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Communism vs Capitalism does anyone actually think we'd be better off in a Communist society?

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9 hours ago, felice said:

Nobody wants a return to the Soviet Union, any more than anyone wants Pinochet. But communism is potentially better than capitalism; governments are supposed to work for the best interests of the people, while private companies have no reason to even try. We need transparency and accountability, though.

But governments are run by people and people always have a selfish streak.  If people were always capable of putting others before themselves communism (complete State control of production) might work.  People don’t work that way.

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36 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

But governments are run by people and people always have a selfish streak.  If people were always capable of putting others before themselves communism (complete State control of production) might work.  People don’t work that way.

They do, just not at the scale of a modern state. But you take any human group in a given socio-cultural context and, bar a few counter-examples, there is a strong pressure not to act selfish ; we have countless examples of a strong sense of community allowing functioning communist structures or societies, but it seems to break down above a certain scale.

More pragmatically there's also the simple fact that public service does not only attract crooks, so you'll also always have a significant proportion of administrators and bureaucrats who genuinely believe in what they do. That's at least in part the reason why Western governments achieved so much after World War II.

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56 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

They do, just not at the scale of a modern state. But you take any human group in a given socio-cultural context and, bar a few counter-examples, there is a strong pressure not to act selfish ; we have countless examples of a strong sense of community allowing functioning communist structures or societies, but it seems to break down above a certain scale.

More pragmatically there's also the simple fact that public service does not only attract crooks, so you'll also always have a significant proportion of administrators and bureaucrats who genuinely believe in what they do. That's at least in part the reason why Western governments achieved so much after World War II.

You know my criticism of Communism could be accurately leveled at any form of government.  Look at the Trump Administration.

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14 hours ago, sologdin said:

Communism silenced free thought and ideals.

BJR--

this is a historically contingent deviation from doctrine? you're not arguing that communism caused a 'silence' but rather that a particular set of policies from specific governments censored certain utterances. no disagreement there--but this is the same rylean category mistake made by the black book of communism, which spends most of its time on carceral policy rather than economics (the economic question is brought up almost tangentially, such as in the broadsides against the white sea-baltic canal, which solzhenitsyn had already exposed). 

but this sort of censorial policy, as found in zhdanovism or the maoist cultural revolution, is not what anyone wants.  am fairly sure, also, that the target was not 'free thought and ideals,' which strikes me as a mythical item insofar as the content of our heads is subject to constant influence through ordinary education and capitalist propaganda (i.e., advertising)--althusser's essay on ideological state apparatuses explains nicely how such alleged 'free thought' is shaped by institutional processes of family, church, school, and so on.  by contrast there's nothing inherent in communist economics that requires the censorship of retrograde fantasy novels. and it is of course more than curious if reliance on tolkien is a prerequisite for 'free thought.' 

 

Can a truly communist state survive without an authoritarian government (with all that it implies, including restrictions to freedom of speech, press, publishing, etc.) to make sure it doesn't slowly meander towards a hybrid social-democracy?

mentat--

nice.  maybe a thought experiment wherein we flip the democratic supermajority in the US--say two thirds are in favor of public ownership of the means of production and this support is sufficiently geographically distributed to guarantee that enough state legislatures ratify a constitutional amendment. isn't that majoritarian impulse strong enough to let the other one-third run its mouth about private ownership of the means of production? that third is gonna be very very surly, but it is difficult to get too excited about it--basically the same as OH NOS someone is wrong on the internet.

China has concentration camps. I don’t understand why people praise communism? It is a lie. You are sprouting communist propaganda. What communists say and do are polar opposites. If you don’t like America. Why live in the United States? China released the coronavirus. 

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5 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

You know my criticism of Communism could be accurately leveled at any form of government.  Look at the Trump Administration.

Look a China’s Communist Party’s cornavirus.

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15 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Governments are corrupt. It will be disastrous. Just look at China. 

But not all governments are equally corrupt. And private companies without government regulation are even worse.

7 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

But governments are run by people and people always have a selfish streak.

Which is why you put in place structures to minimise the abililty of people in positions of authority to act selfishly. Constitutions, separation of powers, transparency, elections, etc. Private companies, on the other hand, are driven entirely by selfishness (and selfishness defined purely in short term financial terms, at that).

5 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

You know my criticism of Communism could be accurately leveled at any form of government.  Look at the Trump Administration.

So why direct it at communism in particular?

3 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Look a China’s Communist Party’s cornavirus.

They've done far less badly at handling it than the US.

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7 minutes ago, felice said:

Which is why you put in place structures to minimise the abililty of people in positions of authority to act selfishly. Constitutions, separation of powers, transparency, elections, etc.

