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Socialism/Communism - why is everyone else always doing it wrong?

  • 03-04-2017 5:37am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 23,429 ✭✭✭✭


    Ask any "socialist" in Ireland or elsewhere about any other examples of communism/socialism ever carried out in the world, ever, they say "it's not real socialism".


    USSR - wrong
    North Korea - wrong
    National Socialists (Nazis) in Germany - wrong
    Vietnam - wrong
    Venuzuala (happening now by the way and once again the people suffer - another collapse) - wrong
    etc etc

    Isn't it true that the natural human condition is not built for socialism and this is why ultimately the leaders end up as despot dictators and some end up more equal than others?

    Can someone give me an example of a regime that did socialism "right"? Just one?

    Also if you could tell us why your regime would not descend in to the same despot state and everyone would live equally rich and joyous lives peacefully that would be great!


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,765 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    Maybe socialism and neoliberalism, and their prospective systems and models are utopian ideas in themselves, and both ultimately fail?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,255 CMod ✭✭✭✭Nody


    Can someone give me an example of a regime that did socialism "right"? Just one?
    The Nordic countries (all have their own version and differences in implementation) I guess would be about as close as you'd get to a working system. None of them would be fully aligned to the idea but more on the pragmatic side of things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,429 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    Wanderer78 wrote: »
    Maybe socialism and neoliberalism, and their prospective systems and models are utopian ideas in themselves, and both ultimately fail?

    I would argue, successfully, that Capitalism has lifted all from a low plain and created the conditions for the best advances in technology.

    Socialism/Communism is everyone being equal but in poverty and always ends in disaster for the populace.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,429 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    Nody wrote: »
    The Nordic countries (all have their own version and differences in implementation) I guess would be about as close as you'd get to a working system. None of them would be fully aligned to the idea but more on the pragmatic side of things.

    The Nordic countries and socialism is a myth. These are Capitalist countries that happen to have generous welfare systems.

    Finland in recent years is an example of what even getting remotely toward socialism leads to - bankruptcy.

    Norway has oil so can afford it for time being and they are also Capitalist country.

    Let's not talk about Sweden - so many rushing to their socialist utopia. I don't think it's what the incomers expected given the violence and protests in immigrant areas. They are Capitalist too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,765 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    I would argue, successfully, that Capitalism has lifted all from a low plain and created the conditions for the best advances in technology.


    I'd disagree there to a point, Id have to agree with somebody like Michael Hudson that we are confusing wealth with debt. We have to start asking ourselves why are debt levels at an all-time high, particularly private debt, and has this actually benefited the majority, particularly financially and economically? I will agree though that capitalism has major advantages over other systems, many being extremely positive for the majority.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,429 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    Wanderer78 wrote: »
    I'd disagree there to a point, Id have to agree with somebody like Michael Hudson that we are confusing wealth with debt. We have to start asking ourselves why are debt levels at an all-time high, particularly private debt, and has this actually benefited the majority, particularly financially and economically? I will agree though that capitalism has major advantages over other systems, many being extremely positive for the majority.

    These are problems that can be fixed within the Capitalist system. Free democracy gives people the chance for change within that system. Socialism/Communism dispenses with democracy as proven time and time again. No change is increasingly probable, the comrades in the leadership become a bit too comfortable to be interfered with and naturally crack down on dissent.

    It's not their fault. This is human condition.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,765 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    These are problems that can be fixed within the Capitalist system. Free democracy gives people the chance for change within that system. Socialism/Communism dispenses with democracy as proven time and time again. No change is increasingly probable, the comrades in the leadership become a bit too comfortable to be interfered with and naturally crack down on dissent.

    Why not something new and different, a system or set of systems that incorporate the advantages of both. I class the thinking of our options being either capitalism or socialism as being 'two dimensional' but we actually live in a multi-dimensional world. Maybe both of these systems are fundamentally flawed, and in their purest form, ultimately fail?

    All humans and our behaviour is complex, we must create systems making it difficult for the dangerous elements of our behaviour to become the norm.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,429 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    Wanderer78 wrote: »
    Why not something new and different, a system or set of systems that incorporate the advantages of both. I class the thinking of our options being either capitalism or socialism as being 'two dimensional' but we actually live in a multi-dimensional world. Maybe both of these systems are fundamentally flawed, and in their purest form, ultimately fail?

    All humans and our behaviour is complex, we must create systems making it difficult for the dangerous elements of our behaviour to become the norm.

    It's a little idealistic. However when has Capitalism been implemented in it's most extreme form? We have only known and had pragmatic Capitalism. It seems to work. It encourages innovation, gives people freedom of choice and incentivises creativity and innovation. Has it faults, yes. As much as socialism, no.

