Pure Communism vs. A Capitalistic Democracy

To everyone who claims communism works only in theory… or will never work for one reason or another.  The same can be said of democracy.  It works great in theory, but eventually fails as well.  I don’t believe what America lives in now is much of a democracy.  I think it is a weak plutocracy under the guise of democracy.

The law of human nature that defeats communism is “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  The law of human nature that turns democracy into plutocracy is simply selfishness and greed.  When people are given the power to do what they think is in their best interest they will try to benefit themselves as much as possible.  This creates competition and competition between parties is crushed in the name of a free capitalist market and majority rules.  Thus resulting in the formation of classes and ultimately class struggle.

Communism has a hard time survivng in this world because nearly every national economy follows capitalist ideals.  It is hard to survive in a competitive market when your philosophy and well being revolves around your ability to cooperate with your fellow man.  A communist nation can not easily compete against multiple nations trying to do what is best for themselves.

Ever see the movie, A Beautiful Mind?  A crazy mathematician at an Ivy League school writes a paper that his professors claim undoes the last couple hundred years of economic theory(Adam Smith’s laissez-faire economics).  John Nash, the main character, is inspired by a hot blonde that all of his friends want a shot at.  If they all try to woo her all of her girlfriends will be turned off when they come after them because they don’t want to be second choice.  What he suggests to his friends is that they put personal ambitions aside and each go after a different girl because it is cooperation that will benefit them the most.  If they compete, at best one guy gets one girl. If they cooperate, five guys get five girls.  That which is best for the individual and has a positive or neutral effect on the community is best overall.  Cooperation is the driving force behind the communist ideal. 

It would be my preference to be under a socialist government(aiming for a communist society), because I feel it would be easier to deal with a a few corrupt leaders every so often than a nation of selfish and greedy people.

Capitalism mixed with democracy only encourages people to take advantage of each other getting more and more wealthy and as wealth grows so does power.  The poor suffer and the rich prosper.  You start with people like the founding fathers who believed the governement should have little control over society as evidenced by the Bill of Rights.

The founding fathers were libertarians(or at least I will assert so considering what I’ve been told about the originally profound affect Thomas Paine had on the people at that time).  Because of the laissez-faire economic theory made so popular at the time by Adam Smith, our little peaceful country has slowly evolved into the money and power hungry superpower it is now.  We were a libertarian people, but to protect our fortunes and the freedoms of those in control, the laws had to be made stricter and stricter.  We have gradually advanced linearly up the compass towards the authoritarian end.

We will continue to follow this direction until the plutocracy gains too much power that people cannot reverse it.  At this point the government will slowly evolve into an oligarchy and then into a tyranny as the political participants continue to compete themselves into the top spot.  Between the plutocracy and the tyranny the people’s hope lies only in their ability to revolt and change our economic theory where competition is unnecessary.  This is where the socialist step towards communism begins.

(Note: I wrote this as a two part response to peoples’ allegations that Communism is a bad theory in the Newgrounds political forum.  It was much longer to compensate for the relative ignorance of definitions of terms and the idea of a 2D political system than the linear one most are aware of.  I’ve eliminated most of the explanations seeing as this is generally a more intelligent audience.  I repost it here for general feedback.  I thought some of my claims and theories deserved a little more attention than the complete ignorance it was given in the flash geek corner of the internet.  So now I leave it to yall to determine its merits.  I look forward to the ensuing discussion.)

40 thoughts on “Pure Communism vs. A Capitalistic Democracy

  1. I’ve got a splinter in the big toe of my right foot.

    Was that ensuing enough for you?
    Sorry…..I’ll go to bed now.

  2. My first and prevalent thought on communism / socialsim is that human nature itself dooms it to failure. I’ve never studied it in great detail, so correct me if I’m wrong, but the prevailing philosophy of socialism appears to be “everyone gets an equal share, regardless of what they contribute”. If that is accurate, where is the encouragement to excel? Why work harder when I’ll get the same reward no matter what I do?

    Personally, I like living in a capitalist society and see nothing wrong with greed, in and of itself. Not to get to Gordon Gecko, but greed is nothing more than intense desire and it is directly responsible for many of the advances we’ve made over the years. Greed for more knowledge and a better life.

