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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)

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    Apr 15 2013: The trouble Is not with the system. The trouble is the nature of man.
    We like to think that mankind is basically good. An honest appraisal of human history must lead us to the conclusion that we should question this assumption.

    :-)
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      Apr 15 2013: Hi! I agree, the morality of humanity must be considered but we also have to face the fact that it is our society/country/schools responsibility to enstill this decency and obedience.

      I think the reason why communism may have a history of tyranny may be related to the fact that, and of course I'm not sure about this it is just an opinion, but perhaps the citizens of these communist countries were immoral, out of control and in order to allow those with the education to work, as well as those with the morality but not the opportunities to gain education and find work, to coexist with the unfortunate fact that some people are immoral, the idea of communism brought an equilibrium that allowed for further expansion and growth in all three different groups of people.
      • Apr 16 2013: Absolute power corrupts Absolutely.. whether absolute powers given to one or 3 dozen. Central planning has and always will fail
    • Apr 16 2013: Adam smith understood Humans are simultaneously selfish and altruistic. On one hand where about self gain and on the other we have a developed moral consciousness. In Smiths argument, that is why market systems work, and are by nature malleable and self regulating.
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        Apr 29 2013: "Central planning has and always will fail."

        While communism is a beautifully swift example of such entropy, USA's flagship pseudo-capitalism relies heavily upon similar central planning... can anyone argue that our government is sustainable?

        I would call myself something like... an altruistic anarcho-capitalist. Ideally. (I would love to discuss the notion). What beautiful innovation and evolution might result from such a fluid existence?
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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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    Apr 17 2013: Of course it would be better. Every one would have what they need, no one would lack anything. Just that would make communism better than capitalism.

    I know every one are being taught the opposite in school, you learn at a very young age that communism is evil, and now you automatically associate communism with Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia, you've been brainwashed that way by your education system policy, the mistake with this association is that it's not communism's fault it's the police state's fault and a police state can appear in any form of government.

    Communism isn't not evil, it's a fair economical system for everyone, all humans are equal, almost every one will agree on this but for some reasons like the "human nature" if you live in an environment in which there are rich and there are poor, you will want to be rich, but in an environment in which there are humans and only humans, no rich, no poor it will become irrelevant to be rich.

    This human nature you think you know all about, is only due to the fact that you live in an unbalanced economical system with rich and poor.

    Give every one water, food, shelter, education, healthcare, proper transportation and free time to enjoy breathing and give the menial work to automates machines and you will see the human nature become more natural and less unnatural or greedy, because greed is more than a problem, it's a dead end.
    • Apr 20 2013: Yes it is a noble goal to make every human being equal, but communism is no the answer... I don't remember anyone saying communism was evil, who told you that? in school? are you kidding? communism is not evil it is just inefficient to the point of making it unsustainable and the prof was the felt of the USSR and almost all the communist block.

      If communism is so good, then why the USSR was unable to surpass American and Japanese and German cars in fuel efficiency? if like most people say the electric car is being held by "imperialist interests" then why the USSR or any other communist country was unable to make just one?... the reason: communism makes you inefficient, lazy and dependent of the government.
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      Apr 29 2013: Everyone in this pointless situation would "have what they need." If I had all that I needed, I would have no purpose. If I had no purpose, my life would be meaningless. I would prefer to live rather than exist.

      The police state is to blame.

      All humans are not equal-- choices distinguish individuals. In your earlier paragraph, you listed two dictatorships that were ruled by dick-tators and composed of an idiotic, murderous flock of sheep. I value the life of a spider more than theirs. If you would counter this statement by saying that these people are "inhuman," I'll play semantics with you no problem. But I stand by my original assertion.

      Moving forward, wealth would indeed become irrelevant in such a dystopia-- but unless you are the first humanoid autotroph (which would be awesome), the basic needs would eventually be unmet. I realize that I contradicted your initial statement, that "no one would lack anything," but come on, that is simply unobtainable and therefore illogical to discuss.

      We do live in an unbalanced economical system. Help me change it.

      Who is doing this magical giving? Free water, I'm sold. "Pun"ters not getting paid to play football, I'm fine with that. Free transportation... ok? Free computers? Why do we need computers? Free education? What is the point? Somebody knows how to fix my brain tumor, right? And that sh*t is free... bonus. Free Hat? But he is a convicted baby killer!

      All you speak of is give me this.... give the the people that... you have no plausible scenario to enable this. In this machine, everyone will have but one function. Unfortunately, I am poop shoveler and I am sad. Maybe I can trade with the kitten petter. I am sure he would be down with that. Bah. I would love to be kitten petter. Perhaps I should learn to be a better kitten petter and win the affection of all the kittens! Maybe I should build an automate to be poop shoveler! I could program it to do many things. Now we have a bunch of functionless people. Bah.
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        Apr 29 2013: The giving would be done by the State, or by the "name" of the State.

        Healthcare will be made by automates, the education system would be available for those who wish to learn, eventually we will see the chemical learning, from that moment schools will become irrelevant.

        I understand that you consider communism to be a bad thing for you, you probably have your own company that works for you, maybe you employ some people, but soon enough an high tech device will allow you to fire all your employees. And this is sadly what is happening everywhere, step by step with every new gadget that do something someone was doing.

        I'm personally trying to find a way out so this system of rich thieves gaining more everyday while the rest of us are losing more everyday. I understand it does not concern you personally, or not yet but in the case you are not a entrepreneur in your own ivory tower, soon enough you will get lay off, because it's inevitable, all workers are soon to be lay off, replaced by high tech AI gadgets.

        So capitalism is about to hit a wall, it's done, this system is flawed, a new system must be put into place to replace the capitalism, that new system maybe something close to communism.

        For others who cannot live with this stupid idea of humans being equal, a simple rope and a tree can do.
  • May 7 2013: As a political system both capitalism and communism fail for the same reason. Society improves and grows by encouraging its people to work cooperatively and motivating us to work harder. Without rewards for individual effort there is no motivation to create and work harder. Ask yourself which political system does a better job? In practice, power gets concentrated in both systems thereby over time the general population is over regulated/controlled. Freedom is the key word in any political system. Freedom must be protected and systemic. Cameras, electronic monitoring and a false sense of security will ultimately result in loosing the thing we all want a - Better Life.
  • Apr 30 2013: Human collective intelligence is not developed enough to fully implement a social system of complete equality.

    I believe that USSR/Eastern bloc states/North Korea are actually bad examples to use when discussing the implementation of communism.

    Yugoslavia, however, had a different story to tell. If anyone cared to discuss this theme, I would gladly join.
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      May 1 2013: Tell us the story of Yugoslavia. I love to hear "insider perceptions" from different countries and different eras. E.g., having grown up in Soviet Ukraine in Brezhnev time, I have a totally different experience than my parents who were born under Stalin, went through WWII as children, and Khrushchev/Brezhnev as adults. It's also different from today's 20-30 year-olds born at the end or after Gorbachev's reign.

      People watch North Korea on TV now with hundreds of people in uniform marching in military parades and think that the country is full of schizophrenics dreaming of attacking the U.S. It's not true. I'm sure, they are scared to death of the U.S. destroying them and have no doubt that they are the most peaceful country in the world, trying to protect itself from the imperialist aggressors who hate working people. If not for the nuclear weapons, they would have been crushed by the U.S. military long ago.

      Tell us, what Yugoslavia was like.
      • May 1 2013: Indeed, being in a constant state of war alert for more than 50 years bends the collective mind.

        Yugoslavia, unlike the majority of other communist states, was in relative peace after WII. Interestingly enough, it is the only communist state to break of from the grasp of USSR (which, of course, enraged Stalin so much he nearly invaded the Balkans in the mid 60s). In the grand scheme of things in the Cold war, Yugoslavia was meant to be a buffer zone between the West and the East. Churchill openly supported Tito, and didn't help reinstate the royal family of Kingdom Yugoslavia (that fled to England when the war broke out).

        After WWII ended, Tito, the supreme leader, thoroughly obliterated the middle class in every Republic, as it was seen as a prime threat to the stability of a communistic state. In the last days of the war, students and intellectuals were deliberately sent to the front lines, only to be mowed down by the Germans. Infamous secret services had a tight grip on everyone's life during the 60s.

        However, things began to cool down during the 70s. Democratic freedoms were far from being fully implemented, but the entire population had it's basic existential needs met, unemployment was more or less non existent and there was a significant economical progress.

        In the 80s, Yugoslavia looked a lot like a decently developed Western state, with an interesting cultural scene. For example, despite the omnipresence of communistic ideology there was a strong and widely accepted rock/punk scene fairly similar to the equivalents in the UK or US. Multi-ethnicity was embraced, but religion was looked down upon. Nevertheless, Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims co-existed peacefully. Yugoslavia was supposed to be one of the first states to enter the (today known as the) EU.

        Tito died. Then the 90's came.
      • May 1 2013: Were nationalistic fires and old quarrels burning quietly, ready to explode in a moment of weakness? Was the whole concept of unity a lie?

        Or did the few leaders manipulate the masses, only to create unimaginable hate between yesterday's brethren, utilizing savages to pursue their ambitions?


        The outcome is tragic. Twenty years after the civil war, young people not even born in the period are still poisoned with hate, against people they never had a real confrontation with. And the older ones, being nostalgic and spiteful.

        Yugoslavia, as an experiment of communism, has ultimately failed.
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          May 1 2013: Communism, as laid out by its theorists Marx and Engels, is based on the concept of "class struggle". Intrinsically, it antagonizes society and pits people against each other. It divides people into "camps" - "rich and poor", "bourgeoisie and proletariat". I see this as the main flaw. It's impossible to build a harmonious society on antagonism, struggle, and hate. Finger pointing and blame games, arms race, ethnic and religious feud, walls dividing society, literally and figuratively, seem to be a logical consequence of such ideology.
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    Apr 27 2013: The current problem capitalism has is the same problem communism had - its utopian ideology was infiltrated by psychopaths. I'm serious.

    People with psychopathic tendencies are attracted to power and prestige - they climb the greasy pole, by whatever means, and when they get power or influence they use it for their own gratification, glorification and empowerment. They lobby for the relaxation of regulation, and once they achieve this they exploit it ruthlessly. You cannot expect a psychopath to have self restraint or feelings of remorse - they are relentless - they want it all.

    Corporation directorships, government departments and politics, are disproportionally represented by psychopaths. In the population as a whole they make up 1%, within the halls of corporate and political power it is estimated that they make up to 4% (source Jon Ronson TED TALK).

    Psychopaths are very often highly charismatic and charming individuals. They are confident and excellent speakers and are highly personable. They will use information they have gleaned from people in a twisted manner for their own advantage. They will lie shamelessly. They have massive egos and are highly manipulative, with no morals, sense of guilt or conscience. They will turn on anyone at any time - they have no need or concept of true friendship. They are truly frightening to be around.

    You can spot them by looking at the emotional and mental health of those who work closely with them. Those in close proximity to them for any length of time come across as slightly deranged.
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    Apr 23 2013: First we need to find a country that practices communisim without dictators to determine an answer to this question.
    • May 1 2013: I'm not sure if this qualifies but, Kerala India, apparently elected a Communist Government quite recently.
  • Apr 20 2013: Communism, like capitalism, had money, so it became corrupt.
    It (pure communism), probably would be better but most people in the West are so brainwashed, that the mere mention exudes words like "communism" or "socialism" from their lips as the main, immediate, non-thinking, robotic-reaction in order to dismiss a new idea as fast as possible.
    Money is the corrupter and capitalism is crooked by default.
    It is "capitalizing" on what others don't know either through ignorance, indifference or lies and deception, or it is capitalizing on the bad luck of others, sometimes which occurs through ignorance, indifference or lies and deception.
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      Apr 20 2013: Well said sir! The good news is people are starting to criticize Capitalism everywhere.
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        Apr 29 2013: Money is necessary. It is imperfect and, unfortunately, most effectively wielded by the covetous and corrupt... but it is necessary.

        And Kareem, before you subjectively belittle Capitalism, remember that it, like its "utopian" brother, was once an ideal. The bastardized version you see today is often immoral and therefore deserves criticism, but it, at least, is intended to support the freedom of choice. Can you say the same about whatever system you defend?
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          Apr 29 2013: When did I say money isn't necessary? Indeed wielded it is by corrupt and greedy people. Especially bankers.