    Extremes of socialism which is communism has been implemented and has demonstrably failed on every occasion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,765 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    It's a little idealistic. However when has Capitalism been implemented in it's most extreme form? We have only known and had pragmatic Capitalism. It seems to work. It encourages innovation, gives people freedom of choice and incentivises creativity and innovation. Has it faults, yes. As much as socialism, no.

    Are both neoliberalism and socialism idealistic? Possibly! Neither have probably been implemented in their purest form, but of course that's debatable. I'd argue neoliberalism isn't working for the majority as wealth is accumulating at the highest tiers of our social, economic and financial structures. Is this good for the majority, I don't think so? I'd agree with your points about capitalism, they certainly would be some of the advantages of the system, amongst others of course, but are the disadvantages of neoliberalism starting to outway the advantages, possibly?
    Extremes of socialism which is communism has been implemented and has demonstrably failed on every occasion.


    Yup agree there, but again, there are advantages to a socialist system over a capitalist system for the majority, leading me back to, maybe both systems ultimately fail?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,593 ✭✭✭Wheeliebin30


    The Nordic countries and socialism is a myth. These are Capitalist countries that happen to have generous welfare systems.

    Finland in recent years is an example of what even getting remotely toward socialism leads to - bankruptcy.

    Norway has oil so can afford it for time being and they are also Capitalist country.

    Let's not talk about Sweden - so many rushing to their socialist utopia. I don't think it's what the incomers expected given the violence and protests in immigrant areas. They are Capitalist too.

    And Swedens 34,000 homeless might disagree that their socialist utopia isn't so, you know great.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,857 ✭✭✭professore


    Anyone who thinks socialism could ever work in the idealised way they think it could doesn't understand human nature. It's the old "tax the rich" mantra. When asked who is rich, the answer is inevitably anyone richer than me.

    If i lived in a socialist country ( and Ireland is pretty socialist - with generous open ended unemployment benefits unlike most other places in the developed world ) why would i bother to work when I'd get the same money as someone working 80+ hours a week saving lives?

    Socialism / communism are just cults to exploit the naïve and a way to gain absolute power while having the people back you all the way.

    Our current system favours socialism for the banks when they fail and capitalism when they succeed though.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,264 Mod ✭✭✭✭Chips Lovell


    I was just reading this morning about how Portugal's socialist government is doing fairly well:
    In 2016, according to figures released on March 24th, his government cut the budget deficit by more than half to just under 2.1% of GDP (see chart), the lowest since Portugal’s transition to democracy in 1974. His administration restored state pensions, wages and working hours to pre-bail-out levels, and also brought the deficit well under the 2.5% target set for it by the European Union. It is the first time that Portugal has complied with the euro zone’s fiscal rules.

    However....
    National Socialists (Nazis) in Germany - wrong
    The Nordic countries and socialism is a myth. These are Capitalist countries that happen to have generous welfare systems.

    ... if you're going to get to define what is or isn't socialist, then you're definitely going to win the argument.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,257 ✭✭✭Yourself isit


    The Nordic countries and socialism is a myth. These are Capitalist countries that happen to have generous welfare systems.

    Finland in recent years is an example of what even getting remotely toward socialism leads to - bankruptcy.

    Norway has oil so can afford it for time being and they are also Capitalist country.

    Let's not talk about Sweden - so many rushing to their socialist utopia. I don't think it's what the incomers expected given the violence and protests in immigrant areas. They are Capitalist too.

    They are socialist or social Democratic countries. Unlike Liberia they have a very large state.

    I presume if you are happy with the nordic model you would like to see it applied everywhere.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,022 ✭✭✭✭Permabear


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,765 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    Permabear wrote:
    This post had been deleted.


    We 've had this debate before! The free-for-all market is also a utopian idea, and there is mounting evidence that it to is failing the majority


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 234 ✭✭KyussBeeshop


    'Socialism' is usually a label applied to others, who themselves actually don't agree with or outright reject the term.
    Can the OP actually define what they would describe as socialism? (and define clearly, not just in vague terms that can be subjectively redefined on a whim)

    My experience, is that posters usually define socialism on a sliding scale, to suit the argument at hand - just so they can use it as a rhetorical tool to label the opposition with, and rally people into Us vs Them trenches - a bit like how a bee sting is meant to attract the rest of the swarm/hive into a mindless attack.
    Rarely ever do I see it applied to someone, who self-identifies with the label.

    Similarly, you will see posters describe certain prevalent policies in western societies, as socialist - yet ascribe all of the benefits of western societies, to capitalism - without acknowledgement that our societies would be a product of both sets of policies.
    In the end, debate just reduces into a simplistic 'capitalism good, socialism bad' narrative - which seems to be the intention behind the vague use of the word.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,257 ✭✭✭Yourself isit


    Permabear wrote: »
    This post had been deleted.

