Communism vs Capitalism Sticky


#381

[QUOTE=“Gregor Samsa, post: 309179, member: 5329”]Whichever you meant with “socialist societies following this similar ideal have, more or less.”
[/QUOTE]
The Paris Commune, the Bolshevik system of “War Communism” during the Russian Civil War, the Soviet Union for the most part afterwards until Khrushchev’s reforms, socialist Yugoslavia, Maoist China, Cuba, the DPRK, early socialist Vietnam, socialist Albania, Burkina Faso under Sankara, the Zapatistas, revolutionary Spain/Catalonia, modern Rojava, etc., etc. have all established or at least attempted to establish some form of socialist mode of production.

[QUOTE=“Gregor Samsa, post: 309179, member: 5329”] I am just curious to know how close to communism societies have come, especially because there is a dispute between yourself and A341, as one of you thinks communism has existed and the other doesn’t.
[/QUOTE]
I forgot about primitive communism actually, I’ll give you that.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309183, member: 3058”]So you’re just going to ignore how pretty much no country on the planet has a free market in agriculture?
[/QUOTE]
“Major supermarkets, in meeting consumer expectations, will often reject entire crops of perfectly edible fruit and vegetables at the farm because they do not meet exacting marketing standards for their physical characteristics, such as size and appearance. For example, up to 30% of the UK’s vegetable crop is never harvested as a result of such practices. Globally, retailers generate 1.6 million tonnes of food waste annually in this way.”

Yeah, that’s [I]definitely [/I]because of those damn regulations rather than a lack of them. [I]

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309183, member: 3058”][/QUOTE][/I][QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309183, member: 3058”]Or how it’s precisely the free market which will be leading to technological innovation in agriculture, epitomised by things like GMOs and hydroponics?
[/QUOTE]
Because technological innovation can only exist in free markets[I]…[/I]


#382

That’s a fault with consumers, not the system of production and allocation. Not to mention, there are myriad stores whose precise function is to sell “deformed” produce at a discount.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty facile to look at food waste and then say “look at how decadent capitalism is”, when you’re pointing at precisely the system which enabled the very capacity for waste in the first place. You can look at the social benefits of Schumpeterian innovation, or look at case studies such as that of China, and find a [I]wealth [/I]of evidence which suggests engagement in the market has allowed for the refinement of agriculture into an ever more efficient process.

The solution isn’t to waste less, [I]per se[/I], it’s to spread productive agricultural capabilities.

Yeah, that’s [I]definitely [/I]because of those damn regulations rather than a lack of them.

Who mentioned anything about regulation? I’m talking about subsidies and tariffs.
[I][/I]

Because technological innovation can only exist in free markets[I]…[/I]

Stop putting words in my mouth.


#383

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309184, member: 3058”]Scandinavian countries are [I]nowhere near [/I]socialist. They’re some of the most capitalist places on Earth.[/QUOTE]

Thank you, I see that now. I thought that social programs and such were a major contributing factor of “socialism.”

[QUOTE=“Kyte314, post: 309217, member: 1298”]The Paris Commune, the Bolshevik system of “War Communism” during the Russian Civil War, the Soviet Union for the most part afterwards until Khrushchev’s reforms, socialist Yugoslavia, Maoist China, Cuba, the DPRK, early socialist Vietnam, socialist Albania, Burkina Faso under Sankara, the Zapatistas, revolutionary Spain/Catalonia, modern Rojava, etc., etc. have all established or at least attempted to establish some form of socialist mode of production.[/QUOTE]

How many of these countries still operate with a socialist mode of production? Weren’t many of them also dictatorships (Cuba, Maoist China, Soviet Union) and not really all that close to communism, even if they did have socialist modes of production?


#384

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]That’s a fault with consumers, not the system of production and allocation.[/QUOTE]
Consumer behavior is dialectically related to the mode of production.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]Not to mention, there are myriad stores whose precise function is to sell “deformed” produce at a discount.[/QUOTE]
And that’s totally solved the problem, right?