          Look Hunter, continuous growth which Capitalism promises is impossible. We don't have enough resources or infrastructures. (there are thousands of articles written on the topic)

          Freedom of choice by whom? :)) I'd say it is an illusion, very nicely fabricated but a mere farce it is.
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        Apr 29 2013: continuous growth is perfectly possible as long as the growing variable is not attached to any specific material or other physical property of nature. there can not be exponential growth of oil usage, or farmland, mined lithium, or chopped trees or planet earth. but there can be continued exponential growth in knowledge, and knowhow. in happiness, in problems solved. and also, man can extend its reign to new territories, which pushes any physical limits outward. physical limitations does not seem to be an unsolvable problem at all, thus, it is merely a bogeyman.
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          Apr 29 2013: 'knowledge' 'happiness' and 'know-how' have nothing to do with Capitalism. You need to go to University of Budapest and ask random 1st year Economics grad to explain to you what means Capitalism. Because I think you are not grasping the concept here.

          "New territories" lol :))
          "physical limitations does not seem to be an unsolvable problem at all" You can add artificial +10% and sing kumbaya for 5~6 years but then bubble WILL burst.
          http://youtu.be/uuLYmzscoSM
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        Apr 29 2013: it has everything to do with capitalism, because capitalism creates knowhow and knowledge much faster than any other system. in comparison, every other systems is laughable in fact.

        an computer today does not have any more matter in it than a computer ten years ago. yet, it is 50 times more powerful. used farmland went down in the last 50 years, while yield tripled. we don't need to reach any hard limits, and still can increase our wellbeing. wellbeing is not directly linked to any specific material, and thus can infinitely grow.

        i could walk into any econ university, but what they teach not necessarily helps me. the track record of mainstream economics is ... well, leaves space for improvement. when it comes to economics, ecology, future trends, i'd rather listen to intellectuals like murray rothbard or matt ridley, just to name two.
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    May 14 2013: No corrupt system is ever capable of reforming itself.
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    May 2 2013: If catholicism was working the way its progenitors wanted it to, would it be better than atheism?
  • Apr 26 2013: I have also wondered whether its really all about failing government systems too. Do we the people need to look at ourselves as a blame for the worlds wos? If there are leaders abusing the systems, aren't we allowing it? Anyone who has stood back and observed democracy in certain western countries can see what's going on. Just like an advertising firm, politicians employ an understanding of human psychology to manipulate & bamboozle us for their own gain.
    we do things like vote for people because we like 'something' about them, without actually looking at the policies being offered, or who the person really is. I think too often its the person with money, nice cloths, an appealing vojce, & a trustworthy face etc.. Who gets voted in, & that's just poor judgement on our part. It should be policies from down to earth, intelligent individuals.... Not charisma & and an ability to talk fast, that wins elections.
  • Apr 23 2013: Where Communism fails, Capitalism begins.

    Ideally in communism there are no leaders, everything is decided by vote and everyone share the burden and rewards equally, this might actually work in a small enough group of individuals such as an expanded family where everyone know what everyone are doing and feel responsible for the greater good, and because the people are a family that like each-other they are motivated to contribute to the overall success of the communist cell vs other similar communist cells.

    You could have dysfunctional cells that contain a large quantity of non-productive members or failing cells that made poor decisions and these cells break apart.
    But what solution could be found for people who are ill, severely crippled and so on? simply giving them a free pass won't do.(even though capitalism tricks us into doing so, if we want to or not by employing tax)

    The Problem begins when you expand the communist system to a larger scale where corruption becomes possible and invisible and people are more likely to feel alienated to one another so they no longer care about others they are not related to.
    Furthermore having an overarching government that lay tax and restricts initiative would more than likely crush any communist cells regardless of size, and breeds corruption due to over-monetization of everything and accumulation of wealth. (which is really the inevitable problem in capitalism)

    In the end though, even if you have Half-communism like described above, do we really need communism? Does it really solves the core issues with having Countries, Governments and the Power Accumulation that results of both?
    • Apr 24 2013: Clearly, a communist country does not solve the problem of having countries and governments.

      For that matter, is a classless society really a desireable thing?
      • Apr 24 2013: So you really think all human beings have an inherent desire to control other people and be superior to them? but if they do then why would they desire a class system that makes them subservient to others? somewhat of a double-standard don't you think?

        So I don't buy it because I think that type of Class-society ideal is something that is bred in the minds of specific people rather than society as a whole and more often then not it is because they cannot or don't want to speculate about society in any way that is radically different than the status quo...
        • Apr 24 2013: I believe that the class system, or desire to be better than others, is a remnant of evolution - survival of the fittest. Being better than others used to ensure your survival but this is no longer necessary. We are now struggling to come to terms with this new way of living where even the un-fittest can quite happily survive. We need to grow beyond our old programming and evolve a new social paradigm. A form of communism may well be that solution as when power and money have no real meaning to your life you need a new direction.
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    Apr 19 2013: Nah. Key to success lies in a corruption-free society which, unfortunately, we aren't.
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    Apr 17 2013: The sole reason Communism doesn't work is the same reason we have the problems we have with capitalism, it's the nasty human traits we call " Greed " & " Corruption ". Even under a heavily regulated authority you will have the same outcomes, it places humans in any aspect of money management that involves placing people behind closed doors, giving them all the access to funds and not holding any individuals accountable for actions that results in these unpleasant outcomes.

    Basically we cannot seem to be fair to one another, or the people who can be fair, are not given the chance to. Could even boil down to, absolute ability creates Greed and Corruption. kind of like the Prison guards / Prisoners experience, no matter who you put into such a role, corruption is bound to take the place of absolute authority.
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    May 12 2013: Communism fails because freedom flies out the window. Capitalism fails for the same reason. We, humans worship power and money as our gods instead of Love.
  • May 12 2013: This may be completely wrong or already been stated by another poster, but here goes. Communism in and of itself is not a grandiose evil that the media and other conservative capitalists have made it out to be. In it's purist sense, I personally think it is the closest that any sociopolitical model has come to developing a Utopian Society (theoretically speaking), where there are no distinctions in socioeconomic, gender, or racial classes and the vast majority of labor, knowledge, and profits are shared equally among the population. That sounds like a great idea, in practice however, it has failed miserably because of greed, corruption, and outsider interference. On a small scale, like a single community the size of a neighborhood, Communism would work. Transitioning from a Capitalist society, each individual may have skill sets that are of value to the other members of the community, and if the work were delegated to those who were A) most qualified to complete it and B) those also willing to learn how to complete it, then eventually the workload would be able to stabilize itself and the members would be able to share everything (work, labor, profits, ides, knowledge).

    Capitalism of course is different, where the "worth" or "value" of something determines success, and the more successful something is then the more entitled it becomes. Given the past encounters between capitalists and communists, it doesn't seem like the two would ever be able to coexist globally. Honestly, I think that the main reasons for failure of the coexistence of these two systems often times comes from the interaction of governments and military actions (which is typically motivated by the gaining of natural or geographic resources, and not international relations).

    In theory, these systems would both work together, or separately coexisting, or if there were only one. The problem is every other variable and influence that wants to change the system for that variable's own gain.
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    May 11 2013: A similar case can be made for free-market capitalism. What we have today does not at all represent truly unrestrained capitalism. In a free market, the corporations we have today couldn't exist. In the US, a few major cellphone companies own the frequency ranges (given to them by the Government) and maintain dominance in the market that way. Monsanto lawyers run the FDA and allow their products that are outright banned in Europe to go completely unregulated. Milk is sold with a required notice on the container, "The FDA has found no significant difference between rBST and non-rBST treated cows." Corn is subsidized, as a result everything is made of corn. Every innovation is patented and enforced by law, in what was once known as "regulatory monopolies". Microsoft has dominated the market by relying heavily on patents. The record companies maintain power because they can own the rights to the music. What we have today isn't real capitilism, but tripartism, or neo-corporatism. Companies incorporate by assistance of the government, maintain monopolies by assistance of the government, and actively take part in the government and the forming of these regulations.
  • May 11 2013: Which progenitors? Marx? Lening? Stalin? Mao? Marx probably never thought of comunism the way it was implemented by the others. The others were power driven and replaced the previous elite by a new elite: the party.

    Although comunism has some appealing ideals, probably not one was applied. All experiments ended on policiac regimes with strong bias towards personality cults, and several quasi genocides in their records. Its main problem is not economical, it is that to sustain the system all dissent has to be wipe out and basic freedom eliminated.

    China today is not an example as it is moving out from strict comunism to a mixed system. It will be interesting to see if they can manage centralized politics with a more open economy that derives in more personal freedom.

    Capitalism is much better way to enhance personal freedom and wealth production, but it neither works well when ethics are left aside. It urgently requires containing the greed of many.
  • May 11 2013: The problem with Communism is it crumples fairly easily when one Capatilist comes along (maybe it takes a few decades). Supporting something so inherantly weak is troublesome.....sure you can get a fair bit of passive support, but it will always miss the mark. The progenitors ideals have some appeal, but any "system" has unintended consequences.....it's hard to say what "best communism" would look like. It might be stifling from excessive equality control.

    I think a better question than "does well developed Communism trump Capatilistism" is what could kick both of their asses (and smack Socialism around for fun while at it)? It seems much more interesting to accept the failure of various ideologies and look beyond them not to something that could take over, but rather something to emerge out of all these misteps. Will our species find a balance? I am encouraged by the fact that something like 90 % of us have the ridiculous carrot of prosperity pulled so convincingly from our grasp. Now if we could somehow skip the inevitable next big thing that everyone will grasp for and instead calmly wait until most of us "get it." Maybe the next big thing is patience :)
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    May 1 2013: I don't think it could ever work because it takes away aspiration which is too big a driver in the human psyche.
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    Apr 30 2013: Communism only works if humans aren't corrupt or greedy - would like to see it happen , would take a miracle
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      Apr 30 2013: communism does not work even if people are not corrupt and greedy. mises explained the impossibility of economic calculation in a socialist/communist society. in 1920.
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        May 1 2013: Shame on me. I grew up in Lviv, Ukraine, studied physics in Lviv University, and have not heard, until now, of either Ludwig von Mises or his brother, physicist Richard von Mises - both born in Lviv. May not be that surprising, though, considering their attitude towards communism. Since they are not Ukrainians, they may still be virtually unknown there. Oddly, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (another countryman) is far more famous there. Need to fill in the gaps - "reeducate myself" :-).
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    Apr 30 2013: "...the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."

    "You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.

    In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend. "

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

    The idea is that private property allows people to take advantage of each other and abolition of private property would make everyone happy. I'd say, this might work with one condition: the abolition of private property must be VOLUNTARY and UNIVERSAL - by everyone in community/society/nation/world. So, everyone should be intending to do away with his own property, not with the property of his neighbor as it was done in former "communist" countries. In other words, Marx should have said "my property" instead of "your property".