  3. Theo, you make some accurate observations, however, the governmental system under which we operate is more of a representative republic than a democracy.  That may be where things went astray.  In a true democracy, every citizen would vote on every issue- kind of like a referendum.  Certainly at the local level, we have the real trappings of democracy (e.g. ballot initiatives, funding legislation, etc…), but at the national level (as well as the local level for the most part) we rely on putting an individual in power to make these decisions for us.  It is pretty much impossible to find a public official who will always vote on an issue the same as you.  In addition, this individual can be influenced either through money or some other inducement.
      As for communism, well, it’s been almost 20 years since I have read the Communist Manifesto, but I will give it a shot.  The biggest flaw in the theory itself is that Marx wanted it treated as a scientific hypothesis.  Under this definition Marx should have been able to make accurate predictions.  The biggest prediction he made was where the proletariat revolution would begin.  He believed that it would start in Germany (I can’t remember if he posited a certain timeframe as well).  Well, the closest there was to a proletariat revolution was the Bolshevik revolution of Russia.  D’oh- he missed the mark!  Secondly, according to his hypothesis, class distinctions would cease to exist (i.e., a “leveled playing field”).  What we see in practice is more like a bizarre amalgam of totalitarianism, State capitalism, and some socialism (housing, food, medical).  Do you think that Fidel castro has the same standard of living as a Cuban campesino?  Did Stalin have the same quality of life as the average Soviet worker?  This ending of “class struggle” ties into the final point.  Much of Marx’s theory was based upon Hegelian history- cyclical.  While there might be broad, crude patterns in history, it is never exactly the same.  There are always new phenomena and criteria involved in the unfolding of history.  Perhaps a better analogy would be circles on a line or a corkscrew view.
      Finally, aesthetically, I would have to agree with KPatrick.  I view socialism in much the same light as utilitarianism.  I feel that it encourages mediocrity.  In addition, these philosophical views in practice can actually cause a “perpetual” minority to occur.  Unfettered laissez faire can lead to situations like the Robber Barons/ train monopolies of the late 1800’s.  The political system that the US has is not perfect, but it is much better than what many people experience.  It has weathered over its 200+ years and its original checks and balances seem to be under direct assault by the current administration, but Americans do enjoy quite a few freedoms that many otehrs do not have.

  4. I believe that, apart from the mediocrity criticism leveraged against communism in the two posts above, there is also another big problem with it.

    Communism, as is, seems to me a ‘solution for everything’. It aims to solve all the problems in one big package, leaving little wiggle room, because after all, its the optimal solution for all problems – lets share.

    Unlike what you hinted at in your post, Theocrat, I feel that a capitalism+democracy combo is much better at eventually purging negative influences. This does not mean that it is incapable of eventually becoming an oligarchy or tyranny, but I feel it is actually less likely to do so than communism.

    As a kid (with communist parents, natch) I once tried to explain communism to another kid as a kind of benevolent dictatorship. Certainly most communist systems of the world have tended to become very restrictive top-down systems.

    But back to capitalism – remember for one thing that even if we live in an increasingly unpleasant state of capitalism (at least if you don’t belong to the top 10 percent f the population), capitalism has had its ups and downs before. Robber baron capitalism has existed before, and was eventually curbed to a substantial degree again. As long as a democracy exists, it can be changed. So far, democracy is still alive in the US, Bush’s attack on the judiciary and GOP gerrymandering nonwithstanding.

    The real problem right now is that capitalism has gone GLOBAL, and democracy is still very, very much NATIONAL and local. This gives the capitalists powers that the people (and even their more supporting politicans) cannot resist.

  5. The correct response would therefore be global unions and other such organizations, which would be working to tame the negative influences of capitalism.

    Right now however, unions have succesfully been painted as a negative influence, CAUSING the loss of employment, lowering the quality of goods, and being composed mainly of old fogies who do not understand the new world we live in. Capitalism certainly knows how to use the media. It always has – you can be sure that the unions of the earlier industrial times had some bad press of their own…

    Captcha: plan46

  6. <

    It would be my preference to be under a socialist government(aiming for a communist society), because I feel it would be easier to deal with a a few corrupt leaders every so often than a nation of selfish and greedy people

    .>

    So just how would you “deal” with these few corrupt leaders?
    Maybe, how the Soviets dealt with Stalin or how the Chinese dealt with Mao?

    Of course, I’m sure you would be right out in front carrying hmmm, lets say a wooden stick or an old piece of pipe (cause of course there would be no guns in your country) to deal with these few corrupt leaders and an army of well armed soldiers,  lol.

    Hell, In this country we can’t even vote the corrupt ones out of office!

    I could go on… I’ll spare you the embarrassment LOL

  7. KPG said:

    be “everyone gets an equal share, regardless of what they contribute

  8. but Americans do enjoy quite a few freedoms that many otehrs do not have.

    That’s true in more way than one. We have the ‘freedom’ to run the world, and manipulate it for our gain and the poverty of anyone who seems exploitable. What would America be without this ‘essential liberty’? America’s wealth didn’t come from nowhere, it comes from the nations of sweat shops that feed our greedy economy. There can be no rich without a sweaty working class. Each person has a share or life, but when you demand double or triple or 5 times your share, someone has to go without.

    had to vent.  sorry

  9. Who said anything about limits on excesses?
    the only limit would be gross imput minus sustainability. The remainder is in turn devided by head. The more efficiently things get done
    the higher the remainder and the faster common
    goals are achieved. (advances in medicine, technology, etc..) The encentive is rapid and efficient progress. Agreed though.. it certainly
    isn’t freeform goodwill towards men but at least its unified. Although greed drives a market mighty fine.. catch your fucking pokemon, catch em all.

