the dawn of time through to the present day, and it would have to be applicable to all people, from men in Tahiti to women in Sweden. Most primitive societies were based on communal ownership of land, a more or less equal share of the products of labour, minimal division of labour, etc. That's not to say that these socities were perfect (or even remotely desirable), but that for a long time the earth was inhabited by human beings who lived in socities not based on competition. Human nature is adaptable, it develops and changes based on economic and social conditions; there is no One, absolute notion of 'humanity' that can be applied to all people, all of the time.
In capitalist society the vast majority of people are not 'competitive' - they go to work, they produce something for someone, they go home. Day in, day out. For most people competition does not occur in the workplace ('cept if they are challenging their workmates to see who can do most in x
amount of time), but on football pitches, at the pub, on running tracks, etc., and it goes without saying that competition in this sense would still exist in a capitalist society. Competition in the economic sense is something that involves very few people at all, in the grand scheme of things. Companies can only compete if they have people to work for them, and people sell their labour to individuals who own companies because they need a wage to eat, drink, and sleep with a roof over their head - the fact that the company they work for is in competition with another is a moot point (unless, of course, they lose their job as a result...).
Socialism does not, however, require that all people are selfless, altruistic beings. Under capitalism most people essentially give too much away
; they sell their labour to somebody who takes a slice of the wealth that they have created. As socialists we argue that the means of production should be owned and controlled - democratically - by the workers who use them, in order to produce what they need to live a comfortable life. Marx described socialism as man's "positive self-consciousness" because it is based on the realisation that the current mode of production is not in the interest, and such a realisation undeniably involves a degree of egoism, a developed understanding of self-interest. It's telling that when opponents of socialism wish to discredit socialism 'intellectually' they always bring up socialism being about self-sacrifice and against a natural human inclination to be competitive / selfish, and when they wish to descredit socialist / left-wing movements in practice they denounce them as selfish and greedy.