    Compare this to "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." -- Matthew 19:21 - the idea of VOLUNTARY giving away property. Compare the idea of social equality with this metaphor for the ideal society: "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them." -- Isaiah 11:6

    The idea is not new. But, when these standards are applied to others instead of ourselves, nothing follows but hypocrisy and violence.
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    Apr 29 2013: Do you mean communism or Marxism? Dialectical materialism seems to be unfolding in a most interesting fashion. Marx said "Workers of the World Unite", and it looks to me the over reach of the corporate oligarchs and enablement by the internet and mobile devices is setting the stage. The next years could see the formation of global labour organizing via twitter and other social media. There is a great deal of economic inequality and the global communication network to organize against it.
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      Apr 29 2013: how would that "against it" work? can you give us some ideas? what to do against inequality?
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        Apr 29 2013: A great deal of Labour impotence is due to the divide and conquer strategy of corporations. International unionization would allow workers to attempt to set global pay parity. Currently if a company can't coerce workers into starvation wages, it can pick up and go somewhere else where workers are not organized. This is straight out of "The Communist Manifesto". The problem with Soviet and Chinese Political system is that they were un-democratic and authoritarian.
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          Apr 29 2013: " if a company can't coerce workers into starvation wages, it can pick up and go somewhere else"

          and the what is the proposed solution?
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        Apr 29 2013: The solution is resolved by Dialectical Materialism which is where I started. It's organic pocess. Designed solutions are what ended up in 5 and 10 year plans. Total disasters.
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        Apr 29 2013: If we are taking about Marx and we are educated the we can use the term DIalectical Materialism.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism. And it's not a belief system. It's a process. Like biological evolution. Read the section on Hegel.
        101.
        Thesis
        Antithesis
        Synthesis->Thesis ad infiniitum
        Iti's hubris to think that we can problem solve cultural processes. We can't even manage our planetary resources.
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          Apr 29 2013: and it is a system that disallows specific solutions? take for example a shoe factory. average wage in india for a factory worker is like 1500 usd per year. not sure it is accurate, but not too far off. average wage for the same worker in the USA is 20000 usd. now these workers come together in a super-union, and discuss the issue. what kind of solutions they can come up with?
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        Apr 29 2013: It will happen the Same way that feudalism ended. The peasants revolted.
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        Apr 29 2013: It's not called class warfare for nothing.
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          Apr 29 2013: so, let's consider the best scenario, the owner of the factory is cast out, and workers take over. this is in itself a despicable notion, but let's just ignore it for a second. what's next? who will make shoes and for what wage?
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        Apr 29 2013: It makes no difference. Somebody will and it be under different terms. Who won the French Revolution and who made their shoes and what did they get paid? Was France better off afterward? What happened to the losers?
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          Apr 29 2013: it makes a huge difference, because so far i see no method or force in action that would change the economic situation. people in india are willing to work on shoes for much less in return, and people in the US are willing to pay much more for a pair of shoes than indians. the reasonable thing for them to do is that indians make shoes, and americans pay for it. they both benefit. it is not the "evil capitalist" that makes things that way. simply the productivity of an indian worker with the less advanced tools he has is much lower than that of the american worker. this inequality comes from the fact that europe started to accumulate huge amounts of capital, and the rest of the world lagged behind in that regard. the same is true within a country. an entrepreneur is successful if he can create value that people want, and so he can earn the profits. if people don't value his contribution, profits are not made. there are no other ways to success in free market capitalism.

          the only way capital can accumulate in the hands of someone that did not create it is violence. theft, murder, coercion. the exact same thing you are calling for. maybe you are on the wrong side?
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        Apr 29 2013: I'm not calling for anything. And you can't tell me those people that died in that collapsed building should not have demanded safe working conditions. Whose fault was that? Do you think Children Should work? Do you think people
        deserve a living wage? or should it be ok to pay them just enough to keep them alive. What is good for everybody is if things are fair and that people are not virtually slaves.
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          Apr 29 2013: people work in whatever condition they see fit. it is money versus safety, and adult people can choose freely. children can work as long as their caretakers decide so. in many areas, it is either work or hunger, work obviously being better. people do not deserve anything at all. people "deserve" cold, hunger, disease and violent death. that is given by nature. all else must be built, created, brought about by work and effort. employers can pay as much as they desire, and employees can demand as much as they desire. if they don't agree, employment contract will not be established. similarly, on the market, seller and buyer must agree on a price, or they don't exchange. fair wages do not exist, or rather, every voluntary wages are equally fair. capitalism is not virtual slavery. in capitalism, people are freer than ever in history. during the industrial revolution, people migrated to cities. they wanted to be treated as "virtual slaves", because in the villages, where they worked as peasants, their income was much lower. in the cities, they had to work very hard to get shoes for their kids or medicine. on the farms, they simply couldn't get neither.

          tell us about your life as a "virtual slave", make us cry.
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        Apr 30 2013: I'm underwhelmed. You are either attempting to be provocative or are simply mean spirited.
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    Apr 27 2013: If capitalism worked the way it's supposed to work, it wouldn't be so bad either. The problem is that nothing works the way it is supposed to work, especially social theories.
  • Apr 25 2013: No matter if it's capitalism, communism, or monarchy, a system is only good when it accepts criticism and is ready to step down when the majority of the people demands it. There is no perfect system. That's why the system needs to constantly evolve toward a better one.

    And it's been a long time since the system has not evolved anymore in the west. For me, we need to do to banks and lobbies exactly what we did to religion with laïcité. We need to strip them from their political power, return the power to the people.
  • Apr 25 2013: Capitalism is the best system for society at large when all the participants in a capitalist economy are of relatively equal strength resource-wise. Resources include both hard and soft skills - education, healthcare, physical strength et al. And an enabling factor in all this is information. Even today, it would surprise most people how truly uninformed the vast majority of people are; information that will help them improve their lives. It is harsh and unfair of the lucky few who are well-off resource-wise to credit their good fortune to survival of the fittest, when what really keeps people from competing, and society from improving, is the lack of knowledge and information. Property-based capitalism, where everyone can own property, and in sufficient quantity to maintain a life of dignity, is the best system. A left-wing intervention is necessary at times to ensure that people are endowed with the resources necessary to compete in a free market.
  • Apr 25 2013: As systems of government, both communism and capitalism work best within a democratic setup. For instance, the Indian state of Kerala was the first and perhaps the only national/sub-national entity where a communist government had been elected to office, and enjoys popular support. The advent of communism led to the breakdown of multiple social barriers including caste inequality, illiteracy, gender inequality etc. Today, the population is the most well-off in India (and competes with the West) on HDI indicators. The contrast within India is communist rule within the state of Bengal, which has been a disaster for that state. There, the communists have held on to power, often through the use of violence. I guess what happened with Kerala was that communist rule gave the population that necessary re-start in terms of equality of opportunities which was needed in order to prepare the population for a more free-market, capitalist future. Mercantilist capitalism, the type which most people refer to, definitely has its drawbacks when unrestrained and when technologically mismatched people interact - this is exactly what happened with Asian countries when dealing with the European mercantile states. In direct contrast to what many people say, capitalism does not ensure the survival of the fittest - that depends on how liquid the system is - social mobility. It is amazing how people equate communism with dictatorship so simply - it is indeed possible for left-wing politics to exist within a democratic setup. Also, I doubt even in Communist countries that people actually envy the rich - it is the inability to avail of such opportunities, and the monopolisation of such opportunities in the hands of a few that really irks people and feeds the demand for equality, and in political terms, communism. While communism may not cater to whiz kids, the effort there is to try to ensure at least basic survival for the vast majority, and for most, that is enough.
  • Apr 25 2013: All is relatively both better and worse from each other...
  • Apr 23 2013: Re: the OP;
    1. Capitalism and Communism are ideals.
    In the real world, everything decays. You can't have growth without decay. Yin and Yang.
    2. Capitalism and Communism are methods for allocation of resources.
    Capitalism has a built-in feedback loop. The FREE MARKET !!
    Authoritarian Communism does not have any built-in systemic correction. As it developed, European Communism was not just Marx, but a bunch of ivory-towersaying "this is how the world should work", when in fact, they had no idea what it was like to start out in a real job, pushing a broom. The "intellectual vanguard" of the revolution did NOT know what it felt like to finish a shift at the mill, and just want to go home and have a beer. Nor did they have any idea what it was like to have to make decisions about where to send the ships to move cargo.
    That is the conceit INHERENT in "Communism".

    3. Both of these ideals are, like, sooo last century.
    When we ask, "why did the USSR collapse?", if we come up with any other answer than "defense spending", we are fooling ourselves. The USSR simply could not compete with the USA's level of military spending. We can say that was due to corruption, but in the USSR, graft was detrimental to the military, whereas in the USA, the "military-industrial complex" has benefitted greatly from corruption in the DoD's supply chain.
    The difference? Quality.
    As part of the growth of western industrialization, we have developed "Quality Management Systems".
    I am a huge fan a Quality, but in reality, we (the western world) have done amazing work developing management systems and standards in quality, environmental stewardship, and information.
    The develoment of Linux is a fantastic example of what can be accomplished with modern management tools applied across a distributed volunteer network.

    I would love to see what happens if we were to apply quality management to resource allocation, while somehow still recognizing that the people "on the ground" have the best knowledge.
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      Apr 23 2013: There is no real FREE MARKET. A real free market would be truly transnational and would require true free movement of people.
    • Apr 23 2013: @Kevin: The so -called feedback loop of Capitalism or "Free Market" are both false, in Capitalism the competition is always manipulated which means the feedback is manipulated artificially rather than provide true feedback, furthermore, trade is Taxed and Restricted, hence it isn't really a free market.
      In the end it is a system controlled by the ones who are on top to ensure that they stay on top.

      Communism's trapping is mainly corruption, as many people are not really the ideals they claim to hold, In Reality, communism never really had a fair try and it probably never will for as long as the rest of the world around it is monetized and global exchange becomes difficult.. (Stalinism is not Communism btw)
      Capitalism already assume's moral deterioration and irresponsibility, its "quality" comes at the expense of sacrifice of part of the people that are made to become subservient to the rest..
  • Apr 22 2013: Yes I know Marx designed his version of communism for Germany and never thought about Russia, but that is not the core of my point... And forgive, I don't mean to sound rude, but your answer looks naive to my eyes.... well I read it 3 times just to make sure I wasn't mistaken your words, but you actually said: "They didn't have time to make cars"... so you mean they have the technology to design and build the Sputnik but the couldn't make even a decent car???... they made the MIG which rivaled for decades with american and british jet plain fighters and could not make a fuel efficient car??? they built the atomic bomb and they couldn't develop the electric car??? cum'on, give me very huge break... do realize the implications of just this argument???
  • Apr 22 2013: Instead of choosing between communism and capitalism, why not have an alternative that have the benefits but not drawbacks of both systems?

    The alternative can have "communism" like benefits for all regardless of abilities such as free education, healthcare, same opportunities, protecting individuals/society against irresponsible companies, help for the disabled etc..

    It can also have capitalism-like framework of market driven economy, awards based on performance, valuation of skills/abilities, money-based banking system.

    Because of technology progress, society resources are increasing to the point where all people will have their basic needs (shelter, food, clothes etc.) provided regardless of their income or situation.

    However, there is a danger that big corporations and wealthy individuals will take more resources from the society than they contributed (like tax avoidance, low taxes, too favorable laws etc.). This disparity and injustice can lead to social disorder and revolution that can bring communism back.
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    Apr 22 2013: The human nature does not allow equality and there will always be those that want to get more with less effort put into it.
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      Apr 22 2013: And there will aways be those who want to get more and put more effort into it.
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      Apr 22 2013: i don't think i'm equal to every other guy. and i want to get more with less effort. it makes me what?
      • Apr 23 2013: Greedy, narcisistic, maybe even conceited.
        But if you can figure out a way to get more with less, and put it into practice, then you are innovative.
        Unless you get caught, then you're corrupt.
      • Apr 23 2013: I think it makes you normal. If most people were being honest, they would relate to your statement. What kind of a life is working, eating, sleeping, working, sleeping, eating & so on?
        on the flip side, sometimes society needs to forcibly motivate us... I would be lazier than i am without a boss who would fire me if i didn't perform.
      • May 1 2013: still learning.
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      Apr 25 2013: The Law of Conservation of Energy!
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      May 1 2013: Often, laziness drives innovation. When I don't want to crunch numbers into a report, I write a program that automates data collection and presents them online. That's how nail guns and sewing machines were created. And why is it bad if I borrow a few bucks from a rich guy to get things going and give jobs to a few people?
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    Apr 22 2013: I think that communism was created so that it could evolve into another kind of capitalism. In capitalism, the rich have power. In communism, the poor outrun the rich, get the power, and then become rich themselves, so what do we have again? Rich people having power.
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      Apr 22 2013: it is a very important difference between becoming rich by success or by plunder. they require greatly different skill sets.
    • Apr 27 2013: Maria, In your argument, you say, " In communism, the poor outrun the rich, get the power, and then become rich themselves, so what do we have again? Rich people having power." Even though I know it was a rhetoric question, but I still want to query when the "poor" (usually a large group) takes over the the "rich" (a smaller group), the former wouldn't be rich, or at least last too long, Because, not only each of the "poor" doesn't have a fat share from the confiscated (robbed) wealth from the small group of the "rich", but also they wouldn't know how to maintain or grow the share of their ill-gotten wealth, but spend it lavishly.
      So, can you show me an example that the poor became rich and ALL STAY RICH for an extended time.in human history?
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        Apr 28 2013: Sorry, it was actually my mistake of expression! I intended to say that nothing happened but turning the social classes upside down. If everybody was rich, that'd be great, but then the word rich would make no sense and everybody would just have equal amounts of money to their disposal. But that didn't happen with communism; no matter what its theory claims should have happened. People who didn't have money got power and took the money of those who had money. The rich ones of ex-USSR today are the poor ones of ex-USSR before it became USSR. So, what did communism manage to do? A hole in the water. The communist theory is very good and it promotes equality, something that our society lacks of, but it seems that it was utopic for the 20th century, maybe even for the 21st. I think that what was done wrong was that the change from capitalism to communism in USSR was radical, whereas even Marx had suggested that before communism became official, there should be a period of socialism.
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    Apr 22 2013: I think both capitalism and communism are fraught with problems. The biggest issue with communism is the lack of incentive to produce for country. If I'm going to make equal, or close to equal money as person in similar situation for doing three times the work I'm less likely to do so. I agree with some of the commentators that capitalism is certainly better for driving economic production than communism.

