Utopian Communism - Can it work?

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Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:37 pm UTC

Let us assume that all workers within a state, are provided a wage that is the same for ALL workers, irrelevant of their job/profession.
Everybody must work, even if it counts as a mother of children.
People of the state can do what they want (any job), but the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants.

Can you substitute Real Life (RL) into Utopian Communism (UC)?
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:46 pm UTC

As long as the population is less than about 30 people, this works pretty well. For larger populations, not so much.

Strictly speaking, a communist state in the classical sense of the term wouldn't have a government at all, so it wouldn't be able to allocate positions to those who don't have jobs.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:05 pm UTC

I was thinking of a full population of (say) 10M.
For communism, I am thinking of all people being treated equally and there being no special treatment, other than you must work. But as that applies to all people, it isn't special.

Extend the concept to all walks of life and including interaction with other non-communistic states.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby phonon266737 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:51 pm UTC

Are people allowed to leave?
IF no, then surely it isn't "Utopian"
If yes, then those who thinks they deserve above average pay for doing an above average job, will leave. That leaves your utopioan society with the common man who are happy to do average/below average work, or those talented peoples who feel that their talents are better utilized by serving the basic needs of the masses rather than their own intellectual desires.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Chen » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:People of the state can do what they want (any job), but the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants.


Allocating positions for manual labor and such could work but what about positions that are high stress that people won't work in without monetary incentives (nurses, doctors, etc)? You can't just randomly allocate someone to being a surgeon. I'd imagine you'd stifle a lot of innovation this way too. People will likely take the path of least resistance towards getting their money.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:46 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:Let us assume that all workers within a state, are provided a wage that is the same for ALL workers, irrelevant of their job/profession.
Everybody must work, even if it counts as a mother of children.
People of the state can do what they want (any job), but the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants.

Can you substitute Real Life (RL) into Utopian Communism (UC)?


Let's parse this for a moment.

"Everybody must work." Really? Must? And how will you put the "must" part into action? By force of arms? By witholding of goods and services? If so, then all you have is a very poorly run form of capitalism.

"Can work any job.... equal pay." Ah. Now we come to the sticking point. All those who wish to be a coal miner rather than a baseball player, bongo drum player, filing clerk or journalist, all salary, benefits and services considerations being equal, raise your hands. Right. No coal miners. How about sewage maintenance mechanics. No? OK.

"the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants..." This is a truly terrible idea. Epicly bad. You're saying that jobs that require the most hard work, dedication, focus and stress will be filled by the most incompetent, weak, fickle and stressed individuals. Hi, can't handle working in a stock yard? BigNose will put you in a coal mine! Couldn't figure out how to finish the quick exams to be a camp counselor and primary teacher? Now you can spend 10 stressful years as a neurosurgeon! Or paliative care nurse!

These are tough and stressful jobs, only filled because we pay these people large amounts of money and shower them with prestige. Under your system, self-interested people (i.e. everyone) would work hard to fill the jobs which require little work or talent. Those needing talent the most would be stuck with the bottom of the barrell.

Now we arrive at the problem that stumped even Marx. The only way for a Communist Society to staff the unpleasent but nessessary jobs would be for all people to be entirely selfless; automotonic semi-Vulcans detached from worldy pleasures, comforts and insecurities. Even Marx, wildly incompetent though he was, had enough of a basic grasp of history to know that no such people exist, especially not on a sustainable social basis, and that there were no known means to convince people to behave in that manner.

So, the final chapter of Utopian Communism has always been the rewiring of the human mind to create the Left's version of the Ubermensch, a strange figure who goes by many names: The Socialist Man, the New Man, The Perfect Citizen. In each case, this human is a psychologically re-written being designed to have no reflective sense of self.

Which, I think you'd agree, is pretty terrifying.

All attempts to build sustainable Utopian communisms, even the few that have managed to last more than a few years, have failed within a couple of generations. While it is possible to find people willing to give this sort of thing an honest go, the law of averages is against it. Their children inevitably start to bend under the same psychological pressures that have shaped all civilization : avarice, jealousy, love, pity, ambition, fairness and all the other principles, values and vices supposedly deleted by the People's Education.

While most people on these boards could give a fairly accurate parsing of the many historical failures of this movement over the mellenia, I think that even a cursory look at what would be required for the final completion of the project along with even a minimal social empathy would be enough to leave Communism in the dustbin of history, where it so belongs.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby meatyochre » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:30 am UTC

That sure would be utopia for me. I'd have 3-5 children as quickly as possible and allow your government to pay me the same for staying at home and taking care of them as you're paying Joe Random for his back-breaking 60 hours a week ditch-digging career.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby leafan101 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:10 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:
BigNose wrote:Let us assume that all workers within a state, are provided a wage that is the same for ALL workers, irrelevant of their job/profession.
Everybody must work, even if it counts as a mother of children.
People of the state can do what they want (any job), but the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants.

Can you substitute Real Life (RL) into Utopian Communism (UC)?


Let's parse this for a moment.

"Everybody must work." Really? Must? And how will you put the "must" part into action? By force of arms? By witholding of goods and services? If so, then all you have is a very poorly run form of capitalism.

"Can work any job.... equal pay." Ah. Now we come to the sticking point. All those who wish to be a coal miner rather than a baseball player, bongo drum player, filing clerk or journalist, all salary, benefits and services considerations being equal, raise your hands. Right. No coal miners. How about sewage maintenance mechanics. No? OK.

"the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants..." This is a truly terrible idea. Epicly bad. You're saying that jobs that require the most hard work, dedication, focus and stress will be filled by the most incompetent, weak, fickle and stressed individuals. Hi, can't handle working in a stock yard? BigNose will put you in a coal mine! Couldn't figure out how to finish the quick exams to be a camp counselor and primary teacher? Now you can spend 10 stressful years as a neurosurgeon! Or paliative care nurse!

These are tough and stressful jobs, only filled because we pay these people large amounts of money and shower them with prestige. Under your system, self-interested people (i.e. everyone) would work hard to fill the jobs which require little work or talent. Those needing talent the most would be stuck with the bottom of the barrell.

Now we arrive at the problem that stumped even Marx. The only way for a Communist Society to staff the unpleasent but nessessary jobs would be for all people to be entirely selfless; automotonic semi-Vulcans detached from worldy pleasures, comforts and insecurities. Even Marx, wildly incompetent though he was, had enough of a basic grasp of history to know that no such people exist, especially not on a sustainable social basis, and that there were no known means to convince people to behave in that manner.

So, the final chapter of Utopian Communism has always been the rewiring of the human mind to create the Left's version of the Ubermensch, a strange figure who goes by many names: The Socialist Man, the New Man, The Perfect Citizen. In each case, this human is a psychologically re-written being designed to have no reflective sense of self.

Which, I think you'd agree, is pretty terrifying.


Well said, sir.

Fictional Utopian societies such as the one in Sir Thomas More's Utopia were not founded upon a government distributing the work and the money around to the citizens. They were founded upon the willingness of the fictional citizens to work for the greater good of the society. That work ethic has never existed on this planet and never will. Le1bn1z used the example of the Vulcans. IMO a utopia can be nothing less than a Borg society where no one has a will of his own and, because of the individuality God gave us, such a society can never exist.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:59 am UTC

Allow me to respond:
Le1bn1z wrote:Let's parse this for a moment.

"Everybody must work." Really? Must? And how will you put the "must" part into action? By force of arms? By witholding of goods and services? If so, then all you have is a very poorly run form of capitalism.

