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Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

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  • Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

    Ok, the last one's just there as a joke. I'd like to start a thread for the discussion of the three first terms, if anyone cares to participate. I hope separating these out for the time will complement other threads and help keep them on their narrower tracks.

    I won't ask for specific definitions, but if anyone would like to suggest how they take any of the terms I'd be glad to hear. I've discovered others don't alway agree with my ideas of what they are. I'm looking for more information.

    Below are some areas I'm particularly interested in.

    Whether Marx's view of Communism was or is definitive
    How or if a "society ruled by workers" would differ from pure democracy
    How the "State" would differ under the various systems
    Better proportions of free-trade & socialization for our mixed economies
    Possible methods of equalization in America and whether they are currently in use

    sigpic
    "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
    something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

  • #2
    Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

    From Marx himself, I think the definitive lines are:

    Socialism - "from each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution"
    Communism - "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

    In my mind, this would equate to a purely socialist state still allowing a system of reward for hard work, innovation, etc, but not at the expense of the workers. You get out what you put in.
    A pure communist state should not. All work for the common good, taking only what is needed. If the common believe that a "American" quality of life (52" TV, Pickup, 3/2 House) is what everyone needs, that is what everyone gets, and everyone has to work harder to so all can have it.


    FWIW, I think these theoretical systems almost never work in practice, and a hard road of compromise normally delivers a system everyone can a t least live with over time. Same goes for pure theoretical capitalism (which hasn't existed for quite some time).
    Do or do not, there is no try....
    -- Yoda, Dagobah

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    • #3
      Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

      The article is lengthy and there's a lot of controversy over kinds of socialism. I'm still trying to get my head around the initial detailed description:

      A more comprehensive definition of socialism is an economic system that directly maximizes use-values as opposed to exchange-values and has transcended commodity production and wage labor, along with a corresponding set of social and economic relations, including the organization of economic institutions and method of resource allocation;[4] often implying a method of compensation based on individual merit, the amount of labor expended or individual contribution.
      And, for comparison, communism:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

      Note in the History section how Marx believes communism was the norm in early human hunter societies.

      There's some interesting economic material here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use-value

      There's an underlying theme I'm seeing here that value is objective, while the value I'm familiar with is subjective. There seems to be a declaration that price should be set to some value defined by declaration of the group (ie. its leaders), not by bidding or by individual negotiation.
      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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      • #4
        Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

        Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
        Note in the History section how Marx believes communism was the norm in early human hunter societies.
        Communism isn't inherently evil. It works great in small communities where everyone knows everyone else and peer pressure can be exerted on anyone not pulling their weight (hence the continued long-term success of 'communes'). But when a community gets large enough that someone can leech off of their society without the community at large noticing, it begins to fail as a model, IMO.
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        • #5
          Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

          All three are concepts and not real world applications. In every one of the countries that is primarily one or the other there are aspects of others involved because a working society has to have some things that are privately controlled, some that are owned by the government and some that are a distribution of society's resources. This is because some people are not able to provide for themselves, some people will always take advantage of a system and some services or industries cannot be left to private hands.
          |TG-6th|Snooggums

          Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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          • #6
            Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

            Excluding the police-state and totalitarian aspects, does anyone still call the economic forms that were used in Russia, Italy, Germany, etc. during the last century to be Socialist or Communist? When I hear people say that any or all of the three ideals have not been fully implemented in the real world, and may not ever be, I must ask what the attempts at Socialism or Communism in the past century should be called.

            I wonder if the three terms may be forever jumbled in meaning due in part to their untidy beginnings. The wiki article on the Communist Manifesto says, "Later Marxists make a separation between "socialism," a society ruled by workers, and "communism," a classless society. Engels wrote little and Marx wrote less on the specifics of the transition to communism, so the authenticity of this distinction remains a matter of dispute." Theoretically, if the bourgeois didn't have their power and capital anymore, under full Socialism, it would seem natural for them to want to become "workers" almost immediately, thus producing Communism almost immediately after Socialism is achieved.

            sigpic
            "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
            something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

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            • #7
              Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

              It doesn't sound like you are really interested in communism, your just grinding the ax. Communism is a wonderful theory, that simply doesn't work in practice. Mainly becasue people are inherantly greedy and lazy. The mess that went on in the countries you mentioned was totalitarianism, nothing more. Communism and Socialism were buzz words used as a moral guise to attain power by corrupt politicians. As it is today. Once in power they did whatever they want. There was never an honest attempt. The closest thing to Marx's vision is modern day Sweden. Not to say that they are a representation of successful socialism, but they are the closest I know of.