    Capitalism, especially in the United States, has many issues as well. I'm troubled that certain services are privatized. (Fire departments, prisons, rating agencies.) I read an article in the Atlantic that argued if poor became poorer in the United States, and the rich became less rich, and the overall effect was a decrease in income inequality, the United States country would experience benefit. (I.E. less stress, more community, more connectedness.)

    I think income inequality, and citizen inaccessibility to have basic needs met is a problem. I think distribution of income in United States is major issue. I don't, however, see communism working better than capitalism.
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      Apr 22 2013: You nailed it. Under Communism, you are producing for the state. Under capitalism, you are producing for yourself. And being successful (getting rich) is not a bad thing. The more your "company" grows, the more people you hire, the more raw materials you buy, markets to grow into. Ray Kroc started with one hamburger stand and 50 years later, McDonalds is one of the largest restaurant companies in the world. Steve Jobs wanted to make a better computer and he stated Apple Computer Company. Karl Marks had no vision of that happening, everybody would be equal, that could have meant no "Big Mac with fries" or Apple Ipod, under Marks there is no incentive to create those products and a committee would probably not have considered them as an equal need for the society.
      Damn, I just ruined my own argument.
      • Apr 23 2013: A food chain that targets kids with their rubbish. What a fine example of capitalism. A natural inquisitiveness and the pursuit of perfection is all the incentive one needs.
        If we got rid of money it would at least remove the incentive for a lot of the bad things that are happening
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      Apr 22 2013: so income inequality is a problem. what about sex inequality? some people have lot, others have few. do you think that society should fix that, and grant people sex in equal quantities? or at least reduce the difference? if not, why not? how come that wealth should be equalized, but nothing else? how is it fair for one and not the other?

      my claim is: behind all income equality arguments, the sole motive is envy. but since envy is not a nice thing, the doubletalk term "equality" and "inequality" is invented.
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        Apr 22 2013: Hello! Thanks for comment.

        I think government should play role in providing basic needs for citizens and communities. I don't think your comparison between sex inequality and income inequality is a fair one with respect to the role the government should play. Income is necessary to provide for basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, clean water. Sex is not necessary for life. (It may provide immense pleasure and meaning to life, but life can be sustained without sex.)

        I believe governments in countries with plenty of resources should make education, food, and health care available to it's citizens. I think the best way to address inequality is through progressive tax, and using those extra resources to make such things available. I think that true happiness, true bliss comes from community and connectedness to others. Having few with opportunity to economic advancement, while neglecting poor, and trusting the markets to rectify inequality by saying that the market will reward hard work (which in some cases it does.) leaves people worse off because in many instances I believe that hard work is not enough for people to achieve economic independence, and provide basic necessities for themselves. When this happens, everyone suffers.
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          Apr 22 2013: how do you define basic? if you really mean basic as in life-enabling, then basic is chickpea, wheat, potato, carrot, cabbage, and any sort of shelter that provides at least 40F temperature. education is certainly not a basic necessity. your definition of what the government should grant seems arbitrary and alarmingly coincide with the current course of the US government. this latter indicate that you might have bought government propaganda on face value, without scrutinizing it.
      • May 1 2013: Wealth should not be equalized. What is being said is that if equal opportunity were made available, our societies would flourish. Some would seek life luxuries, others find happiness in simplicity, and everything in between. Also an ingenious form of wealth sharing would serve a society of this type well. For example there would be no income limit, however, a person who earns more than, lets say $25 million USD per year, anything above and beyond that amount, half of it would be voluntarily given to the people so that they can put it where it will most profit them, the other half would be given to a cause or project of the earners choosing. And the earner is given full credit for this "donation" and is deeply loved by the people. So the incentive for gaining wealth is not lost, it is merely for different reasons.

        A society such as this, wont exist until a certain percentage of humans experience a deep connectedness with Life and therefore eachother.

        I see nothing problematic with envy in a healthy person. Malicious envy, would be the type felt by a person who believes herself to be inferior, incapable, unworthy of attaining or achieving what ever it is he is witnessing.

        "psychologists have recently suggested that there may be two types of envy: malicious envy and benign envy - benign envy being proposed as a type of positive motivational force." Wikipedia
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          May 1 2013: " lets say $25 million USD per year, anything above and beyond that amount, half of it would be voluntarily given to the people so"

          this would not work, because i don't want to do that, so you either take it by force or a won't give. i want to give 100% to bill stone to go to the moon. so what now?
  • Apr 21 2013: Gov's are ruled by bribery and contempt, no matter what form, because greed always overcomes intelligence.
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    Apr 21 2013: No system ever works the way its progenitors want it to.

    That said, the fundamental problem with communism is the centralization of authority over the economy. In Luis von Ahn's talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html, its about recaptcha and duolingo, great talk) he makes an interesting point about organizing people. Building the pyramids, the Panama canal and going to the moon all took about 100 000 people. That's about the most people you can effectively organize to a single task effectively. Beyond that, its just too hard. It's not realistic to pool the resources of a large country and organize millions of people to work efficiently.

    Think of the job where you work. How organized is it really? Its hard to organize 30 people, try 30 million!

    Capitalism works because it lets people self organize. Economies are emergent, not constructed. The challenge is regulating it enough so it's just and without excessive exploitation, isn't prone to extreme volatility and collapse, and doesn't destroy the ecology on which we depend. Those needs have to be balanced with allowing enough freedom for businesses to actually function. So far that balance has not be achieved, but I like to hope it's possible.
  • Apr 20 2013: By definition (Karl Marx definition) communism cannot be separated from dictatorship.

    If communism was better than capitalism then there are several questions arise to my head, first of all: why the USSR was never able to build a ecologically friendly car or even a fuel efficient car? there was only one car maker: the government, so there was no competence and no need to be efficient. Second: why for decades people of the DDR risked their lives to jump the Berlin Wall into capitalist West Germany? there was no freedom. Third: Why athletes from all the communist block deserted every Olympic Games? again, no freedom. Fourth: By the end of 70's almost half of the human race lived under a communist government, by the end of the 80's communist countries could be counted with the fingers of a hand, so if communism was so good why all the people that lived under such an "utopia" decided to abandon it in pursuit of capitalism in less than a decade? Inefficient governments, lack of freedom, misuse of natural and human resources.

    Communism force people to be inefficient, capitalism force people to be efficient... no wonder why the USSR fell in a matter of months.
    • Apr 20 2013: How do you figure Communism requires dictatorship? By definition, Communism is intended to be stateless or without government. Common ownership of everything by the people is far removed from dictatorship.

      In practice, obviously that hasn't been the case. But I would argue that Communism has never been implemented the way it was intended to be.
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        Apr 21 2013: And I would agree!
      • Apr 22 2013: No offence, but you are too naive if you think that way. First of all Marx defines (he makes a definition of) communism as the "dictatorship of the proletariat" so that is why I say so. It was written by Marx's himself, I did't just come up with it, so sorry, but you are wrong.

        But beyond that, if you think a little bit you will realize dictatorship is necessary for just one simple reason: Wealthy people won´t give up their possessions to share them with the rest of us just just because someone says: "is the best for all"... but if you believe so, then go to Bill Gates and tell him to donate all his billions just because you have a good argument for that, and pay attention to what he has to say about it. So I don't care how you believe communism is intended to be, but in real life without a dictator ruling strictly, communism will become capitalism eventually, by the simple reason humans always want more... and that friend is the exact reason why Marx himself defined communism as a dictatorship.
    • Apr 20 2013: George Not even Karl Marx imagined that Communism would develop in Russia, as it was not heavily industrialized enough. The Russian pattern is more along the lines they learned from the Mongol Occupation. It wasn't even modern enough to be "corrupt" i.e. it wasn't run by people with money, rather people with Land. (Feudal) In addition to that, The Soviet Union was under heavy attack from the West from even before its start. They didn't have time to make "cars". However , we should take note that they made some very good guns, tanks, and particularly airplanes, although they weren't so good at using them, mostly due to their industrial backwardness mainly, I guess..
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    Apr 19 2013: In principle communism is perfect! It's a shame it will never work how it is supposed to work. It just cannot, we cannot fight our own nature...
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      Apr 25 2013: I agree we cannot fight our own nature. Can we implement legal instruments to do it for us? I think so. The present day kings and chieftains however are not going to allow the masses to get smart enough to figure that out. Public education in America is only getting worse. My public school education was less comprehensive than my father's. And my niece's even in a well off school zone was diabolical. In fact it is the old school way of teaching with complicated mathematics and mandatory foreign language taught at early ages that broaden, expand and develop abstract thinking and more powerful minds in our young people. I believe it is at early ages the mental capacity of an individual to learn is developed. It is through education the masses can be lifted from poverty.
  • Apr 17 2013: The only problem with the ideal form of comunism is human nature. If everyone got the same goods in the same amounts to live on no matter how hard they had to work or train for more responsibility that someone, most often is going to want more or better. Because of one wanting more or better political graft and greed will likely set in, as will hybris and indifference. And with the underlings having absolutely "no reason" to call for reform and no real vote, nothing has to change.
    Without change disaster can and will probably result.
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    Apr 17 2013: Keith it is hard to determine who is the authorized spokesman for capitalism. Donald Trump? So unlike Marxism for which Marx himself spoke I think a more accurate statement would be that "your understanding is that generally it does not promise equal opportunity). Some people including myself have heard at least a promise of a level playing field from some who claim to represent "capitalism". It is not a far stretch from that to equal opportunity. Equal Justice before the law is an explicit promise in American society and if it were true would be a real support to a level playing field. I can't say I know of anyone who has experience in the courts who believes being able to afford more and better lawyers didn't help Exxon avoid paying 5Billion in fines for 19 years and help them succeed in getting the Supreme court to reduce it to 500million. with no interest. And that was after one of the justice-es recused himself because he owned Exxon stock.
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    Apr 16 2013: The problom with communism isn't that its a dictatorship, capitalstic dictatorships works (relativtly) fine, in its purest form, the problom of communism is the lack of insentive to work, because there is no connection between your production of labor, creativity capital and so on with your pay, status and power- so there's no progress towads the best of labor, creations and biggest capital.

    The problom with capitalism in its purest form is that it allows those who fail, if they are componies or people, die out of the system, thus creating lose instand of helping them improve and create gain.

    The problom with the perverted system most of us live in today, is taht it is a mix of democracy, plutocracy, authoritarianism, capitalism and communism, it is a mix off all of those, but takes too little of the good in each and too much of the bad. But unlike communism which would have worked without the flaw of selfishness in humanity, or capitalism, which would have worked without the flaw of stupidity in humanity, this a constantly (yet slowly) improving system.




    My idea how to create the best economic:
    A certain amount of starting money to each individual, afterward, a pure libiral capitalism.

