Marxism/Socialism/Communism

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:54 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:Oh, well as long as you've been assured. Pardon the sarcasm.

Good, then we're in agreement. :D

Kachi wrote:
The fact that that can be broken down to a very minute A->B->C->...->Z1,000,000 doesn't change the fact that everything i do is done by me.


That's not free will, though. There's nothing free about it. It's wholly dependent on the preceding circumstances.

What you've just suggested is akin to saying that if I push someone into you, and you fall as a result, you still fell of your own free will.

More that the action i took to catch myself was an act of free will. Free will covers, y'know, my actions. Gravity doesn't really factor.
That said, the whole thing is stupid and subjective. Also, this appears to be a marxism thread.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Kachi » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:51 pm UTC

But catching yourself is as much a response to your physical environment as the initial fall. All of the senses that alerted you to falling were generated by external influences. Your decision-making process, also a result of external influences over time.

I'm not following the thread closely enough to appreciate the relevance of this subject to Marxism. I'm assuming that if it's being discussed here, it has some direct relevance to the main discussion.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

Remind me, which muscles did i contract/extend in this scenario to make myself fall? Was it none? It's none, isn't it. That's because falling isn't a reaction. It's just...falling. Being pushed isn't a result of my free will (discluding the part where i said something about your mom, which motivated you to push me. She has problems with obesity and sexual promiscuity, by the way). It doesn't follow the input->process->action flow. It's just input. Following the flow, i take the input (being pushed, falling), process that information, and then put my hands out so i don't bang my head.

Yeah, i skimmed over a bit and ended up in a discussion on free will and i was like "Hey, something abstract where no one can be right or wrong and the effect of the discussion is completely irrelevant to everything! I've gotta get in on that!"

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Indon » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:08 pm UTC

SpiderMonkey wrote:You seem to be blissfully unaware that in conceding randomness you have conceded free will;

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that you are right, and that non-determinism is free will.

Science still doesn't care.

If you'll note, events that can not be determined are simply described as probabilities, rather than certainties. This is true for both truly non-deterministic events (such as quantum states) and deterministic events that we simply can't readily predict (such as fluid dynamics).

Science is some steps ahead of you in documenting, describing, and predicting such things.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby SpiderMonkey » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

I get a chuckle out of the number of people here who feel themselves qualified to speak for 'science'. Its very lazy for you to try and invoke scientific terminology to justify what you can't justify with logic or evidence. Comparing your personal opinions on sociology (I won't even call them theories) to Newtonian mechanics is the height of arrogance and ignorance.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:04 pm UTC

Pardon my ignorance, but wasn't your main point on the subject "Universe not completely deterministic --> Free Will"? 'Cuz that's physics being used for a sociology idea/theory.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby SpiderMonkey » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:11 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but wasn't your main point on the subject "Universe not completely deterministic --> Free Will"? 'Cuz that's physics being used for a sociology idea/theory.


The only difference is, I am doing it right.

Rather than saying 'Oh me yarm my sociological assertions are SCIENCE and therefore correct' I demonstrated, by deriving a conclusion logically from assumptions everyone agrees with, a conclusion.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:24 pm UTC

I see. Well, please continue with calling everyone arrogant and ignorant then. *chortle*

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Indon » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:28 pm UTC

SpiderMonkey wrote:I get a chuckle out of the number of people here who feel themselves qualified to speak for 'science'. Its very lazy for you to try and invoke scientific terminology to justify what you can't justify with logic or evidence. Comparing your personal opinions on sociology (I won't even call them theories) to Newtonian mechanics is the height of arrogance and ignorance.


Probabilistic analysis of nondeterministic events occurs. Here's some examples, and if you keep reading you notice that they also deal with observation-related problems as well.

So, yeah. I don't need to speak for science. Science speaks for itself. And science is right, and you are wrong - wrong, in fact, in a way that can be demonstrated simply by pointing out how other people have already proven you wrong through their everyday work.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Hammer » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

Could everybody disengage with SpiderMonkey, please? I've asked him to back off the insults in another thread.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Kachi » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:10 pm UTC

Remind me, which muscles did i contract/extend in this scenario to make myself fall? Was it none? It's none, isn't it.


Whoosh? You said that everything you do is done by you, and that breaking down the causalities didn't change that. I pointed out that that was similar to suggesting that you wouldn't fall if you were pushed by someone else. I'm not sure if you're being intentionally obtuse or just missing the point.