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]
Nevertheless, it’s pretty facile to look at food waste and then say “look at how decadent capitalism is”, when you’re pointing at precisely the system which enabled the very capacity for waste in the first place.[/QUOTE]
That doesn’t make the waste anymore justified.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]You can look at the social benefits of Schumpeterian innovation, or look at case studies such as that of China, and find a [I]wealth [/I]of evidence which suggests engagement in the market has allowed for the refinement of agriculture into an ever more efficient process.[/QUOTE]
This has nothing to do with the efficiency of agricultural production itself, it has to do with the wasteful techniques food markets use, which could easily be avoided, to generate more sales. Maybe you should reread what I posted (plus an extra paragraph I looked over):

"Major supermarkets, in meeting consumer expectations, will often [I]reject entire crops of perfectly edible fruit and vegetables at the farm because they do not meet exacting marketing standards[/I] for their physical characteristics, such as size and appearance. For example, up to 30% of the UK’s vegetable crop is never harvested as a result of such practices. Globally, retailers generate 1.6 million tonnes of food waste annually in this way.

Of the produce that does appear in the supermarket, [I]commonly used sales promotions frequently encourage customers to purchase excessive quantities which, in the case of perishable foodstuffs, inevitably generate wastage in the home.[/I] Overall between 30% and 50% of what has been bought in developed countries is thrown away by the purchaser."

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]
The solution isn’t to waste less, [I]per se[/I], it’s to spread productive agricultural capabilities.
[/QUOTE]
These kind of practices literally have no affect on the productivity of agriculture.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]
Who mentioned anything about regulation? I’m talking about subsidies and tariffs.
[/QUOTE]
I think that’s called “free trade”.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309225, member: 3058”]
Stop putting words in my mouth.[/QUOTE]
I’m not, I’m making a point.


#385

[QUOTE=“Gregor Samsa, post: 309235, member: 5329”]
How many of these countries still operate with a socialist mode of production?[/QUOTE]
Cuba (though I think they’ve had to have some reforms), the DPRK maybe (it’s hard to get much information about the country, of course), the Zapatistas, and Rojava, but of course there are many other movements and social experiments which I didn’t mention.

[QUOTE=“Gregor Samsa, post: 309235, member: 5329”]
Weren’t many of them also dictatorships (Cuba, Maoist China, Soviet Union)[/QUOTE]
“Socialist dictatorship” is an oxymoron. They were all democratic republics.

[QUOTE=“Gregor Samsa, post: 309235, member: 5329”]
and not really all that close to communism, even if they did have socialist modes of production?[/QUOTE]
What do you mean by that exactly?


#386

I’m pretty sure that sentence makes no sense.

And that’s totally solved the problem, right?

That doesn’t make the waste anymore justified.

Again, stop putting words in my mouth. Neither of my points [I]came close [/I]to claiming either of those things; I’m merely pointing out faults in your reasoning.

This has nothing to do with the efficiency of agricultural production itself

It obviously does, since without such enormous efficiency the capacity for waste would be significantly diminished. I mean, [I]come on[/I], people living via subsistence agriculture waste almost nothing.

[I]because they do not meet exacting marketing standards[/I]

It’s worth noting that regulation (like the EU infamous banana curvature law) can encourage waste of produce via stringent standards. The issue isn’t [I]wholly [/I]to do with the market; and you should realise this once you apply your own logic and realise that the evil, profit-maximising firms would be better off [I]without [/I]such regulations because they’d be able to sell even more produce.

[I]commonly used sales promotions frequently encourage customers to purchase excessive quantities which, in the case of perishable foodstuffs, inevitably generate wastage in the home.[/I]

Well, duh. If it’s profitable to sell more stuff then that’s going to happen. The fault here lies with consumers stupid enough to purchase more than they need.

These kind of practices literally have no affect on the productivity of agriculture.

Well thank God I didn’t claim that.

I think that’s called “free trade”.

Tariffs and subsidies are “free trade”? Are you serious?


#387

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]I’m pretty sure that sentence makes no sense.
[/QUOTE]
An obvious example would be the mentioned promotions that encourage consumers to buy larger quantities of product, which is driven by the mode of production’s orientation around profit. Another would be advertising.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]
Again, stop putting words in my mouth. Neither of my points [I]came close [/I]to claiming either of those things
[/QUOTE]
Why mention the discount produce stores if you don’t think they significantly help anything? Why mention capitalism “enabling the very capacity for waste” if you don’t think that actually justifies anything? Why make points and then claim you don’t believe in the implications that are actually relevant to the discussion?