    My ideas on a "how to make" working governing system:
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/17621/a_whole_new_type_of_government.html
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    Apr 16 2013: surely not, but it is "systemic". actually, if we want to be precise, these evil governments hijacked socialism, not communism. but we often use these terms sloppily. the diff is socialism has government, communism does not. communism is so much out of everyone's grasp how would that even theoretically work. it is unrealistic. socialism on the other hand is doomed to either fail or become a horrible dictatorship and then fail after some time.

    the reason is economic. socialism prevents progress almost entirely. capitalism always trumps socialism big time in economic sense. and you need force to prevent people from choosing capitalism, because they like stuff. they like cars and abundant food and good clothing and good healthcare and such things. so either you let them, and give them capitalism, or beat them into submission, and have an evil dictatorship.

    for capitalism is synonymous with freedom.
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    Apr 15 2013: Communism, like capitalism, would eventually begin to deteriorate and fail because, as you said yourself, capitalism has its own problems --and so does communism.

    You mention that if communism was free from dictatorship would it be better than capitalism (that we have at present)?
    The answer is technically yes, but look at it this way...

    -If the wealthy in capitalism paid a relevant share and the federal government held the rights and representation of the people in their highest regard, capitalism would be excellent.

    -If the government and states invested in their people in socialism, rather than simply sustaining, then socialism would be excellent.

    -If Libertariansim kept a close consumer-focused observance of companies and states and could/would suddenly enact severe punishments for companies attempting to do something that would be a danger to the consumers, its staff or the economy,
    then libertarism would be excellent.


    The point here is that we have to draw a line between 'how a system works on paper' and 'how a system works in reality'.
    Pure communism is consistently run by dictators for a reason,
    Its what happens when you combine fallible and corrputable people with a questionable economic model,
    just like any other model in its entirety.

    This is why I'm a strong believer in taking workable parts of various models, add new parts and then be willing to adjust the values of each part in accordance with whats necessary at any given moment.
    • Apr 16 2013: Capitalism doesnt have problems if it where left up to the market, the producer and consumer. It seems like it has flaws but that is because big government, corporate welfares/ subsidies, and legislation undermine the very principles of capitalism. Even still just look at the available data,the standard of living continues to increase incrementaly in every region market systems have been adopted.
    • Apr 20 2013: Xavier. A thoughtful answer. Have you considered where all this Selfishness and "corruption " comes from? Many say, oh its, just" Human Nature", nothing can be done about it. But that is obviously not quite true.
      Our actions are usually more or less consistent with our "Beliefs" about Human Nature, not the human nature itself. Which is largely unconscious. Good example : our economic leaders embrace of the Ayn Rand philosophy of extreme Selfishness as a Virtue clearly has something to do with the fact that the Wall St. crowd gives themselves
      billion dollar bonuses for trashing the World's economy, without even the slightest shame. They can do this because it is consistent with the Judeo-Christian Theory of Human Beings as merely a Collection of "Sovereign Individuals" who have no real connection with each other, besides what Selfishness can develop. By contrast , the Buddhist, and developing scientific view, will likely turn out that the Buddhists were more correct, that Human Beings are "One group", i.e. a family, but even beyond that, the "Groups" and their Relationships have just as much reality, and value, as any "Individual". With a world view like that , Shame can work. Look at the Japanese: there have been cases where a Japanese CEO would commit suicide if he screwed up the company too much. Compare that with Wall St. And we have the Choice of which world view to believe, although it is also a matter of Science. But it is safe to say the the Selfishness model is inherentyly self destructive.
  • May 15 2013: It would appear to me that most people here perhaps may not be familiar with the entire works of the founder of the idea of communism, Karl Marx. Marx in his writing of the communist manifesto was writing a critique of the politics occurring in his time. However, one can suggest that his critique was always meant to fail as far as being an actual political system. Now for those that might say it doesn't work because of limited freedoms, to that I would argue these freedoms that you speak of in a capitalist society are inherently limited due to one freedom that limits all other freedom and that is the right to sell ones labour. The main point to keep in mind with Marx's political philosophy and system is that it is very Hegelian in nature. That is to say it is based on the dialectic, which starts from the premise of alienation of the subject. For Marx this alienation comes from the selling of ones labour in the capitalist system. And the most important part of his critique was the warning of the crises that can be caused by the capitalist system.
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      May 15 2013: "one freedom that limits all other freedom and that is the right to sell ones labour"

      what does that mean? how would that freedom limit other freedoms? explain
  • May 11 2013: Communism is a reaction to the defaults of capitalism. The 19th Century "robber barons inspired its theory and the Czars monopolization of 99% of wealth where the starving masses got the 1% brought on the revolution in 1917. Capitalism is defaulting to that perverse extreme, 1% monopolizes most wealth and the former "middle class" has fallen to the ranks of the 99% stretching what's left. Communism as an imposed totality is not the answer--no absolute totality is. But communism and capitalism do not have to be absolute totalities which are mutually exclusive. Capitalism is more of a "natural" system which takes no great intellect to benefit from. Communism however demands a maturity of both intellect and emotion that only some people are up to. It is a system which requires an "extra-nature" of suspension of mistrust and territorialism only really found in the insect world. But the yearning for equality and egalitarianism is alive somewhere in the human species. I believe the future demands a reconcilement of these two orders which once took mankind to extinction level antagonism. Communism cannot be a gross nationally imposed system but it can be a smaller model construct in a hybrid system where it can work synergistically with competition and capitalism. All that is necessary to bring that about is a technological framework to normalize sue of both configurations. I think that this MUST happen soon because capitalism in the west is being driven to it's dysfunctional extremes and backlashes are already happening in Europe where there is so much unemployment and economic inequity that conditions are almost as they were just before the Communist Revolution. Factions are shooting caulk and silicon gel into ATM machines and vandalizing banks. Unemployed young folk are taking to the streets and rioting. America will catch fire too. There is a way out without going to one totality over the other--integrate them and use secondary education as the proving ground.
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    May 10 2013: The failure of Communism largely revolves around the issue of productivity. The per capita productivity of U.S. Citizens far outstripped the per capita productivity of the old U.S.S.R. Under Soviet Communism, the state took the biggest and best piece of everything for itself. The worker got only a wage. And that wage did not change by working longer hours, improving efficiency of one's own work and one's peers, or improving the quality of the products manufactured.

    Chinese Communism has a much better model in that regard. They have adapted a well defined set of free market principles to the underlying centralized Communist-Committee government model. But beyond making that statement, I have very little additional information about that. I'd like to hear more. I'd like to learn more. Growing up during the Cold War, we occasionally saw U.S. re-edited versions of Soviet Propaganda films. Some were made in the 1930's touting the efficiency of Huge Collective Farms (some the size of South Dakota! {?} ). And, of course, there was Yuri Gagarin, Soviet Cosmonaut. Not such a great hero over in the 'old U.S.A.! Then came Cosmonaut Gherman Titov; second man to orbit the Earth. U.S. hero Astronaut John Glenn, wasn't even the second man to orbit the earth, he was the THIRD. Finishing second is a difficult thing for a U.S.-American to swallow. Finishing third is unthinkable. The outcome?

    All this led to the most productive enterprise of the entire Cold War Period: The Space Race. While we all did "Duck & Cover" drills to protect ourselves from th threat of nuclear attack -- we conquered space. Now China has its own Space Station. Might the Chinese become the first people to colonize the moon? Might the Chinese economic model produce such efficiencies? And Successes? History will tell us. But why wait?

    This looks like a good TED Conversation to follow over the next 4 days. If you have information, why not post it here. Join the Conversation.
  • May 9 2013: Communism, like many other utopian forms of government give excellent answers to many of the problems of social life. the problem is in the application of these forms of government, because the human nature (considering many ideological currents of sociology, politics and other fields) is selfish. Then the man in society, in their attempt to implement utopian forms of government, because of his selfish nature,the man fails.
    Communism as current ideological seeks equality and the disappearance of social classes through the collective appropriation of the means of production. That, applied well, it
    would be very good, as it would give opportunities to all in a more just and egalitarian society. The problem is that on the road to communism, because of human nature, this deviates and ends in states truly away from the initial idea.
    Capitalism is also a utopia, since it looks for a perfectly self-regulating market society, in which the inhabitants have access to productive activity and the state is set apart.
    Both are ideas utopian, Communism seeks equality through equal distribution of property, capitalism seeks by working just one social economic retribution.

    Excuse me for my English. I hope I was clear
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    May 8 2013: I would like to focus more on your question of equality and opportunity. Does equality produce more or less opportunity? How do we enforce equality, is this a job for government (force), how do we define what is equal? When we are born different, with different goals and a different life, how is this equal? Does the ends justify the means? I would say no, when we try to make things equal it takes away freedom and in turn hurts us as a whole to strive for better technology and being better people. We worry about what other people have and not focusing on how to actual obtain a better life. If you want opportunity we need freedom from government. Government is needed but very little compared to what we have to day. The only way government can create opportunity is to take way opportunity from some one else. We are all corrupt to one another, so its better to have communication with one another but not power to alter some ones life.
  • May 8 2013: Communism works. I know this first hand. When I was a boy, my dad ran my family under the communist system. From each of us came goods and services according to our abilities. To each of us, those goods and services were provided according to need. Thus, dad went to work and provided most of the money. Us kids did no outside work and ate well every day. My mum held an outside job, and both she and dad shared the domestic chores (he mostly outside, she mostly inside).

    Dad never complained when he had to do the heavy lifting. Mum never asked me to sew on my own buttons. It never even occurred to any one to complain.

    There was no equality in this. We didn't care about equality. We cared about taking care of each other, and the system worked.

    So why don't we apply these rules to society at large?

    Alas, large societies do not have the same personal dynamics as do families. Perhaps they should, but reality does not obey "should."

    Recognizing this, the early communists in Russia instituted what they called a "transitional" system. Socialism was established as a temporary bridge, to get the society from its prior feudal system to a future communist ideal.

    But socialism actually has the opposite effect. Instead of reducing government, it establishes an all-powerful (and ever increasingly powerful) central government, a totalitarian system in which anyone suspected of dissent is imprisoned in a labor camp, usually never to be heard from again.

    Such a government will never, never, hand over "power to the people." Once you've tasted raw, total power, you can't let go. It consumes you.

    In Western Europe, a more docile brand of socialism was adopted, for the express purpose of avoiding the brutalities of Stalinist and Hitlerian socialism.

    For almost 70 years now, this benign form of socialism has entrenched itself in Europe, so much so that for most Europeans, the thought of self-reliance has become something to ridicule and fear.
  • May 7 2013: Yes, it definitely would- however it fails to take into account the human factors. Let's be honest, we're all greedy to an extent and capitalism plays on that. On paper communism looks 10/10, gold star, A+ and capitalism looks, well, crap. In practice however communism looks worse because it advocates to be an extremely humanist ideology and can never live up to. Capitalism- what you see is what you get. Socialism? Now that's great!
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    May 7 2013: In an ideal world, probably, but as we all know this is not an ideal world! We have many things to deal with and new challenges every day that interfere with our wants. Capitalism works now, so capitalism forever! LOL!

    God Bless

    -Todd C.
  • May 7 2013: If Stalin and Mao are to be considered progenitors, or at least early leaders; then NO. The abuse resulting during their terms of leadership was genocidal and tragic. Better than capitalism??? That simple and fair question needs to be defined and studied more completely I suggest. Today's world is once again being led by a capitalistic nation (USA) and a communist nation (China); therefore a public analysis and debate and many PhD thesis' should be accomplished on this question.
    In reality, the nature of global institutions are actually blending this real world merging in many ways. The World Bank, United Nations, WTO and other global institutions all are operating on some sort of blended capitalism/communisim basis. The sovereign nations resultingly experience changes that brings them closer together.
    The defense industries of both nations must identify opposing theories in order to justify their own existence. Thank God that the overwhelming majority of people and commerce all over the world benefit MORE from peaceful industry. THAT reality holds the hope of the world really. Pray for PEACE !!! :):):)
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      May 7 2013: this question is studied. the reason why you don't hear about it is actually two: one, because in the 80's, the consequences were not pleasant, all these theses put forward by mostly american economists were claiming that the soviet model is terrible from a humanistic viewpoint, but superior economically. so that's a moral dilemma, do we want to sacrifice freedom for greater economic progress. reason two is '90 and after, when it became evidently clear that the soviet model not only not better, but led to a total economic collapse. since then, those people formerly advocating socialist models retreated a little to regroup, and reformulate the same arguments on more obscure basis, according to rothbard's first sociological rule: nobody ever quits.

      there is another, lesser known line of investigation on the issue, done by economists in austria, in the 1910s and 1920s, ludwig von mises was the most well known. he gave a detailed logical analysis why a socialist economy can not ever work. unfortunately, this school of thought was destroyed by the nazi movement, and it is recovering ever since.
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        May 8 2013: Any economic model that allows/fosters a cast society, as presently in the USA, will fail because wealth flows in a healthy economy. Economic stagnation is proportional to the stagnation of wealth.