Obviously, there are always going to be things that people want, but that you cannot distirbute to everyone instantly. So that if you do not work, then you are placed at the back of the list to receive the 'wanted' item. You will receive it, but only after everyone else has. Also, because you are not working, you do not get paid as much. Pay will be such that, a little extra tha you need can be used to 'bump' yourslef up the queue to receive something you would prefer, sooner than standard distribution allows.
Le1bn1z wrote:"Can work any job.... equal pay." Ah. Now we come to the sticking point. All those who wish to be a coal miner rather than a baseball player, bongo drum player, filing clerk or journalist, all salary, benefits and services considerations being equal, raise your hands. Right. No coal miners. How about sewage maintenance mechanics. No? OK.

Without the basics of humanity as we know it today, ie without clean water, sanitation, heating and a roof over our heads, then life would not be life. Therefore, when there is not electricity because of a lack of coal for the power stations, then it would be obvious that unless there were volunteers, or peoples assigned, that society would decline into a state of decay. It is assumed that no-one wants this and despite reservations, some woould have to do such jobs, even if only for a limited period.
Le1bn1z wrote:"the government can allocate positions to those who do not currently have a job. This will fill those positions that nobody wants..." This is a truly terrible idea. Epicly bad. You're saying that jobs that require the most hard work, dedication, focus and stress will be filled by the most incompetent, weak, fickle and stressed individuals. Hi, can't handle working in a stock yard? BigNose will put you in a coal mine! Couldn't figure out how to finish the quick exams to be a camp counselor and primary teacher? Now you can spend 10 stressful years as a neurosurgeon! Or paliative care nurse!
Any person can apply for and change jobs to whatever they desire, or as society needs. If society has no needs then the person can change from nurse to teacher. Stress is a function of trying to drive the society forward at a rate that isn't necessary except to keep up with everyone else. If there is not drive, there is less stress. What you have to remember, is that some people want to be nurses, even though they underestand that there are stresses. Again, the government can intervene and consider that stress is not a required state and consider that more people are required to support that 'industry', thus to alleviate stress due to overwork.

Le1bn1z wrote:These are tough and stressful jobs, only filled because we pay these people large amounts of money and shower them with prestige. Under your system, self-interested people (i.e. everyone) would work hard to fill the jobs which require little work or talent. Those needing talent the most would be stuck with the bottom of the barrell.
Personally, if I am ina position where I am bored, then I don't like it. I have intelligence and I want to be in a position to be able to use it. This will also work for other people. As I have said before, some people want to a job, even though there are 'issues' associate with it.

Le1bn1z wrote:Now we arrive at the problem that stumped even Marx. The only way for a Communist Society to staff the unpleasent but nessessary jobs would be for all people to be entirely selfless; automotonic semi-Vulcans detached from worldy pleasures, comforts and insecurities. Even Marx, wildly incompetent though he was, had enough of a basic grasp of history to know that no such people exist, especially not on a sustainable social basis, and that there were no known means to convince people to behave in that manner.

Correct. It is a state of mind. Given the society that we live in and come from, it would be impossible to achieve, but that is because we have an alternative to work with. In Marx's world, he had the rest of the world to compare against. When citizens see what is available and how that works, then the model begins to fall apart. However, if your society is without the stresses of the 'outside world' and you personally gain almost as much from your society as the 'outside world' then it could be achieved.

Le1bn1z wrote:So, the final chapter of Utopian Communism has always been the rewiring of the human mind to create the Left's version of the Ubermensch, a strange figure who goes by many names: The Socialist Man, the New Man, The Perfect Citizen. In each case, this human is a psychologically re-written being designed to have no reflective sense of self.
The human psychology can accept that and as you go on to state, it has been tried, thereby proving that we have the ability. As for a sense of self, you have the choice of jobs. If you are more intelligent, then you can work through the 'courses' to achieve the grade to be able to do the more intelligence required jobs. Alternately, you could end up being bored, doing something/anything, being paid and completely undermining society and yourself.

Le1bn1z wrote:Which, I think you'd agree, is pretty terrifying.
Being able to do the job that I want, assuming I have the capabilities, with a minimum of stress and being paid for it, is the norm, even on this society. The only difference is the pay is the same for a Dustman, Engineer or Doctor.

Le1bn1z wrote:All attempts to build sustainable Utopian communisms, even the few that have managed to last more than a few years, have failed within a couple of generations. While it is possible to find people willing to give this sort of thing an honest go, the law of averages is against it. Their children inevitably start to bend under the same psychological pressures that have shaped all civilization : avarice, jealousy, love, pity, ambition, fairness and all the other principles, values and vices supposedly deleted by the People's Education.

Again, this comes back to the issue of an outside influence. Avarice is wanting what another's got, but if everyone has all that they need or is available, that is negated. Jealousy, love, pity and fairness do not apply (for the most part) to society, but to individuals and this would be no different. As for ambition, that is not an issue. The 'I want to be famous' or 'I want to be the best' are aptly suitable requirements. Society would need entertainment, thus films etc would be required, hence actors and fame. Being the best applies and improves society. That individual may again be moved up a list for items that they would like. They may get it ahead of others, that will always be the case because of production/distribution.

Le1bn1z wrote:While most people on these boards could give a fairly accurate parsing of the many historical failures of this movement over the mellenia, I think that even a cursory look at what would be required for the final completion of the project along with even a minimal social empathy would be enough to leave Communism in the dustbin of history, where it so belongs.
True Communism, without external interference would/could exist. As with all societies, there would be a need for rules and law. Those rules and laws also dictate how society operates, exactly how our curent society operates. We, as are now, want a peaceful invigorating, progressing society. What is so different about a Utopian society?
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:21 am UTC

phonon266737 wrote:Are people allowed to leave?
IF no, then surely it isn't "Utopian"
If yes, then those who thinks they deserve above average pay for doing an above average job, will leave. That leaves your utopioan society with the common man who are happy to do average/below average work, or those talented peoples who feel that their talents are better utilized by serving the basic needs of the masses rather than their own intellectual desires.

Living with an 'outside world' is the most difficult issue. Obvously, the Utopian society 'sees' what life is like on the outside, but you are still thinking of how our society operates, as opposed to how it could operate.
The biggest problem is always 'the grass is greener on the other side'. But what is meant by 'greener'?
'Outside' has more wealth than the Society people, but depending on how much that costs, does not make it better. Let us consider the issue of wealth, what is its purpose, to make life better for ourselves on an individual basis. To be able to 'gain' those items, or better/bigger items, we need more wealth. But consider the option whereby, you have a choice of what items you want. Maybe you don't want item A but want Item B, then in Utopia, you simply make your requirement known. All things are allocated to everyone who wants or needs it. It may not occurr immediately, but you will get what you would like. This is no different than society today, except that Utopians receive it from the Governmant.
Just like in current society, because pay is low, jobs are sure to come, from external companies wanting tiuse the 'cheap' labour of your society, however, all monies come and go through Government. The external company does nto pay the workers, it pays the Government. Thus the Government is awash with mony, but it needs that money, to buy in the goods/items that Utopian does not/can not make, thus society gains work and goods from the 'free world'.

Would you rather be paid loads and work your ass off in a stressful society, or work at what you would prefer to do, get paid enough to be bale to live a reasonable life and a lot less stress. I prefer a gentler life, but that doesn't mean that it can't also be exciting. You make the world you live in.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Chen » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:35 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:Without the basics of humanity as we know it today, ie without clean water, sanitation, heating and a roof over our heads, then life would not be life. Therefore, when there is not electricity because of a lack of coal for the power stations, then it would be obvious that unless there were volunteers, or peoples assigned, that society would decline into a state of decay. It is assumed that no-one wants this and despite reservations, some woould have to do such jobs, even if only for a limited period.


