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Ghost
23-06-04, 04:29
Im working on the Capitalism part at the moment but till then enjoy the Communism part.

Oh, Your opinions would be nice....

It aint mine so dont start accusing me of anything :okashii:

What is communism?
The word "communism" means different things to different people and has both a scientific definition and a very non-scientific (ie: bull**** ) definition that is commonly used and believed. The following chart may help to clarify:


What is Communism?
science vs. bull****
Scientific definition:

A classless society with no exploitation. No state machine used by one section of the population to oppress another section. No need for professional armies or police forces. No use of production for profit or exchange. Society runs in accord with the principle: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
Bull**** definition (ie: commonly believed--but WRONG)
Rule of society by a single party which maintains a monopoly of political power and suppresses all opposition. Control of the economy via centralized bureaucratic planning.

Examples of bull**** definition: the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, etc.



What is socialism?
The word "socialism" also means many different things to different people. There is a scientific definition and at least two commonly believed bull**** definitions. The following chart may help:


What is Socialism?
science vs. bull****
Scientific definition:

A society run by the working class rather than the bourgeoisie. The state machine is used to defend working class interests against those who still have wealth or power and who will attempt to return society to the capitalist system and bourgeois rule. Socialism is the period of transition between the overthrow of bourgeois rule and the development of a classless, communist society.
Bull**** definitions (ie: commonly believed--but WRONG)
-- Bull**** definition # 1 --
Society in which the ruling bourgeoisie slightly betters the conditions of life of the working class and oppressed, through such measures as slightly higher taxation of the capitalists. In Europe the word socialism is often identified with the political trend of social-democracy.

Examples of bull**** definition # 1: (at various times) Sweden, France, etc.

-- Bull**** definition # 2 --
Rule of society by a single party which maintains a monopoly of political power and suppresses all opposition. Control of the economy via centralized bureaucratic planning.

Examples of bull**** definition # 2: the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, etc.



Where has communism existed?
Nowhere. Communism, in the scientific sense of a classless society, has never existed.

Exception: A form of primitive communism existed within primitive communal societies in prehistoric times


Where has socialism existed?
Same as above. Scientific socialism (ie: the rule of society by the working class) has never existed (except in embryonic form such as the Paris Commune of 1871 or the early period of the 1917 revolution in Russia).

The words "communism" and "socialism" are commonly mis-used to describe a society in which a popular revolution against the ruling class and foreign imperialism results in a radical transformation of property relations and an improvement in the living conditions of the masses. These popular revolutions deserve support against imperialist attack. But at the same time it is necessary to recognise the vast distance between such popular revolutions and the rule of society by the working class.

What about human nature?
See my essay (below): Communism and Human Nature


What happened to Lenin's 1917 revolution?
The most well-known attempt at working class rule (ie: Lenin's October 1917 revolution) was eventually suffocated and degenerated into a single party regime that ruled like feudal lords and suppressed all serious opposition (ie: a police state where a single organization enforced a monopoly on political thought and activity).

It is a measure of the backwardness of pre-revolutionary Russia that the police state that emerged from the popular revolution created a vast improvement in the living conditions of the masses. But this state did not represent the rule of the working class.


What democratic rights will workers have after the overthrow of bourgeois rule?
In a workers' state in the context of a stable, modern society (ie: with a modern economy and infrastructure) workers will have the right to:

create independent political organizations and
mobilize mass opinion against the inevitable
incompetence, hypocrisy and corruption of
people and policies of their own workers' state
(For more info and backgound on this see my essay on proletarian democracy)


How will workers prevent the former bourgeoisie (or a new ruling class) from coming back to power?
The workers' state will make use of many measures to prevent the former bourgeoisie (or any aspiring future ruling class) from recreating the rule of a few over the many. One very important measure will be the separation of speech and property:

The separation of speech and property
Commercial speech (and all forms of media created with paid labor) will be subject to control by the masses and their state.

Non-commercial speech/media (ie: created with volunteer labor)
will be essentially unrestricted (ie: similar to free speech rights within modern bourgeois society)
(For more info on this see my essay on proletarian democracy)



What would a genuine classless, communist society be like?
The most reasonable scientific speculation (of which I am aware) on how a genuine classless, communist society would function is my own The Self-Organizing Moneyless Economy and also a similar work called Communist society: a dialogue


Other questions?
There are lots of questions which this FAQ doesn't answer--including the nature of the transition society that will exist between capitalism and communism--and questions like: "How do we get from here to there?"

Some of these questions may be answered in my theoretical work (below).


What is "the crisis of theory" ?
The degeneration of the Soviet and Chinese revolutions have created a situation where it is essentially impossible for people to even think about a society that is not ruled by the bourgeoisie.

This situation is what is called the crisis of theory. The theoretical degeneration characterisitic of the current "left ecosystem" has resulted in political activists being left with a desperate choice between two bullshit alternatives:


a supposedly "socialist" police state where workers are exploited by a new ruling class and the independent political voice, life and activity of workers is ruthlessly suppressed

eternal bourgeois rule
Until the crisis of theory is overcome the various mass movements against the worst outrages of the capitalist system (ie: the movements against imperialist wars, against the WTO and corporate globalization, etc.) will never be able to fire millions of people with the unshakeable conviction that another world is really possible. Until the crisis of theory is overcome there can never be a mass movement for the overthrow of bourgeois rule.