        Institutional hook-capitalism assures economic failure. Governments that legally mandate consolidation of wealth for the entitled few are feudal economic models, not Capitalist economic models.
  • May 5 2013: I was a communist until I realised what the completed revolution actually meant. I was watching an ant documentary, and the narrator was talking about how the ants were working together for the common good, and I was like "yea! These damn ants have it right" then I thought about how I would hate to be an ant, how I would never want to be a component as part of the greater whole and I doubted the system for the first time science embracing it, so I thought deeply about it and realised after a lot of reading, soul searching and observing the world around me that communism was in its fully realised state, terrible. It disregards the individual as a system that cares only for the state and in doing so completely ignores the initial reasons for the creation of society. I think capitalism is better than communism and capitalism is the only thing that I hate in the universe (communism has a spirit to it that redeems it in my eyes)
  • May 3 2013: ...life is always in balance...as Buddha quotes The Middle Path...Extreme of everything is always poisonous...the equality under communism is always a matter of debate...equality in opportunities, behaviour, efforts or in results...I believe first three must not be challenge-able, the challenge is hidden in fourth...and this is to be understood...

    ...as it is for fruits so as for ownership...ownership is energy...energy converts to power and greed... and communism looses it's practicability...

    Regards
  • May 3 2013: Well the question itself leads to more and more clarifying questions. For example, since the question asks us to look at communism in a vacuum where it would not be tainted by human action, but rather be able to work in it's intended manner; is the question also asking us to look at capitalism the same way? Or are we comparing intended communism to practiced capitalism. I'm very sorry I will be unable to answer your question. First of all, it's because there are many answers for many different versions of the question. But second (and most important) of all, I am simply a high school junior without the knowledge base to fully and accurately support any sides to this argument. I just thought I'd drop in and offer up a chance for some clarification on the question.
  • May 2 2013: About the communism, an old Polish joke.
    What's the difference between a republic and a peoples' republic? The same as between a chair and an electric chair.
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      May 3 2013: Here's another joke about communism:
      After the break down of Soviet Union by Gorbachev, a woman enters Gorbachev's office and ask him:

      "who invented the communism, the scientists or the politicians??"
      Gor: "the politicians."
      Woman: "So now I understand why communism failed. Because if the scientists would have invented it, they would first try it on the animals."
  • May 2 2013: First we need to know how Cuba is doing? What do you think? I see that most people believe that they are really bad.
    We need to compare this little isle with the Latin America reality. If we do that, we'll see that they are not so bad.
    Someone will say: "But they don't have internet, facebook, McDonalds...". Ok, but they don't have criminality, don't have misery, don't have kids firing guns each other. Which do you prefer?

    As usual, the answer is always on truth. If everyone keeps looking for truth and coldly analyzing our reality we'll see some hope in humanity.
    "Today we have access to highly advanced technologies. But our social and economic system has not kept up with our technological capabilities that could easily create a world of abundance, free of servitude and debt."

    Jacque Fresco
    The Venus Project
    http://youtu.be/KphWsnhZ4Ag

    Namaste
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      May 2 2013: what is the number of people trying to leave cuba and go to the US? what is the number of people trying to leave the US and go to cuba? maybe it sheds a light on which country is more preferable.
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        May 2 2013: And why do the States in the Southern US continually talk about succession? Why do almost half of all americans want to fire guns at the other half?
        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/armed-revolution-44-republicans-article-1.1332621

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States
        perhaps these people would leave if they could instead of being held captive by our growing prison industry.
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        May 5 2013: Hi Krisztian,

        When i went to Cuba in 1993 and then in 1994 i was lucky enough to make good friends there. Some of them did talk about leaving the island, but most of them didn't. I met workers, teachers, musicians and even some ex-members of the communist party who left it when they felt betrayed. I was not there to make a study so I don't have statistical data.

        But i can tell you that most people love their country and they are pretty well educated, and most people understand the economic reality of a stubborn leadership that does not want to yield to external pressure and a foreign country that wants to force their government to yield by directly affecting citizens.

        Without a doubt, the media in the USA (based on my experience) and in Europe (from what i hear from some people there) vastly over-reports the attempts to leave the island and almost never reports on the people who are happy to stay there even if they disagree with their government. Don't even talk about the many who blindly support it.

        Perhaps this could shed a light on which country they consider preferable

        cheers
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          May 5 2013: if you ask the people of north korea, you will probably find that most of them don't want to leave. if 30% of the population want to leave, the system collapses. so a 5% wanting to leave does not mean 95% are satisfied. but it does mean something. it means that the situation is so terrible, some people are on the verge to be ready to risk their life to escape. attributing this to american brainwashing is ... well, not so convincing. try to brainwash people of switzerland or singapore to flee their country.
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    May 2 2013: Communism were a product from that time; now we have another reality. Today, wouldn't be possible to apply. You have a lot of examples when communism failed.
  • May 2 2013: Communism is idealism! It doesn't match with the nature of human being. People are selfish from the bottom of their heart. If you can get anything you want and you don't even need to pay for it, then who are willing to work hard? There is one thing that I am always wondering, we all know that China has very serious corruption problem after economic revolution and the government operation expenses are super high than any country. But why Chinese economic grows so fast during the past decades and the country getting richer and richer? Is it because China is a communism country?
    • May 2 2013: "People are selfish from the bottom of their heart."
      No, that's the biggest lie ever told to us.
      We are not born selfish.
      We are not born racist.
      We are not born prejudiced.
      We learn all that things in childhood from our parents and society, and we teach our childs similarly.
      There's no human being, there's human behavior.
      Selfishness emerged in scarcity. And we kept with this ideology because those families that control the world resources needs to maintain this way of life. They not encourage us to think different.
      Communism is not the solution, it's the way. We have tecnology enough to change this chaotic route. We just need to believe that no one is born evil.
      That's the way, the truth. http://youtu.be/KphWsnhZ4Ag
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        May 2 2013: i wonder if you, vp believers, are really that many, or you are sent out to deliberately find forums, and spread the propaganda
        • May 3 2013: What? I can not support the idea too? Please, don't try to attack myself. Just present your arguments and let's talk.
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        May 3 2013: every now and again, a vp believer shows up, and delivers the same propaganda speech. do you honestly think i will debate it the 34th time?
  • May 1 2013: I guess you might just disappear into one of Chancellor Creedys black bags. :(

    just kidding.

    I am speaking about a system that is created by highly evolved beings. Far ahead of where we are now. A system such as this would only exist voluntarily is if by far the majority of humans involved decided that it is in their best interest to create it. If you were among them and maintained that attitude, everyone would know you as a non-contributor and your fellow beings would not purchase anything from you. Because a society like we are discussing wouldn't exist until everything became transparent. There would be no hidden agendas. Your business details would be available for all to see, so all people could make decisions about you based on all of the information. They would do this because they understand that "what you do for another, you do for yourself."
  • May 1 2013: I believe the question to be unanswerable because it could not have occurred then without the use of some totally unifying philosophy or belief system or a Dictator to force his will upon another.

    One cannot be forced to Love another. Love by Tyranny. The one cannot lead to the other. An "ism" is the product of a groups largest idea about itself. An "ism" cannot be imposed/forced upon a person or population that, does not want it, is not mature enough for, cant accept or understand, without the use of a greater force than its opposers to constantly enforce it. ie; Dictators, Subversion, Psychological Manipulation, Fear Mongering, Information Control, Policy Enforcement (police), Military Intimidation and Controls, Creating false enemies. One would have to have considerable control over everything that the population sees, hears, does, thinks, says, believes, and values in order to maintain control. The only way to have an "ism" function well, is if the people are in agreement with it, is if the people are aligned with it, is if the people are ready for it. The very reason there was a Dictator is obvious. It had to be forced upon them. The people just weren't ready for it.

    It is in our nature to seek uniqueness not sameness, to seek not equality in material things, but to be "treated" as an equal, regardless of material wealth, rank, class, status, race, gender. To be treated as an equal by being granted equal opportunity.
  • Apr 30 2013: Capitalism Communism both irrelevant. Macro-economics founded by John Maynard Keynes,Robert Emerson Lucas Jr. is a name to look up. On the modern free-market side you do have Friedrich Hayeck , and the Friedman but I bet they would still except basics of macro-economics.
  • Apr 29 2013: Communism will never work because it works against human nature, which naturally assumes that those who do more should receive more and it is up to them what to so with what they have acquired. Since communism works against human nature, despotism to enforce by force is an inevitable consequence. Capitalism on the other hand works in concert with human nature. Though greed is inherent in human nature and is the failing that most seem want to use to throw the baby out with the bathwater; it can be ,and is, be mitigated through laws against unfair advantage (monopolies, coersion, fraud, etc.) and through social conscience unless society has morally degenerated to the point where conscience is seared.
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      Apr 30 2013: If I understand it right, communism is supposed to work through what you call "social conscience" where "social conscience" overrides "human nature" of which you speak, or, rather, becomes "human nature", to the point where it is not necessary to mitigate it through laws backed by force - an idealistic view, although, theoretically plausible (like a machine with 0 energy loss).

      By the way, nobody knows what "human nature" is. Some say, it's evil, some say it's good. It's what you believe.
      • Apr 30 2013: I think it was clearly posited that communism will never work, but that capitlism will work as the former works greviously against human nature while capitalism is more aligned with it, so I would say that you did not understand it right.

        As to human nature being unknown, I would say that 4 millenia of data would give a fairly defensible knowability in the main. You are familiar with the dichotomy of man?

        While some are given to the belief in social engineering to perfect mankind, all evidence to date counsels that this is not possible. And, no, this generation will be absolutely no better at it.
    • May 1 2013: "And, no, this generation will be absolutely no better at it." According to who and or what?
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    Apr 29 2013: Re: "If communism was working as it should be, would it be better than capitalism?"

    The question is, how is communism supposed to work? "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." If I understand it right from my studies of Marxism in Soviet schools, the idea was that productivity in communist society would increase so much that people would not have to work to get "according to their need" and would work only to satisfy a moral need to be useful to society.

    First, needs grow as productivity grows. Have you noticed that despite a huge increase in computing power, computers don't work faster than 10 years ago? That's because the software consumes a lot more resources. Same idea with economic production and consumption.

    Second, this communist principle works on assumption that everyone would have a moral need to contribute to society. And this is where it breaks down. If you could get everyone, including "the rich", to voluntarily give away money and volunteer their time to improve roads, education, hospitals, care for the sick, and feed the hungry, the economic system would not matter. As long as this does not happen, you need government to do that in the form of social welfare programs funded by taxation (forced wealth redistribution). In socialist countries, they simply go a step further and take away land and means of production from private individuals. But it is still far away from "voluntary contribution to society".

    In Soviet Union, "voluntary contribution to society" was supposed to be instilled into people's minds through communist propaganda. Religions do that too by brainwashing people to "love thy neighbor as thyself". Both systems are criticized for brainwashing people and end up in hypocrisy. In many cases, both systems lead to violence. But how else do you persuade people to "voluntarily contribute to society"?
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    Apr 29 2013: No, IMO, capitalism is an economic model being used as a governance model. Communism is a culture model being used as a governance model. Both will fail as governance models.

    Capitalism as a meritocracy economic model is very good when value is added to the society, but presently "Capitalism" is just a euphemism for “Corporate Welfare State” economics with no real value added just more fees, marketing, scams, and vapor-value. Communism as a cohesive culture model could be good when all citizens are equally valued in the culture from the leader, artist and generals to the warriors, daughters, teachers, infirm, criminals and addicted [even the gods would favor this state].

    Democracy is the only valid governance model (IMO). Democracy is ideal governance by the People and for the People, never governance of the people. Democracy does not preclude laws assuring fairness and protection for all. Democracy assures that no religion, nation, corporation, dogma or ideal determines the destiny of The People, the nations and individual citizens.