And what of the massive unfairness in making the coal miner risk their life 40 (or more) hours a week whereas the janitor can clean the school and then take a break for the last couple hours of his shift, with no risk to himself. I can't imagine coal mining is much more stimulating than being a janitor (though I guess when you're constantly fearing a mine collapse/explosion it could keep you on your toes). Remember both these people get exactly the same back from society. Their houses are the same, they have the same luxuries. Except one of them has the risk of death everyday at work. While there may be SOME volunteers for this kind of work, I can't imagine it would meet the demand for it.

Any person can apply for and change jobs to whatever they desire, or as society needs. If society has no needs then the person can change from nurse to teacher. Stress is a function of trying to drive the society forward at a rate that isn't necessary except to keep up with everyone else. If there is not drive, there is less stress. What you have to remember, is that some people want to be nurses, even though they underestand that there are stresses. Again, the government can intervene and consider that stress is not a required state and consider that more people are required to support that 'industry', thus to alleviate stress due to overwork.


Stress can come from things other than overwork. Jobs where your life or the lives of others (say an ATC) are constantly in jeopardy can cause people to break down. We already have a chronic shortage of nurses/doctors despite the fact they make fairly decent money. There simply are not enough people who just want to do the job regardless of the rewards, to meet the demands society has for a lot of said jobs. Plus how the hell to do you decide to make someone a neurosurgeon? What if, after all the education they receive it is determined they are grossly incompetent at the job? That would be a fairly large waste of resources for the society to shoulder.

Again, this comes back to the issue of an outside influence. Avarice is wanting what another's got, but if everyone has all that they need or is available, that is negated. Jealousy, love, pity and fairness do not apply (for the most part) to society, but to individuals and this would be no different. As for ambition, that is not an issue. The 'I want to be famous' or 'I want to be the best' are aptly suitable requirements. Society would need entertainment, thus films etc would be required, hence actors and fame. Being the best applies and improves society. That individual may again be moved up a list for items that they would like. They may get it ahead of others, that will always be the case because of production/distribution.


Getting something ahead of others is essentially making some people more valuable than others and is essentially just a round-about way of capitalism. Differences like this will produce avarice and jealousy. Some jobs will be the "good" jobs because it gets me my upgraded car before other people. At which point you no longer have a communism. The other problem is in assuming people self-regulate properly. There are plenty of things I WANT to do. There are certain things I HAVE to do so that I can survive. Frankly I'd rather work 4 hour days and spend the other 4 hours playing video games or sports. At times I'd in fact prefer to only say play games/sports and not do any work. Imagine there were jobs that allowed this and still let me live well. I guess there'd be a massive incentive for a lot of people to want those jobs. Clearly not everyone could get them (since the demand would probably be lower) so again, there'd be place for jealousy and avarice. As stated before, until you can find selfless people you're not going to make communism (in this sense) work out for the long term.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:Obviously, there are always going to be things that people want, but that you cannot distirbute to everyone instantly. So that if you do not work, then you are placed at the back of the list to receive the 'wanted' item. You will receive it, but only after everyone else has. Also, because you are not working, you do not get paid as much. Pay will be such that, a little extra tha you need can be used to 'bump' yourslef up the queue to receive something you would prefer, sooner than standard distribution allows.
Realize that you are using avarice as a motivator.

Why is a queue-based currency any more fair than a value-based currency? If people are unequal, then treat them such- pretending to treat them equally then actually treating them unequally is monstrous, and will be seen as such.

But we could assume people consider it fair that doctors receive luxury mansions after a day of waiting, coal miners after twenty years, and janitors after forty years. How then would you respond to the person who decides that they don't have the talent or will to earn what they want, and thus will just subsist on what is given to them for free?

BigNose wrote:It is assumed that no-one wants this and despite reservations, some woould have to do such jobs, even if only for a limited period.
But this is the free rider problem- except applied to all goods, instead of a special class of them. All I have to do is want it less than enough other people, and they'll get fed up and do it. This is the equivalent of the roommate who leaves the dishes in the sink, knowing that someone else will eventually get fed up and wash them.

This system is less fair, and more prone to anger, than a system based on voluntary exchange. If your roommate hired you to wash their dishes, wouldn't that be better than you doing it for free and griping all the while?

BigNose wrote:What you have to remember, is that some people want to be nurses, even though they underestand that there are stresses.
But the problem isn't that there are no nurses. The problem is that, without the price mechanism to regulate the number of nurses, there will be a shortage or a glut of nurses. If there are 10,000 people who want to be artists for the standard wage, but society only needs 500 at the standard wage, what happens to the other 9,500? If 100 people want to be nurses for the standard wage, but society wants 5,000 at the standard wage, from whence will come the other $4,900?

Keep in mind that prices transmit information. When a lawyer costs $300 an hour, that tells me that lawyer's time is valuable- and thus if I could duplicate a hour of a lawyer's time with ten of my hours, and I earn less than $30 an hour, society is better off if I do the law work less effectively, and the price signal tells me that. If a lawyer and I earn the same wage, then I don't know how valuable our times are relative to each other- the only hint will be the wait that I have to endure to use his time. But waits are nowhere near as effective, and far more wasteful, than prices, when it comes to transmitting information.

BigNose wrote:However, if your society is without the stresses of the 'outside world' and you personally gain almost as much from your society as the 'outside world' then it could be achieved.
This alone answers you original question: You cannot get rid of the outside world. Ever. The scale of one human and the scale of the world are too different.

BigNose wrote:As for a sense of self, you have the choice of jobs.
But in the society of Socialist Men, all jobs are treated equally, and all people can do all jobs. There is no uniqueness, no talents, no skills, no preferences. Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.

BigNose wrote:Avarice is wanting what another's got, but if everyone has all that they need or is available, that is negated. Jealousy, love, pity and fairness do not apply (for the most part) to society, but to individuals and this would be no different.
What if I want other people? Here's what happens when a commune tries to enforce free love.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:48 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Why is a queue-based currency any more fair than a value-based currency? If people are unequal, then treat them such- pretending to treat them equally then actually treating them unequally is monstrous, and will be seen as such.

But we could assume people consider it fair that doctors receive luxury mansions after a day of waiting, coal miners after twenty years, and janitors after forty years. How then would you respond to the person who decides that they don't have the talent or will to earn what they want, and thus will just subsist on what is given to them for free?

Items can be made in job lots of 10M, but making and distrubuting them is time consuming. Making/obtaining things in job lots of 1000 is easier. Who gets what is deliberately varied, but if a Citizen does not want a certain item, or prefers 1 over another, they can 'queue-jump'.

Vaniver wrote:This system is less fair, and more prone to anger, than a system based on voluntary exchange. If your roommate hired you to wash their dishes, wouldn't that be better than you doing it for free and griping all the while?
Vaniver wrote:Indeed. What is your point?

Vaniver wrote:But the problem isn't that there are no nurses. The problem is that, without the price mechanism to regulate the number of nurses, there will be a shortage or a glut of nurses. If there are 10,000 people who want to be artists for the standard wage, but society only needs 500 at the standard wage, what happens to the other 9,500? If 100 people want to be nurses for the standard wage, but society wants 5,000 at the standard wage, from whence will come the other $4,900?
That is th epurpose of Government and society requirements. Each job style wil require a certain number of individuals, plus or minus a factor. Just like RL, your intelligence and character goes some way to defining your role in Society.

Vaniver wrote:Keep in mind that prices transmit information. When a lawyer costs $300 an hour, that tells me that lawyer's time is valuable- and thus if I could duplicate a hour of a lawyer's time with ten of my hours, and I earn less than $30 an hour, society is better off if I do the law work less effectively, and the price signal tells me that. If a lawyer and I earn the same wage, then I don't know how valuable our times are relative to each other- the only hint will be the wait that I have to endure to use his time. But waits are nowhere near as effective, and far more wasteful, than prices, when it comes to transmitting information.
If a lawyer is required, then an individual would like the best. No change. Only now, it comes down to how they have doen before, not how big the company profits are. For lawyer, read any profession. You keep trying to read RL too much into this.