Want to help overcome the crisis of theory ?
You can help overcome the crisis of theory.

If you are a serious revolutionary activist (or are considering becoming one) then your help is needed!

Join the POF-200 discussion list. Help other activists such as yourself develop a clear and militant focus on the tasks that are decisive for the liberation of humanity!

Communism: Part 2

What is Capitalism?

In contrast to Socialism and Communism, Capitalism is the control of goods and services through Corporations (Microsoft, McDonalds, Enron etc.) which produce only to make profits for their shareholders and the rich. Capitalism eventually leads to Imperialism as it expands, (the conquest and exploitation of other, usually smaller nations) or possibly even fascism. The primary source of profit, and thus the wealth of the capitalists comes from surplus labor. Surplus labor is the extra hours spent working by a member of the proletariat. This can only be extracted, exploited from the working class, a class that must sell its labor power to survive since it is separated from the means of production. Basically, if one is a factory worker and works an eight hour day, at the very least two of those hours go unpaid. Repeat, AT LEAST two of those hours GO UNPAID. If they were paid in full, there would be no profit for the capitalists. Their goal is simply to maximize profits by extending working hours and slashing wages. Essentially, Capitalism is the dictatorship of the majority (the proletariat or working class) by the minority (the bourgeoisie or capitalist class), in short, exploitation, greed, and death.

What is a Worker's State?

A Worker's State is what emerges immediately after the overthrow of Capitalism via a worker's revolution. The means of production and resources are nationalized and decisions concerning production are made through worker's democracy (usually councils, in the USSR these were called Ďsovietsí). In a healthy state development will steadily increase as the bourgeoisie is held in check and Socialism will emerge. A Worker's State is unstable however and can degenerate however (as did the USSR) or can even come into existence deformed (as did nations such as China, Cuba, North Korea, etc). However, it is important to note that many of the states mentioned have degenerated or were born deformed as a result of siege by the bourgeoisie and the possession of a peasant majority (peasantís are a class separate from the proletariat and have different interests and tendencies). Finally, although they are degenerated or deformed, the worst Workerís State is more advanced than the best capitalist state and deserves defense against capitalist aggression and counter-revolution. What IS needed in the Workerís States is a new political revolution by the proletariat to oust the bureaucratic parasites holding down human rights and appropriating labor to maintain their own privileged lifestyle.

What is Socialism?

Socialism is a transitional phase from Capitalism to Communism. The working class (the proletariat) controls the means of production (factories, machinery, resources, land, ect) and re-distributes the wealth. It is a period Marx calls "Dictatorship of the Proletariat". Wages are paid through labor certificates, or more likely in our modern era, labor credits, and these are given only through labor. Less work is required by each worker throughout the day unless they volunteer it, as a great amount of surplus value is no longer required for a capitalistís profit. What is required for a time however, is for some labor to be appropriated by the state to keep useful social programs running and to generate economic growth. Society also continues to become more advanced and eventually Communism emerges as all class is destroyed.

What is Communism?

Communism is the final phase following a period of Socialist transition after the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. Communism results through the transition and advancement of a healthy worker's state and Socialism. Communism has no class or money, and the society works as the old Marxist slogan goes "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs." This means that people will have reached discipline enough to work for the good of society, and as a result will take what they need or want, but not so much as there could be someone else who needs it more.

How is Communism achieved in countries like the US?

By the unity of the working class and the development of internal class consciousness. Each individual of the proletariat must realize that Capitalism cannot solve the problems it creates. A democratic vanguard workerís party must emerge to lead the revolution, though always maintain a grassroots basis (unlike the later Bolsheviks).

How do you 'get ahead' in a Communsim?

Ahead of who or what? Under Capitalism, one attempts to get ahead of other people, under Socialism and later Communism we all get ahead together. The classless society would theoretically move forward under the banner of progress for the greatest good.

Why did Communism fail in the USSR?

First of all, it is important to note that the USSR never reached the communist stage described by Marx and Engels. They began as a healthy Workerís State, but then as a result of civil war, famine, imperialist invasion, and other hardships, bureaucratization and the destruction of Soviet democracy occurred. Through war many class conscious and valuable workers were killed. This resulted in a Stalinist dictatorship. Stalin and his bureaucrats craved power, and were determined to hold onto it by any means. The bureaucracy was a parasite upon the body of the working class, though not another class. By 1924 the Soviet Union had become a degenerated Workerís State with a state-capitalist economy. This began the long counter-revolution which eventually culminated in the destruction of the USSR in the late 1980's.

Why are so many people trying to leave Cuba?

The main reason is because they are suffering due to our 40 year blockade and cutoff of trade. In addition, the conditions are not exceptionally good in Cuba Fidel Castro is a dictator leading a Stalinist bureaucracy. It is important to distinguish however, that Cuba does have decent edges over other nations, including the best health care system in the world. Housing is moderate and provided to all people, and few go hungry. In addition, the Cuban people adore their revolution and the leader before Castro was a US backed dictator named Batista who murdered many and essentially ran Cuba as a puppet state of US Imperialism, an island of casinos and whore houses. Perhaps one day true Communism will come to Cuba.

Was Stalin a Communist?