    “Unaccountable leaders are masters, and unrepresented people are slaves.” Democracy when fully functional will hold leaders accountable, fully enfranchise all people, and require commitment and participation by all citizens (like a voting holiday or paid leave voting).

    Democracy, Capitalism, or Communism individually cannot be a cure-all for everything; However, in a far-fetched future … far-out in space … in far-far away from personal avarice and the megalomania of dogma-drunk plutocrats and their minions … well maybe Democracy, Capitalism, and Communism when appropriately applied could create a bastardized utopia for some folks?
  • Apr 29 2013: Since the beginning of time man has always sought to be the top of his group (ex. Cain & Able). It is our need to be the best or the leader that keeps a Utopian society from ever working (just look at any homeowners association or co-op board). Humans have pettiness, whininess among their faults. No group of people ever work equally. If one has nothing to gain , why put out the extra effort. Better yet - why should I produce and share with someone who isn't willing to to work or put forth any effort for the good of the collective. Modern Russia and China didn't begin to thrive until they added some form of capitalism.

    Capitalism is a cruel bitch. If you do not participate, it will crush you. It rewards those, who are at the right place at the right time, sometimes through skill of their own, other times luck. It does reward those who innovate and change with the times. It also gets more goods and services to the masses through competition. The market, when left to itself , mostly solves problems rather efficiently and fairly for all concerned. It is when we try to force equal outcomes is when capitalism fails.

    The downtrodden benefit in capitalism. Even in charity capitalism works. Charities more efficiently provide services than government does. Charities know their consumers, they are harder to game, and help people better because they are using their own money versus tax payers dollars and get more bang for their dollar.

    There are bad players in both communism and capitalism, but I'll chose capitalism every time.
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      Apr 29 2013: here is an excerpt from rothbard's man, economy and state:

      Thus, in explaining the origins of society, there is no need to conjure up any mystic communion or “sense of belonging” among individuals. Individuals recognize, through the use of reason, the advantages of exchange resulting from the higher productivity of the division of labor, and they proceed to follow this advantageous course. In fact, it is far more likely that feelings of friendship and communion are the effects of a regime of (contractual) social co-operation rather than the cause. Suppose, for example, that the division of labor were not productive, or that men had failed to recognize its productivity. In that case, there would be little or no opportunity for exchange, and each man would try to obtain his goods in autistic independence. The result would undoubtedly be a fierce struggle to gain possession of the scarce goods, since, in such a world, each man's gain of useful goods would be some other man’s loss. It would be almost inevitable for such an autistic world to be strongly marked by violence and perpetual war. Since each man could gain from his fellows only at their expense, violence would be prevalent, and it seems highly likely that feelings of mutual hostility would be dominant. As in the case of animals quarreling over bones, such a warring world could cause only hatred and hostility between man and man. Life would be a bitter “struggle for survival.” On the other hand, in a world of voluntary social co-operation through mutually beneficial exchanges, where one man’s gain is another man’s gain, it is obvious that great scope is provided for the development of social sympathy and human friendships. It is the peaceful, co-operative society that creates favorable conditions for feelings of friendship among men.
      • Apr 29 2013: "...in a world of voluntary social co-operation through mutually beneficial exchanges, where one man’s gain is another man’s gain, it is obvious that great scope is provided for the development of social sympathy and human friendships"

        basically a Randian philosophy of capitalism...each man works in his own self interest and interacting with those acting in their own self-interest.
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          Apr 29 2013: rand borrowed from rothbard (and mises, and others), if i may. i'd rather not dilute the elegance and clarity of rothbard with the romantic views of rand.

          for one, rothbard never says that people are or should be selfish. rothbard says some people are selfish, and some are not. people pursue different goals, and have different values. neither of them are absolutely good or bad, but are up to individual judgment. rothbard only argues that selfishness won't prevent society thriving.
    • May 3 2013: I'm not doing propraganda. I just resonate with most of his ideas.

      "People say that the monetary system produces incentive this may be true in limited areas but it also produces greed, embezzlement, corruption, pollution, jealousy, anger, crime, war, poverty, tremendous scarcity, and unnecessary human suffering. You have to look at the entire picture. "

      Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources.

      “Notions of Good and Evil depend entirely on social context. It is not that people are good or bad, they are raised in an aberrant or twisted environment.”

      "We must stop constantly fighting for human rights and equal justice in an unjust system, and start building a society where equal rights are an integral part of the design." - Jacque Fresco
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        May 3 2013: do you happen to have an own point of view, or just rehash what fresco said?
        • May 3 2013: Yes, i have my own. I don't like circular cities and all that futuristic cities. But you can see that my main divergence is about his architecture. That in my eyes is the least important by now.
          I understand your point of view, You, like most people, have never been in a slum. Never seen the capitalism consequences up close. You see poverty through TV sitting on your couch.
          You hold the "flag of freedom" like USA always do, speaks of freedom without depth.

          The base of the pyramid has no choice at all. You do not realize that no one asks to be born,
          The opportunity comes from the fate of your birthplace.
          I would really like you to read with no aggressiveness, let's agree that we'll both keep our humility and understand each other.
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        May 3 2013: you do not learn how an economy works, in a slum. you learn it from books. of course, you can find it out all by yourself, if you have 100 years time to think.
        • May 3 2013: : I don't need to read a banker bible to understand the details of economy system. It's wide-open on our face. It works on inequality, war and submission. For a long time it works that way. If your were born 200years ago you would certainly be defending the slavery. You believe in system more than you believe in life. The only certainty is that we all gonna die. We got there, in time that we need to rethink our relations.
          We need to keep envolving our society.

          Please see that documentary http://youtu.be/EewGMBOB4Gg
          Zeitgeist: Addendum.

          And this TED talk.
          http://on.ted.com/Lessig
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    Apr 29 2013: If one looks into the dawn of civilization when Homo Sapiens wasn't into agri-cultural production even....one can see how communism worked at that time...

    But in today's situation ? I am not an expert on subjects like Economics, Sociology & Politics (global, regional & local ) to conclude....
  • Apr 27 2013: This a question I've often wondered myself. In truth, communism has never really been implemented, and cannot be implemented so long as the nation-state system persists, as part of Marx's initial description was that it is a stateless society. Really, Marx didn't describe it as a good idea that he was promoting, but rather as an inevitability. Whether it is inevitable or not, it cannot happen with the current world-wide system in place and capitalism could not happen in a system that favored communism. Whether it would be better or not I think depends on your goals. If equality is most important than of course communism is better, but if personal property and individualism are most important then capitalism is likely better.
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    Apr 27 2013: Hi Ye Jin-Anh,
    It is an interesting question you are raising. I have different take on this, My view is that there is/was always a disconnect between theory and practice, intention and action. This disconnect is due to man's inability to deal with the nuance dynamics of society and human nature. All ideologies have inherent flaws and dual nature. If the good things of capitalism and communism (socialism) combines is the best ideology and practice. Each ideology alone cannot bring out and illuminate the good thing and brought about sustainable positive changes. I also think following the Yin and Yang Philosophy will the right Tao for our present societal condition. Holistic 'Traditional' wisdom is very relevant than either socialism and capitalism, for they are both only mechanical fix for society.
  • Apr 27 2013: I think communism as it was originally conceived would be a great way to live .
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    Apr 25 2013: One important reason for the failure of communism in the 40-some (present) countries where it has been tried is Karl Marx' failure to understand human nature. The system basically demands that you "love your neighbor as yourself," an impossible requirement. The Soviets tried to educate self-interest out of their workers, based on the equally faulty genetic theories of the agronomist Lysenko. (Who taught that acquired characteristics could be passed on genetically, thus it would be possible to gradually create "better" - more compliant - citizen generations through education.)

    But unless we are totally brainwashed we have the quality of self-interest, with its pluses and minuses. A workable social/economic system must recognize and allow for that, but must also manage it.

    We have not yet arrived at an economic system that both allows for capital accumulation and competitive initiative, which have given us our modern technological advances, and at the same time properly emphasizes and rewards cooperative efforts and the social good. These latter features have been difficult to weave into a "capitalist" system, which is oriented toward profit as the fruit of competition.

    I don't expect such an integrated system to spring up overnight, but I fully expect us to get there sometime. I'm waiting for the socioeconomic theoretician who will offer a workable sketch of such a system.
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    Apr 25 2013: Because Communism as it was written in the Communist Manifesto has never existed no one knows how well it works. Capitalism however is in practice and we can see precisely how well it works. Either system would be fine for me if only we could take the human element away (Greed, Egos). The leaders of any society must be willing to act in the interest of those they lead even when it means the right decision may cost them in financial or other ways. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, this has not been the case in recorded times.

    It is my contention that those individuals drawn to places of power are incapable leaders by the virtue of their desire to lead others. They are fundamentally flawed. It is best if we evolve our governments to the next level. There should be no such thing as a political action committee. There should be no political parties. There should be no campaign contributions or lobbyists. There should be nothing to gain by the position of leadership whatsoever. Are any of these things ever going to happen? My guess is no.

    Our esteemed Tedster, Krishnan Madathil states that a form of communism worked in Kerala but not in Bengal. He also believes that Capitalism would be the best form of government provided certain conditions exist. Those conditions are not always present. I agree that socialist intervention must take place in order to create the environment necessary for a society to prosper. Competition is supposed to be the key driver of a healthy capitalist society. I urge you to ask yourself now if those conditions exist within your capitalist society wherever that may be.
    I contend that human nature is the same wherever you go, by reason we must eradicate human nature from government. This is why space travel should be the number one priority! That way we can let the Vulcan's know that we need their help desperately. - Fair, impartial and logical help is all that is necessary to make either Capitalism or Communism work perfectly. Maybe we need
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    Apr 24 2013: A number of years ago, I was in a war torn country, Every thing was in shambles, factories closed, farms not being cultivated, transportation totally stopped. How did the people survive in the middle of war. They became capitalists. Families started businesses. Laundries for rear line soldiers, One man was taking artillery shell and forming them into vases for soldiers to send home, Another was repairing soldiers gear that was damaged in battle. These people were going to survive the war. I can't imagine a communist system working under these circumstances.
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      Apr 25 2013: Without a well structured government and all kinds of trade inhibiting code they were able to pursue capitalism. Of course that would be the case. There was no one there to tell them not to capitalize on their environment. In my former capitalist government of CITRUS COUNTY FLORIDA I was told I could not live and work from the same property. Go figure. Is regulation better? That is a hard question. Reagan De-regulated the banking system in America and gave us the trickle down theory and you can see the results thirty years on. Unfortunately Clinton was the benefactor And the wealthy closed shop in America and capitalized on the misfortune of others who were more than happy for the promise of improvement. The end result: My take on things now is that the banks collapsed and Americans have no money to buy the stuff the factories overseas are making. All the great push for the bush's globalization has resulted in the same wealthy now selling their products to countries who can afford it. Now American's are going to become nationalistic and regard globalization with skepticism.
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        Apr 25 2013: Greg, I hear. Local, state and Federal Governments are making rules to inhibit free enterprise. Which does not say bad about free enterprise or capitalism it seems that government is looking to control the system from their benefit (or benefit of their constituents they claim). The situation in your county has been replicated a thousand times. They collect some residential tax on you home. They collect tax on your business location. You do the business in our home and that screws up the taxing system. So, you can't mess up the system. And the law.
        Voters elected those people who passed those laws. I have seen laws passed that were unfair, almost unconstitutional, mean spirited, etc.,etc. And the voters reelect these people to pass more laws that are "questionable if not bad". WHY?

        I have no idea.
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          Apr 25 2013: Mike, My father said that if there is a failing in our government it is our own fault by virtue of the fact that we elected them. I must concur with both of you. And you are right. The government now thinks the people work for it.

          I no longer live there. I moved away from a property that was in my family for three generations. A property I might add that was designed to have a house right behind the grocery store and was run successfully until my Grandaddy retired (around 1975). I have been stripped of my heritage by CITRUS COUNTY. I was just a number to them. No identity whatsoever and apparently no right to pursue happiness and prosperity. The greatest constitution on Earth now lies dying a dusty death among the cobwebs of a worthless lesson in history.