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]I’m merely pointing out faults in your reasoning.
[/QUOTE]
No, you’re just beating around the bush to avoid having to explain a systematic problem.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]
It obviously does, since without such enormous efficiency the capacity for waste would be significantly diminished. I mean, [I]come on[/I], people living via subsistence agriculture waste almost nothing.
[/QUOTE]
How many times to I have to say this…[I]the waste is caused by marketing techniques and could [B]easily be avoided[/B]. [/I]The scale of agricultural production is completely fucking irrelevant.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]
It’s worth noting that regulation (like the EU infamous banana curvature law) can encourage waste of produce via stringent standards.
[/QUOTE]
Well obviously I wouldn’t support that kind of regulation.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]The issue isn’t [I]wholly [/I]to do with the market[/QUOTE]
Sure, but I would rekon it [I]mostly [/I]is.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]and you should realise this once you apply your own logic and realise that the evil, profit-maximising firms would be better off [I]without [/I]such regulations because they’d be able to sell even more produce.
[/QUOTE]
I don’t want the evil, profit-maximizing firms to be better off…

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]
Well, duh. If it’s profitable to sell more stuff then that’s going to happen.[/QUOTE]
Ah, so you’re admitting you don’t actually give a fuck?

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]The fault here lies with consumers stupid enough to purchase more than they need.
[/QUOTE]
The entire [I]point[/I] of the discount is to convince consumers to buy more than they need, don’t you think that’s a bit malicious?

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]
Well thank God I didn’t claim that.
[/QUOTE]
[I]Then why are you defending them?
[/I]

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 309524, member: 3058”]
Tariffs and subsidies are “free trade”? Are you serious?[/QUOTE]

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No, lack of tariffs and subsidies is free trade…


#388

Jesus fucking Christ, man, it’s not difficult.

They do. You quite explicitly accused me of claiming that it “solved the problem”. Don’t try and fucking jump from one extreme to the other, because you’ll just look like an idiot in the process.

Why mention capitalism “enabling the very capacity for waste” if you don’t think that actually justifies anything?

Because the problem isn’t waste, [I]per se[/I], it’s waste in the presence of poverty which is highly morally offensive. Should we reduce waste [I]regardless[/I]? Duh, but so far you’ve demonstrated an astounding ignorance about subsidies/tariffs, regulations, the legal system and inventory requirements. . . But as long as it takes place in a store, that’s enough for you to bash the [I]evil capitalists[/I], right?

How many times to I have to say this…[I]the waste is caused by marketing techniques and could [B]easily be avoided[/B]. [/I]The scale of agricultural production is completely fucking irrelevant.

Oh my God, [I]no it fucking isn’t[/I]. Agricultural production is not zero-sum. . . [I]There is no fixed agricultural capacity; [/I]waste [I]isn’t [/I]permanent. The actual [I]problem [/I]is that we’re wasting stuff while other people [I]starve and go hungry[/I]. Is that finally clear?

Sure, but I would rekon it [I]mostly [/I]is.

You should read your own source; it quite clearly states at the bottom that the issue comes from ignorance on the part of both [I]consumers and sellers[/I]. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that it would likely be cheaper for supermarkets to give money to the homeless/keep food on the shelves longer if liability laws weren’t so stringent. I mean, [I]come on[/I], supermarkets aren’t withholding produce from homeless people and consumers because they think it makes them better off; they withhold it because they’ll get fucked in the ass if anything goes wrong.

I don’t want the evil, profit-maximizing firms to be better off…

Even if it makes labour/consumers better off in the long-run?

Ah, so you’re admitting you don’t actually give a fuck?

No. . . I’m saying it’s fairly obvious that this would happen under the mode of production we have, and that you blaming everything on TEH EVUL CAPITULISTS is just partisan bullshit at its finest.

The entire [I]point[/I] of the discount is to convince consumers to buy more than they need, don’t you think that’s a bit malicious?