No, he was a Stalinist which means a bureaucratic dictator that is very similar to fascism. Even Trotsky noted that the only difference between the USSR and Nazi Germany was that the Soviet Union lacked the racist pogroms and possessed a different class structure. The Left Opposition against him was crushed, and leader Leon Trotsky exiled because of Stalin's need to preserve his power. This was very anti-democratic and anti-Marxist.

Are you still allowed freedom in a Communist/Socialist Country?

Of course, of course! If you still think otherwise, please read this entire FAQ again. A Socialist and later Communist society would never allow infringement, censorship, or an attack on human rights. Freedom of all sorts is treasured, as are the skills and worth of every single man, women, and child. Oh wait, there is one freedom abolished. The freedom to exploit another person.

bossel
23-06-04, 05:15
Have no time to dig deeper now, but I wonder where you got your "scientific" definitions from.
Esp. regarding socialism, since there were right from the start already 2 different versions.

Foxtrot Uniform
23-06-04, 13:18
I would also suggest that everyone read Animal Farm which does a great job of how communism works great on paper, but then in real life, people are always greedy so the system falls apart. Another book which is less political but still relevant is 1984, another great book by George Orwell which shows the after effects once communism falls apart and it becomes a totalitarian state and not a "true" communist state.

Glenn
24-06-04, 03:52
Basically, if one is a factory worker and works an eight hour day, at the very least two of those hours go unpaid. Repeat, AT LEAST two of those hours GO UNPAID. If they were paid in full, there would be no profit for the capitalists. Their goal is simply to maximize profits by extending working hours and slashing wages.

This part is throwing me a bit. Exactly how are people not being paid for those two hours? How should they be paid to compensate?

Jean-Francois
24-06-04, 08:29
Communism could never work because it goes against human nature. People are naturally more competitive than cooperative.

True or false?

Find out from this link concerning Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism:
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~brians/hum_303/nature.html

lineartube
24-06-04, 09:02
True. It comes from our natural instincts to be competitive and we only cooperate when it is to our advantage, wether it is a conscient or unconscient chosen option.
As I study Communism in school, it was a very appealing "doctrine" since it preached group strength and equality, but as I grow old I've noticed that though it looked good on paper, in reality it lead to major abuses of power, since it could be easily subverted to the interests of one or several persons agenda.

mad pierrot
24-06-04, 12:30
but un-restrained, un-regulated business is nuts. Yes, Ayn Rand would hate me. Capitalism will, for example, abuse resouces. Capitalism alone also has a tendency not to provide many of the social safety nets we all take for granted. (The ones we have left.) That being said, nothing motivates better than greed! Except, perhaps, survival.......

lineartube
24-06-04, 17:32
It's too bad that we can't make social experimentation on guinea pigs. We can make them wear lipstick but we can't make them carry a red flag or use a credit card. The millions of people that have been sacrificed might have apreciated. But that's life...

...And so far there isn't any ideal model, because even if human nature isn't enough, the time and place are crucial in determining the sucess of failure of ideologies.

Glenn
24-06-04, 22:07
One thing that made me think that communism couldn't work was that there are things in this world that are valuable. Usually this means that they are rare. So, how could wealth be distributed evenly if there aren't enough valuable, rare items to be distibuted evenly? Would we just give more of the lesser valued items to those who weren't given the higher valued ones? I can't help but think that at some point someone somewhere would want one of the rarer items and do whatever he needed to to get it. It just seems to be a part of human nature. This makes me think that it is impossible to evenly distribute the wealth, which, if I am not mistaken, is pretty much what communism is all about.

Also, on the point of land, who decides who gets what land? There are pieces of land that are more valuable for planting crops, or are more desirable because they are just nicer, etc. How would this issue be dealt with under communism? Am I missing the point here, or is this pretty dead-on?

Duo
24-06-04, 23:59
Both Communism and Capitalism have been proven to be falable concepts. Neither of them can work in their pure form. So both concepts are wrong :relief:

Ghost
25-06-04, 00:58
I agree with Duo.

mad pierrot
25-06-04, 07:41
We need a Constitutional Republic with democratic elections, freedom to pursue wealth, and a social system of security.

Wait a second.................

:D

Glenn
25-06-04, 18:50
What Duo says is very true. It is the nature of man to be fallible, so no system will work in its pure form. The best that we can do is minimize the damage.

@mad pierrot - lol

Duo
25-06-04, 19:54
What Duo says is very true. It is the nature of man to be fallible, so no system will work in its pure form. The best that we can do is minimize the damage.


A social democratical system is an in-between way. We still have private enterprise and free competion, but we also have rules on the market and also state owned enterprises that provide services to the people, but they are run much like private companies. This system is used mostly by Western European states.

S-K
30-11-09, 03:08
Both sucks

Templar
31-12-11, 16:32
social democratical system is an in-between way
Yep I think that's the best and most balanced system.

LeBrok
13-01-12, 23:59
Keep in mind, that both systems are about producing goods and services for benefit of society.

Differences:

Communism concentrates more on how to slice the GDP pizza pie evenly between people, than how to produce the GDP the pizza. Economy is run by bureaucrats and with bureaucratic efficiency. It is entirely regulated by bureaucrats.

Capitalism concentrates on producing the GDP, and leaves the slicing of GDP pizza to abilities of individuals. Economy is run by system wide open to individual decision making of people. Individuals decide what to buy, what to produce, risk taking and individual failure is included too. It is mostly self regulating system.