    Of course this tells you nothing unless you know what countries passed them out per capita. Waa it other socialist states? Was it oil rich states? Was it libertarian paradise Liberia? (No)


    During these years of "socialist utopia," real incomes stagnated, private-sector job creation ground to a halt, and national debt spiraled out of control. So Sweden is no exception to the rule -- it merely proved to be yet another illustration of how socialist policies can run a once-thriving economy into the ground.

    Of course this logic could only be true if Sweden were free market driven in 1970 and only then applied socialism. It didn't. Lots of countries have had wage stagnation under neo liberalism. Like most of the west.
    By the early 1990s, with the country embroiled in economic crisis, the Swedish government had to institute free-market reforms to cut public spending, slash taxes, and open up markets in order to revive the economy and give the country a future. In short, they had to reintroduce capitalism to give their "socialist utopia" any hope.

    They were always of course, a mixed economy. They remain one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,138 ✭✭✭realitykeeper


    Ask any "socialist" in Ireland or elsewhere about any other examples of communism/socialism ever carried out in the world, ever, they say "it's not real socialism".


    USSR - wrong
    North Korea - wrong
    National Socialists (Nazis) in Germany - wrong
    Vietnam - wrong
    Venuzuala (happening now by the way and once again the people suffer - another collapse) - wrong
    etc etc

    Isn't it true that the natural human condition is not built for socialism and this is why ultimately the leaders end up as despot dictators and some end up more equal than others?

    Can someone give me an example of a regime that did socialism "right"? Just one?

    Also if you could tell us why your regime would not descend in to the same despot state and everyone would live equally rich and joyous lives peacefully that would be great!
    I am not a socialist (as my many posts do attest) but I think those people dream about what it would be like if they were in charge and not about what it would be like living as one of the masses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,583 ✭✭✭Suryavarman


    Wanderer78 wrote: »
    Maybe socialism and neoliberalism, and their prospective systems and models are utopian ideas in themselves, and both ultimately fail?

    Neoliberalism has been the dominant ideology over the last 40 years and it's lead to a massive reduction in poverty in the third world and has lead to levels of economic stability never seen before in the first world. Hardly a failure.
    Nody wrote: »
    The Nordic countries (all have their own version and differences in implementation) I guess would be about as close as you'd get to a working system. None of them would be fully aligned to the idea but more on the pragmatic side of things.

    Definition of socialism:
    a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    All four Scandinavian countries rank higher in the Doing Business Report than Ireland. All 4 rank in the top 25 of the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom. I don't see how socialist countries could achieve such results.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,356 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice


    I cant understand why Kibbutz are never referenced in these discussion, they were a true experiment in socialism. They failed/privatised because it turns out you can't eliminate hierarchies( lots of other reasons as well ) but basically human nature can't be changed.

    I always associate daft socialism with groups siting around theorising that an ambulance driver should be paid the same as a doctor that sort of thing.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbutz


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  • Registered Users Posts: 187 ✭✭Game Face MCGee


    I've always felt the fundamental flaw in Socialism its core principle of doing what's best for the masses is in contrast with human nature of doing what best for yourself (family) in essence socialism strips you of this freedom by saying everyone is the same which isn't the case.

    Individuals have different needs  and wants from life, one man want to be a millionaire the other want to chill and tip along, socialism doesn't account for this difference


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,583 ✭✭✭Suryavarman


    I've always felt the fundamental flaw in Socialism its core principle of doing what's best for the masses is in contrast with human nature of doing what best for yourself (family) in essence socialism strips you of this freedom by saying everyone is the same which isn't the case.

    Individuals have different needs  and wants from life, one man want to be a millionaire the other want to chill and tip along, socialism doesn't account for this difference

    Stripping people of their freedom and making the vast majority of the populace poorer is hardly "doing what's best for the masses".


  • Registered Users Posts: 187 ✭✭Game Face MCGee


    I've always felt the fundamental flaw in Socialism its core principle of doing what's best for the masses is in contrast with human nature of doing what best for yourself (family) in essence socialism strips you of this freedom by saying everyone is the same which isn't the case.

    Individuals have different needs  and wants from life, one man want to be a millionaire the other want to chill and tip along, socialism doesn't account for this difference

    Stripping people of their freedom and making the vast majority of the populace poorer is hardly "doing what's best for the masses".
    I agree whole heartedly, as I said, its core principle is flawed, the concept of striving for "the greater good" ie doing what's best for the masses, historically has only resulted in making the mass poorer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,434 ✭✭✭Jolly Red Giant


    I've always felt the fundamental flaw in Socialism its core principle of doing what's best for the masses is in contrast with human nature of doing what best for yourself (family) in essence socialism strips you of this freedom by saying everyone is the same which isn't the case.
    You argument would be valid if it wasn't starting from an incorrect premise - human nature is not 'selfish' (which is what you are effectively arguing) - human nature gravitates towards cooperation, solidarity and interest in helping fellow human beings.