That's because falling isn't a reaction.


Falling is most definitely a reaction, in physics as well as every other sense.

Everything you do is a reaction, caused by some force beyond your immediate control. You were not responsible for your own genes, the circumstances of your birth/upbringing, or your physical environment. We're all a slave to physics. Freedom is science fiction.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:31 pm UTC

Check the flowchart again. Input->process->output. If it's not on that flowchart then it has nothing to do with freewill. At that point it is just a body's center of mass being moved from over it's base. That only gets as far as input.

Now the input->process->output flow is all physics, too, but then i acknowledged that from the start. I simply believe that it can still be called "free will". This is an argument of definitions, not physics.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Goplat » Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:57 pm UTC

int main() { return time(NULL) & 1; }

This program takes input (the time), it does processing (masking off all but the lowest bit), it gives output (returns that bit). How does it not have free will, under your definition?

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

It pretty much does. I have a very very loose definition of free will.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby SpiderMonkey » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:45 pm UTC

Getting away from the topic of free will as warned, I was talking to a lass who was bought up in East Germany today, and has confirmed by suspicion that East Germany really did suck balls quite a bit.

Whilst modern Marxism might say the mistakes of the past can be avoided, I often notice Marxists don't expand much on how they can be and what, specifically, has been learned from the experience of 20th century socialist states.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:50 pm UTC

Well as has been mentioned a lot of the problems come from the "revolutionary" aspect of past implementations of marxism. Revolutionaries take over the country and instate some communal system but don't bother establishing rights, or checks and balances, or any of that. Their most common answer is to simply phase out capitalism, instead of revolt.

Of course that'll never happen, as it amounts to making it a crime to make money and no one is going to vote for that!

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Indon » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:11 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Of course that'll never happen, as it amounts to making it a crime to make money and no one is going to vote for that!


I dunno about that. The gateway legislation, as I see it, would be to begin to shut down private ownership of assets as being profitable through heavy regulation or taxation. A democratic nation with an extreme gap between rich and poor might favor such controls.

Of course, the US hasn't had that kind of massive gap since, well... about the last time socialism was at all popular in the US.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby qbg » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:22 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Of course that'll never happen, as it amounts to making it a crime to make money and no one is going to vote for that!

It isn't making money per se that is objected to, it is the means. So if (many) more people come to see wage labor as being like a form of slavery, then maybe you would see more pressure in that direction.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:46 am UTC

So working for everyone's sake will make you feel less of a slave? Personally, I'd much rather work for some company for personal gain than indebt my self to the entirety of humanity.

qbg wrote:I was presuming (otherwise) equal workers in the marginal productivity line of discussion; two workers can have different marginal productivities, and so if they were paid by that they would have different wages.

Also, in socialistic thinking, exploitation more comes from the value of their wages being below the value of their labor (however one computes that in most cases).


I know what socialistic thinking suggests, I'm saying that for the most part people are paid according to their marginal productivity exempting necessary capital buildup, and if the owner squanders this buildup on personal luxuries soon his business will collapse under pressure from a rival business that reinvested the money or slashed prices. The only exemption for this is monopolies, but I have no qualms over regulation as to prohibit monopolies. You really didn't counter any of my points, you just repeated what you think without regard to my objections.


qbg wrote:1) The whole world might not/will not experience revolution at the exact same time.
2) If the revolution develops through dual power, there would a system to fall back on once the main one is gone.
3) (WRT capital) It has been said (as propaganda) that the workers built the world and that they can do it again if they need to.

For historical data, the Spanish Revolution of 1936 would be relevant for anarchism on a large scale. It would have been interesting to see what it would have developed into if it had not been crushed by force.
Bubbles McCoy wrote:As to "power structure," I'd bet at least 98% of the population at least doesn't give two shits about it when the more equitable version means less for them.

EDIT: The is of course that it would also mean more for them


Dual power was a period when the Russian Communists smashed the existing government unless I'm mistaken, and I really don't think of Soviet Russia as a model for how anyone would want socialism to be implemented. And the system to fall back on will be completely devoid of the old management, and like I said before you will inevitably undergo widespread shortages in the ensuring turmoil. I presumed that the world would go under simultaneous revolution as to help you, without it most professionals would simply flee the country and really leave you screwed. And in case you're completely oblivious to industrial history, workers did not create the industrial revolution, scientists and yes, aristocrats did; but the latter have largely been replaced by those with personal business acumen, if you still have concerns about old money I suggest you take this argument to the tax discussion.

