A Thought in Defense of Communism/Socialism

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posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 09:59 AM
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NOTE: Put down the flame throwers and your custom crafted skull bludgeoning copies of Atlas Shrugged. I am not going to defend the entirety of Socialist style government or economic systems, as the versions that have been attempted to date have been largely untenable clusterfornications run by dictators or were administered in environments of genuine as opposed to artificial scarcity. While I do believe that the country would be better served by a hybrid system that consists of a comfortable socialist style base level existence available to all paired with a capitalist strata for those who wish to improve on the more humble base level lifestyle, this post is not dedicated to laying out that theory. That's for a future post.

This post is about shooting down one of the most irritating canards in the ongoing war between capitalism and socialism.

I often hear people say that without the capitalist game of wealth building, there is no reason for people to strive for better and (most annoyingly) that there would be no innovation because people would just be content to suckle off the system while doing the bare minimum required of them.

People who think this way have, more likely than not, never had an innovative thought in their lives. While it is true that millions of people would indeed wallow in the basic lifestyle and lowest common denominator pleasures that wold be made available to them while contributing an absolute minimum to society in the process, this is no different from the way the world works now or the way the world works in a capitalist system. Truth be told, millions more people are stuck in a very similar lifestyle while maintaining the appearance of being what capitalists would call good and "productive" citizens.

After all, I --the middle manager who works 8-10 hours a day shuffling paperwork, employing buzzwords, and attending meetings in exchange for a paycheck--am considered by proponents of the American version of capitalism to be vastly superior to the person who spends 8-10 hours a day watching reality TV in exchange for welfare check. Yet at the end of those 8-10 hours, what have either of us done to better humanity or innovate in any way? Nothing. And the vast majority of American jobs are similarly non-productive. So capitalist "employment" is not in and of itself a driver for innovation.

As a matter of fact, in the example I illustrated above the capitalist pseudo-employment of my hamster wheel financial existence hinders innovation. By the end of my day/week I have precious little time or energy to work on anything other than relaxing and spending time with my family. Sure, I work when I can on writing to try and improve humanity by adding to the culture of the United States (the art of a civilization being one of the major factors in determining its "greatness"). I have a few ideas for innovative projects, ventures or undertakingsm yet the capitalist system (which offers the potential of financial reward) drains me of the energy to pursue these passions.

Can you spot the important word in the above sentence? I'll give you a moment.
.
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Passions. The things innovators, creators, dreamers, and true producers of a new and improved world would like to do in order to contribute to the betterment of society or at least enrich the lives of others are things that they would often pursue regardless of financial benefit. They are Passions. Hell, I even had a short-lived but artistically vibrant literary magazine that ended up costing me more money than it made.

Now, the modern caricature of a socialist/communist system involves the oppressed people working long arduous hours at back-breaking toil such that clearly people are too broken and exhausted to do anything beyond feeding the horrible machine. And that is a charming snapshot of bygone days. The simple fact of the matter is that if every person of reasonable working age was put to productive work (manufacturing, farming, information fields for those physically unfit for manual labor), the average work week could only realistically be 10-20 hours a person. The means of production are such that we DON'T NEED to squeeze 40+ hour weeks out of everyone. We would have too much stuff manufactured, grown or created.

The only reason we are still locked in the 40 hour week work model is that we have been locked into the capitalist $/hour system that says 40 hours is the minimum to support a nominally secure lifestyle. That model has been outmoded since the mid-80's at the latest. This is why there are so many non-productive jobs. Because there is nowhere near enough productive labor to go around.

So with a 10-20 hour work week that comfortably provides for our most fundamental needs, what do we have? Time. Energy. These are the most vital resources for innovation. The guy/girl who invents the hoverboard is not going to invent the hoverboard because they want to be rich. They're going to invent it because they want to live in a world where hoverboards exist. This is the key to innovation. Letting people pursue their Passions.