Uh, [I]no. [/I]What the fuck is malicious about that?

[I]Then why are you defending them?[/I]

“Them” being the practices that lead to waste? I’m not, I’m telling you to take a fucking step back and stop attributing every fault–however minor–to the malicious, scheming capitalists and look at what actually incentivises firms to waste food. When it comes to agricultural efficiency, that is a [I]far [/I]more important issue than waste, hence the problem being waste in the presence of/causing an externality and not waste itself.

So like I say, if we want to actually reduce waste then we need to stop defending the agricultural sector with tariffs and subsidies, which leads to an over-production of food in the first instance, and do something to relax liability laws so private actors can put food to good and cheap uses when consumers are not willing to purchase the food.

No, lack of tariffs and subsidies is free trade…

What the fuck are you talking about?

“I’m talking about tariffs and subsidies”.

“I believe that’s called free trade.”

It’s not exactly fucking clear, is it? Why would you make such a pointless, mundane, confusing sentence in the first place?


#389

@Kyte314

Not to mention, I’m not surprised there are so many discount deals. AFAIK, supermarket profits are razor thin.


#390

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
They do.
[/QUOTE]
It’s still relatively ineffective compared to if you just got rid of selective food practices in the first place.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
Because the problem isn’t waste, [I]per se[/I], it’s waste in the presence of poverty which is highly morally offensive.
[/QUOTE]
…and I’ve never claimed otherwise…

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]but so far you’ve demonstrated an astounding ignorance about subsidies/tariffs, regulations, the legal system and inventory requirements. . . But as long as it takes place in a store, that’s enough for you to bash the [I]evil capitalists[/I], right?
[/QUOTE]
“Most grocery stores operate under the assumption that customers are more likely to buy produce if it’s from a fully stocked display. This assumption leads to overstocking, as well as damage to items on the bottom of those perfectly constructed produce pyramids.”

"Customers have been trained to expect perfect, identically shaped produce. Retailers stock their produce according to that expectation — even if the shape, size, and color have nothing to do with quality.

This preference leads farms to avoid selling the so-called “B” stock to supermarkets. Whatever does make it through the cracks to store floor is taken out of stock."

“Fearing consumers will either not buy the food or think the stores are carrying old products, most grocery stores pull the items out of stock several days before the sell-by date.”

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
Oh my God, [I]no it fucking isn’t[/I]. Agricultural production is not zero-sum. . . [I]There is no fixed agricultural capacity; [/I]waste [I]isn’t [/I]permanent. The actual [I]problem [/I]is that we’re wasting stuff while other people [I]starve and go hungry[/I]. Is that finally clear?
[/QUOTE]
I don’t know what you’re on about. I’m saying it’s irrelevant because it’s the marketing techniques that are causing the wastage.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
You should read your own source; it quite clearly states at the bottom that the issue comes from ignorance on the part of both [I]consumers and sellers[/I]. [/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=“Kyte314, post: 309500, member: 1298”]Consumer behavior is dialectically related to the mode of production.
[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]Nevertheless, it’s important to note that it would likely be cheaper for supermarkets to give money to the homeless/keep food on the shelves longer if liability laws weren’t so stringent. I mean, [I]come on[/I], supermarkets aren’t withholding produce from homeless people and consumers because they think it makes them better off; they withhold it because they’ll get fucked in the ass if anything goes wrong.[/QUOTE]
If they sell a product by its sell-by date and it still makes someone sick, that’s the fault of the sell-by date; and the selective food policies, as stated above, don’t necessarily have to do with the actual quality of the food.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
No. . . I’m saying it’s fairly obvious that this would happen under the mode of production we have, and that you blaming everything on TEH EVUL CAPITULISTS is just partisan bullshit at its finest.
[/QUOTE]
If these kind of wasteful practices are obvious to our current mode of production then I think it’s perfectly reasonable to criticize our current mode of production.

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
Uh, [I]no. [/I]What the fuck is malicious about that?
[/QUOTE]
…it encourages people to be wasteful?

[QUOTE=“Ben Bernanke, post: 311394, member: 3058”]
What the fuck are you talking about?