Vaniver wrote:This alone answers you original question: You cannot get rid of the outside world. Ever. The scale of one human and the scale of the world are too different.
If the starting point is high enough, could it?

Vaniver wrote:But in the society of Socialist Men, all jobs are treated equally, and all people can do all jobs. There is no uniqueness, no talents, no skills, no preferences. Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.
It seem sI have to re-iterate - choice is vailable, freedom (within rules) is available. every job is different, everyone will do the job in a different way. how is that not unique?

Vaniver wrote:What if I want other people? Here's what happens when a commune tries to enforce free love.
Why do you think that standard rules/laws don't apply? UC has the same basic rules of life/living as RL with a twist.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Chen » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:17 pm UTC

Your quotes are messed up there.

That is th epurpose of Government and society requirements. Each job style wil require a certain number of individuals, plus or minus a factor. Just like RL, your intelligence and character goes some way to defining your role in Society.


While it works fine if there is a lack of people to do jobs anyone can do, how do you provide incentive to make people be doctors if the society needs more? Do you force people to go through medical school? What about the military? Do you draft people? Why would I risk my life in military service/training if I get the same amount of compensation and quality of life as a baker?

If the government assigns your job to you when you're born hell maybe it'd work. I can't imagine people would stand for it though. Its obvious that there is inequity in the amount/difficulty of different jobs. How do you reconcile that inequity when people are "forced" to be equal otherwise?

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:Indeed. What is your point?
The "benefit" of communism is that everyone equally shares the benefit and cost to participating in society. What you're describing is a system where free riding is encouraged- a system that only works if you can enslave the productive. Keep in mind that encouragement is not what you say you want, but what you reward. Your system doesn't reward the productive as much as capitalism, let still requires greedy, selfish people to keep it working. By enshrining the free rider as a comrade, you enrage the productive until you get a capitalist revolution to match your communist revolution, or more likely a strike or slowdown that grinds progress and production to a halt.

BigNose wrote:You keep trying to read RL too much into this.
RL is where I live, and where the victims of communism live. Reality is a feature, not a bug. Capitalism is a process, and UC is a result. In order to get a result, you must start with a process- and it should tell you something that despite a century of searching, no one has found a process that leads to UC.

BigNose wrote:If the starting point is high enough, could it?
No. It doesn't matter if the global government believes in communism- the point is that for individual people the knowledge and culture to adequately participate in global communism are impossible to obtain, where it is possible for individual people to have the knowledge and culture to adequately participate in global capitalism. You can only build up from the foundation- you cannot build down from the roof.

BigNose wrote:Why do you think that standard rules/laws don't apply? UC has the same basic rules of life/living as RL with a twist.
You claim that a society without avarice (which yours isn't) will be a society without jealousy. Even if you magically enforce equality of material possessions, you cannot enforce equality of social possessions. Will each person be issued a standard spouse, and a set number of friends? Everyone wants the best lawyer- everyone also wants Brad Pitt as a husband. You can make my uniform the same as my comrade's, but you cannot make my spouse the same as his spouse without resorting to horrific means. What then prevents me from being jealous of his spouse?

As well, which 'standard rules' are you talking about? You mention that "mothers" are counted as a job- but what about "fathers?" Take it a step further- what about "housewives"? What if, say, a housewife decided to marry a househusband, or both parents decided they should devote all their time to taking care of their child? In normal society, people marry or date for a wide variety of reasons, and not all those desires still exist in UC.

Another way to look at your original claim, that avarice is harmful and will be negated by UC: you cannot satisfy everyone indefinitely. If there is any variation between people, that variation can be turned into a status competition. The genius of capitalism is that the status competition is based on how much you quantifiably contribute to society. There is more than one way to obtain status- but the capitalistic way is to get rich, and getting rich requiring getting that money from someone else voluntarily.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Det. » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:31 am UTC

Sure, if your population is made up of robots.
...controllable robots.
I guess good people would work too, but where are you gonna find THOSE?

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:04 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:The "benefit" of communism is that everyone equally shares the benefit and cost to participating in society. What you're describing is a system where free riding is encouraged- a system that only works if you can enslave the productive. Keep in mind that encouragement is not what you say you want, but what you reward. Your system doesn't reward the productive as much as capitalism, let still requires greedy, selfish people to keep it working. By enshrining the free rider as a comrade, you enrage the productive until you get a capitalist revolution to match your communist revolution, or more likely a strike or slowdown that grinds progress and production to a halt.
Free-riding is discouraged in that as I have stated before, when you are emplyed, then you gain a little bonus to pay. The bonus to pay is the same to all who work, but not to those who don't. The extra pay/credit can be used by the individual in any way they wish, spend on personal recreation, or to jump the queue for a particular item they would prefer over another. The 'scrounger' would not have such a benefit and would also be placed furthe rdown the list fo rreceiving items/goods that all others are receiving.

Vaniver wrote:RL is where I live, and where the victims of communism live. Reality is a feature, not a bug. Capitalism is a process, and UC is a result. In order to get a result, you must start with a process- and it should tell you something that despite a century of searching, no one has found a process that leads to UC.
My intention is not to go from A to Z via BCD etc, but to jump from A to Z, shedding whatever is necessary to acheive a satisfactory stable state.

Vaniver wrote:It doesn't matter if the global government believes in communism- the point is that for individual people the knowledge and culture to adequately participate in global communism are impossible to obtain, where it is possible for individual people to have the knowledge and culture to adequately participate in global capitalism. You can only build up from the foundation- you cannot build down from the roof.
True, so take this hypothesis from point Z (see above).

Vaniver wrote:You claim that a society without avarice (which yours isn't) will be a society without jealousy.
No I didnt't. Avarice is wanting more than you need. Jealousy is wanting something you haven't got, but another has.
Vaniver wrote:Even if you magically enforce equality of material possessions, you cannot enforce equality of social possessions. Will each person be issued a standard spouse, and a set number of friends? Everyone wants the best lawyer- everyone also wants Brad Pitt as a husband. You can make my uniform the same as my comrade's, but you cannot make my spouse the same as his spouse without resorting to horrific means. What then prevents me from being jealous of his spouse?
Lets go back to RL rules, people are not possesions, there this rhetoric is invalid. Being jealous of another mans wfie/gf is natural and is treated in the normal social manner.

Vaniver wrote:As well, which 'standard rules' are you talking about? You mention that "mothers" are counted as a job- but what about "fathers?" Take it a step further- what about "housewives"? What if, say, a housewife decided to marry a househusband, or both parents decided they should devote all their time to taking care of their child? In normal society, people marry or date for a wide variety of reasons, and not all those desires still exist in UC.
You are right, I meant mother only in the fact of looking after their own children. It would equally apply to father, but it would be an either/or. They would be paid as per a worker until the child is school age. Then they would be required/expected to work for a reduced set of hours until the child(ren) leave school (could be 16 or 18).

Vaniver wrote:Another way to look at your original claim, that avarice is harmful and will be negated by UC: you cannot satisfy everyone indefinitely. If there is any variation between people, that variation can be turned into a status competition. The genius of capitalism is that the status competition is based on how much you quantifiably contribute to society.
Variation is exactly what is needed for any society to thrive. It is inherent by default, if through nothing else than looks and intelligence, it's how those attributes are used and viewed that matters. Status competition is exactly what is needed. In UC, there is little else except status to distinguish you from others. That individuality will drive society forward, provided the drive is seen to be in the right direction.