    Who said anything about feelings? save that for friends, family and the sack. my pussy hurts too but I still go to work every day. not exactly enjoyable, but i still go as long as I get my cut.
    I understand the ‘you first’ mentality..
    ..selfish and rooted in damned good reason Im certain. Hell I think I payed 30,000+ to social programs and taxes last year. I should be with you on this, but I am not. Im certain they were wasted and excessive. That is the only part about it that pisses me off. Current society doesnt see the full potential of its contribution.. ..not ever.

    and.. Who said anything about taxes?
    Sure you have to count your ‘product’ in order to divy it up but you can eliminate currency in a heartbeat. Granted a barter system will ensue
    but who cares.. its just a reshuffling of alotted resources. there’s no need to tax or regulate it.
    So, indeed one may be able to “get an upper hand”
    over the next guy still. So pokemon still exist dont worry.

    As far as the rank and file goes.
    A metaphor for precisely acting groups functioning
    as a unit. Accountability, reward and punishment.
    No one merits any more or less value. So, no one is any worse off. There is almost no accountability in the US Govt. Certainly no punishment. You can be a fuck up and they’ll still pay you. Grossly inefficient and absurd. I am as serious as a heart attack. Some folks just need to have a product wrung from them.  Nothing worse than a limpdick. Granted, as I said, it is doubtful the whole of humainity will ever unify and be in step on any scale for any goal for any reason.

  10. We have the ‘freedom’ to run the world, and manipulate it for our gain and the poverty of anyone who seems exploitable.

      You mean like old Europe and the Americas, the Mideast, Far East, and Africa?  Or maybe like China and Tibet and Taiwan?  The Soviet Union and eastern Europe and Asia?  The Greeks and Romans and Africa and the rest of Europe?  The coastal African tribes selling inland African tribal people to the slave trade?  Britian and the Falklands?
      The fact is that no matter what it is called, most large modern political entities actually have some form of capitalism, whether the proceeds go to the State, an individual, or a committee.  As well, many corporations are now multinational.  Do some research before you buy from a company and if you don’t like what they do, don’t buy from them.  Exploitation of fellow men has been around since mankind left his hunting and gathering ways to form large sedentary population centers.  Certain political systems allow individuals to attempt to effect change while others don’t.  There is plenty of injustice in the world and enough guilt to go around for everyone.  At least I am able to decry those practices with which I don’t agree without fear of retribution as well as having a choice as to who gets my business.

  11. I think the point is made from the initial post and subsequent follow-up that both ideologies have their problems.  Aside from the bad connotations that communism has from the McCarthy era and the cold war it still has fundamental problems.  The republic / democracy thing also has it’s share of corruption and malfeasants.

    I am more interested in why both systems end up looking so similar once they have been put in practice (and given suitable time to become corrupted).

    It could just be that the struggle is all part of the process.  In Darwin terms the adaptation of the system, as situations change, is what makes it vital.  Portions of the system that adapt too slowly are replaced and those that adapt too quickly are killed.  What is left is the system of checks and balances that are acceptable and have evolved to accommodate the process as it needs to be today.  To say it was better before or that the system is good or bad is irrelevant.

    On the other hand, the corruption of the system outside of the ideals may just be a part of that survival advantage I have been muttering about.  The ideal of “living the American dream

  12. Who said anything about limits on excesses?
    the only limit would be gross imput minus sustainability. The remainder is in turn devided by head. The more efficiently things get done
    the higher the remainder and the faster common
    goals are achieved.

    A correction and a comment, Qoayn:

    Correction: When *I* talked about limits on excesses I was talking about what a democratic-capitalist society should do to ensure excesses of the system are curbed. In other words: make laws to protect the weak and regulate those things that are NOT regulated well by the market (such as environmental protections or labor safety standards).

    Comment: What you talked about seems WAY too idealistic for me (and when you try to create a new system for how we are to live, *realism* should be playing a leading role). Why? Because the main flaw in your (communist/socialist) system is that the individual has less incentive to be active. You say take the remainder and divide it by head – what if I slack?

    Lets say I don’t slack MUCH. Just enough to be somewhat below-average. NOTHING is going to happen to me. How could you really reprimand someone like me in such a system, whose basis is equality? But when everyone starts to slack a little, others start too, and the whole thing slowly grinds down.

    The Soviet Union had some of the best scientists and engineers of the world, and as such, the Russians are likely not much lazier than other people. Yet after a few decades of communism, their industries were rotting, inefficient and totally outpaced by free-market mechanisms.

    Who said anything about feelings? save that for friends, family and the sack.

    Uh? Strange comment of yours. *I* care about feelings. If I *feel* that my money goes to people who do not deserve it, I dislike that. Thats what I was saying above in my comment. I support basic securities (like health care and such) for everyone, and a society that provides a level playing field (for example in providing free or subsidized education). That is what I want to pay taxes for. Not a system that takes all my money and then gives me back an ‘even share’.

    Hell I think I payed 30,000+ to social programs and taxes last year. I should be with you on this, but I am not. Im certain they were wasted and excessive.

    Uh, I still don’t get your basic gist. Are you really supposing that a communist system – without some new magic recipe to remove the errors of past iterations of communism – would actually be MORE efficient in distributing the wealth. Where do you get that idea?