Communism was invented by philosophers and implemented by force in many countries during XX century. It didn't work well from the beginning, people were unhappy and revolting. Not to acknowledge failure of communism and to keep the system running, the founders and their ruling party had to keep it under dictatorship. It is not true that communism never existed because these countries were run by dictators. The true is that communism had to be run under dictatorships, because people were always very unhappy the way communism worked.
The only successful forms of communism were small groups of hunter-gatherers. They hunted together and they sliced the spoils evenly between members of their tribe.

Capitalism on other hand is an evolutionary system. Nobody sat down and wrote complete set of rules and called it capitalism before its implementation. It evolved slowly over few hundreds of years. What didn't work was dropped and forgotten, what worked was embraced. It is still evolving and improving.
Keep in mind that failures like bankruptcies and recessions are integral part of this system. That's the way the bad things are weeded out, same as with evolution of life.
First forms of capitalism was invention of agriculturalism and first cities, where it was up to individual farmer or tradesman how much and what to grow/build and sell/exchange later.
Capitalism is known to run under many different political systems like democracy, constitutional monarchy, even communist dictatorship like in China. It shows that it is a robust, elastic, transferable, profitable production system.

On other hand communism is known to only work under dictatorship, without even one exception.
However one can bring a case that communism worked somewhat, at least in production aspect. Production per capita in USSR by 1980s were much higher than in Tzar's Russia or Feudal Afghanistan or Pakistan. Society was educated and egalitarian, though kept controlled, scared and enslaved.
Unfortunately for it, it has failed in comparison to capitalist countries in production, which is connected to prosperity of citizens, life satisfaction, civil liberties, democratic governments, and personal freedoms, well with handful exceptions.



PS.Please, don't mix financial systems like banks, central banks, money landing and interest rates, with capitalism or communism. Financial institutions are about how money flows through production systems, and not much what production system is about. Surely one can effect the other, but so is the weather effecting the farmer's work. Financial institutions had beginning with money, and existed in ancient city states then empires, feudalism, capitalism and communism.
So don't blame capitalism for current recession, blame financial system insufficiency, plus governments bad regulatory measures and taking too much debt.

Templar
14-01-12, 11:42
There are actually indicators that the Soviets would have beat the US in the cold war, if they hadn't lost 20+ million people and half their major cities and instead the US did. Imagine if Los Angeles was devastated to the same degree as Stalingrad was, or if 1/5 of all American males had died fighting in the war.

ElHorsto
14-01-12, 15:15
Capitalism on other hand is an evolutionary system. Nobody sat down and wrote complete set of rules and called it capitalism before its implementation. It evolved slowly over few hundreds of years. What didn't work was dropped and forgotten, what worked was embraced. It is still evolving and improving.
Keep in mind that failures like bankruptcies and recessions are integral part of this system. That's the way the bad things are weeded out, same as with evolution of life.


I also prefer frequent bankruptcies than taxes for instance. The problem is that our evolution is made by humans for humans. I once simulated evolution in a computer model and tested among others self-evolution of the fitness function. It was not surprising to see that individuals "learnt" to cheat the fitness function instead of obeying to it. In the distant past, the fitness function of humanity was mostly imposed by the external overwhelming natural environment. Yet, the evolutionary pressure to cheat nature was latent from the very beginning. For instance collaboration is a typical evolutionary side product. One should also not forget that 99.999 percent of all species that ever existed are now extinct.
Still, your evolutionary point of view is somewhat close to marxism, see my comment below.



PS.Please, don't mix financial systems like banks, central banks, money landing and interest rates, with capitalism or communism. Financial institutions are about how money flows through production systems, and not much what production system is about. Surely one can effect the other, but so is the weather effecting the farmer's work. Financial institutions had beginning with money, and existed in ancient city states then empires, feudalism, capitalism and communism.
So don't blame capitalism for current recession, blame financial system insufficiency, plus governments bad regulatory measures and taking too much debt.

The need of banks naturally evolved (still invented by humans) because of chronic money shortage in feudalism, regardless of the monetary system. Interest is the price of money. It was the evolutionary fix for the problem of chronic deflation, invented by smart entrepreneurs. Without credit the social mobility of capitalism would vanish and something like feudalism would remain.

The next evolutionary step was the invention of banking systems due to the cronic indeptedness of kings and states (central banks, keynes ...). Now we are waiting for the evolutionary fix for the financial system insufficiency ;-)

It was Karl Marx himself who predicted the final fix to be socialism, later communism. Therefore he adored Charles Darwin and actually liked capitalism due to its innovativeness. He expected the final innovation of capitalism would be socialism and then communism. I'm not sure if the evolutionary direction is that much predestined as he claimed. It can by anything else than communism.

Mzungu mchagga
14-01-12, 17:21
I still believe that preferences of economic models is very much based on cultural premises. Free market in Russia works differently from free market in the USA, due to cultural and mentality reasons. In the pre- as well as post-Soviet Union capitalism is characterized by a lot more brutality than in the USA. And as also the interpretation of the bible carries different doctrines, the longing for socialism in Eastern Europe is or was much higher than it could ever get in the USA. I also believe there are not many regions in the world in which the social-market solution such as in parts of Northern Europe would work trouble-free.

