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If communism was working the way its progenitors wanted it to, would it be better than capitalism?

The main reason why communism was made was people wanted to be equal without getting restricted by their environment, but nowadays communism is abused by some dictators such as North Korean leaders. Besides, capitalism also has its own problem. There are so many people who didn't have opportunities to try what they really wanted to do due to their poverty or else.
If communism was working as it should be, would it be better than capitalism?
(When there are no dictators)

Topics: Communism

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    Apr 24 2013: I think it would. The problem was that there was a huge gap between the theory and its practice. The communism theory was an outcry for change in the reality of severe injustice of those times. It had noble ideals. But as it usually occurs in the mankind history, the great ideals always fall victim to the basic human nature -- the human nature of greed and selfishness. This means, whoever gains the power in the name of any ideals, exploit those ideals only for the benefit of his and his close group. Communism was not exception of this basic human nature, as well as the Capitalism and many countless other man-made systems of diverse ideals.

    So I think that instead of looking for the BIG answers from the failure of Communism (like dictatorships, organizing labor differently, the Chinese interpretation of communism or whatever) it would be much better for the all mankind to look for more seemingly minor answers, which are actually the real true answers. Because these answers are common to perhaps all the mankind’s ideological failures in the history and not just for the failure of the communism -- for example, also the latest economic crisis due to the failure of the Capitalism.
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      Apr 25 2013: it is a recurring theme, only if communism worked. but the thing is, communism is unworkable as a concept. without private ownership of means of production, it is impossible to see what ideas work and what don't. because the reason behind the success of capitalism is trial and error on massive scale. but this does not work without "attaching" success and failure to the entrepreneur. hence, ownership of capital.
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      Apr 25 2013: Well said Yubal I agree 100%. No government can work on principles of greed and selfishness. I believe Greed and Selfishness can be eradicated through law itself. There should be no personal gain through leadership whatsoever. Our leaders must be selfless and that is a very tall order that must be forced upon them by their own hand. That is unlikely.
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        May 1 2013: I agree. The job of politician needs to be the most unglamorous toil, for minimum wage without benefits, with death penalty for corruption, that would attract only those who are sincerely devoted to "serving the people". I'm yet to see a government that would vote to decrease its own salary. Nor have I seen voters that would vote down a social welfare program.
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          May 1 2013: I almost completely agree. Your words here express almost precisely my thoughts, except the death penalty. I guess there are many who think similarly as you wrote about how it should be in politics.
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          May 1 2013: Hi, I have replied to your comment below, not this one.
        • May 1 2013: A reply to Arkady and Yubal. I am referring to this thought. "I agree. The job of politician needs to be...

          I believe that to be a desperate measure, one that would attract no one other than the Dalai Lama and probably not even him. I have a different perspective,

          Whatever is being glamorized is being glamorized deliberately to produce certain results. The mass media, news, newspapers, television shows, education, is controlled information. By who? By those who have a vested interest in how you think. Violence is glorified. Excessive luxury is glorified. Excessive consumption and irresponsible behavior is glorified. Competition is glorified. Hubris is glorified. Poisonous food is glorified. The idea of what is glorious and what is glamor is being dictated to us. And we have accepted it. The others who have had a very different message for us and became popular, JFK, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Jesus etc. have all been assassinated. The reasons for this are obvious. So because you are faced with what seems like an enormous and seemingly impossible task of turning this all around, you turn to desperation. By using a pittance of a salary and fear of death, so that you can trust a person. You have created a situation where you will not have to trust.