    Sure you have to count your ‘product’ in order to divy it up but you can eliminate currency in a heartbeat. Granted a barter system will ensue

    Sorry, but this is getting less respactable in my eyes by the line. Do you realize the inefficiencies inherent in a barter system? If I want a litre of milk, do I really want to trade a spoon for it?

    I’m a traffic planner by the way? How do I trade planning highways for MY milk? Hello Mr. Farmer, do you need a square foot of highway planned – I need some eggs!

    Money is there for a reason, and money ain’t evil.

  13. respactable => respectable

    Strike the first ‘?’ After ‘I’m a traffic planner…

  14. I agree with what Daniel was saying.  If 90% of the world could actually make ends meet how rich would we really be in America and Europe?

    Originally posted by ingolfson:
    But that would be ENFORCED charity, ENFORCED sharing. A totally different thing than altruism/charity because you feel generous or feel for someone else.

    That’s how it has always been done in the past.  The world needs to realize a new brand of socialism.  Maybe Bruno is right and we can’t not be corrupted.  I do admit that is the major setback of a socialist government, but I still insist we try.  What good is only aiming to be realistic if we don’t know where we could get by being idealistic?

    As for a new brand of socialism, what would happen if China included the Bill of Rights into their national constitution or whatever they have?  What if their authoritarian government got off their high horse and gave the country back to the people in line with the ideals they were supposed to follow from the beginning?  The government has lost sight of pure communism due to their greed.  I’m not sure we have yet seen a communist society that was both free and equal.  Freedom is always sacrificed for equality.  Give the people societal freedom and maintain economic communism.

    The Soviet Union collapsed for many reasons, but could it have stood longer if the people had something more to look forward to than alcohol?  Alcoholism was huge during communist reign because it was their only escape.  They could not be rich and they could not be free.  But why shouldn’t a country be able to be content with being free and equally provided for?

    I really wish the energy industry were socialized in America.  Everybody needs heat, electricity, gas and water.  Why should companies compete and make a killing off of what is clearly needed.  We have the Post Office doing a fine job, IMO.  The education system could certainly use more work, but its better than being apprenticed by your parents or neighborhood [occupation here].

    More theorizing here, but what would happen if caps were put on how much could be made on a salary?  Why does anyone need to make more than $1,000,000 a year?  The president gets paid $400,000 a year and whether or not you agree with what he does I do think he earns a greater percentage of that than Gates does of the multibillions that flood into him.  There is certainly no need for billionaires.  I really don’t think Trump or Gates do a days work worth anything near what they get paid.  After a business pays its expenses and salaries to its employees the profit should not go into the pocket of the CEO.  He can’t spend that.  Give it to the government or charity.  How long would it take to cure AIDS and cancer and make significant steps to alleviate world hunger if CEOs couldn’t sit on money they will not spend?

    What to do with motivation?  Not sure.  Maybe if people saw that the majority of the world is still in a more desperate situation than our poorest people they might be enticed to do what they can to alleviate it.  I don’t encourage giving money away for laziness, but in a world society there are other peoples’ lives at stake than our own.  Until we experience the need that is out there and the satisfaction of making a difference in someone’s life, I don’t expect us to care anymore than we do right now.

    Ken, the only thing that can be done with corrupt leaders must be done.  The army must first be on the side of the people.  The leaders if they do not respond to the appeal of the people must be revolted against.  If the people desire freedom and equality that go along with a pure communist society, they must be willingly to insure it with their own blood at times.

    Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
    -Thomas Paine

    The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
    -John Stewart Mill

    Would the Tiananmen Square Massacre need to have happened if the people were guaranteed the basic liberties of the the Bill of Rights?

    I had a poltical science professor say that people should not be disturbed at low voter turn out because it often means that people are comfortable and complacent enough that they don’t see a point.  I can’t recall any significant change any of the last three presidents have had on my home or family as I’ve grown up.  This proposed brand of socialism may still have bugs to work out, but if the people are comfortable in it then no one is going to create a civil war over an inconvenience.

  15. The problem with communism is explained in game theory. Hundreds of studies in “the prisoners’ dilemma” have shown that, though ideal, the ‘both cooperate’ strategy is always doomed to failure, because there is simply too much temptation to defect.

    When you have a group of monkeys, if they all decide to unconditionally share what food they have, at some point cheaters would show up to take advantage of the others’ generosity. But if everyone only eats what food they have, a monkey would be SOL when he doesn’t happen to find enough food.

    So the tit-for-tat strategy comes to play. A monkey will share what he has and then expect the other to reciprocate. In the real world, he will take advantage when he can and will become upset when he catches other monkeys attempting to cheat him.

    And humans are the same way. In this model, the concept of ‘altuism’ doesn’t exist. Everything we do is for selfish reasons. We give only because it is an evolutionary stable strategy that involves payback.

    That’s why capitalism works. It accepts the fact that man is by nature greedy and uses money as a unit of co-operation.

    Communism fails because if people can cheat they will cheat and if they have no motivation, they won’t work.

    It sucks that we came from monkeys and sucks even more that we’ve adopted and maintained the ‘tit-for-tat’ strategy and that any other strategy only works in limited scales for a limited time. But that’s game theory/economy/the real world for you.