There would still be people creating and innovating and improving the world under a well designed socialist system. In fact there would be more people pursuing such ventures than ever before because the most basic requirements of innovation: time and energy would be available in great abundance. True innovators innovate for the sake of innovation. They create a better world because they want to live in a better world. Yes, doing so can (and should) have material rewards, but suggesting that eliminating the time and energy destroying hamster wheel of modern capitalism would squelch innovation is delusional.

Again, I acknowledge that socialism/communism as administered in the past is a ridiculous nightmare. I posit that it is no more hellish than the road crony capitalism is taking us down today. Both systems are laid low by the corruption of the human character. A new and better system needs to be established. I believe it would need to be a hybrid of known systems.

I am not socialist/communist. I am a theorist. This is not about Obama or any other president or administration. Modern American politicians have crammed themselves into such a narrow ideological box (in which all of them fit regardless of bogus left/right affiliation) that they are irrelevant to real thought or progress. This is about dismissing myths in the interest of keeping all the cards on the table as we ponder the betterment of this world.
edit on 15-3-2013 by RobertAntonWeishaupt because: Grammar
edit on 15-3-2013 by RobertAntonWeishaupt because: More grammar




posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:16 AM
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Tell you what go live in DPRK that is North Korea for a year and then tell us just how well you like Communism/Socialism, but you would not last 6 weeks no 6 days there.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by RobertAntonWeishaupt

I --the middle manager who works 8-10 hours a day shuffling paperwork, employing buzzwords, and attending meetings in exchange for a paycheck--am considered by proponents of the American version of capitalism to be vastly superior to the person who spends 8-10 hours a day watching reality TV in exchange for welfare check. Yet at the end of those 8-10 hours, what have either of us done to better humanity or innovate in any way? Nothing.



Bettering Humanity is not an occupation. Serving your fellow man, namely your boss is, however.

You perform tasks necessary for the operation of a business, which exists to create profit. Your job, and all the jobs there are a by-product, not the purpose, of that pursuit.

Idly collecting welfare checks for no more effort than holding your hand out once for a lifetime of idleness demonstrates the 1st stage of socialist degeneration.

When the state has run out of other peoples money, that's when socialism becomes communism. No longer will there be idle collection of checks, free food and housing, but the proletariat will then be forced, by law (ultimately at the point of a gun) to toil as a slave to support the ruling class in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to, in the name of being allowed to keep you in your state provided hovel and your state provided daily turnip.

Until that happens, socialism looks like a swell deal! Look at all the stuff you get, and For Free! Who wouldn't vote for the guy who promises more? Those rich people are mean and don't deserve their wealth in the first place, right?

If you want to Better Humanity, take a vow of poverty and devote your life to selflessly serving humanity with no expectations of reward. Nothing stops you from doing that.

Mistaking 'bettering humanity' for confiscating by force of law and generously spending other people's money is an evil; degeneration of society. If you feel that strongly, start a charity, and grow it with a passion.

Charity is voluntary (appeal to hearts), coercion is tyranny (force by penalty of law).



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by bekod
 


Wow, it's almost as if I should note that existing attempts at socialist/communist society have been untenable clusterfornications run by dictators or something. Thanks for "reading".



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:32 AM
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reply to post by TheWrightWing
 


You raise a very valid argument in the overall socialism vs capitalism debate. The transition dilemma. This is one of the main reasons why I have not yet solidified my views on creating an improved hybrid as the establishment of the socialist strata is a complex issue that involves a recognition that money and resources are two separate things: one being imaginary, the other being real. It's a difficult notion to reconcile with the current system, but not an impossible one. It does, however, require a Genuine (note the capital G) paradigm shift.

As to my job contributing the the company...my company's function (the one that makes the money which drives the profit) is to produce a tangible consumer good. I won't go much further in the interests of maintaining anonymity, but suffice to say it is a household item manufactured in the western united states. The job(s) that I perform are split across 13 people in the department. The amount of padding that is done to make it look like all 13 people are necessary is the stuff of a Dilbert cartoon and the impact that we have on the manufacture, shipping and sale of our product is negligible at best. But without us looking necessary, the three directors we report to look unnecessary, without all those directors to coordinate, the COO looks kind of useless and much of the board's function gets called into question.