Vaniver wrote:There is more than one way to obtain status- but the capitalistic way is to get rich, and getting rich requiring getting that money from someone else voluntarily.
I'm sorry. I read this and burst out in laughter. Ofcourse I voluntarily gave my money to the bank, but that was for safe keeping and possibly gaining some return. So I put 1000-2000 into the Banks and now as a Tax payer I have to pay (a virtual) 9000 to get back to where we were! It is a fact that the gap between the richest and poorest is getting larger every single year. When will it stop?

Capitalism is the way of the world. It has its benefits and deficits. Is it perfect, far from it, but is UC perfect? I don't think so, but if I could have a choice of living in a Capitalistic world or a UC world, I think I would prefer a UC world. It may not be exactly Communistic, you absolutely cannot obtain that, but life would be good for a lot more people. To obtain that it not a possibility from our starting point, but as an intelectual exercise, the concept is interesting.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Silas » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:17 am UTC

You still haven't addressed the big problem: who picks up the garbage? It's a physically demanding, smelly job that doesn't impress women. If the penalty for not working is small- and you said it was- how many people will be willing to spend their days heaving sixty-pound sacks of refuse onto a truck, instead of sitting at home waiting for an easier job to open up?

In a market economy, there's a spectrum of ways of getting people to haul garbage, mostly compromises between paying better-than-normal wages and finding the people most desperate for work. The people who end up doing it may feel hemmed in by circumstance, but trash doesn't pile up on the streets.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:59 am UTC

Silas wrote:You still haven't addressed the big problem: who picks up the garbage? It's a physically demanding, smelly job that doesn't impress women. If the penalty for not working is small- and you said it was- how many people will be willing to spend their days heaving sixty-pound sacks of refuse onto a truck, instead of sitting at home waiting for an easier job to open up?


And this question can also be turned around: who wants to go to university for 9 years and become a brain surgeon? There's no real need to become a brain surgeon, you wouldn't earn more than a ordinary doctor, so why would you do the effort? The only reason why someone would do this is for immaterial gains (wanting to be the best brain surgeon, wanting to discover something new, ...), still it is a serious restriction in the process of job allocation.

And then there is a third question: if you have a job, why would you do any effort? If you just show up at work, but do not do anything all day, it would not matter at all. You do not loose any money, or customers or market share. At the end of the day, you still get payed. (this is actually a real problem with civil servants in Belgium, the law makes them almost inviolable...).

It is due to these problems that most communist systems evolved into centrally-planned economies.
Last edited by Le Téméraire on Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:24 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:08 am UTC

Silas wrote:You still haven't addressed the big problem: who picks up the garbage? It's a physically demanding, smelly job that doesn't impress women. If the penalty for not working is small- and you said it was- how many people will be willing to spend their days heaving sixty-pound sacks of refuse onto a truck, instead of sitting at home waiting for an easier job to open up?

In a market economy, there's a spectrum of ways of getting people to haul garbage, mostly compromises between paying better-than-normal wages and finding the people most desperate for work. The people who end up doing it may feel hemmed in by circumstance, but trash doesn't pile up on the streets.
In UC, if you wish to change jobs, that is your option, but the availability of the job you want may not be immediately there. Such 'garbage' jobs as dustman/coal miner etc, would be possibly/probably high on the list to need roles filled. There is the option to stay in the job you don't like (the reason for changing) or working in a 'garbage' job. As most 'garbage' jobs are typically manual, almost anyone can do it. As an incentive, they are required to work in 'garbage' jobs for a limited period. Certainly, I need to think more on this to avoid turning into a capitalistic society, but not using money or power or objects/items as the incentive. Possibly the need to work 4 days instead of 5.


Le Téméraire wrote:And this question can also be turned around: who wants to go to university for 9 years and become a brain surgeon? There's no real need to become a brain surgeon, you wouldn't earn more then a ordinary doctor, so why would you do the effort? The only reason why someone would do this is for immaterial gains (wanting to be the best brain surgeon, wanting to discover something new, ...), still it is a serious restriction in the process of job allocation.
Because you can. Not everyone is stupid. In every country, intelligence will out. You, yourself, have outlined the reason. Why does anyone become a brain surgeon? Because they can, because of the prestige and in some cases, because of the money.

Le Téméraire wrote:And then there is a third question: if you have a job, why would you do any effort? If you just show up at work, but do not do anything all day, it would not matter at all. You do not loose any money, or customers or market share. At the end of the day, you still get payed. (this is actually a real problem with civil servants in Belgium, the law makes them almost inviolable...).
Onthe contrary, standard rules apply. If you turn up at work and do nothing or worse, what happens in RL? Why shouldn't the same rules apply in UC?

Le Téméraire wrote:It is due to these problems that most communist systems evolved into centrally-planned economies.
I have already stated that this would have to be managed from a Government, just not llike any government like we know.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Silas » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:23 am UTC

BigNose wrote:
Le Téméraire wrote:And then there is a third question: if you have a job, why would you do any effort? If you just show up at work, but do not do anything all day, it would not matter at all. You do not loose any money, or customers or market share. At the end of the day, you still get payed. (this is actually a real problem with civil servants in Belgium, the law makes them almost inviolable...).
Onthe contrary, standard rules apply. If you turn up at work and do nothing or worse, what happens in RL? Why shouldn't the same rules apply in UC?

Because your Utopian Communism expressly disclaims the threat of poverty that keeps proles going to their shit jobs and doing a good-enough job. Why should they work hard? What are you going to do, fire them? You said it yourself- the bonus for being employed is small. They're not going to be out on the street, job or no job.
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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:44 am UTC

Silas wrote:Because your Utopian Communism expressly disclaims the threat of poverty that keeps proles going to their shit jobs and doing a good-enough job. Why should they work hard? What are you going to do, fire them? You said it yourself- the bonus for being employed is small. They're not going to be out on the street, job or no job.


You have to consider the mind-set of the typical UC citizen. It is of 'what is best for our society'. With this in mind, anyone doing poorly at their work, or indeed, no work, will be dismissed (as per RL) and found other work. The 'scrounger' continues a downward spiral of shittier and shittier jobs until they refuse to work. In this case, deliberately not working or wanting to work has to be considered a crime
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:57 am UTC

Soooo.... your utopia then depends upon redefining fundamental human motive to your own ends, then branding those dissatisfied with the system as criminals? Color me unimpressed by both the viability and the desirability of this system.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:06 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:Soooo.... your utopia then depends upon redefining fundamental human motive to your own ends, then branding those dissatisfied with the system as criminals? Color me unimpressed by both the viability and the desirability of this system.
Fundamental human motive is adapt, adopt, improve. Money is an incentive to do it quicker.
'To my own ends'? It is not MY world, simply my thoughts on a potential world.
If they are dissatisfied, then they have the option to do something about it. But as per RL, they are probably so lazy, that they couldn't put in the effort. Hence they are self destructive and destructive to society. Why has law and rule survived in RL and become as is? Because people WANT it so.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:15 am UTC

BigNose wrote:
Silas wrote:Because your Utopian Communism expressly disclaims the threat of poverty that keeps proles going to their shit jobs and doing a good-enough job. Why should they work hard? What are you going to do, fire them? You said it yourself- the bonus for being employed is small. They're not going to be out on the street, job or no job.


You have to consider the mind-set of the typical UC citizen. It is of 'what is best for our society'. With this in mind, anyone doing poorly at their work, or indeed, no work, will be dismissed (as per RL) and found other work. The 'scrounger' continues a downward spiral of shittier and shittier jobs until they refuse to work. In this case, deliberately not working or wanting to work has to be considered a crime


Okay, this is the breaking point, I think. You ask us if Utopian communism can work. We try to prove that it can not. And then you state that we do not understand the premise? That we have to consider people with a different mind-set?