While I certainly agree that all mentioned are institutional mechanisms employed to minimize government corruption/oppression, both separation of powers and elections are rooted in the assumption that officeholders will act in their own self-interest.  By checking competing branches of the government and the reelection incentive to represent your constituents, respectively.

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13 minutes ago, felice said:

But not all governments are equally corrupt. And private companies without government regulation are even worse.

Which is why you put in place structures to minimise the abililty of people in positions of authority to act selfishly. Constitutions, separation of powers, transparency, elections, etc. Private companies, on the other hand, are driven entirely by selfishness (and selfishness defined purely in short term financial terms, at that).

So why direct it at communism in particular?

They've done far less badly at handling it than the US.

The Chinese released the virus. It was handled better in China, because of misinformation from World Health Organization, and the Chinese government. 

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24 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

China has concentration camps. I don’t understand why people praise communism? It is a lie. You are sprouting communist propaganda. What communists say and do are polar opposites. If you don’t like America. Why live in the United States? China released the coronavirus.

This is deathcultchief's minime!

The US has had concentration camps and does now -- except maybe everyone in those cages and 'detention centers' are dead.  How would we know.

 

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15 minutes ago, felice said:

But not all governments are equally corrupt. And private companies without government regulation are even worse.

Which is why you put in place structures to minimise the abililty of people in positions of authority to act selfishly. Constitutions, separation of powers, transparency, elections, etc. Private companies, on the other hand, are driven entirely by selfishness (and selfishness defined purely in short term financial terms, at that).

So why direct it at communism in particular?

They've done far less badly at handling it than the US.

The Chinese created the virus in their laboratory. When the virus got out. The Chinese government decided to get rid of the evidence.

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Just now, Zorral said:

This is deathcultchief's minime!

The US has had concentration camps and does now -- except maybe everyone in those cages and 'detention centers' are dead.  How would we know.

 

China has concentration camps, and not only that but China has organ harvesting.

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7 minutes ago, Zorral said:

This is deathcultchief's minime!

The US has had concentration camps and does now -- except maybe everyone in those cages and 'detention centers' are dead.  How would we know.

 

Those are detention centers, which ironically where created by Liberals.

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21 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

But governments are run by people and people always have a selfish streak.  If people were always capable of putting others before themselves communism (complete State control of production) might work.  People don’t work that way.

In economics its known as the principal & agent problem. And it affects both private industry and government. With respect to private industry, the attempted solution was the granting of stock options to management, which I think we can now say, hasn't worked out as advertised. 

I don't really endorse communism, but the principal & agent problem potentially can affect all our institutions, private and public, and its something worth often thinking about.

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5 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

In economics its known as the principal & agent problem. And it affects both private industry and government. With respect to private industry, the attempted solution was the granting of stock options to management, which I think we can now say, hasn't worked out as advertised. 

I don't really endorse communism, but the principal & agent problem potentially can affect all our institutions, private and public, and its something worth often thinking about.

I love employee owned businesses.  I support them as often as I can.  The State controling all means of production is too remote for proper efficiency.  Employee owned businesses are a good hybrid in my opinion.

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Just now, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

  The State controling all means of production is too remote for proper efficiency. 

Without a high degree of  decentralization, it in my view is unworkable. Two reasons. 1) The issue of what gets produced. And 2) the issue of knowledge production and how it gets disseminated.

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13 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

In economics its known as the principal & agent problem. And it affects both private industry and government. With respect to private industry, the attempted solution was the granting of stock options to management, which I think we can now say, hasn't worked out as advertised. 

Principal-agency problems in government are due to information asymmetry between the bureaucracy and (in the US) both of their "principals" - Congress and the president.  I'm not sure how that has much to do with the differences between capitalism or communism.  Bureaucratic expertise is not a main cause of corruption or repression in communistic or more socialist regimes.

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9 minutes ago, DMC said:

Principal-agency problems in government are due to information asymmetry between the bureaucracy and (in the US) both of their "principals" - 

Informational asymmetries are at the heart of all principal-agency problems.

10 minutes ago, DMC said:

 I'm not sure how that has much to do with the differences between capitalism or communism.  

I was suggesting its a problem in both systems.

11 minutes ago, DMC said:

Bureaucratic expertise is not a main cause of corruption or repression in communistic or more socialist regimes.

In your view, what is?

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5 minutes ago, OldGimletEye said:

In your view, what is?

In terms of communist regimes throughout the 20th century?  Populist regimes with (at the least) authoritarian tendencies taking over countries.  As for more "socialist" regimes, or democratic socialist if you'd prefer, I'd say they are the least likely to lead to corruption and oppression compared to more capitalistic regimes or authoritarian communist regimes we've seen - where if there is bureaucratic drift that upsets the regime too much, those bureaucrats usually end up in prison or dead.

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