          Why? you ask do the same people get re-elected? Politicians are usually lawyers or some other forked tongue, eloquently spoken spinners of truth on podiums before masses of sheep unthinking and hopeful. People are always optimistic. They want to believe the lies and they just slip on those rose tinted glasses whenever things go wrong and tell themselves it is all part of some higher power's plan. That is of course my opinion. Thank you for listening.
  • Apr 24 2013: A country that is officially Communist is set to become the largest economy next decade. To some degree central planning is paying off. Is that Communism though? Well the answer is from where Communism comes from Jean Jacques Rousseau. The answer the serf's in France should not have a master but should reap and so communally. Completely irrelevant to the modern world in good part because of Communism, The Jacobin would have identified as Communist so to Napoleon to some extent they and Oliver Cromwell probably motivated Karl Marx's phrase the dictatorship of the proletariat. In it's first form Co-op's and farmers markets are practices of modern Communism and at some you may still find Communist propaganda. So that brings me to the second evolution of Communism that's your Marx and Engels did anyone read Das Kapital, no I didn't think so. The first chapter alright mirrors Wealth of Nations adds labor as determinant of the value of a commodity pulling it away from rarity which was basically the case in workshop labor because if it did take to much labor you just couldn't make it, with the advent of steam and the Bessemer process the range of things that could be produced by labor increased. As for the rest of it all I know is women are kind of looked on as property I think a negative effect of the industrial revolution undermining the women's status. Something I might Communist nations have done a lot to repair they where trend setters for giving women more rights though never really promoting them to the top job. Which was sort of the third phase of Communism. When Russia led a number of nations into Communism usually rapidly abolishing serfdom. Often improving train lines as an egalitarian means of transit. If you want to see what a functioning democratic western white Communism would look like look at Germany connected by high speed rail planned by the government as their involved in industry you have to be high tech power grids and capacity, transit,
  • Apr 23 2013: I think human factors were one of the causes of communism downfall.

    With your scenario, if we applied changes in human factors that allowed communism to work, we should apply those changes to the capitalism scenarios.

    I think capitalism would fail in that case. People are less greedy and those feed back loops in a free market breakdown.
  • Apr 22 2013: no matter which pattern,if a system can make people get better, then it will be the most human beings' choose.
  • Apr 22 2013: Like most things, i don't there's any one right answer. Both capitalism and communism have there pros and cons. The problem is quite simply fixed in my mind. The potential for abuse in each system needs to be plugged. We should have a good idea what does & doesn't work by now. Perhaps a hybrid of the two systems? If i had to chose one and improve on it, I'd go with communism. Equality is something we should all strive for. Company size & individual wealth should be capped. Hard work should still be rewarded... But there are greedy people out there with far, far too much money and assets, to the point is immoral.(when you compare to those below the poverty line).
    ive always felt 'leaders' should be heavily scrutinized. They should be nominated for their intelligence and expertise in their field. They should have capped terms in office & new leaders chosen by the people. Nominees should have equal chance to gain our votes with equal federally funded campaigns. Private funding leads to shady deals and corruption. A leader should never be someone who sought the position... A power hungry personality is not a desirable trait.
  • Apr 21 2013: By reading most of the comment here, I agree with most of the observations that said about communism, even in its pure theoretical sense, hadn't worked in history. Most of the religious communes also had at least one head honcho with absolute power (that's usually common practice in religious settings), which always leads to dictatorship, and then the corruption follows. The other problem is that the "equality" applies to only the sharing of the wealth, and not the sharing of the responsibility of production and community services. Marx was referring the equality for the production workers, but I am not sure he ever consider all the other people responsibility in the services to the society.
    I have examples of a few countries currently in the world actually almost achieved the goal of what Marx tried to project. For instance, New Zealand as I learned, has a very leveraged welfare state with very good health care and pension programs. The former is completely free to any citizen, and the latter furnished a decent amount to live on. And the pension amount for the retired premier of the government is the same as everybody else. Now that's equality! And in Sweden, the workers willingly pay high taxes so that they have a good welfare system and free health care for everybody too. In both of the countries, the civil and health care workers are mostly very conscientious, and cheerful in perform their duties without complaint.
    Why the workers there are cheerful to pay for and serving the fellow citizens with actually fewer strikes for more pay and more vacations or less working hours? Let me suggest that because the workers there are more educated, especially on the spirit of services to the society. As you know that their education systems are among the best in the world, not necessarily in # of prominent scientists, but very few dropouts. In essence, to achieve true equality, we must have majority of the citizens to be educated with true community service ethics as well
    • Comment deleted

      • Apr 23 2013: Thank you for letting me know about the good welfare system in Australia, Kate. In my posting, I just casually took two examples in NZ and Sweden, but I already know about Australia and possibly Norway too, that you also have excellent education systems as well as conscientious social workers. I am more familiar with NZ is because my son had worked there for several years (but he's back to the USA now)
        What I wanted to emphasize is the equality problem. I would like to say that achievement of equality probably depends more on the education system and the morality and ethics of the citizens, than depending on the political/economic systems; i. e. communism, capitalism or socialism. Expressed in another way, in the countries I mentioned, including Australia, there are no dictator like politicians, and also no capitalists strong enough to substantially control the government policies.
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    Apr 21 2013: Would communism work better if closer to the original theory. Is it possible for the theory to work purely in practice.

    Im not sure north korea is run on a commune system. Its a hereditary dictatorship in part. They actually removed references to communism from their constitution a few years back.

    My view is a commune system may work if it was voluntary, on a small scale, provided not too many free loaders, and reasonable system of organisation. I dont think it works if forced on people or on a national scale.

    I support an end to fuedal systems and monarchies, political power due to birth, but suggest democracy is a better approach than communism, one party states, dictatorships, in the long run.

    Mixed systems with elements of capitalism and socialism seem most effective, but there is more to it than governing systems e.g. A free media, rule of law and equal treatment under the law, low corruption, effective institutions, balance between judicial, executive arms of government etc
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    Apr 21 2013: Hi Ye-Jin Ahn,

    It has occurred to me that very few commentators have actually read the works of Marx and or Adam Smith.

    Instead, we are told the interpretations of others and accept they have given us accurate renditions.

    Who here has actually read these books?

    I must admit, I have not fully read Marx, nor have I fully read the Wealth of Nations.

    If you want a real answer to your question - please insist that those replying have actually read the original works.
    I suspect that few have read these beyond what I have .. certainly, the comments seem to reveal that they have read none of it.
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      Apr 26 2013: Well, according to Marxist theories 'communism' is almost an Utopian concept... is the highest form of an evolved socialist society. The theory stated that only after society advances to high economic level the leap to a higher consciousnesses of the members of the society is possible..and when that was reached a society in which people give what they can and take only what they need, becomes possible. People refer improperly to the countries in Eastern Europe as communist. It was just socialist dictature. In my opinion the theory was great but it was abused and misinterpreted; also they tried to implement it by force .... by people with no education or understanding...they just grabbed the power and abused it.
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        Apr 27 2013: Thanks Anairda,

        And on top of the genuine contributions of Marx, we can move forward to incorporate what has been discovered by genuine research since.
        The barrier thrown up to us by exploiters of the fall of the Berlin Wall would have us believe that Marx was a fool. But all I see there is vested interests.

        Here's a thing:

        what is the difference between social capital and financial capital?

        You have done the reading - what's your take?

        This is kinda important - here's a link .. a bit vague, but .. to my understanding, your answer will be cogent and I'd like to know:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KAHzb7XOyU
        (there's a whole series here, but Parenti gets the history into context .. the rest are worth a look) This gets a nice perspective of ideology .. reminds me of sensitive drivers in chaos math.
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          Apr 29 2013: Hi Mitch
          My first hand knowledge of Marxism comes from having been brought up and educated in Eastern Europe during the pick of the socialist dictature. I cannot say I've done a lot of reading on the subject but we did study back then Marxism in the philosophy class at face value and without the propaganda and communism was presented as the ultimate evolutionary goal of the socialist society; of course there was propaganda all around us used by politicians and people in power or working their way to power just like there was propaganda here in the west. What you suggest, that societies learn from previous experiences and come up with a perfect (or as close as possible) social model is great but also too idealistic. Unfortunately these theories are products of the thinkers while the action in the world is driven by greediness through politicians. May be China will give humanity an example of where a socialist society can get. Their rising has to do a lot with the social capital.
          Thanks for the link;I haven't done it yet but I will definitively listen to Parenti's talk.
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        Apr 30 2013: Hi Anairida,
        Many thanks for your insight!
        Another talk from that series indicates some more idealism ..
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8eyugrXJrY
        The speaker seems to think that these agendas have been achieved by politicians, but I am not sure if it is simply claiming the outcome of another dynamic that is truly responsible for what we see.
        Steve Pinker also examines this in the reducing trend of violence, but my politician friends seem to think that it is more to do with managing definitions than managing violence.

        I have problems with the word "greed" .. somehow, I suspect a deeper principle.
        The picture I am getting identifies the City as a prime cause of fractured ideals.
        Our tribes are too large, and we have not adapted to them.
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    Apr 21 2013: Communism is defined with explicit link of dictatorship - that of the proletariat. While its idea is extremely unpopular in the West, the basic fear is about loss of private ownership. Dictatorship can be implicitly linked to capitalism - dictatorship of the rich, if you know what I mean.
    In the end Capitalism or Communism are both resource related ideals and ownership plays a vital role there. Unless our economies are founded on ideals of trusteeship instead of ownership - they will fail after a point.
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    Apr 21 2013: The red scare left Americans with a complete misunderstanding of Communism, and -- to this day -- a strange aversion to trying to get it.
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      May 1 2013: Yet, "the spectre of communism", is still haunting both Europe and the United States, whether people are aware of it or not. All these discussions about "the rich and the poor", "99% vs. 1%", talks about guaranteed basic income and social benefits are manifestations of this "spectre".
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    Apr 19 2013: Some of the most successful examples of communism occurred in, of all places, the USA, and a few instances in Canada.
    They were based on very strong religious groups, so the usual greed and corruption problems didn't occur. What did happen is the failure of the religious bonds
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    Apr 19 2013: G'day Ye-Jin

    In my mind yes........It's supposed to share out the wealth of the land to all & one isn't supposed to be above another in what ever you position is with communism.

    Love
    Mathew
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    Apr 16 2013: If democracy was working the way that the progenitors wanted it to be, would it be better that what now exists?
  • Apr 16 2013: How many things work as well as intended? Maybe I'm not being fair, but Christianity quickly changed from small cooperative groups. Such things are probably not natural.
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    Apr 16 2013: The closest that I have ever seen of Communisum working is the Amish religious group. Each family has a assign task for the better of the whole. Under Communist states there is a group that is always more equal than everyone else ... the elete ... much as the Congress and Administration in the USA has become a democratic - socialist party. Marx envisioned this system working so well that there would be a superabunfance of good to be distributed to all. This has never occured in any communist state I have ever read about.

    In order to compare Capitalism vs Communisum I would compare the top and the bottom classes. Both of the tops live very well and have cars and privilage ... the lower class in Communisum is very low and have much less than the Capitalist counterparts. In Communisum there is not a middle class to speak of it is based on party position. Under Capitalism there is a very large middle class who are in comparison much better off than most of the population of the world.

    In short we have seen Capitalism work as designed ... could we ever see Communisum work as envisioned?

    Another comparison would be to look at the economic system each party supports and how the country response under each. Communist politicians employ the Keynesian theory of economics while the Capitalists employ the Austrian theory. A simple reading of the two should give you a idea of the debit levels of each and the potential for GDP growth of each.

    Having been in communist countries and seeing the standard of living I was glad to come home to the USA.

    There is no pie in the sky ... no perfect system .... we can only judge from history and what we know.

    Bob.
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    Apr 16 2013: Neither communism nor capitalism can provide true equality.
    The difference is that one makes a promise of equality it does not really keep; while the other has created a convincing illussion of equality.

    Peter Law is right. Human nature.
    • Apr 16 2013: capitalism never has promised equality.
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        Apr 17 2013: Perhaps Mr. Anjorin meant equality of opportunity?
        • Apr 17 2013: Still capitalism doesnt "promise: anything except economic freedom and opportunity. But there is a big difference between opportunity for everybody and "equal" opportunity
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    Apr 15 2013: The fundamental problem is that communism does NOT work as intended. Communism removes all motivation for an individual to excel, so that all that's left is mediocrity. We can see after decades of communism in Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba where that leads us.