  16. Theocrat and others… I do not want you to consider me cynical.

    However, I do not see a reason to dream and then propose that dream as reality when I see no way of making that dream come true. I propose incrementalism – and revolutionary steps only where needed to break up encrusted structures, not to elevate us to a higher step.

    Such a higher step can, in my opinion only be achieved in an evolution of culture and maybe even biology that is too slow for single mortals.

    The world needs to realize a new brand of socialism.

    If you had said: ‘The world needs a new kind of social democracy (as we Europeans/Germans understand it), I would have assented.

    I’m not sure we have yet seen a communist society that was both free and equal.

    I’m pretty sure we have not. Obviously the ‘equal’ part has never been achieved in capitalist countries either. But we have achieved freedom, and even if said freedom is periodically threathened, we have yet to see any major, PERMANENT backsliding in any country that has established democracy. That is an amazing thing. The US has had it, in fits and starts for centuries. Most of Europe has had it for half a century now. The ‘freedom’ part is amazingly resilent, and gives hope that the ‘equal’ part can at least be attempted again.

    That said, I don’t really wan’t or care about EQUALITY. I think that a lack of WANT, the lack of real material NEED, combined with a good CHANCE to better yourself if you apply yourself – that this is both lofty and realistic enough a goal.

    More theorizing here, but what would happen if caps were put on how much could be made on a salary?  Why does anyone need to make more than $1,000,000 a year?

    What would happen? They would get their money through hidden channels, further corrupting a system.

    I don’t care if someone earns tons of money more than he can spend, as long as two goals/restrictions are met: everyone gets at least a fair wage (shucks if some get ridiculously high ones, they can’t take it with them, so forget it and live happily on your own) and the rich ones are not able to leverage their cash into unfair political power over the rest.

    I could go over some other points in your post, but I guess my point is better made if I refrain from tit-for-tat on minor things. Those goals I mentioned are those that we should be working to achieve WITHIN the system, instead of toppling it. Thats my opinion.

  17. I think I agree to many of your points ingolfson.  If social democracy is the necessary step towards socialism and is needed in the path to scoialism than I would say I have no choice than to agree with you.  Being an American, I am not familiar with how a social democracy works otherwsie I may have included it in my original post.  I should probably research it so if you have any good links I’d love to read them.

    Originally posted by ingolfson:
    …the rich ones are not able to leverage their cash into unfair political power over the rest.

    And what would stop them?  If they have an unfair advantage what should keep them from exploiting it.  When equality is an aim this does more to curb things like this.  Trying to encourage equality will give fewer people the ability to exploit their wealth.

  18. let me see which parts of my ass i can reattatch after its been handed to me.. ..tks ingolfson.

    Uh? Strange comment of yours. *I* care about feelings. If I *feel* that my money goes to people who do not deserve it, I dislike that.

    youre not thinking like a good commie.. you are part of a team, we care if youre below average
    and you slack.
    youre going to have to pick up the pace or we’re going to have to make you into soilent green.

    I guess that would have been better conveyed in my inital post as :
    When a church holds a bake sale the fuckers go because “they should” or “it’s the right thing to do”
    not because they want to or they’re humble or any of that shit. so since they’re willing to contribute on a small scale for the wrong reasons to a good cause, why not a global scale?

    remember, even you said it.. youre in this for you.. ..as i am in it for me..

    Uh, I still don’t get your basic gist.

    as far as the cash goes, I pay my fair share for the shit programs that we currently have in place
    most of which is wasted. And i really cant benefit from any of them. so i was verbalizing an attempt at a soloution to this gross inefficiency. as for bartering.. americans love petty trade and dealing..
    look at ebay and garage sales. swap meets and whatnot. i’ll just say “its just like ebay and it helps national security” and the sheep will gobble it up.

    sure im fancifully idealistic. one day i want current systems to work and believe they can be
    fixed with acccountability, logic and reason. and then the next i think “that’ll never happen. these people fucking suck, throw the bitches in shackles and make em crack rocks until they’re dead, scrap it fucking all and start over”

    Im sure any magical system i could come up with would fail. and all have flaws because the systems would have people in them.

    all i know is this shit isnt looking out for me, it never has and it never will.

    ..interesting bit on the primates though guys.

    although i think evolution was spot on,
    i believe this was off of the mark:

    It sucks that we came from monkeys

    as i recall we end up being more like cousins rather than direct decendants

    *sigh* selfish and disparagingly similar..

  19. wow i fucked that one up..

    somehow got a quote block out of place i guess.

    so much for a reattatched ass..

  20. Being an American, I am not familiar with how a social democracy works

    Well, I’ll probably have a lot of people howling or grimacing at my attempt to explain it, but as I see it, social democracy is a belief that in a democracy, the market economy can be tamed. It will still work as market should, i.e. supply and demand are king, people are rewarded for work, money is used as investment capital…

    At the same time however, there are checks and balances (just in the same way they exist in politics in any good democracy) to prevent things like unfairly low wages, hazardous working conditions and monopolistic concentrations of power. The thought of social democracy also usually includes social security systems that take care of the sick and the old.