ElHorsto
14-01-12, 20:39
I still believe that preferences of economic models is very much based on cultural premises. Free market in Russia works differently from free market in the USA, due to cultural and mentality reasons. In the pre- as well as post-Soviet Union capitalism is characterized by a lot more brutality than in the USA. And as also the interpretation of the bible carries different doctrines, the longing for socialism in Eastern Europe is or was much higher than it could ever get in the USA. I also believe there are not many regions in the world in which the social-market solution such as in parts of Northern Europe would work trouble-free.

I agree it has to do with culture and tradition, but I don't see much longing for socialism in Eastern Europe, neither now nor in the past. East Europeans are not ashamed when one is extraordinarily rich, similar to America. Russian millionaires are especially flamboyant and shameless. Also I find east europeans to be very conservative. This is not quite ideal for socialism. Until today I'm not aware of any significant renaissance of communist parties in east european countries.
The Russian Revolution was merely the result of a unique combination of oppressive zarist regime, extraordinary mass poverty and a smart leader Lenin, who himself was a cosmopolitan (descending from 6 nationalities!), influenced by Marx who was more a western than an eastern European. Lenins main financial support came from Germany (Ludendorf) and even further west.
The other east european countries became socialist only by force as a result of WWII.

This is much different in Scandinavia, where - without any imposed dictatorship - private income of everybody can be openly researched from public databases. There is a norwegian web site which maintains an up-to-date list of the richest norwegians. It is not socially accepted to appear extraordinarily rich in Norway. Individual achievements are judged strongly with respect to public benefit. Sweden had a 70 year tradition of almost continuously, democratically elected social democratic government, which is more left than German SPD. Swedish communist party occasionally reached more than 10 percent in addition. Note that many americans think of scandinavia as socialist states ;-). Italy was on the brink to become communist in the 20s. Germany also had a strong communist movement in the 20th and 30th. I'm not aware of anything similar in eastern europe. Instead I know fascist movements in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and even in Soviet Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Fascism).

LeBrok
14-01-12, 23:13
There are actually indicators that the Soviets would have beat the US in the cold war, if they hadn't lost 20+ million people and half their major cities and instead the US did. Imagine if Los Angeles was devastated to the same degree as Stalingrad was, or if 1/5 of all American males had died fighting in the war.
No chance, USSR collapsed partially thanks to cold war, because huge part of soviet GDP had to be spend on arms to keep up with US. Otherwise, instead of spending money to improve citizens lives, money was spent on military needs.
Russian loses, that you mentioned, where huge by any standard, but if you are right in your assumption then Soviets should be able to catch up to US with time. GDP gap should be getting smaller in par with Russia recovery from WWII, and with new technologies soviets acquired with US help during the war. On contrary though, the gap in GDP and new technologies was growing larger with every decade.
In short, think this way, there must be an obvious explanation why USSR collapsed and US is still the strongest in world. Three reasons: economy, economy, economy.

LeBrok
15-01-12, 00:59
I also prefer frequent bankruptcies than taxes for instance. The problem is that our evolution is made by humans for humans. I once simulated evolution in a computer model and tested among others self-evolution of the fitness function. It was not surprising to see that individuals "learnt" to cheat the fitness function instead of obeying to it.
I wish I could experiment like this. Anyway I think what you found to be "cheating" is human ability to change environment according to our needs, and species benefits. Not many species can do that, at least not for grand scale. Instead of complying with nature and hunting whatever for miles, we keep herds by the house and even breed (genetically engineered) meat to our taste. Same in gathering department, instead of looking for plants where nature seeded them, we grow fields of corns by a village and have apples in back yard. I don't know about cheating, but this is damn hard work, lol.



In the distant past, the fitness function of humanity was mostly imposed by the external overwhelming natural environment. Yet, the evolutionary pressure to cheat nature was latent from the very beginning. For instance collaboration is a typical evolutionary side product. One should also not forget that 99.999 percent of all species that ever existed are now extinct.

Not mentioning that even the species that are managing to survive now were somewhat different even few thousands years ago.


The need of banks naturally evolved (still invented by humans) because of chronic money shortage in feudalism, regardless of the monetary system. Interest is the price of money. It was the evolutionary fix for the problem of chronic deflation, invented by smart entrepreneurs. Without credit the social mobility of capitalism would vanish and something like feudalism would remain.
I'm sure it wouldn't vanish, but it would have much harder time to find capital to grow and expend. We might have been living in 19 century at the moment, brrrrr.





It was Karl Marx himself who predicted the final fix to be socialism, later communism. Therefore he adored Charles Darwin and actually liked capitalism due to its innovativeness. He expected the final innovation of capitalism would be socialism and then communism. I'm not sure if the evolutionary direction is that much predestined as he claimed. It can by anything else than communism.

We might be at doorstep to communism in few short decades. It will come with fully blown robotics, armies of robots working for us in factories, services and homes. If most of us won't work (who would hire people if robots are cheaper and faster), how will we get our money to get needed things? Same as people on social securities/welfare, fairly equally,...how else? Robots will produce all the GDP, there will be no shortage of things to buy, we will just need a fair system to give people money to buy things.
Not only the chain of money flow, from production, to workers, to customers, to store and production again, will be broken, but the taxation system will be broken too. You can't tax not working population or robots? Will we tax corporations at 10% or 60% to make it up? What if they go away? Why would they, all the world is covered with factories with robot at that time. New taxation system would need to be invented and quickly, or we are against another big financial mess in few decades.