People are people, end of discussion. There can be (large) cultural differences between people, but that's about it. There is no culture in the world wherein people do things for the greater good of society without personal gains, at least not consciously.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:52 am UTC

Le Téméraire wrote:People are people, end of discussion. There can be (large) cultural differences between people, but that's about it. There is no culture in the world wherein people do things for the greater good of society without personal gains, at least not consciously.
The way I see it is that avarice and jealosy has been the driving force of life, which translates into or through money, into the society we have today. People want bigger/better/faster NOW. Who doesn't? UC does not preclude that, but the pace at which that is achieved is the difference.

Because people want bigger/better/faster (than others) NOW, so push comes-to shove. Some people want to push things on, strive for bigger/better things and to achieve that for the average joe, requires money. Thus avarice and greed feed off money. Money generates reasons for greed and avarice. A vicious circle. If that circle could be broken, or even reined in, then the requirement for money, the intensity of avarice and greed, must decrease.

In UC, personal gain comes from society gain. In RL the same applies. When you vote for your President or Prime Minister, do you vote for yourself, or for your society? How do you gain personally by voting? All you are doing is voting for a policy that is more in line with your own philosophy of society.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Chen » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:46 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:
Le Téméraire wrote:And this question can also be turned around: who wants to go to university for 9 years and become a brain surgeon? There's no real need to become a brain surgeon, you wouldn't earn more then a ordinary doctor, so why would you do the effort? The only reason why someone would do this is for immaterial gains (wanting to be the best brain surgeon, wanting to discover something new, ...), still it is a serious restriction in the process of job allocation.
Because you can. Not everyone is stupid. In every country, intelligence will out. You, yourself, have outlined the reason. Why does anyone become a brain surgeon? Because they can, because of the prestige and in some cases, because of the money.


You're arguing that if brain surgeons currently made the same amount of money as janitors we'd have the same number of them as we do now? I'm fairly sure jobs that demand a lot of training (doctors and the like) would be in MASSIVELY short supply in a world where there wasn't a pay difference between them and something easier (but also necessary). Someone could probably justify that working at a water treatment plant saves more people than a neurosurgeon does and is probably a 10x less stressful job, precisely because you don't have to deal with acute and risky situations (risky to the patients obviously).

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

Chen wrote:You're arguing that if brain surgeons currently made the same amount of money as janitors we'd have the same number of them as we do now?
Exactly where did I say that?
Chen wrote:I'm fairly sure jobs that demand a lot of training (doctors and the like) would be in MASSIVELY short supply in a world where there wasn't a pay difference between them and something easier (but also necessary).
How many doctors/surgeons have thought 'I want to be a doctor/surgeon because the money is good' compared against 'I want to be a doctor/surgeon because I like the idea of helping people'. The fact that the money is good is a by-product, a good one, in a capitalistic society, but nevertheless, secondary to most doctors/surgeons. I suspect that other people think in the same way.
Chen wrote:Someone could probably justify that working at a water treatment plant saves more people than a neurosurgeon does and is probably a 10x less stressful job, precisely because you don't have to deal with acute and risky situations (risky to the patients obviously).
Indeed. So why do we have brain surgeons? Improving techniques, finding new answers are a function of status improvement amongst peers. Money naturally follows the best in this world. In UC, money is of little/no consequence, you don't need money to be famous, and fame does not always lead to wealth/money.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:23 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:personal gain comes from society gain. In RL the same applies. When you vote for your President or Prime Minister, do you vote for yourself, or for your society? How do you gain personally by voting? All you are doing is voting for a policy that is more in line with your own philosophy of society.


This, I can agree upon. But not with your rant about avarice and greed.

In todays society (for my country that is a mixed economy) your statement "personal gain comes from society gain" is also true. A lot of things today are done for society gain. However, position in society is defined for a important part by money and property, but not exclusively by money and property. So, therefore, I do not share your vision of personal gain leading to greed and avarice. In my humble opinion, the world view you expressed is a rather dark and gloomy one.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Fume Troll » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:36 pm UTC

Perhaps if you have practically unlimited access to energy, goods and space, and you have machines to do all the work that no-one really wants to do, then it could work. The Federation in Star Trek is about as close as I can get.

Edited for spelling

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:47 pm UTC

Le Téméraire wrote:
BigNose wrote:personal gain comes from society gain. In RL the same applies. When you vote for your President or Prime Minister, do you vote for yourself, or for your society? How do you gain personally by voting? All you are doing is voting for a policy that is more in line with your own philosophy of society.


This, I can agree upon. But not with your rant about avarice and greed.

In todays society (for my country that is a mixed economy) your statement "personal gain comes from society gain" is also true. A lot of things today are done for society gain. However, position in society is defined for a important part by money and property, but not exclusively by money and property. So, therefore, I do not share your vision of personal gain leading to greed and avarice. In my humble opinion, the world view you expressed is a rather dark and gloomy one.
Unfortunately we may have been caught up in extremes.

For the average Joe Bloggs, Avarice and Greed are minority players, but players non-the-less. I would like a better PC, this PC works, but I would like a bigger, better, faster one. Is that not avarice, even on a small scale?

Position in society is defined by your peers and how they perceive it/you. Not just peers of your profession (which is at the micro scale) but also peers as in your neighbours and friends (mini scale) and those that don't know you (macro scale). This has nothing to do with money, except that in our current society, a higher peer status typically produces a higher wage, leading to better/bigger things to 'show-off' (however unintentional) to others to prove your status/position.

Le Téméraire wrote:In my humble opinion, the world view you expressed is a rather dark and gloomy one.
If you are referring to RL, then maybe you need to look around. Light maybe shining on your view of the world, but that same light is blinding and blistering to others.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:Unfortunately we may have been caught up in extremes.


Yes, and we are going off track here. The main discussion was about job distribution and how Utopian Communism would handle this. I am still not convinced that "position in society" or "society gain" is enough for a good and effective mechanism of job distribution, in particular when the stimulus of money/material gain is absent.

I can believe (and history has proven this, east-Germany is a good example) that some people are motivated by the idea that they are helping society or making a better society. Still, for every person that thinks like that, there is another that is not motivated by this. Every communist or socialist state fell into the trap of promoting one above another, there was always someone who was more valuable in the eyes of the state structure than another. And there is always somebody who will try to gain (personal) profit from position or favor.

I am really convinced that there is no way around this. The basic premise of modern economical theory is, in my opinion, very true: every man is a 'Homo Economicus', there exists no other. So, to answer your question, "can a system/society that forces people into a unnatural corsage work?" No, I do not think so, I think that every man would rather live in a system/society that answers to natural needs and wants.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:45 pm UTC

Le Téméraire wrote:I am still not convinced that "position in society" or "society gain" is enough for a good and effective mechanism of job distribution, in particular when the stimulus of money/material gain is absent.
If we were to stick to averge JB, then it is a possibility, but read on . .

Le Téméraire wrote:I can believe (and history has proven this, east-Germany is a good example) that some people are motivated by the idea that they are helping society or making a better society. Still, for every person that thinks like that, there is another that is not motivated by this. Every communist or socialist state fell into the trap of promoting one above another, there was always someone who was more valuable in the eyes of the state structure than another. And there is always somebody who will try to gain (personal) profit from position or favor.
This is where we now have to bring in another concept of openess. All decisions must be viewable to all, so that comments/discussion may be made about the decision, both before and after. This is not a 'everyone must vote on all decisions', that is why you vote for Government, but at least all can see why a particular decision was made.