    Sadly, it basically suffers from two major problems – which is why social democracy is in decline even here in Europe, where it was the leading idea (or at least an influential alternative to the systems in power) for the last half a century at least.

    The first problem is that, needing checks and balances with real bite, it is a system that tends to be complex, and bureaucracy-heavy. Like any such system it has a tendency to grow beyond the original scope, and to lose efficiency.

    The second problem is external – all those checks and balances DO restrict the market forces – after all this is their main goal. And with the growing globalization, money can simply flow somewhere else, holding the costly systems of social democracy hostage in an increasingly competetitive world.

    the rich ones are not able to leverage their cash into unfair political power over the rest.

    And what would stop them?

    In Europe, for the last decades, the state, the unions. Not really different from the way it is in the US – after all, you invented the modern democratic state, and your history is full of union and labor struggles as well as that of Europe.

    However, as stated above – the nation state is weak compared with a multinational market. And the multinational political institutions are still weak, and many powerful forces want to keep it that way (see the way the UN is being treated).

    youre not thinking like a good commie..

    Thanks. I have communist parents, though (well, former ones). Myself I lean a lot more libertarian than that, though unlike my favorite author Heinlein, I realize that rules and regulations are necessary if we want to achieve more than a winner-takes-all world.

    so since they’re willing to contribute on a small scale for the wrong reasons to a good cause, why not a global scale?

    Too cynical a view for me. I’d rather accept that humans are flawed and try to work with that instead of stating that they are all stupid anyway and we shoud force them to get better, even if we have too hoodwink them to do it.

    Not that I don’t have my ‘If I was the king of the world, the world would sure be a better place!”-moments. Often in fact.

    as for bartering.. americans love petty trade and dealing..
    look at ebay and garage sales. swap meets and whatnot.

    Yet you haven’t answered my question on how we are ever going to trade complex services like planning, research – or the kind of works that are way too big for indviduals, like building a waterworks – without resorting to some way of exchange medium (i.e. money, credit, whatever you call it).

    I pay my fair share for the shit programs that we currently have in place
    most of which is wasted. And i really cant benefit from any of them.

    Government wastes money in spades, and the bigger it is, the more it tends to waste. Its like watering a field – lots of the water never gets to your crops. But you still need to water the field if you have a dry spell.

    I feel that this whole thread is basically a war of words between idealism and realism, when what the world needs is a good mixture.

  21. Not that I don’t have my ‘If I was the king of the world, the world would sure be a better place!”-moments. Often in fact.

    Amen! I think we all do. I really tend to throw reality out the window though. That makes it more entertaining…

    Yet you haven’t answered my question on how we are ever going to trade complex services like planning, research – or the kind of works that are way too big for indviduals, like building a waterworks

    I had kind of envisioned a global task based ‘economy’ of sorts.. no “private biz” on the overlords time.
    The overlord says you farm for humainty, youre a farmer. If the overlord says the municipal water system gets built everyone makes it happen. (eliminate private contractors)For showing up you have earned the right to medicine, food, shelter & your children’s brainwashing/education today. If you dont contribute you dont get & neither do they. maybe hunger and your sick children will encourage you to come back to work. as for what you do with your off time.. hell in the end you get your free water and the joy of a job well done for contributing society. all for the price of some sweat. contribute 6 days in a row, and you get one day off. no holidays. work
    two of your children after school for 4 days and
    they get eligibility to special programs and more advanced education. Further engrainig a good work ethic and rewarding those with it. Work a third child and you get an extra day off every other week and the child retains its advanced educational Work the whole family and get access to better housing and more food. Reward excellent
    work ethic and output. The alternative is obvious.
    so a vain attempt to control and allocate all resources to everyone on the planet.

    I feel that this whole thread is basically a war of words between idealism and realism, when what the world needs is a good mixture.

    agreed marching around telling folks what/how/why to do stuff can get awful boring and really fucking annoying. I do really hate to lead folks by the nose. Middle ground would be nice.

    Have Spacesuit –

  22. Inert details that were there for filler thats it.
    Besides what else are you gonna call yourself when you rule the world? brainwashing makes for a good
    way to throw in sarcasm on controlling education/
    and what people know.

    so if my writing style has an odd flare because there’s an asshole attatched to it im sorry.
    and my apologies for adding in my disdain for humainity in the process.

  23. Okay, I’ll bite.  Theocrat, you give an example of cooperation from A Beautiful Mind:

    If they compete, at best one guy gets one girl. If they cooperate, five guys get five girls.

    More realistically, in premodern societies, competition often led to one guy getting five girls, and four guys getting no girls. The outlawing of polygamy leveled the field somewhat.

    That which is best for the individual and has a positive or neutral effect on the community is best overall.

    The problem with this bland avowal is that it’s not easy to define what’s “best for the individual”, and it’s notoriously difficult to define “a positive effect on the community”.

    Ingolfson, you’re a traffic planner?  Did you send all these trucks from Germany to Italy that rumble past my apartment, or was that the EU?  Basically, I agree with your assessment of European socialist democracies- they are topheavy and maddeningly bureaucratic, but more humane and farsighted than America, especially with the current Administration.