One thing might be fixed though, the disproportion in GDP per capita will even out when robots do the production job, even if nation is rich in "lazy" gene.

Mzungu mchagga
15-01-12, 13:03
I agree it has to do with culture and tradition, but I don't see much longing for socialism in Eastern Europe, neither now nor in the past. East Europeans are not ashamed when one is extraordinarily rich, similar to America. Russian millionaires are especially flamboyant and shameless. Also I find east europeans to be very conservative. This is not quite ideal for socialism. Until today I'm not aware of any significant renaissance of communist parties in east european countries.
The Russian Revolution was merely the result of a unique combination of oppressive zarist regime, extraordinary mass poverty and a smart leader Lenin, who himself was a cosmopolitan (descending from 6 nationalities!), influenced by Marx who was more a western than an eastern European. Lenins main financial support came from Germany (Ludendorf) and even further west.
The other east european countries became socialist only by force as a result of WWII.


Oh, now I think there are many terms you are throwing in a muddle. For instance, for me "conservative" means to maintain and preserve existing structures, regardless of what kind of structure. In Europe it is often synonymously used as "center-right", which is not correct overall.

Recently Maciamo brought the theory of individualist vs. collectivist societies, which I think has a lot to do with this matter. People in collectivist societies rather seek for security than for (individual-) independence. They gather in groups and try to form some sort of "group-protection" against the outside. It is not of very importance how this protection is preserved, whether the group is run by some kind of collective decision or by an authoritarian leader. If a strong leader exists, he will be regarded as the one who is responsible for the wellbeing of the whole society, whether it is the Zsar, the priest, the president, the rich businessman or whatever. Unlike strong individualist societies, in which people with power are yet not regarded as that important for personal wellbeing and fortune. Extreme forms of authoritarian rule, like for example fascism and communism, are nearly impossible in individualist societies right from the start.
When you look at the party systems of Eastern Europe, you can see that besides moderate parties, also a longing for an authoritarian rule exists! Not all people necessarily favour a socialist economy, but also not many people are reluctant to it.
The social state system with a social market economy would be a possible structure of a society in which both individualist and collectivist mentality meets on an equal level. It would neither work in strong individualist nor in strong collectivist societies.

ElHorsto
15-01-12, 14:59
Sorry that my reply is that vebose, I try to avoid that.


Oh, now I think there are many terms you are throwing in a muddle. For instance, for me "conservative" means to maintain and preserve existing structures, regardless of what kind of structure. In
Europe it is often synonymously used as "center-right", which is not correct overall.


Thats also my opinion. Conservatism originally was correctly defined as preserving existing structures. The problem is, that it actually depends of what kind of structures existed. If communism existed, then conservative Russians might tend to prefer communism. If Russia wasn't communist, but capitalst, then the same people certainly would be capitalist now. However, in this context, by conservative I meant the common political orientation, which means "right". Of course, "right/left" remain fuzzy terms, but it is commonly used today. Are you actually questioning my thesis that east europeans are not specifically more "left" oriented? Or are you questioning that communism and socialism are politically left wing?



Recently Maciamo brought the theory of individualist vs. collectivist societies, which I think has a lot to do with this matter. People in collectivist societies rather seek for security than for (individual-) independence.


So why calling them collectivist then? Why not just risk-avoiding? Actually I was not claiming east eropeans to be more individualist or collectivist. I avoid these terms.
I think the traditional Collectivism/Individualism paradigm is
problematic, because it lumps many different traits together.
Actually, scandinavians are much more seeking social security than most east europeans, as I explained. Is that collectivism or individualism now?
BTW, the most popular private hobbies in Sweden are also rather "collectivist", like singing in choir. Or look how important the kings are for the peoples unity.



They gather in groups and try to form some sort of
"group-protection" against the outside. It is not of very importance how this protection is preserved, whether the group is run by some kind of collective decision or by an authoritarian leader. If a strong leader exists, he will be regarded as the one who is responsible for the wellbeing
of the whole society, whether it is the Zsar, the priest, the president, the rich businessman or whatever.


I absolutely agree, there are vertical and horizontal communities. But do you notice which european countries are monarchies today, and which countries elected mostly social parties?



Unlike strong individualist societies, in which people with power are yet not regarded as that important for personal
wellbeing and fortune.


Ones individualism is irrelevant if the people in power really just are important. In most cases people are not free to be just individualists, even if they want to. Often they look for a compromise instead, like family for instance (BTW, Funny thing is that conservative white Americans consider families as best "vaccine" against "collectivism").



Extreme forms of authoritarian rule, like for example fascism and communism, are nearly impossible in individualist societies right from the start.


Maybe, but are you implicitly claiming now there were no significant fascist movements in England (Mosley), Norway (Quisling), Italy (Mussolini), Germany ("him"), because these are individualist societies? I think both is not true.



When you look at the party systems of Eastern Europe, you can see that besides moderate parties, also a longing for an authoritarian rule exists! Not all people necessarily favour a socialist economy, but also not many people are reluctant to it.


I did not deny that, I just meant that longing for socialism is not traditionally higher in eastern europe then elsewhere. It seems rather normal to me. Also it is obvious that it depends on wether there is a crisis or not. Putin for example (not a socialist!) was just popular because of the terrible Jelzin crisis before. A russian once told me that people are electing Putin only because they are afraid that somebody like Jelzin might return. Or take England for instance, where the BNP
was strong during the 70s economic crisis. Not to mention the 30th, where even in USA communism became popular for a while. I don't think this has much to do with individualism or collectivism.