              I don't agree that communism was the norm in early human hunter societies. I believe they killed each other for survival. If you take away government controls, given the chance we would return to killing each and letting the weak die; like the old west or many underdeveloped countries. The mixed economy we have in America now is nowhere close to perfect, but it is the best the world has known IMO.

              I believe the style of government you want is a Laissez-faire government. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laissez-faire
              What your are opposed to is not socialism. It's protectionism.

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              • #8
                Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                Communism works in a commune type situation and as noted earlier, only in smaller groups. Once you hit a certain size the share of duties starts requiring centralized management of resources and therefore starts requiring effort that isn't directly taking care of needs. Centralizing this power is what leads to the ability to abuse that power.
                |TG-6th|Snooggums

                Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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                • #9
                  Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                  Allow me to suggest a theory:

                  Communism is a system that achieves perfect theoretical efficiency with a group population of one. As group population rises, the efficiency steadily falls. The perfect efficiency with one is only theoretical because, even though you can form a group of one, you don't need a system to manage interactions until you have more than one.

                  Capitalism is a system that achieves perfect theoretical efficiency with an infinite group population. As group population shrinks, the efficiency steadily falls. The perfect efficiency is only theoretical for fairly obvious reasons.

                  In between, the rate of decay is strongly dependent on how perfect the people involved in the system are. More perfect people allow both systems to maintain their efficiency longer, but capitalism can more easily cope with imperfect people then can communism. For a group of typical people of population greater than a hundred million, capitalism retains substantially more efficiency than does communism. Answers may differ for substantially smaller groups and/or groups of atypically virtuous people.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                    I am certainly against protectionism! It's a system that promotes scarcity to protect the producers and workers. It's detrimental to consumers. I happen to be Librivoxing Sophisms of the Protectionists just now. I'm familiar with Laissez Faire, hands-off approaches and I think they work better than planned economies.

                    I am not interested in participating in communism, but I am interested in talking about it.

                    sigpic
                    "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
                    something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

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                    • #11
                      Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                      Communism requires more than one person to be communism, otherwise it is one person doing something.

                      I also disagree with all three parts of your theory, which if we were addressing scientifically would be conjecture or hypothesis at best. All forms of government can work if everyone subscribes to it. The problem with each of the systems in practice is a person or group exploiting everyone else going along with the system.

                      In communism the group that gains political power wields the power of the state to determine what is best for everyone. In capitalism the participants who take advantage of the good faith of others (scammers and liers) can bypass the concept of the best product or service will win out. Having more people involved actually makes the system worse because there is a larger pool of people who are the buyers, allowing the scammers and liers to have a larger impact and more anonymity.
                      |TG-6th|Snooggums

                      Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                        Alright, I concede that its more of a conjecture than a polished theory. I also haven't quite worked out how to support my conjecture in principle, but by example it seems to match what I've seen of the world pretty well.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                          Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                          In capitalism the participants who take advantage of the good faith of others (scammers and liers) can bypass the concept of the best product or service will win out. Having more people involved actually makes the system worse because there is a larger pool of people who are the buyers, allowing the scammers and liers to have a larger impact and more anonymity.
                          That's really an information problem, not a resource allocation problem. All of these forms have problems when information is restricted, but the nature of the degradation changes. The way to fix the scammer problem is with better information. For example, branding and trademark serve well to establish reputation. A savvy buyer must weigh the cost of buying a brand name versus the risk of buying from a newcomer with no reputation. You need some kind of enforcement system to protect the trademarks. This could be public or private (eg. Vinny breaks your legs for scamming my trademark).
                          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                          • #14
                            Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                            Scammers sell fake versions of quality products, so I don't understand how knowing which product is better than the other will improve the situation for the buyer. I'm referring to actual scammers (ie criminal action), not cheap knock offs.
                            |TG-6th|Snooggums

                            Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Socialism, Marxism, Communism, & Antidisestablishmentarianism

                              For cases of criminal action, one has recourse to the law under "capitalism." It's the fundamental purview of government to protect citizens from abuses (it's collected defense, force). Now, if free trade is really wage-slavery and if money, goods & capital are only in the hands of the rich because they've been stolen from the poor, it is the duty of government to correct the situation. I see that as one of the strongest ideals in Socialist systems and if the premise is true, then it is only justice. Of course, I believe it is proven false.

                              sigpic
                              "The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying
                              something which is not everything it should be." Edgar Allan Poe

                              Comment

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