Le Téméraire wrote:I am really convinced that there is no way around this. The basic premise of modern economical theory is, in my opinion, very true: every man is a 'Homo Economicus', there exists no other. So, to answer your question, "can a system/society that forces people into a unnatural corsage work?" No, I do not think so, I think that every man would rather live in a system/society that answers to natural needs and wants.
I don't see how what you have just said, cannot be dove-tailed into UC. Homo Economicus (I had to look that one up to check) simply becomes not the man chasing wealth as in a Capitalistic Society (CS), but man chasing well-being in the UC. As for 'forcing', why does the waiter go to work in CS? In the UK, a state benefit provides for everymans needs, in only a basic form and many jobs provide only a small improvement over the benefits, yet they work. In UC, a possibility is that 'dangerous' work could be paid the same, but only working 4 days per week, but this would be a society decision.

I am not advocating 'Perfect Communism', or attempting to achieve it. Everyone is different, which by default, produces differences in society, my aim is to consider a society which minimises top to bottom to (virtually) a flat society.
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Ouiser » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:55 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:I'm sorry. I read this and burst out in laughter. Ofcourse I voluntarily gave my money to the bank, but that was for safe keeping and possibly gaining some return. So I put 1000-2000 into the Banks and now as a Tax payer I have to pay (a virtual) 9000 to get back to where we were! It is a fact that the gap between the richest and poorest is getting larger every single year. When will it stop?


And here I think we find the motivation behind this UC idea. You are upset that we're shelling out all this money to bail out the banks that got us into trouble in the first place. And rightly so, I'm upset too. The answer is not to go farther away from Capitalism, it's to get back to Capitalism. The banks should have been allowed to fail. The car dealers should have been allowed to fail. Yes, it would have sucked, but it's the only way this mess will clear itself up. I understand the concern about jobs, I lost my job because a company ran itself poorly. But I found another one and it's much better. If we don't punish these companies for running themselves poorly, do you really think they'll suddenly shape up? In the case of the car industry, they probably can't shape up even if they wanted to because of the situation they find themselves in (although Ford, without government help, seems to be figuring it out). The way to fix that is to have a new company start over.

The incentives are all in the wrong place now. Do you think those running the banks are going to shape up now? No, they are "too big to fail". They've basically been told, "do whatever, we got your back." Regulation does not work nearly as well as market forces in these situations. If they had been allowed to fail, someone else would be making cars and loaning money, and they would probably be better cars and loans made more efficiently.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Azrael » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:05 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:You have to consider the mind-set of the typical UC citizen. It is of 'what is best for our society'.

You've gone off the rails entirely at this point. Of course anything *can* work if you define the parameters such that they allow it to. (i.e. hypothetically people can fly, if one either defines circumstances without gravity, or includes birds as people). In this case, you're saying UC can work, if you fill the microcosm with people that UC works for. This blithefully ignores the fact that you've effectively altered the entirety of human behavior.

Yes, UC can work. However, it won't work in reality, as has been repeatedly demonstrated to you in this thread.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Le Téméraire » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:
Le Téméraire wrote:I can believe (and history has proven this, east-Germany is a good example) that some people are motivated by the idea that they are helping society or making a better society. Still, for every person that thinks like that, there is another that is not motivated by this. Every communist or socialist state fell into the trap of promoting one above another, there was always someone who was more valuable in the eyes of the state structure than another. And there is always somebody who will try to gain (personal) profit from position or favor.
This is where we now have to bring in another concept of openess. All decisions must be viewable to all, so that comments/discussion may be made about the decision, both before and after. This is not a 'everyone must vote on all decisions', that is why you vote for Government, but at least all can see why a particular decision was made.
Openness is something that should be favored in all societies. But openness of government alone, in my opinion, is not strong enough to withhold public officials or government bodies from making bad decisions. And it does not stop people from misinforming other people. I think your idea of openness needs more elaboration, because it is rather difficult for me to cut it loose from current politics (and current means to influence public opinion and public vote).

BigNose wrote:
Le Téméraire wrote:I am really convinced that there is no way around this. The basic premise of modern economical theory is, in my opinion, very true: every man is a 'Homo Economicus', there exists no other. So, to answer your question, "can a system/society that forces people into a unnatural corsage work?" No, I do not think so, I think that every man would rather live in a system/society that answers to natural needs and wants.
I don't see how what you have just said, cannot be dove-tailed into UC. Homo Economicus (I had to look that one up to check) simply becomes not the man chasing wealth as in a Capitalistic Society (CS), but man chasing well-being in the UC. As for 'forcing', why does the waiter go to work in CS? In the UK, a state benefit provides for everymans needs, in only a basic form and many jobs provide only a small improvement over the benefits, yet they work. In UC, a possibility is that 'dangerous' work could be paid the same, but only working 4 days per week, but this would be a society decision.
OK, so there will be a mechanism for job distribution where you can gain some advantages on a personal or society level. That can work, but the gains have to be many and diverse in nature. (N.B. Home Economicus is not merely a person chasing wealth, wealth has a more philosophical connotation here. A person chasing well-being, like you said, is a better definition)

Now that I come to think of it, you still are promoting a system where there is a degree of inequality between individuals. The only difference with a market economy is that this inequality is not expressed in money or property, but only in immaterial gains. Chances are, that it all ends in the same. I can imagine people trading their extra holidays for other stuff somehow, just to overcome the absence of money (this also has historical precedents, people trading rationing tickets and food stamps for example). Money is in the end just an exchange mechanism, if it stops working or looses its value, people will try to find another.

BigNose wrote:I am not advocating 'Perfect Communism', or attempting to achieve it. Everyone is different, which by default, produces differences in society, my aim is to consider a society which minimises top to bottom to (virtually) a flat society.
And why would a radically different society like Utopian Communism be the solution to this end? If you consider western European societies (Sweden for example), some of them are rather flat (off course not perfect), and they all achieved this state by reform.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby BigNose » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:53 pm UTC

Ouiser wrote:
Spoiler:
[BigNose]
I'm sorry. I read this and burst out in laughter. Ofcourse I voluntarily gave my money to the bank, but that was for safe keeping and possibly gaining some return. So I put 1000-2000 into the Banks and now as a Tax payer I have to pay (a virtual) 9000 to get back to where we were! It is a fact that the gap between the richest and poorest is getting larger every single year. When will it stop?[/BigNose]

And here I think we find the motivation behind this UC idea. You are upset that we're shelling out all this money to bail out the banks that got us into trouble in the first place. And rightly so, I'm upset too. The answer is not to go farther away from Capitalism, it's to get back to Capitalism. The banks should have been allowed to fail. The car dealers should have been allowed to fail. Yes, it would have sucked, but it's the only way this mess will clear itself up. I understand the concern about jobs, I lost my job because a company ran itself poorly. But I found another one and it's much better. If we don't punish these companies for running themselves poorly, do you really think they'll suddenly shape up? In the case of the car industry, they probably can't shape up even if they wanted to because of the situation they find themselves in (although Ford, without government help, seems to be figuring it out). The way to fix that is to have a new company start over.

The incentives are all in the wrong place now. Do you think those running the banks are going to shape up now? No, they are "too big to fail". They've basically been told, "do whatever, we got your back." Regulation does not work nearly as well as market forces in these situations. If they had been allowed to fail, someone else would be making cars and loaning money, and they would probably be better cars and loans made more efficiently.
Actually, I had thought about it before, just never vocalised it.

Starting over. Nice concept. UC?

Azrael wrote:
Spoiler:
[BigNose]You have to consider the mind-set of the typical UC citizen. It is of 'what is best for our society'. [/BigNose]
You've gone off the rails entirely at this point. Of course anything *can* work if you define the parameters such that they allow it to. (i.e. hypothetically people can fly, if one either defines circumstances without gravity, or includes birds as people). In this case, you're saying UC can work, if you fill the microcosm with people that UC works for. This blithefully ignores the fact that you've effectively altered the entirety of human behavior.