The social state system with a social market economy would be a possible structure of a society in which both individualist and collectivist mentality meets on an equal level. It would neither work in strong individualist nor in strong collectivist societies.

Except for the collectivist/individualist thingy, I agree.

ElHorsto
15-01-12, 15:49
I wish I could experiment like this. Anyway I think what you found to be "cheating" is human ability to change environment according to our needs, and species benefits. Not many species can do that, at least not for grand scale. Instead of complying with nature and hunting whatever for miles, we keep herds by the house and even breed (genetically engineered) meat to our taste. Same in gathering department, instead of looking for plants where nature seeded them, we grow fields of corns by a village and have apples in back yard. I don't know about cheating, but this is damn hard work, lol.


Who claimed that cheating is not hard work? ;-)
But you are right of course, there is no absolute difference between cheating and real performance in real life. Only in context of my computer experiment it was easy to define cheating, because there was an absolute static final goal given (e.g. a problem to solve). Then when I encoded parts of that goal (fitness function calculation) into each individual's genes, the evolution changed that goal instead of solving it, which is cheating from user's point of view. As a result, the algorithm failed to solve the given problem. Interestingly there is indeed no clear boundary between both cases in real life. We humans are increasingly forced to define ("cheat") our own evolutionary goals/problems as we increasingly solve them and become increasingly interdependent. The lack of problems may turn out to be the biggest problem eventually, because evolution might start to create its own problems (wars, artificial enemies, corruption, artificial shortage of goods, short-term profits, financial "innovations", etc.). Thus, evolution's solutions can be very destructive sometimes, mind the extinct species. Coming back to capitalism, its fuel is the demand for something. Latest, if all demands are satisfied, capitalism has no fuel -> crisis/deflation. Usually this happens much earlier because destructive solutions become increasingly profitable compared to constructive ones.



We might be at doorstep to communism in few short decades. It will come with fully blown robotics, armies of robots working for us in factories, services and homes. If most of us won't work (who would hire people if robots are cheaper and faster), how will we get our money to get needed things? Same as people on social securities/welfare, fairly equally,...how else? Robots will produce all the GDP, there will be no shortage of things to buy, we will just need a fair system to give people money to buy things. Not only the chain of money flow, from production, to workers, to customers,
to store and production again, will be broken, but the taxation system will be broken too. You can't tax not working population or robots? Will we tax
corporations at 10% or 60% to make it up? What if they go away? Why would they, all the world is covered with factories with robot at that time. New
taxation system would need to be invented and quickly, or we are against another big financial mess in few decades.

One thing might be fixed though, the disproportion in GDP per capita will even out when robots do the production job, even if nation is rich in "lazy"
gene.

I agree. I think we already now experience overproduction. You mention to give people money to buy things and higher taxation for corporations. I think this is already happening currently, called "Keynesian economy". The leftist party in Germany is now suggesting a relatively minor extension of keynesianism: a minimum income for everybody ("B√ľrgereinkommen"). Note that really everybody would get it, regardless of how much money one
earns in addition. I have no clue if that would work. And further, this is prone to corruption as long as it is man made. The main question currently for me is wether the states can get rid of debt. From a legal perspective I believe it is allowed to confiscate borrowed money. This is partially happening already by taxation. I just wonder to which extent this is fair and doable. It appears somewhat paradox. Taxation so far was the most efficient mechanism to modify the capitalist fitness function. But I'm afraid that corruption is evolving in parallel.

Mzungu mchagga
15-01-12, 17:59
Are you actually questioning my thesis that east europeans are not specifically more "left" oriented? Or are you questioning that communism and socialism are politically left wing?
My thesis is that East Europeans tend to be more radical oriented, which includes "left" as well as "right". Although I agree that the traditional terms of left and right are not valid anymore. My personal observation is -but I might be wrong- that people in Europe nowadays tend to long for two opposing state models. The first one is some sort of benevolent welfare state, closed to outsiders and misfits. The other one is more or less the liberal laissez-faire state, which welcomes everyone. Now which one is "right" and which is "left"?



So why calling them collectivist then? Why not just risk-avoiding? Actually I was not claiming east eropeans to be more individualist or collectivist. I avoid these terms.
I think the traditional Collectivism/Individualism paradigm is
problematic, because it lumps many different traits together.

I agree that the usage of these terms is complicated, and yeah, it seems that some traits go hand in hand. Risk-Avoiding alone for collectivists is not enough, but individual risk-avoiding. As a group they might take risks, but the main phrase remains: Together we fall, together we stand!


Actually, scandinavians are much more seeking social security than most east europeans, as I explained. Is that collectivism or individualism now?
BTW, the most popular private hobbies in Sweden are also rather "collectivist", like singing in choir. Or look how important the kings are for the peoples unity.

I wouldn't say that Scandinavians long for more security than most East Europeans, just because in Scandinavia, due to political and historical circumstances, the welfare state works better. But yet, Scandinavians remain an in-between thing for me, as on other hand for example they are very open to outsiders, and besides group events, often rather love to be alone on their one.




I absolutely agree, there are vertical and horizontal communities. But do you notice which european countries are monarchies today, and which countries elected mostly social parties?

