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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:28 AM   #1
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The Failure of Communist countries


Just to make things clear, I will be using the term "Communism" for the ideology that was emphasized in the Socialist countries. Communism itself has another meaning, but I will be using it in this thread as a general term for all far left policy.

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The failure of Communism, as regarding the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Vietnam and various other countries around the globe, the failure of that ideology that was imposed in these countries in the mid-20th century, is often ascribed to the very core idea of a society based on equality.

While this is only partly true, actually I'd go as far as saying it is less than 50 % true, I think the remaining more than 50 % needs to be discussed.

When we take a look at any, simply ANY given country which was termed "Communist", we see some general historical repeats:

* The country was poor to begin with, compared to the U.K, U.S, France and Germany, the natural anti-Communist countries.

* The country in question had a ruthless dictatorship prior to becomming Communist.

There may well be many other factors, but for the sake of not writing too much about irrelevant details, I will focus on these two issues.

Economy

What defines a poor country? Poverty isn't about having few money. Poverty is about having a low income, or more precisely, low production.

You could have a billion dollars, but still have to live on the streest after a few months. One billion dollars are easily spent because of inflation, daily bills etc.

What *really* matters is your ability to produce something that gives you a stable income, either in terms of money (as in capital) or direct goods.

Either way, you need something to harvest. You need tools. In other words, you need the Means of Production and a steady supply of Raw Materials.

Looking at several of the ancient cultures around the globe, they all had access to both the Means of Production and the Raw Materials.

Actually what we describe today as "Communist dictatorship" as a "20th century invention" happened in ancient Egypt and Ancient China: One ruler, who ruled the state, which owned all the Means of Production and controlled the flow (import and export) of Raw Materials.

It had just about 100 % of what we in todays terms call "Soviet Communist ruthless dictatorship". Ancient Egypt was, societally, just as North Korea is today. Or the Soviet Union in the 1930's.

Meanwhile, there was a more "equal" society in the north. Local tribes gathering food from hunting and gathering. These were equal and I suppose they had more personal liberties than the average ancient Egyptian.

Nevertheless, Ancient Egypt was way more wealthy than these local tribes together.

The local tribes in Europe didn't manage to build great monuments, like the Pyramids in Ancient Egypt.

Now you would say that this is because of climate and different other environmental factors. Which brings me to the next issue of economy: Raw Materials!

If you don't have access to the Raw Materials needed for the Means of Production to work and process these materials into another material, you can't create goods.

Which conditions does U.K., Germany, France, and the U.S. have that many other countries doesn't have?

First of all, each of these countries have: Plenty of space, have access to agriculture, mining and have/had a decent amount of population to work.

Plenty of Space you can build where you like, with Agriculture you can feed the population. With Mining you can get ore and stones needed for producing machine tools, buildings and manufacture goods.

The Soviet Union had these things too.

But. So did the Tzarist empire, which the Communists was opposing.

Dictatorship

Tzarist Russia with his serfs was in no way any different than Stalin's Sovietunion and his Gulags.

The conditions was the same. The only difference was the name/description.

Tzarist Russia was Right Wing Conservatism. Stalin's Soviet Union was left wing Communism.

So judging from all this, how can people ever say it was because of Lenin, Stalin or any Soviet leader, that the Soviet Union was poor?

After all, this country had suffered the direct effects of war on its own soil. The U.S. only had to fight the Japanese on Pearl Habor and the British didn't fight actual war on its own soil, they only had some bombing.

Likewise the war on the Western Front (France, Belgium and Netherlands) wasn't as devastating as the Eastern Front.

This meant that the whole infrastructure in what later became the Soviet/Communist Eastern Bloc was destroyed and had to be rebuilt for money that wasn't there in the first place, because of a stupid CONSERVATIVE Tzarist family.

I'm not trying to defend Stalin, Lenin on any other murderer, but I'm just trying to impose a more nuanced view on the Communism.

As for China, their dictatorial rule dates far back to the Qing dynasty.
Cuba was a Spanish colony, never had any democratical rule. No communist countries had any democratical rule prior to Communism.

What I am saying is that dictatorship has absolutely nothing to say with Communism. Communism is an economic system, and the reason they've failed are manyfold, not because of its ideology.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 04:40 AM   #2

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Originally Posted by philosopher View Post
What I am saying is that dictatorship has absolutely nothing to say with Communism. Communism is an economic system, and the reason they've failed are manyfold, not because of its ideology.
Your entire post proves the flaw of your conclusion. At the risk of being redundant, communism (whether we are talking about the version of Marx or that of Stalin) ultimately failed because it took no account of human nature. Egalitarian ideals are fine as far as they go, but in the real world they can't drive an economic (or political) system. Since people were never rewarded for excellence under it, there was no incentive to said excellence. Communism produced millions of mediocrities which in turn produced a mediocre economic return.

Capitalism, otoh, willfully embraces human nature. For all its significant excesses, capitalism creates drive in people who want to better their lot that communism simply can't. At the risk of being cliche, greed is indeed good-provided there are enough safeguards in place to prevent/punish abuse.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:18 AM   #3

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I concur with diddyriddick's take on communism and its antithesis, but then again: why do so many people endorse communism, even contemporary intellectuals? Most pull this off incessantly by hiding their ideology behind a shade of "socialism".
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:24 AM   #4

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Originally Posted by ColonelFear View Post
I concur with diddyriddick's take on communism and its antithesis, but then again: why do so many people endorse communism, even contemporary intellectuals? Most pull this off incessantly by hiding their ideology behind a shade of "socialism".
Perhaps that has more to do with people who label socialism as a form of communism.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:37 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by ColonelFear View Post
I concur with diddyriddick's take on communism and its antithesis, but then again: why do so many people endorse communism, even contemporary intellectuals? Most pull this off incessantly by hiding their ideology behind a shade of "socialism".
Do many people endorse communism ? I don't believe there are too many people who are card carrying members of the communist party around today. There are however plenty of socialists who believe in a more equitable distribution of wealth in order to create a fairer and happier society.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:39 AM   #6

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I concur with diddyriddick's take on communism and its antithesis, but then again: why do so many people endorse communism, even contemporary intellectuals?
I can't really think of any Western contemporary intellectuals who endorses communism, save perhaps except a couple of cold war dinosaurs who have long since passed the age of retirement.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:43 AM   #7

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a couple of cold war dinosaurs who have long since passed the age of retirement.
Precisely so. Romania's full of them.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:56 AM   #8

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Communism failed because of Capitalism.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:58 AM   #9

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Communism failed because of Capitalism.
There's the magical answer; thank you.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddyriddick View Post
Your entire post proves the flaw of your conclusion. At the risk of being redundant, communism (whether we are talking about the version of Marx or that of Stalin) ultimately failed because it took no account of human nature. Egalitarian ideals are fine as far as they go, but in the real world they can't drive an economic (or political) system. Since people were never rewarded for excellence under it, there was no incentive to said excellence. Communism produced millions of mediocrities which in turn produced a mediocre economic return.

Capitalism, otoh, willfully embraces human nature. For all its significant excesses, capitalism creates drive in people who want to better their lot that communism simply can't. At the risk of being cliche, greed is indeed good-provided there are enough safeguards in place to prevent/punish abuse.
Communism don't neccessarily embrace equal economic redistribution.

It only embraces the ownership of the Means of Productions in the hands of the workers.

Personally I can't see anything wrong with the workers working in the factories also having a say in how it should be run and how the prices should be set, or at least elect representatives who decides such questions.

I would also like to read where Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto says anything about equal redistribution of the wealth of society regardless of ones efforts.
If no such quote can be found, this particular attack on Communism has failed.
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