“I’m talking about tariffs and subsidies”.

“I believe that’s called free trade.”

It’s not exactly fucking clear, is it? Why would you make such a pointless, mundane, confusing sentence in the first place?[/QUOTE]

I thought it was obvious what I meant, I’m sorry.


#391

Probably because it’s a pretty new phenomena.

Do you have, y’know, any evidence that getting rid of selective food practices would lead to a net benefit overall? I’d be much more open to your argument if there were some empirics in favour of your solution.

…and I’ve never claimed otherwise…

So why are you jumping on me for claiming that the exportation of efficient agriculture is more important than dealing with wasteful practices?

“Most grocery stores operate under the assumption that customers are more likely to buy produce if it’s from a fully stocked display. This assumption leads to overstocking, as well as damage to items on the bottom of those perfectly constructed produce pyramids.”

I don’t see why the mode of production must be held the responsible for poor consumer practices. You can claim that it’s “dialetically linked” or whatever phrase it was you linked, but as it stands you have [I]zero [/I]evidence for that proposition, [I]zero [/I]evidence to suggest such waste wouldn’t happen under a non-capitalist system, and absolutely [I]no [/I]reason to blame the stupidity of consumers on supermarkets wholesale.

Why do supermarkets have such discount sales to encourage consumers to buy more than they need? Precisely because [I]they[/I] will waste [I]less [/I]in the long-run and make more money; which is the preferable option when liability laws make it exceptionally difficult to actually donate leftover food. The waste that would’ve otherwise occurred is then shifted to consumers, who buy more than they need and waste a lot of it. Of course, your original source, if I remember correctly, didn’t give any metric or definition of waste. Are they referring to [I]whole [/I]goods? Do damaged goods thrown away count as waste, and if so, what degree of damage makes it no longer waste and just rubbish and how can we reasonably determine that? Do the dregs of a mostly-consumed product count as waste? There isn’t actually a strong consensus on [I]how much [/I]is wasted worldwide; the IME claims half, while UNEP claims a third, which is a [I]huge [/I]discrepancy.

Hell, the IME’s [I]upper limit [/I]is 50pc, they acknowledge it could be as low as 30pc.

All incredibly important questions in the review of methodology which I haven’t seen an answer for. Probably because, through nobody’s fault, they’re incredibly difficult to accurately measure. And, as I’ve said, stores are not responsible for their consumers’ stupidity in purchasing more than they need.

Nevertheless, we come back to the questions of what causes waste and how important waste is. It’s not [I]good enough [/I]to just say “capitalists waste it because evil”. Packaging, which keeps food fresh and reduces waste in some areas, contributes to waste in others by contaminating what could be used as animal feed; hopefully this problem will begin to decline in importance as we begin to produce methods of degrading plastic. Liability laws incentivise the throwing out of food, and contractual agreements between retailers and suppliers usually result in suppliers producing more than they need as a hedge against losses which is [I]further [/I]worsened by agricultural subsidies and tariffs around the European Union.

But again: how important is waste? [I]Not very[/I]. What we need is not to “reduce” waste, it’s to make sure the social safety net is adequately providing for those at the bottom domestically, while exporting agricultural techniques abroad to reduce international poverty. As long as everybody is adequately provided for, waste becomes a non-issue with the exception of an excise tax/import duties to deal with negative environmental impacts which may arise.

I’m going to end my response here, since I think I’ve laid out my position on this as best I can. Monomaniacal focus on “waste”, when waste itself isn’t that important, isn’t very good practice.


#392

[QUOTE=“New Classicist, post: 311429, member: 3058”]
Do you have, y’know, any evidence that getting rid of selective food practices would lead to a net benefit overall?
[/QUOTE]
This is a ridiculous question; how would it not? How would not throwing away perfectly good food products because of their appearance not lead to a net benefit? This is not something that requires empirics, it is obvious common sense…

[QUOTE=“New Classicist, post: 311429, member: 3058”]
So why are you jumping on me for claiming that the exportation of efficient agriculture is more important than dealing with wasteful practices?
[/QUOTE]

I do not necessarily disagree that efficient agriculture is more important- what I’m “jumping on” you for is using this fact as an excuse for ignoring wasteful practices which are entirely unnecessary and could be easily avoided.