          In order to solve this problem, I say ignore what they say, reject their notion of success, dismiss what they tell you is glory and listen to your highest thoughts. I say glamorize our leaders to the highest degree. Make it known that it is the highest and most honorable position possible to achieve. With it comes a salary fit for a great leader. Of course swiftly remove them if they are no longer serving the best interest of all people. But in order to determine what is best for all people, they would first have to decide what they are doing here. And this is a question that mankind has been asking for millennia. Perhaps it would be profitable to ask it now.
    • May 1 2013: I understand that it can appear as if we have an accurate understanding of human nature. I do not believe we understand what human nature is. What we have, when we look at human kind, is evidence that is based on the behaviors of humans. Behavior which is in theory caused largely by the dominant beliefs of the day. For example I'll take two subjects where the contrast is high. You can clearly see the difference between the behaviors of the Dalai Lama, who believes one thing about life, and Adolf Hitler who believed entirely another. Why do they behave so differently? Is there nature different? Are they different species? Or is it simply because of what they believe? Perhaps the only thing that matters is what we believe. And most of all what we believe about ourselves.
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        May 1 2013: A quick review of the history shows that usually new systems or ways are founded with good intentions. The founders usually mean to make good. The problem is with their successors. The successors many times twist the main theme of the founders, and here enters the issue of the human nature. The communism is of no exception of this principle.

        I have written about this in more details on another discussion at TED forum. It is at my second reply there (Sep 2 2011) to "robert richards": http://www.ted.com/talks/thandie_newton_embracing_otherness_embracing_myself.html?c=312893
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          May 1 2013: Yubal, I read your comment in the Thandie Newton video discussion. People tend to look for confirmation of their ideas instead of looking for contradiction (a problem which Karl Popper found with Marxism http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html)

          "A famous study by psychologist Peter Wason neatly illustrates how we tend to look only for confirmation of our ideas, seldom for disconfirmation. Wason presented subjects with four cards having the symbols A, D, 3, and 7 on one side and told them that each card had a number on one side and a letter on the other. He then asked which of the four cards needed to be turned over in order to establish the rule: Any card with an A on one side has a 3 on the other. Which cards would you turn over? (The answer is below.)

          These are just a few ways in which we systematically fall victim to psychological illusion.

          Answer: Most subjects picked the A and 3 cards. The correct answer is the A and 7 cards. " -- http://tinyurl.com/capce8e

          With this in mind, don't you think that there are as many examples of the contrary - when something bad turns into something good? E.g. arms race boosting scientific and industrial progress, the failure of Hubble telescope lens boosting development of image processing technologies, or wars stimulating economy and causing exchange between cultures.
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          May 3 2013: Yubal - I agree.
          Arkady - everybody suffers from confirmation bias until the amount of data is so overwhelming that confirmation bias is sure to disappear, when you're more interested in the data than confirmation of biases. The Bible is not a history book.

          Brendan - an American journalist who was interviewing Dalai Lama once tried to be funny and tell him a joke. "Dalai Lama walks into a pizzashop and says - give me one with everything." Dalai Lama wasn't sure what a pizza shop was and didn't get the joke, but the conversation was still a pleasant one. He didn't say "Are you implying that I don't know what a pizza is?" or "How dare you use your American culture while speaking to Dalai Lama?! I feel offended!" The interview is on youtube.
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        May 1 2013: A reply to Arkady Grudzinsky:

        Good points. Generally I like to phrase the sentence that Bad things come out of Good things and Good things come out of bad things.

        Now to be more specific about your points: The examples you gave about good things coming out of bad things -- please note that to create the good things you mentioned from the bad things, there had to be, I guess, someone (or some people) with good intentions who initialized those good things. But see now, isn't the scientific and industrial progress used many times for bad aims ?? Isn't the image processing technology used many times for fraud or just to create illusions about products to attract customers or about modelling to attract teenage girls ?? And so on and on.......

        So you gave true facts, but the principle I gave about the basic human nature is valid with those facts too.
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      May 1 2013: Yubal, perhaps, it is fair to say that any good cause can and will be perverted by someone somewhere. I agree with this statement. I wouldn't, however, make far-reaching conclusions that tendency to corruption is "fundamental human nature". People also known to strive to improve their lives. If corruption and decay were the fundamental general direction for humanity, there would be no social progress - things would get worse over time. And they do get worse, here and there, but, on a global scale, humanity makes progress: slavery is abandoned, exploitation of child labor is illegal in most places, diseases are eradicated, life span increases, etc. Even the beggars on highway exits are not naked and do not have open sores. It's the same "human nature" that makes things better.