The Spanish Revolution is a perfect example of what happens when anarchy is implemented on a large scale; some strongman will rise up and oppress everyone else.

And your "EDIT" really doesn't answer my question at all (than again, I'm not really sure if your "EDIT" even comes close to making grammatical sense... "the is of couse"?). I said that no one will want a revolution of the power structure if they will loose out and substantiated it with points, you just said that they would want it if they did get more. Again, I understand socialist thinking I'm just questioning it's ultimate validity.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby qbg » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:15 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:You really didn't counter any of my points, you just repeated what you think without regard to my objections.

As far as I could tell, you were objecting that two workers with different marginal productivities should be paid differently, and I basically agreed...
Dual power was a period when the Russian Communists smashed the existing government unless I'm mistaken, and I really don't think of Soviet Russia as a model for how anyone would want socialism to be implemented.

I'm sorry; I was referring to dual power in the anarchist sense (quoting Wikipedia, "Recently the concept of "Dual Power" has taken on an even broader meaning in the hands of anarchists who use it to refer to the concept of revolution through the creation of "counter-institutions" in place of and in opposition to state power. For example, if cooperative food markets were able to compete on an even-level with corporate grocery store chains, dual power would begin to be achieved in the domain of food.")

And yes, Soviet Russia is not a model you try to replicate.
The Spanish Revolution is a perfect example of what happens when anarchy is implemented on a large scale; some strongman will rise up and oppress everyone else.

If you are referring to Franco, he was outside of the anarchists...

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby TheStranger » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:47 am UTC

qbg wrote:If you are referring to Franco, he was outside of the anarchists...


While that is true, it does show that the anarchists were unable to muster the force needed keep Franco out.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby qbg » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:57 am UTC

TheStranger wrote:
qbg wrote:If you are referring to Franco, he was outside of the anarchists...

While that is true, it does show that the anarchists were unable to muster the force needed keep Franco out.

The odds were stacked against them to begin with; it is kind of surprising that they lasted as long as they did.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Vox Imperatoris » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:37 am UTC

That's why anarchy can never work: as long as there's a significant group of people that aren't anarchists, it won't stay that way for long. And it's impossible to convince 100% of people that they should join a particular movement, particularly one that runs contrary to the human tendency to band together for protection and organization.

So, basically, the very fact that you're having to advocate anarchy proves that it won't work.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby SpiderMonkey » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:50 am UTC

Vox Imperatoris wrote:That's why anarchy can never work: as long as there's a significant group of people that aren't anarchists, it won't stay that way for long. And it's impossible to convince 100% of people that they should join a particular movement, particularly one that runs contrary to the human tendency to band together for protection and organization.

So, basically, the very fact that you're having to advocate anarchy proves that it won't work.


I'm not sure where you are getting this from. The anarchists in Spain were crushed on all sides by a number of different external forces; Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the Soviet Union and to an extent the western powers. Seeing as how liberal democracies were also crushed by those powers around the same time, it is hard to draw such a conclusion.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby TheStranger » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:43 pm UTC

SpiderMonkey wrote:I'm not sure where you are getting this from. The anarchists in Spain were crushed on all sides by a number of different external forces; Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the Soviet Union and to an extent the western powers. Seeing as how liberal democracies were also crushed by those powers around the same time, it is hard to draw such a conclusion.


It puts a big "we do not have the ability to stand against you" sign up for any aggressive nation to see.

Communist systems run into similar problems, in that they have to compete with Capitalist systems for resources (something that Capitalist systems are very good at).
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Theamazingjex » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

Ideological socialism is based on morality, a very poor basis for an economic model. Some people are going to get shafted. You don't fix that by giving them justice or political power, you fix that by giving them economic power. While a number of contries have engaged in socialist like government programs, I don't see these as in the tradition of Marx but rather as economic pragmaticism. From what I've read of Marx, his idea's would never work, although he had some very valid criticisms. If you want to promote social welfare, do so in the traditions of welfare state liberals like Rawls, recognizing the economic realities but still believing that the needs of the worst off can guide the government.