Well, that also has historical reasons. Monarchs in Western Europe don't have much to say politically. Also, I highly doubt that someone blaims the monarch for financial and social troubles in a country.



Maybe, but are you implicitly claiming now there were no significant fascist movements in England (Mosley), Norway (Quisling), Italy (Mussolini), Germany ("him"), because these are individualist societies? I think both is not true.

I don't think that individualism and collectivism is so much based on genes, but mostly on culture. So first of all, cultures can change. Secondly, Mosley and Quisling never reached the broad masses of their country. And third, also according to Maciamo, Italy and Germany are both on the brink between collectivism and individualism. Depending on political and environmental circumstances or trauma, these countries have less problems to switch between several forms of government.

ElHorsto
15-01-12, 19:52
My thesis is that East Europeans tend to be
more radical oriented, which includes "left" as well as "right". Although I
agree that the traditional terms of left and right are not valid anymore. My
personal observation is -but I might be wrong- that people in Europe
nowadays tend to long for two opposing state models. The first one is some
sort of benevolent welfare state, closed to outsiders and misfits. The other
one is more or less the liberal laissez-faire state, which welcomes
everyone. Now which one is "right" and which is "left"?


Yes, good question indeed.



I agree that the usage of these terms is complicated, and yeah, it seems
that some traits go hand in hand. Risk-Avoiding alone for collectivists is
not enough, but individual risk-avoiding. As a group they might take risks,
but the main phrase remains: Together we fall, together we stand!


I was just specifically refering to your statement "People in collectivist
societies rather seek for security than for (individual-) independence.".
In this particular case I find it overcomplicated to speak about collectivism,
when it is just seek for security (aka risk-avoidance).
Regarding "Together we fall, together we stand", I also doubt this is
a consistent definition. Take for example a wolf crowd, as a biological example.
It is a strongly hierarchical, competitive and darwinistic group. Still wolfes are
considered as epitome of social species. In my opinion this is very much
correct, due to the sheer amount of interactions betweed group members.
The type of interaction is irrelevant. Note that even competition is
collectivism then, because it still implies strong influence of own
behaviour by the competitors. For me there can be only one definition of Collectivism:
interactions of ANY kind. Individualism would be in turn lack of interactions
of ANY kind (being neutral, loner, eremit).
That would be a much cleaner and simpler definition. But I'm aware that
I'm fighting a hopeless struggle against established social sciences ;-)



I wouldn't say that Scandinavians long for more security than most East
Europeans, just because in Scandinavia, due to political and historical
circumstances, the welfare state works better. But yet, Scandinavians remain
an in-between thing for me, as on other hand for example they are very open
to outsiders, and besides group events, often rather love to be alone on
their one.


Well, maybe, I don't know. What I had im mind was "Folkhemmet"
(http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folkhemmet) and "Kollektivhaus"
(http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kollektivhaus). It is interesting that originally
that term was borrowed from the right-wing ("Volksgemeinschaft"). That is an
ultra-collectivist concept. But if majority of people are happy with that,
they usually tend to keep that system further. Proponents of nature vs.
nurture might argue that this is due to "collectivist genes" of
scandinavians. But like you I also believe that genes play a minor role.



Well, that also has historical reasons. Monarchs in Western Europe don't
have much to say politically. Also, I highly doubt that someone blaims the
monarch for financial and social troubles in a country.


Frankly, I think most of these things have historical reasons :-)
I'm also aware that the kings have not much influence officially (what about
inofficially?) I was just thinking about the regular collective happyness events
around the king, which shows some latent collectivism of the people in my
opinion. It seems like a kind of folklore. One german guy who settled
in sweden told me that the swedes "just need that". That was 20 years ago.
Don't know if this is still the case now.



I don't think that individualism and collectivism is so much based on genes,
but mostly on culture. So first of all, cultures can change. Secondly,
Mosley and Quisling never reached the broad masses of their country. And
third, also according to Maciamo, Italy and Germany are both on the brink
between collectivism and individualism. Depending on political and
environmental circumstances or trauma, these countries have less problems to
switch between several forms of government.
[/QUOTE]

Yes, Mosley and Quigley were certainly less popular than Hitler (BTW, I forgot to
mention the french Vichy fascism and Franco in Spain.). But in that, western
europe was not much different from eastern europe before the Soviet invasion.
Note the counter-example of Hungary, which is categorized as highly
individualist by Hofstede: Hungary was very fascist once in the past, and
now again.

Thank you for the interesting discussion!

Mzungu mchagga
16-01-12, 14:52
But I'm aware that
I'm fighting a hopeless struggle against established social sciences ;-)


Actually, what we are talking about is not even established social sciences, so don't worry! :laughing:

I don't want to go too much into detail now and cut a long story short. I tend to agree that individualism vs. collectivism and the longing for safety vs. liberty (the risk avoiding theory) are two different things, although the one or other parallel can be found. You've got a valid point for saying that individualism/collectivism can also be reduced to the amount of social interactions.

The establishment of different governmental forms in different countries has very complex reasons, based on history, economic and social circumstances and culture. Yet I believe that also mentality, which is mostly based on culture, plays a certain role in the choice of governments. And that is also a reason why certain forms work better, or less or not at all in different regions of the world.

sherlockholmes
15-10-14, 17:45
Capitalism is best way
Socialism is outworn