    Furthermore, socialism does not argue that 'everyone is the same' - in fact it recognises that everyone is a different individual with different individual talents and supports all freedoms except the 'freedom' to exploit a fellow human being.
    Individuals have different needs  and wants from life, one man want to be a millionaire the other want to chill and tip along, socialism doesn't account for this difference
    While everyone might 'like' to be a millionaire - the vast majority of people recognise that millionaire almost exclusively inherit their millions (there is only a very tiny percentage of 'self-made' millionaires. Socialism argues that people should have an opportunity to be inventive, to contribute, to engage with society through the development of their individual talents and abilities - in contrast capitalism limits the development of talent and ability to nothing more than a mechanism for creating profit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭Valord


    You argument would be valid if it wasn't starting from an incorrect premise - human nature is not 'selfish' (which is what you are effectively arguing) - human nature gravitates towards cooperation, solidarity and interest in helping fellow human beings.

    That sounds like an entire subject of debate all by itself. I don't think it's just a simple fact that human nature tends toward cooperation. I'd argue that this varies a lot from person to person, and that cooperation tends to be stronger with smaller groups.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭Valord


    Have socialism or communism ever really been done at all? That is according to their textbook, theoretical descriptions. It seems to be like countries that called themselves communist or socialist were a bit like countries that felt the need to put "democratic" in their name. Were the USSR under Stalin or any of the subsequent leaders really communist? Modern day China and North Korea certainly don't seem to be.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,257 ✭✭✭Yourself isit


    Valord wrote: »
    Have socialism or communism ever really been done at all? That is according to their textbook, theoretical descriptions. It seems to be like countries that called themselves communist or socialist were a bit like countries that felt the need to put "democratic" in their name. Were the USSR under Stalin or any of the subsequent leaders really communist? Modern day China and North Korea certainly don't seem to be.

    I think you are in fact making the argument that the OP is opposing.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 778 ✭✭✭BabyCheeses


    Whatever with the problems with socialism, I don't think the problems with North Korea and Nazi Germany were due to the socialist part. I get the whole no true socialism meme but it's like trying to debate the problems of democracies while citing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Socialism, like libertarianism, is probably impossible to implement properly. Some of their ideas may be adopted with success though.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,875 ✭✭✭A Little Pony


    Communism doesn't work, creates nothing but human suffering. You can have socialist ideals but I would never prefer running a country on socialism.


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  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,463 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    Whatever with the problems with socialism, I don't think the problems with North Korea and Nazi Germany were due to the socialist part. I get the whole no true socialism meme but it's like trying to debate the problems of democracies while citing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Socialism, like libertarianism, is probably impossible to implement properly. Some of their ideas may be adopted with success though.

    Well Marx called for a dictatorship of the proletariat. Basically, anyone who believes in capitalism is an enemy of the people, like a terrorist, and so under socialist theory can be excluded from political power, often times by force.

    You say North Korea and Nazi Germany are bad examples of socialism and youre right. But Lenin and Stalin were doing exactly what Marx said they should do - set up a socialist dicatorship and exclude anyone who doesnt agree with it.

    The idea being that once the dictatorship "educates" people into believing in common ownership, then there will be no one left who believes in capitalism or private ownership and so communism will emerge whereby people will instinctively believe in common ownership and eschew private property.

    This is an essential part of Marxism. People have tried to sanitise it by calling it Marxist-Leninism (i.e. only imprisoning the middle class landowners and political dissenters) or Trotskyism (i.e. if a socialist revolution happened everywhere in the world then there would be nowhere good to compare it to and so the capitalists would just be quiet and not rebel) because these seem a lot prettier.

    And to be fair to Stalin (if such a thing were possible), the majority of people killed under his rule were done to prepare the USSR to fight in WWII rather than because they were political dissenters.

    But however you spin it, Marxist Socialism requires anyone who belives in capitalism or a free vote should be treated as an extremist and enemy of the people, much like we currently treat members of Al Quaeda or the IRA.

    We also have a softer more modern meaning where socialism means social democracy or a somewhat utopian view of it where it happens without the dictatorship of the proletariat or reeducation of the masses.

    So you are right in that some things that some people who call themselves socialists are good ideas, but I dont agree that we can seriously discuss socialism while ignoring the totalitarian dictatorships that are mandated by Marxist theory.


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