    Governing us tribal apes is an immensely complex balancing act.  There’s nothing natural or obvious about it, and it’s all but impossible to predict what form of government will produce what future.

    If individuals are expected to work too much for the whole and incentive is not rewarded, you have what I saw behind the Iron Curtain- stagnation and hopelessness (“They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work”).  If there is no responsibility for the whole, you have the tragedy of the commons and robber barons.  Striking a balance between cooperation and individualism is what makes human society possible.  Some societies do it better in some ways than others, but none is perfect- as Kant said, “Aus so krummem Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden”. (out of such crooked wood, as man is made, nothing completely straight can be built).  We are not like ants- culture is not built into us.  It is a art which must be taught, and learned.

  24. Ingolfson, you’re a traffic planner?  Did you send all these trucks from Germany to Italy that rumble past my apartment, or was that the EU?

    Nah, I hust got my little ‘Dipl.-Ing.’-title three months ago. As it seems, I’m likely going to relocate to New Zealand (!) to find a good job, as there ain’t many in Germany right now.

    Market forces at work…

    We are not like ants- culture is not built into us.  It is a art which must be taught, and learned.

    Yet – contrary to the ‘our bad primate-like base nature’-gist of some of the previous posts, behavioral scientists have by now found out that not only cooperation but even a sense of fairness and ‘justice’ is already in evidence among primates.

    The case shown in these studies was that the primate would refuse a small reward (food) for some task if they had seen other primates of their group get a much more desirable treat for the same activity. Even though by refusing, they at first seemed to lose out totally.

    I don’t think thats that fundamentally different from poor workers striking for higher wages because they see that the boss lives in plenty.

    As (mostly) atheists here we should be the first to realize that ‘having evolved from animals’ is not a bad thing in itself.

  25. hell I’m inclined to think we havn’t ‘evolved from animals’ at all.. ..that would mean that we have somehow diverged in a positive manner from the mainstream vertabrates.. in fact we are probably
    more ‘animal’ now than ever.

    Communication has allowed us to further emphasise our animalstic nature to an extreme probably beyond
    that of what evoloution would have allowed for alone.

  26. ingolfson has just touched on something else that occurred to me.  If, as most of you believe, that we have evolved from animals and animals live in relative utopia with one another, how did we evolve to have a free will?  Why did we not evolve like the animals did and have relative utopia with each other and nature?  Or are we still getting there?  Maybe we are not physically evolving anymore and are supposed to evolve intellectually and philosophically to make utopia part of our nature.  Could this mean that while the other species evolved they had a period of free will themselves until they figured out how to live in utopia with each other and their surroundings?

    Any thoughts on these musings?  Oh, and just in case you have your hopes up that I might be beginning to think like yall, I’m only separating my logic from my belief.  I’m still a firm believer in the inerrancy of the Bible. tongue wink

  27. If, as most of you believe, that we have evolved from animals and animals live in relative utopia with one another, how did we evolve to have a free will?  Why did we not evolve like the animals did and have relative utopia with each other and nature?  Or are we still getting there?

      Whoa, Theo, hold on there.  Animals have a free will as well.  Anyone who has tried training different dogs can tell that.  Who says that animals live in a relative utopia?  In fact, most animals have a mure brutal life in the wild than in captivity.  They also tend to live longer in captivity.
      You will have to define what you mean by “utopia” as well.  Are you talking about living harmoniously with fellow man or living peacefully with the rest of nature?  The few hunting/gathering tribes that still remain manage to live well with their environment, but they still hunt and kill animals for sustenance (as well as plumage and dur for decoration).  Some would claim that many of our problems can be traced to technical knowledge outstripping our philosophy.  Not to worry- between climate change, the collapse of the food chain in the oceans, desertification, water shortages and peak oil, it is doubtful that any modern industrialized states will be left after the next 50 years.

    Oh, and just in case you have your hopes up that I might be beginning to think like yall, I’m only separating my logic from my belief.  I’m still a firm believer in the inerrancy of the Bible.

      We wouldn’t have it any otehr way, bro! wink

  28. Originally posted by warbi:
    Animals have a free will as well.  Anyone who has tried training different dogs can tell that.  Who says that animals live in a relative utopia?

    Animals don’t take more than they need.  Why are humans greedy if we evolved?  I’ve never heard of a lion killing off an entire zebra herd for bragging rights and then selling the carcases to starving relatives for their eternal subjection as slaves.

    Originally posted by warbi:
    You will have to define what you mean by “utopia

  29. Animals don’t take more than they need.

      Maybe generally, but there is something called the Ratchet Effect.  It is generally used for predator-prey examples, but is valid for herbivores as well.  What it is about is population biology- basically a crash and burn cycle.  Say there is a huge amount of prey.  The predators begin eating and reproducing more quickly than normal.  Eventually the predator population exceeds the prey potential and the prey is all killed off resulting in a disasterous and quick crash in the predator population.  I realize that you are speaking more of individuals than species.  Here is a different example: the smallest dog we have is a bitch in all senses of the word.  She will eat her fill at the food bowl, but then instead of moving over and letting the others eat, she will snap and growl at them while lying in front of the food bowl.  Eventually she gets bored or distracted and moves away.  Living in a rural area I also know of instances where feral dog packs go around killing livestock and not eating it.