Yes, UC can work. However, it won't work in reality, as has been repeatedly demonstrated to you in this thread.
I said mind-set, not mind control. You must of heard of the term 'Mind over matter'. You just have to change peoples point of view, to 'see' what is needed and to 'want' to contribute. These are states of mind. Humans can change, humans behaviour can be changed. As I've said before, this concept is not an A to Z through BCD process, it is an A to Z jump, which simply removes wealth as a driving force.

[quote="Le Téméraire"]
Spoiler:
[BigNose][Le Téméraire]I can believe (and history has proven this, east-Germany is a good example) that some people are motivated by the idea that they are helping society or making a better society. Still, for every person that thinks like that, there is another that is not motivated by this. Every communist or socialist state fell into the trap of promoting one above another, there was always someone who was more valuable in the eyes of the state structure than another. And there is always somebody who will try to gain (personal) profit from position or favor.[/Le Téméraire]
This is where we now have to bring in another concept of openess. All decisions must be viewable to all, so that comments/discussion may be made about the decision, both before and after. This is not a 'everyone must vote on all decisions', that is why you vote for Government, but at least all can see why a particular decision was made.[/BigNose]
Openness is something that should be favored in all societies. But openness of government alone, in my opinion, is not strong enough to withhold public officials or government bodies from making bad decisions. And it does not stop people from misinforming other people. I think your idea of openness needs more elaboration, because it is rather difficult for me to cut it loose from current politics (and current means to influence public opinion and public vote).
UC Government will still make bad decisions, but that is dependent on your point of view. One mans meat is another mans poison.Consider openess in its fullest extent. Why is there a need for secrets? For personal gain? Typically that applies to a CS world, but money is not the driving force in UC.

Spoiler:
[BigNose][Le Téméraire]I am really convinced that there is no way around this. The basic premise of modern economical theory is, in my opinion, very true: every man is a 'Homo Economicus', there exists no other. So, to answer your question, "can a system/society that forces people into a unnatural corsage work?" No, I do not think so, I think that every man would rather live in a system/society that answers to natural needs and wants.[/Le Téméraire]I don't see how what you have just said, cannot be dove-tailed into UC. Homo Economicus (I had to look that one up to check) simply becomes not the man chasing wealth as in a Capitalistic Society (CS), but man chasing well-being in the UC. As for 'forcing', why does the waiter go to work in CS? In the UK, a state benefit provides for everymans needs, in only a basic form and many jobs provide only a small improvement over the benefits, yet they work. In UC, a possibility is that 'dangerous' work could be paid the same, but only working 4 days per week, but this would be a society decision.[/BigNose]
OK, so there will be a mechanism for job distribution where you can gain some advantages on a personal or society level. That can work, but the gains have to be many and diverse in nature. (N.B. Home Economicus is not merely a person chasing wealth, wealth has a more philosophical connotation here. A person chasing well-being, like you said, is a better definition)
Without exploring in the micro scale, the preference is to keep variation of 'advantages' to a minimum, or atleast consistent, without stretching too far from the model, or we end up in CS.

Spoiler:
[BigNose]I am not advocating 'Perfect Communism', or attempting to achieve it. Everyone is different, which by default, produces differences in society, my aim is to consider a society which minimises top to bottom to (virtually) a flat society.[/BigNose]And why would a radically different society like Utopian Communism be the solution to this end? If you consider western European societies (Sweden for example), some of them are rather flat (off course not perfect), and they all achieved this state by reform.
I'm sorry to disagree with you, but in every country there are the rich and the poor. Rich and poor may be relative per country, but it still exists. Sweden may show signs of UC, but on a very very limited scale.

[OK, completely screwing up the BB operations. Time to go home for now for me.]
Adacore wrote:In all honesty, BigNose has been pinging me slightly with almost every post since the start of the game. But he always does - I was utterly convinced he was anti-town for most of Wizardry2 and he was the High Wizard. I just can't read him.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby phonon266737 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

I think the closest thing to this, that is possible, is known by some as "free market anarchism"

In essence, those of you who support UC can live that way. You are an organization: within it, you don't jave private property. But to the world, the organization does. Run yourself as a nonprofit and you won't have to pay much in the way of taxes. Find a wealthy person who is willing to donate his estate to the cause. When you need something, trade/barter/whatever for it.

Just make sure that if noone within your society has it, you pay for it. This might mean a few of you work a unwanted job in the capitalist world, and pay a small bit of tax to the government who is providing military defense /etc /etc for you, and bring that money back to the commune in case you have to purchase something from the outside world. Allow people to come and go as they please, leaving only with what they brought (kind of like a pre nup).

If you feel you can create a Utopia behind those doors, more will want to join you.

You even have the advantage of using the free market - you don't need to find communist supporters to work the coal mines, you just buy electricity from the market, and a few of you work as waiters and waitresses to pay for it. Don't try to go all self sufficient all at once - make your society within the current free market. If it is better, more effieicnt, whatever, then you will grow.

Just don't trap people there, or refuse to let them leave with the same amount of stuff they brought when they joined. The society needs to be sustainable, meaning it needs to be balanced without growth. Benefit from the contributions of each while they are a member - not the contributions of "initiation fees". The latter is commonly referred to as a ponzi scheme.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby Ouiser » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:56 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:
Ouiser wrote:
Spoiler:
[BigNose]
I'm sorry. I read this and burst out in laughter. Ofcourse I voluntarily gave my money to the bank, but that was for safe keeping and possibly gaining some return. So I put 1000-2000 into the Banks and now as a Tax payer I have to pay (a virtual) 9000 to get back to where we were! It is a fact that the gap between the richest and poorest is getting larger every single year. When will it stop?[/BigNose]

And here I think we find the motivation behind this UC idea. You are upset that we're shelling out all this money to bail out the banks that got us into trouble in the first place. And rightly so, I'm upset too. The answer is not to go farther away from Capitalism, it's to get back to Capitalism. The banks should have been allowed to fail. The car dealers should have been allowed to fail. Yes, it would have sucked, but it's the only way this mess will clear itself up. I understand the concern about jobs, I lost my job because a company ran itself poorly. But I found another one and it's much better. If we don't punish these companies for running themselves poorly, do you really think they'll suddenly shape up? In the case of the car industry, they probably can't shape up even if they wanted to because of the situation they find themselves in (although Ford, without government help, seems to be figuring it out). The way to fix that is to have a new company start over.

The incentives are all in the wrong place now. Do you think those running the banks are going to shape up now? No, they are "too big to fail". They've basically been told, "do whatever, we got your back." Regulation does not work nearly as well as market forces in these situations. If they had been allowed to fail, someone else would be making cars and loaning money, and they would probably be better cars and loans made more efficiently.
Actually, I had thought about it before, just never vocalised it.

Starting over. Nice concept. UC?



That's laughable. We're not giving Capitalism a proper try, so let's scrap it and start over with UC? I suggested a company starting over, not an entire mindset and economic system.

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Re: Utopian Communism - Can it work?

Postby phonon266737 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:35 pm UTC

BigNose wrote:Actually, I had thought about it before, just never vocalised it. Starting over. Nice concept. UC?


Ok. Lets do it.

Step One: Find people who want UC. Develop rules and guidelines until X people vote for them. Find somewhere to live. Move there.
Step Two: ????
Step Three : Profit!

Oh yeah. Scratch step 3.


(In retrospect of that joke, once you have this society together with ready and willing citizens...what exactly do you do for step 3? In capitalism, existence is to profit, be it monetary, spiritual, whatever the hell you want)


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