This is a recurring pattern across many companies. Never mind the fact that our manufacturing personnel has been cut by 20% while increasing productivity by 5% and still allowing for a cushy amount of slack in their unnecessary 40 hour work weeks.

Many of these people may be more useful to the advancement (I shan't use the fuzzy-headed liberal sounding word betterment any more) of society if they were let loose to pursue their own Passions.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:37 AM
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Extreme of both is not gonna work, Communism did not work, and Capitalism is not working.

What we should do is add socialist ideas, but people don;t realize they already have socialist idea in their own "capitalistic" country. The guy that comes around and picks up your garbage is an example.

Many countries use combination of both, Canada is a good example, Capitalistic yet have many socialist ideas.

Don't know if that would work in western countries, i mean America, the propaganda effect of cold war is still in people's head.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:42 AM
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reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
 
Russia tried it, it failed, China also failed, the only one left that is true to the Spirit of such beliefs is North Korea. We all now how that is turning out for them Half eating each other the other half staving, that's just the worker class now if your a holder of certificate of spokesmen then you have it made. you get 2 days rice 3 days of meat and weeks worth of drink, that is for one meal so even they do not hold true to the meaning of Communism/Socialism "no one is to have more than the other, nor are you to have personal possessions, for what you have is not your but the states and everyone is the state" DPRK lets you have some possessions Rifle, Hammer, and uniform.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by bekod
 


Where in my OP do I say that I support or am impressed by any existing attempts at socialism or communism? I clearly disdain the dictatorial B.S. of current Communist regimes. All this post was about was putting to rest the myth that innovation is only possible in a capitalist system.

Yes, current socialist regimes have been "untenable clusterfornications" as someone once said. That doesn't mean that the concepts can not be incorporated into a better system.

READ THE OP.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by bekod
 


What those countries are practicing is bastardized, hybrid communism. Don't think any country has ever practiced true communism, unless we are talking about some tribal people.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 10:57 AM
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reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
 


Maybe I should also clarify that in my hypothetical dual system, those who use the time/energy benefits of the socialist base level strata to innovate and create great things would quickly become part of the capitalist strata, generating wealth, employing people (who also seek to improve their lot in life) and doing all the things that modern entrepreneurs and capitalists do. But they will have been given the freedom and resources to do so because they would not be trapped in the 40+ hour grind of modern artificial scarcity based capitalism.

The capitalist strata would be more innovative and vibrant for the having the socialist strata which would serve as a relative hotbed of innovation.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:15 AM
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reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
 


S&F to you! Excellent post! You raise one issue that i have been saying since ages. Namely the need to have a "job" one loves and feels fulfilled with. I often call it "pride" in ones accomplishments. I have always criticized the so often quoted section from Adam Smith: "that the butcher is not in the business to provide food for the people, but to make money."
Anyone who has ever lived in Europe and been to the more smaller towns will recall what "Pride" these local butchers have in the quality of their meat products. Not just kill the animal and slice it up, but to smoke the hams, flavor them to their age old recipe and so forth. In many such towns most people go to 2 or 3 such butchers exactly for the reason to buy the best from one on cold cuts, and the best from another on things as smoked meats and hams for example. It holds true for the same on carpenters, cabinet makers, you name it.
Wealth comes from the quality of your products and services.
The system of apprenticeship for example that is almost totally absent in the USA or practically any "English" new world country.
Quite often do I read here in the Canadian news papers adds for "Green Card Lotteries". In which it is simply stated that the USA economy need now 50,000 Tool & die makers for its labor market. The USA capitalist system simply "imports" its needed skills via preferred immigration. Mind you, Canada is not much better in this aspect. The child's dream of an: "I want to become ..." and then learn what s/he likes & loves till to the mastery of the subject s/he likes and loves is totally absent for most parts.
It is quite ironic that the USA has in its declaration the: "... pursuit of happiness." but in the actual daily grind is anything but. Real innovations come from people who have a fulfilled life. Who have dreams and have the time to spend their weekends in the basement or garage to tinker around on their new ideas and inventions, - and then eventually bring them on the market. And the key to any invention is creativity. And creativity starves in a mind numbing existence.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:18 AM
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reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
 
then you should have said posted 'IS the West ready for a Canadian style of gov" for they do have it, or a form of it Socialism/ capitalist system.