    Both.  Doing what is in the best interest for ourselves and the rest of the world at the same time.  Not taking more than is needed and using everything given.  100% efficiency in all aspects of life.

      That would be awesome, but I don’t know if it is realistically possible.  I guess that I have a pretty cynical view of human nature, but I just don’t see this happening.  I guess that is slightly possible that people might become altruistic toward each other, but the way modern industrialized nations are set-up calls for massive amounts of resources and I believe that societies, as opposed to the individual, will always put their species first.

    That’s about the same time I expect Christ to return.

      This isn’t the thread for it, but I am fairly interested in how you came to that conclusion.

  30. Yet – contrary to the ‘our bad primate-like base nature’-gist of some of the previous posts, behavioral scientists have by now found out that not only cooperation but even a sense of fairness and ‘justice’ is already in evidence among primates.

    Yep, ingolfson, we certainly have some genetic underpinnings for cooperation- otherwise culture would not be possible.  However, unlike ants, we have evolved societies with more and more of the rules outside our brains.  Chimps have gone the first tentative steps along the same road, with traditions of tool use passed on from generation to generation.  Lacking language, they won’t go any farther.

    Animals don’t take more than they need.  Why are humans greedy if we evolved? 

    Well, Theo, warbi basically gave you my answer as well, but I’ll just add that you should study up a bit on biology.  Non-human animals generally eat all they can get until satiety.  Humans have more scope for greed, and it can be more useful to them, because they lived in stratified societies where wealth often meant more offspring, at least for men.

    If, as most of you believe, that we have evolved from animals and animals live in relative utopia with one another, how did we evolve to have a free will?

    What utopia?  It’s a free-for-all out there.  If by utopia, you mean “the balance of nature”, remember that nature is “red in tooth and claw” as Tennyson had it, and differential reproductive success, not any striving for “balance”, is what gave us our biosphere.  And “free will” is another can of worms- tell me what you mean by it.  In my opinion, free will is simply choice, or the semblance of choice: running scenarios through your mind, and choosing one.  Like consciousness, there’s no place where you can draw a hard and fast line and say that it exists or doesn’t exist past this point- it evolved gradually, like everything else.

  31. Non-human animals generally eat all they can get until satiety.  Humans have more scope for greed, and it can be more useful to them, because they lived in stratified societies where wealth often meant more offspring, at least for men.

    Squirrels.

    Greedy little fellows, hiding all the acorns (often to a degree that they have a lot more than they can use in winter, sometimes to the degree that they forget their stashes).

    Rise up, acorn-eating animals of the world! Rise up and smash the sustencance-hoarding furry masters of your forest!!!

  32. Rise up, acorn-eating animals of the world! Rise up and smash the sustencance-hoarding furry masters of your forest!!!

      At least I had swallowed my drink before I read that line!!! LOL

  33. Communism in its purest form is the ultimate form of Government providing for all whilst also being fair and not allowing individuals to become treated better off than others. A form of Communism merged with a voting sytem to allow for public intervention would give both equal oppurtunity whilst also making sure that a single person is not able to horde power for their own welfair.

  34. This is a comment inspired by KPatrickGlover…. the motivation to contribute is based on likes and dislikes….for example if being a plumer took no education and being a doctor obviously takes education…than the inspiration to be a doctor is not not clean shit for your hole life but to save lives. you get paid the same but one is more rewarding and protains to people over others….in north america there are musicians that make no money but they do it because they love it…. that is the motivation…

  35. The problem isn’t capitalism, communism or democracy etc etc etc. The problem is Government.

    Government is nothing more than a group of people with a bunch of guns. It doesn’t matter what system of government you put in place, it is corrupt from the get-go and will only become moreso with time.

    Im all for pure communism, just as I am for pure capitalism… and that is because I am for freedom. Personally, I would prefer to work in a place which is run by the workers themselves, but I don’t think I should force my beliefs and preferences on other people, who may want to run a project, or prefer to work for someone who they think knows how to run a company better than others.

    You are obviously right that there really isn’t a proper working democratic government on this planet and in a way that is why democracy hasn’t eaten itself and totally collapsed, because, when it comes down to it, democracy is basically voting yourself money.

    I spent a large portion of my life following politics. I was a libertarian leaning conservative for many of them, then a full blown libertarian and now an anarchist. It has been said many times in the past that you cannot talk about principles and morals, with any real credibility, without being an anarchist. I wholeheartedly agree, and I always knew it deep down.

  36. Thrashasaur Great Britain (UK)  Posted on 08/10/2005 at 05:49 AM

    Communism in its purest form is the ultimate form of Government providing for all whilst also being fair and not allowing individuals to become treated better off than others. A form of Communism merged with a voting sytem to allow for public intervention would give both equal oppurtunity whilst also making sure that a single person is not able to horde power for their own welfair.

    ———————————————————————

    Pure Communism = No Government.

    So, yea, the “ultimate for of government” (ie. No government)

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