Originally posted by imherejusttoread
reply to post by petrus4
This is interesting and all, but I couldn't help notice nowhere in your post did you precisely define socialism, communism, or capitalism. You
assume their definitions are self-evident. They aren't.
For me, Capitalism has a few different meanings.
a] The assumption that scarcity is inevitable, and that it has to be regulated in some way, in order to ensure that someone
gains access to
scarce commodities. Money (usually fiat currency) is used as the means of doing this; although the down side of the presumption of scarcity, is that
scarcity is actually assumed to be a good thing, because it's the only way people can make money. So even commodities which do not have to be scarce
(creativity and Internet bandwidth, as two examples) are artificially made scarce, so that they will make money.
There are some commodities, on the other hand, which genuinely are unavoidably scarce, and for those, money as a system of regulation can work.
b] Competitive, individual self-interest is assumed to be the primary (and sometimes the only) motivation of human beings. This is usually only true
in the case of psychopaths; it isn't true in the case of non-psychopaths. An important element of this, is what has been called social Darwinism, at
least as applied to corporations. In purely Capitalistic terms, corporations which become insolvent, cease to exist. The government bailouts of
banks are not a manifestation of Capitalism as described by its' theorists.
The system of letter grading, used for students within school systems, predates Capitalism; but could be considered an example of Capitalistic or
Darwinist thinking. Other examples are cases of athletically or intellectually gifted students becoming leaders of the social hierarchy. I believe
that the Columbine Massacre was a case of class warfare along those lines, with the leaders of the social hierarchy being shot by those who inhabited
the bottom of it.
c] The assumption that a single individual or small group of individuals can hypothetically reach a point of owning literally all forms of property
in existence. This is the Capitalist definition of freedom, and it is considered by them to be a good thing. It also logically follows, that most of
the time, said property is not used by those who actually own it. They simply charge those who use it, for the right of use, and derive income on
I define Socialism, conversely, in the following ways.
a] A desire for equality is assumed as an element of human nature. As far as non-psychopaths are concerned, I agree with this. Examples from the
behaviour of other animals in nature, are often cited.
b] There is an emphasis on non-competition. Capitalism focuses on self-interested competition, and socio-economic success, which in theory is
supposed to be on the basis of intellectual or physical merit, but which in practice usually turns out to be based on pathological narcissism and the
ability to manipulate society.
Socialism on the other hand, is where the recent trend toward awards simply for participation in a given activity, as one example, has come from. The
Left places a very strong emphasis on victimhood, and the concept of the hate crime (which I consider rationally illegitimate, and almost always
desired from a basis of hysterical emotionalism rather than logic, for the record) is another classic example of Socialist thinking.
While in a Capitalist scenario, it can be said that the proverbial fecal matter rises to the top, this occurs in primarily amoral or psychopathic
terms. In a Socialist context it also happens; but where in more Capitalist terms, the narcissism or perceived beauty of Paris Hilton will put her in
the spotlight, in Socialist terms the spotlight is occupied generally by whoever can scream the loudest, or most effectively and sympathetically
portrays themselves as a victim. Again, the gay rights movement is a great place to look for examples of this.
So while in Capitalist terms, the corporation who posts the biggest profit in a given financial year (irrespective of their progress in also rendering
us all extinct, due to environmental destruction) is given the metaphorical gold medal, in the Socialist mindset, said gold medal is likely to go to
whoever Amnesty International can identify as having been the most brutally tortured by one of the Capitalist countries, during said period. Either
way, real merit is avoided entirely.
c] Possession is nine tenths of the Law. Whoever owns property or the means of production, is whoever uses it. In practical terms, this is much
more useful than the kind of redundant ownership which Capitalism advocates.
(I'm out of room, but I may continue this later)