As for communism: fail. There's a few cases where extreme government control of the economy is good in the short term, but it's an extreme measure that can't be the status quo.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby diamonds » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:27 am UTC

First, a simple lesson: All human choice is based on decisions, we make the decision we believe will leave us better off. A transaction will take place only if the price is less then what I value it at, and more then what the seller values it at, so for a sale to take place, if I value it at $2, and the seller values it at $1, the the trade will be for between one and two $. Likewise, I value my job and not getting fired, during working hours, then I do spending it as leisure. That is a personal choice. These two types of choices are no different (some people have a hard time accepting that a choice between eating an apple or eating cheese puffs is the same thing as grocery shopping, but it is). Once in a while we regret making a decision, which in hindsight another choice would have been better, but we learn from it. Risks also play in here, we get in our cars because we believe the benefit of driving a certain distance outweighs the cost of maintenance, gas, and the risk of getting in an accident.

Communism is fundamentally flawed, in that you can't just assign values to products, because then prices don't relate to how much consumers actually value the product, and you have taken out a significant chunk of the purpose of trade. Efficiency is also lost, since entrepreneurs no longer plan for the most efficient use of resources. Central planning doesn't work, because since there are no market prices, you cannot determine the most effective use of resources without running a stimulation that looks surprisingly similar to a free market.

All distrust that I see with capitalism seems to stem from the fact it makes no distinction between what people want and what people need. Much more seems to be the fact that not all people are equal, and some seem to get disproportionate amounts of pay, for example. Attempts to seperate the two always prove sour, for example, the difference between needing gas to buy food or deliver another needed good to a remote location, and wanting gas to drive out to the beach. You cannot seperate the two making a trade. Another example, you need food. What food you choose is a want. Your choice of the cheese puff is a want, the choice of food in general is a need (well, to a point).

Improving society is ultimately going to be done through personal education (so your personal choices match efficient and effective choices), more efficient methods of producing common needs (unrestricted international trade included), no artificial restrictions on social mobility (this is a very good case for anonymity), and ability to travel from a place with few resources to a place with more resources (akin to the gold rush, this is Africa's biggest problem right now, along with education, self-confidence, and freedom). Note all of these solutions are not just capitalistic, but depend on freedom--ALL freedoms: economic, social, and the right to life and liberty.

VannA wrote:There is no mechanism for Free Will within our knowledge of sub-atomic or quantum-physics. Ignoring for the moment that there is no real evidence the brain can even effect those states.

Ugh... quantum mechanics is random. Therefore, there is no way to tell if there is free will or not. Also consider, we believe that we can make choices, we cannot replicate the same situation twice, and our choices appear to have an affect on the future, therefore, even if free will is false, it just doesn't matter. For the sake of the topic, it does not matter. (I personally view it as multiple "parallel" universes, what decisions we make chooses which universe we end up in later. Fork off a thread for free will if you really want to continue discussion please).
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby VannA » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:25 am UTC

At no point have I indicated it did matter.

I was attempting, in essence, to show that it doesn't.

It was the unsubstantiated claim that the universe is non-deterministic that I was replying to, mostly.

Free will as a reality or as an artifact of emergent behaviour in extremely complicated systems; Essentiallym, they mean the same thing. Entities can be viewed as agents, for the purpose of real life.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby existential_elevator » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:16 pm UTC

At risk of necro'ing..

diamonds wrote:Communism is fundamentally flawed, in that you can't just assign values to products, because then prices don't relate to how much consumers actually value the product, and you have taken out a significant chunk of the purpose of trade. Efficiency is also lost, since entrepreneurs no longer plan for the most efficient use of resources. Central planning doesn't work, because since there are no market prices, you cannot determine the most effective use of resources without running a stimulation that looks surprisingly similar to a free market.


I'm not really sure that this holds true.
For a start, I don't really see how your assumption leads to inefficient use of resources.
I'm also not too sure where you're going with assigning values to products.

It would seem sensible that valuation comes from supply and demand. Let's take bread, for instance. If there's been a bad crop of wheat this year, the value of bread goes up. That in itself has nothing to do with free market trade. It seems that there are other factors at play that have been overlooked.

Also; to people sceptical as to whether communism can work, I would hesitate to point over at China. You might not agree with everything going on there, but it does seem to work okay for them.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Bluggo » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:34 pm UTC

existential_elevator wrote:Also; to people sceptical as to whether communism can work, I would hesitate to point over at China. You might not agree with everything going on there, but it does seem to work okay for them.