[QUOTE=“New Classicist, post: 311429, member: 3058”]
I don’t see why the mode of production must be held the responsible for poor consumer practices. You can claim that it’s “dialetically linked” or whatever phrase it was you linked, but as it stands you have [I]zero [/I]evidence for that proposition, [I]zero [/I]evidence to suggest such waste wouldn’t happen under a non-capitalist system, and absolutely [I]no [/I]reason to blame the stupidity of consumers on supermarkets wholesale.
[/QUOTE]
First of all, I did in fact provide a minor explanation of this earlier:

[QUOTE=“Kyte314, post: 311377, member: 1298”]An obvious example would be the mentioned promotions that encourage consumers to buy larger quantities of product, which is driven by the mode of production’s orientation around profit. Another would be advertising.[/QUOTE]

However, I can explain this further. Let’s take, for example, the standard of the appearance of food products and the subsequent selective food practices. Perhaps the phenomenon did indeed start with consumers being picky about what their food looked like, and the stores responded by throwing out “undesirable” products. But the story does not stop there- after awhile this started to become the standard of the stores, and thus the expectation of the consumer base as a whole, [I]even if they were not the picky ones that started the phenomenon in the first place[/I]. How can you say it is the fault of these new consumers that the stores created in them an expectation through a standard that they did not create in the stores originally?

You could also simply say that it is the stores’ fault for giving into the consumers in the first place.

Nevertheless, preventing this would be as easy forcing distributors to not discriminate the food they sell based only on appearance. You could technically still do this under capitalism, but it is not exactly “free market”.


#393

[QUOTE=“Allegrif, post: 109387, member: 1”]Communism: A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

Capitalism: An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Which is the better ideology? Why?[/QUOTE]

Neither are great.

Communism would be better [I]if [/I]it worked, but it doesn’t work in practice. It tends to turn into totalitarianism dressed up as communism.

Capitalism works at least, but isn’t a good system in the long term. The inequality just leads to an economic slowdown.

So if I had to live under one of the two, it would be under capitalism, but neither is ideal.


#394

[QUOTE=“snoge, post: 348444, member: 6022”]
Communism would be better [I]if [/I]it worked, but it doesn’t work in practice. It tends to turn into totalitarianism dressed up as communism.[/quote]

This is a popular ‘cop out’ argument that’s popular for center-lefties. If we really want to analyse communism in comparison to capitalism then we have to use history, sociology, theory and economics to determine [I]why[/I] communism ‘didn’t work’ and whether it [I]could [/I]work.

So why do you think communist-led nations acted in a totalitarian, authoritarian and nationalistic manner?


#395

[QUOTE=“oli, post: 349112, member: 579”]So why do you think communist-led nations acted in a totalitarian, authoritarian and nationalistic manner?[/QUOTE]
In my opinion the reason communism leads to authoritarian and totalitarian regimes is due to the fact the government controls nearly everything, state ownership of industry, food production and distribution etc etc. so the person (or peoples) in charge of such state have the ability to scare and to create a Cult of Personality just because there aren’t any elections.


#396

[QUOTE=“oli, post: 349112, member: 579”]This is a popular ‘cop out’ argument that’s popular for center-lefties. If we really want to analyse communism in comparison to capitalism then we have to use history, sociology, theory and economics to determine [I]why[/I] communism ‘didn’t work’ and whether it [I]could [/I]work.

So why do you think communist-led nations acted in a totalitarian, authoritarian and nationalistic manner?[/QUOTE]

Yes. They tried to achieve communism, but the trouble is that to do that you need a vanguard one-party state to oversee the transition.This gives them ridiculous amounts of power to themselves, and they decide they’d rather not give it up. This has happened in many countries, most notably the USSR. The only country where communism has been remotely successful is Cuba.