edit on 15-3-2013 by bekod because: line edit



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:20 AM
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Humanity cannot currently execute the type of government as discussed because we can't control corruption and money is currently the consuming ambition of the ruling class of all governments through out history.
Once we get passed that we'll see.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by bekod
 


But my entire thought could not be summed up in the headline which seems to be all you want to read. I was not talking about an entire system Canadian or otherwise. BTW, Canada...totally in "the West". My concept for an entire system is still in flux and being refined.

I was posting about the concept of innovation being possible within a socialist framework that embraces the best of modern technology.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:22 AM
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This is the stumbling block that gets hit whenever anything even remotely socially conscious gets tabled. The spectre of failing Russia gets thrown in. Often China - even without folks bothering to think that if it were not for Chinas wealth - the US would have already collapsed in upon itself.

Meanwhile most western nations, sit back, shake their heads, and laugh at us for being so obstinate and obsessed with our predispositions towards buying into the lies we've been fed about what the words "free market" are actually supposed to mean.

Opportunity and equity can coexist, despite what Gordon Gekko has to say.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:29 AM
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So your mad that you have to work 40 a week instead of persuing your passions? I get that, but do you think that society should support you while you work on your passions. How many world changing inventions or ideas have come from communist/socialist societies?

I think your idea is flawed.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:35 AM
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reply to post by Guenter
 


Excellent example with the butcher. And it provides an excellent example of the strata concept. A butcher who need only spend 10-20 hours at industrial butchering for mass production could have the time and freedom to pursue a passion for artisan cured meats.

The mass production grind can be used to provide for the base level existence while the artisan goods that are a product of Passion would be for purchase through the capitalist channels.

Or could, in that same free time, develop a more efficient method of butchering that would allow the butchering work week to be shorter, freeing up more time to innovate in some other area. If we allow innovation to improve lives through increased time and energy (the true resource for both happiness and success) then we will have a snowball effect of advancement.

Yes, there would be freeloaders, no different from today, but there will be more innovators than ever before, freed from the wheel of an imaginary financial model.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:38 AM
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reply to post by MrBigDave
 


Not just me. Everyone. It's unnecessary. It's inefficient. And it makes people miserable. Far more miserable than me. My job is probably the best I've had. But the fact is that we are ALL being held back by an increasingly unstable illusory system that is designed for no other reason than to rig a game. It's a system that does not work and that is increasingly dangerous.

I'm not looking to set just myself free. I'm looking to set everyone free.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by RobertAntonWeishaupt
reply to post by Guenter
 


Yes, there would be freeloaders, no different from today, but there will be more innovators than ever before, freed from the wheel of an imaginary financial model.


I doubt that the true "freeloader" is a many in numbers. Most so called freeloaders that I have come across are simply frustrated individuals with no ability to actually do what they want.
I have recently discussed another aspect with someone: We talked about a universal fixed salary. Just to say, everyone gets 100$/day. And the natural argument is that if everyone has the same and can afford the same then the ocean would be choked with 5 billion luxury yachts. I totally disagree. I have many friends who enjoy the so much loved hunting and fishing trips here to the north. Many own a simple canoe. Not because they have not the money to get a nice boat with an outboard engine. They simply ENJOY their canoe. And they would not want an engine on it so not to noise pollute the serenity of their wilderness getaway. Most people in essence are simple and take pleasure in simple things. A good BBQ with friends and family, a day at the beach etc. The pleasure to communicate is much more important for most than to simply get high on a luxury.



posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:53 AM
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reply to post by RobertAntonWeishaupt
 
I do get what you are saying,{ I am not for long post short and to the point, } the problem lies with in Money/ power get a system where neither is used then it might work. But then we as humans need to be told or have reason to be productive.





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