Well, except that modern China does not have a communist economy - actually, I would argue that China managed to combine the worst aspects of Capitalism (e.g. rampant exploiting of the weaker categories and willingness to create unsafe products for the sake of profit) with those of Communism (limitations of personal freedoms, excessive bureaucracy, corruption).

In any case, I agree that Communism could possibly work, under some circumstances; however, any serious attempt to build it should have very strong failsafes in place in order to avoid undue concentrations of decisional power and inefficiencies.

Personally, I would favor a mixed system: ideally, the State should be able to guarantee a tolerable - if not glamorous - quality of life to all its citizens, no matter how unlucky, stupid or lazy; however, if you want something better than that you'll have to find a way to achieve success in the (mostly free-market) economic playground.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:01 am UTC

existential_elevator wrote:It would seem sensible that valuation comes from supply and demand. Let's take bread, for instance. If there's been a bad crop of wheat this year, the value of bread goes up. That in itself has nothing to do with free market trade. It seems that there are other factors at play that have been overlooked.


Um, I may be missing something here but supply and demand changing the value of bread is a principle of a capitalist market, not a communist one. A communist market would have state control over resources and various prices and distribution of said resources, so the value only changes as agricultural analysis of the market decides a valuation change must be made.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby TheStranger » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:54 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:Um, I may be missing something here but supply and demand changing the value of bread is a principle of a capitalist market, not a communist one. A communist market would have state control over resources and various prices and distribution of said resources, so the value only changes as agricultural analysis of the market decides a valuation change must be made.


Yet you cannot just 'create' more bread if a bad harvest reduces the wheat supply. Though a Communist government can mandate that the price does not increase there will still be a shortage (and an incentive for people to buy as much bread as they can at government prices so that they can resell to their neighbors at a profit).
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Klapaucius » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:26 pm UTC

So, communism would take away the oppression of man by authority by making salary a direct decision of the government, and then mandating the cost of every product from bread to paintings to USB back massagers?
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby existential_elevator » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

Klapaucius wrote:So, communism would take away the oppression of man by authority by making salary a direct decision of the government, and then mandating the cost of every product from bread to paintings to USB back massagers?


Thus eliminating a lot of this "poverty" I hear so much about.
In the end, the big thing to take from this is that necessary produce is more readily available. Luxury goods tend to be more expensive, but living essentials aren't. Healthcare and schooling are free. Public services are efficient and better regulated. Prices and salaries are always someone's decision, what's bad about making that the decision of someone who has the people's best interests at heart, rather than the richest 10%. It's not so much about flatlining prices, as making things better regulated in order that they're fairer. And, remember; communism is not exclusive of democracy.

Also; Bluggo, I do think you're largely right, for the record.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Kachi » Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:07 pm UTC

I often equate it to running a department store without a general manager. Typically it's better to have someone overseeing things and making sure that things run smoothly, that resources are allocated fairly, that all is working towards the greater good of the company.

Ideally there are not opposing forces in a society. All legs are moving towards the same goal. This can only be -assuredly- achieved though, by turning over all the power to one "brain." The concern is that there is no one "brain" that we can trust, and that it's only a pretty ideal that has little bearing in reality. There are grains of truth to both sides.

But as technology continues to reduce the burden of work, communism will become increasingly feasible, as humans will no longer have to quarrel over resources that come equally easy to most everyone, at the push of a button.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Klapaucius » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:13 pm UTC

existential_elevator wrote:
Klapaucius wrote:So, communism would take away the oppression of man by authority by making salary a direct decision of the government, and then mandating the cost of every product from bread to paintings to USB back massagers?


Thus eliminating a lot of this "poverty" I hear so much about.
In the end, the big thing to take from this is that necessary produce is more readily available. Luxury goods tend to be more expensive, but living essentials aren't. Healthcare and schooling are free. Public services are efficient and better regulated. Prices and salaries are always someone's decision, what's bad about making that the decision of someone who has the people's best interests at heart, rather than the richest 10%. It's not so much about flatlining prices, as making things better regulated in order that they're fairer. And, remember; communism is not exclusive of democracy.

Also; Bluggo, I do think you're largely right, for the record.


Okay:

Step One: Place all regulation in the hands of a central governing body.
Step Two: Make sure no one in power ever becomes corrupt or incompetent
Step Three: Enjoy Fair Utopia
Step Four: Repeat Steps Two through Four as necessary

Do I have it right?
Also: America is, as you probably know, a republic. Democracy is, to be frank, irrelevant.