#397

[QUOTE=“ConservativeMatt, post: 349114, member: 6000”]In my opinion the reason communism leads to authoritarian and totalitarian regimes is due to the fact the government controls nearly everything, state ownership of industry, food production and distribution etc etc. so the person (or peoples) in charge of such state have the ability to scare and to create a Cult of Personality just because there aren’t any elections.[/QUOTE]

The state under the dictatorship of the proletariat shares many similarities with capitalist nation states, but it also has many differences. A socialist government would be inherently non-authoritarian and have little to no involvement in social matters, functioning primarily as an economic institution. Even in the realm of economics, socialist states are theoretically libertarian, as they exist to represent the interests of the working class (that being to pass the means of production into common ownership). The whole point of socialism is that workers are responsible for their work, not the state. This is why Engels emphasized the dictatorship of the proletariat’s responsibility to ‘wither away’ over time, as it sets up the necessary institutions to pass economic planning into the hands of the community, and thus sets the seeds for it’s own obsoletion.


#398

[QUOTE=“snoge, post: 349139, member: 6022”]Yes. They tried to achieve communism, but the trouble is that to do that you need a vanguard one-party state to oversee the transition.This gives them ridiculous amounts of power to themselves, and they decide they’d rather not give it up. This has happened in many countries, most notably the USSR. The only country where communism has been remotely successful is Cuba.[/QUOTE]

Vanguardism is a Leninist concept, and has been criticized and rejected by many communists for failing to represent the working classes and creating an elitist bureaucratic clique. Lenin allowed the dictatorship of the proletariat to become the dictatorship of the party with his concepts of vanguardism and democratic centralism, and it was this that allowed for tyrannical authoritarians like Stalin to wield unchecked power. It’s also important to remember that Russia had no history of democratic civil society, and traditionally relied on a strong leader and cult of personality to protect them from foreign invasion and peasant revolts, Stalin filled this historico-cultural need under the banner of Marxism (a Eurocentric intellectual tradition with no relevance to third world developments and Feudal nations). Western Marxist theoretical discourses that arose in countries with a history of representative democracy (unlike the Tsarist Russian Empire) advocated much more democratic means to achieve communism.


#399

[QUOTE=“snoge, post: 348444, member: 6022”]Neither are great.

Communism would be better [I]if [/I]it worked, but it doesn’t work in practice. It tends to turn into totalitarianism dressed up as communism.

Capitalism works at least, but isn’t a good system in the long term. The inequality just leads to an economic slowdown.

So if I had to live under one of the two, it would be under capitalism, but neither is ideal.[/QUOTE]

I think, in a way, the two are very hard to compare. Capitalism refers to the entire right wing (Economically speaking) whereas communism refers to a type of socialism. So in a sense, the comparison should really be between Socialism Vs Capitalism as communism is too small (Ideologically speaking) for comparison. However, there are so many sub-groups in these ideologies that an argument for one type of capitalism/socialism might be completely against another type of socialism/capitalism. So, a better distinction would be:
"Do you prefer LIbertarian Left, Libertarian Right, Authoritarian Left or Authoritarian Right?"
This covers more of the compass, and isn’t like comparing a mouse to an elephant (Capitalism Vs Communism).


#400

[QUOTE=“oli, post: 349193, member: 579”]Vanguardism is a Leninist concept, and has been criticized and rejected by many communists for failing to represent the working classes and creating an elitist bureaucratic clique. Lenin allowed the dictatorship of the proletariat to become the dictatorship of the party with his concepts of vanguardism and democratic centralism, and it was this that allowed for tyrannical authoritarians like Stalin to wield unchecked power. It’s also important to remember that Russia had no history of democratic civil society, and traditionally relied on a strong leader and cult of personality to protect them from foreign invasion and peasant revolts, Stalin filled this historico-cultural need under the banner of Marxism (a Eurocentric intellectual tradition with no relevance to third world developments and Feudal nations). Western Marxist theoretical discourses that arose in countries with a history of representative democracy (unlike the Tsarist Russian Empire) advocated much more democratic means to achieve communism.[/QUOTE]

But I’m not sure whether it’s possible to achieve communism without a vanguard party, given all the changes that would need to be overseen, and having vanguard party leads to a USSR-style dictatorship more often than not. Besides, even if communism could be achieved, a society where everyone was economically equal would mean everyone had a relatively low quality of life.