      I stopped using terms "natural" and "unnatural" after reading the paper about homosexual necrophilia observed in animal world http://www.ted.com/talks/kees_moeliker_how_a_dead_duck_changed_my_life.html . I read the paper last year, from a link in Wikipedia about homosexuality in animal world. I always think of this example every time someone says that "homosexuality is unnatural".
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        May 3 2013: I have no disagreements with what you say. Please note that I myself wrote in the comment you read on the Thandie Newton's talk, that the human nature is good fundamentally. However, the same nature has some traits which persistently cause failures of the systems the man creates, as the time passes. I gave there briefly the mechanism of how this happens.

        We both do not differ in what we say. See how.
        When you give examples of good things mankind has created or done, these things are usually new ways//innovations//discoveries//enterprises//....etc. At these new beginnings, there are mostly the good intentions of the beginners//founders, there's plenty of vital enthusiasm, there's great vision and so on. So no wonder so many good things come out of all these great virtues of the Man, as you had specified.

        But I say let's look beyond the great beginnings, after enough duration of time. Let's see what happens when the founding people//generation of all the good things pass away or lose their impact. The history proves that usually the followers or the successors (not necessarily the immediate successors) after the founders lose//forget//ignore the great ideals of their preceders. What was once new and fresh beginning turns gradually into routine, many times a boring routine. And so in such climate these followers tend to twist or misuse those great systems//ways//creations of the original founders. I say that this occurs due to the human basic traits of greed, ego-centrism, selfishness....etc which start to dominate in the absence of the spirit of good intentions, enthusiasm, vision, positive ideals.......

        But I shall add and say that it's not at all a lost battle. Exactly by becoming aware of these processes and confronting them we will be able to reduce the impact of our bad habits//traits and to preserve the original good qualities of our basic human nature and of our great creations.
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          May 3 2013: I agree. The process you describe is most fully described in the Bible.

          All things are born fresh, new, exciting, and good. As time passes, things serve their purpose, then they outlive it, loose freshness, excitement, glitter, etc., become dull, then decay, turn ugly, and die, and new things are born from them. This happened to civilizations, social structures, religions, ideologies. Some things have longer life cycle than others. Religions seem to last for millenia. Ideologies (Marxism, Nazism, etc.) - for a few decades. Social structures such as feudalism and capitalism - several centuries. All of them too long for a single generation to witness the full cycle. But there is no doubt in my mind that capitalism will be replaced by something else. It's already very different than 100 or even 30 years ago.

          It is very possible that Marx was right in a sense that development of productive forces will lead to socialism (when society will be able to guarantee basic income to everyone - this seems to be happening) and, eventually, communism, when money becomes obsolete and people will not *have* to work to live comfortably. He may have been right about the result, but not about the way. I don't think, class struggle, revolution, and dictatorship of proletariat is the way to such society. I think, it needs to be some sort of "spiritual awakening", some sort of belief system - not instilled from outside, by the government or organized traditional religion, but growing from within, much like the biblical "kingdom of heaven". Too bad, religions tend to follow the same basic pattern that you outlined.
        • May 3 2013: Amazing!!! Yubal. I am referring to this; What was once new and fresh beginning turns gradually into routine, many times a boring routine. And so in such climate these followers tend to twist or misuse those great systems//ways//creations of the original founders. I say that this occurs due to the human basic traits of greed, ego-centrism, selfishness....etc

          This is an absolutely brilliant observation. But might I suggest another reason for it? If there is one thing that man has truly mastered, it is his undeniable ability to forget. And perhaps, that forgetting in itself, is a natural part, not without reason, of a much larger process playing itself out. A verse in a much larger and much more subtle symphony.
          Yubal, I believe you are onto something here. :)
    • May 8 2013: I think Marx ought to be looked at purely from an historical perspective. He could never have imagined the kind of technological innovations we have today.
      Back then a lot of manual labour was required so someone had to be mugged into doing it.
      Most things are mechanised, most labour intensive jobs have disappeared so we ought to be sharing the work load and spreading the wealth.

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