Kachi wrote:I often equate it to running a department store without a general manager. Typically it's better to have someone overseeing things and making sure that things run smoothly, that resources are allocated fairly, that all is working towards the greater good of the company.

Ideally there are not opposing forces in a society. All legs are moving towards the same goal. This can only be -assuredly- achieved though, by turning over all the power to one "brain." The concern is that there is no one "brain" that we can trust, and that it's only a pretty ideal that has little bearing in reality. There are grains of truth to both sides.

But as technology continues to reduce the burden of work, communism will become increasingly feasible, as humans will no longer have to quarrel over resources that come equally easy to most everyone, at the push of a button.


Are you suggesting we hand the reins over to Multivac? Because that's an idea I might have to consider more deeply.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby segmentation fault » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

SpiderMonkey wrote:Whilst modern Marxism might say the mistakes of the past can be avoided, I often notice Marxists don't expand much on how they can be and what, specifically, has been learned from the experience of 20th century socialist states.


well i know one thing would be spend money on what the people need rather than spend it on things like oh i dont know a cold war.
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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby SJ Zero » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:19 am UTC

I hate to say it, but this discussion is rendered moot by the practical failings of socialism and communism as practiced in the real world.

The problem is, and the problem always is, that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The step between capitalism and communism is a group of people taking absolute power over the country's economy. This means that we never EVER see real communism on a large scale. Every single implementation of it turns into a simple dictatorship, and that dictatorship is unwilling to release their reins of power to achieve communism.

I've heard of communism implemented successfully in buildings in Winnipeg, and in plantations in Israel, but every attempt to implement it on a nation scale has resulted in a tragic dictatorship.

The only way to actually implement it would be to pass power to an incorruptible device. Whether that device is an incredibly pure-hearted leadership, or that device is a computer which would accomplish its mission then terminate itself, it wouldn't be the usual riffraff who take control during coups.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:41 pm UTC

I know five pages is a lot to read, but if you had you'd know it doesn't actually have to work that literally anymore than capitalism has to be the corporate oligarchy envisioned by marxists.

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Re: Marxism/Socialism/Communism

Postby Yakk » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:16 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:I often equate it to running a department store without a general manager. Typically it's better to have someone overseeing things and making sure that things run smoothly, that resources are allocated fairly, that all is working towards the greater good of the company.

Except, what happens if the general manager screws up? Well, the branch goes under. If the screw up is bad enough, the company goes under.

This sucks, but things work out, if there are other companies nearby that run on different principles. However, if every company has been unified under the same general manager, and that general manager screws up...

Ideally there are not opposing forces in a society. All legs are moving towards the same goal. This can only be -assuredly- achieved though, by turning over all the power to one "brain." The concern is that there is no one "brain" that we can trust, and that it's only a pretty ideal that has little bearing in reality. There are grains of truth to both sides.

The legs aren't the hard part. The hard part is the brains. If all power is in one brain, then you only have one brain's worth of people who have the ability to find better solutions -- everyone else has to petition that brain, who has to make the decision about which solutions to try. One brain doesn't have the bandwidth to deal with dozens, or hundreds, of solutions, and determine which one is the best, let alone come up with the best solution each time.

Even if you trusted the brain perfectly, and it was trying to do the best for everyone, it would still suck at it. It isn't smart enough. If all of the legs are walking in the same direction under one brain, then that one brain is too certain of it's own conclusion.

When there are people walking at tangents to the flow, against the flow, orthoginal to the flow -- then you can see that the solution space is being explored.

Oh, and working out how much cross/back/sideways traffic we need? Another hard problem...
But as technology continues to reduce the burden of work, communism will become increasingly feasible, as humans will no longer have to quarrel over resources that come equally easy to most everyone, at the push of a button.

Food and basic shelter for people takes a minuscule fraction of a modern capitalist economy's effort. It has ridiculous surpluses above and beyond that.

And we still need orders of magnitude more economic growth.

See, food and shelter and having someone to hold and love -- those are short-term short-sighted goals. Heck -- human induced climate change might be equally short-term a goal (to deal with it, or avoid it, that is). On geologicially short time frames, unless we build a more powerful industrial society, all higher life forms on the planet earth will be wiped out. It happens pretty frequently.

That, and other similar problems, is why being complacent and saying "we have enough, no need for more" is a problem.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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