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Thread: True communism- tried and found wanting!

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    Now, capitalism has only been for a few hundred years and our society has literally rocketed from agrarian to the moon. IMO This is indicative of the effort people will generate when they are able to accumulate private property.
    I'd like to get some feedback from both sides on this issue, especially people who think that capitalism isn't a good system. Thanks!
    The reason for such spectacular technological advance has been public, not private, investment. The speculative captialist investor is guided by self-interest and short-term profits. They do not usually make the bulk of long-term investments in research and development, over decades, needed for major technological and scientific discoveries or breakthroughs. Literally going to the moon, was because of NASA, a government-owned, publically(taxpayer) funded company, not a private one. Computers were invented with public money for R&D. The research and development for new drugs to keep us healthy is mostly public money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB View Post
    The reason for such spectacular technological advance has been public, not private, investment. The speculative captialist investor is guided by self-interest and short-term profits. They do not usually make the bulk of long-term investments in research and development, over decades, needed for major technological and scientific discoveries or breakthroughs. Literally going to the moon, was because of NASA, a government-owned, publically(taxpayer) funded company, not a private one. Computers were invented with public money for R&D. The research and development for new drugs to keep us healthy is mostly public money.
    Which shows that early development for many things is properly done in the public setting (which is seems to be true given the huge grants to universities) while commercial development and refinement is done best in the private sector.

    This isn't a bad thing. In fact this may be the best allocation of resources. Capitalism generally does not allocate resources to ventures it believes may not work where public financing often does.
    "You are, of course, free to make your own calls on how much rationality you want to impose upon yourself." - Kronus

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB View Post
    The reason for such spectacular technological advance has been public, not private, investment. The speculative captialist investor is guided by self-interest and short-term profits. They do not usually make the bulk of long-term investments in research and development, over decades, needed for major technological and scientific discoveries or breakthroughs. Literally going to the moon, was because of NASA, a government-owned, publically(taxpayer) funded company, not a private one. Computers were invented with public money for R&D. The research and development for new drugs to keep us healthy is mostly public money.

    I think you have a point in some respects, but it is generally the profit incentive that really pushes and drives advances. Bell's telephone networks are still running and Edison's light bulb is lighting the way. The dishwasher to the automobile to the many patents of GE have all been private. Look at other countries (ie. the former USSR and China) who generally rely on stolen technology for their economies and military, since the real breakthroughs come from profit motivated systems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    I think you have a point in some respects, but it is generally the profit incentive that really pushes and drives advances. Bell's telephone networks are still running and Edison's light bulb is lighting the way. The dishwasher to the automobile to the many patents of GE have all been private. Look at other countries (ie. the former USSR and China) who generally rely on stolen technology for their economies and military, since the real breakthroughs come from profit motivated systems.
    These are pretty bad examples since both the nations electrical grid and the phone system were constructed almost entirely using public monies.

    There seems to be some disconnect here when it comes to the definition of capitalism. Capitalism does not necessarily preclude the possibility of government investment in some areas, particularly infrastructure investment. If not for government investment, we would not be much better off than some of those tribes were were discussing earlier that despite a capitalist structure are still running around in loin cloths chucking spears at their dinner.

    Look at the automobile. Before Henry Ford even finished his first factory he had employed people who did nothing but travel around trying to convince state and local governments to install automobile friendly roads. Automobiles were not well suited for the wagon tracks that passed for roads in most of the country and Ford knew that if governments, starting with federal followed by state and local, could not be convinced to install the better roads that led consumers to purchase automobiles that his brain child was going to be stillborn.

    This is what a lot of the "free market" advocates cannot seem to get their heads wrapped around. "The market" does a pretty decent job of spurring innovation when it comes to short term projects. When it comes to the longer view, the "free market" falls flat on its face because if there is not a profit there in the immediate and foreseeable future, nobody is going to do it. I have actually seen people argue for a market supplied solution to road building and maintenance. The argument falls flat on its face in the face of logical discussion and real world experience.

    We are getting into a "free market" type debate of late when it comes to alternative energy research and if the free marketers have their way, we are going to end up in a crisis with large numbers of Americans starving in the streets (literally). It may already be too late.

    The problem is that we are coming up on peak oil. At this point the only question is which year we passed it. The problem is that Alternative energy is still not really profitable for the most part and will not be for several more years. Thus far, the government has funded over 80% of AE research that has been done, so even the relatively minimal strides we have made there are thanks to government funding. Where the real problem comes is when oil production starts to decline. Studies have shown that in order to make it through that with only minimal disruptions (and even the "minimal disruptions" scenario sounds pretty bad when you consider our current lifestyles) we will have needed to start a CRASH PROGRAM similar to the Manhattan project 20 years before it occurs.

    This is jsut not something that free markets do well

    It is worth noting when discussing the relative merits of capitalism and socialism that both terms denote a means of production, no more, no less. Anything else that you amy attach to the terms is emotional baggage.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

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    Dae,

    I hear you and have said many times that I'm not a Laissez Faire type guy. My point was that the ability to accumulate capital (personal property) is the reason that the US is the country it is today. Sure there's a place for the govt. in ANY system, including this one. However, the reason our country has done so well, for so long and the reason we're so productive as workers is the fact that we have a right to participate in the system and accumulate wealth.

    Yes, the govt. will be needed to provide certain services. Yes, it is necessary to have rules, taxes, and a govt. to provide security and facilitate trade and etc... I've never said any different. However, there's a difference between saying that and saying that everything good has come through the govt. That's not true and if it was the USSR (or Germany) would rule the world today. The private sector is what drives the govt. and the economy. Without the Private Sector, there wouldn't be any govt. or tax money or tax payers to fund all the wonderful things that the govt. does. But too much govt. and the private sector whithers and with it, the govt. as well.
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  6. #21
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    Your argument doesn't hold up. The economy of the USSR went from feudal agrarian to industrial in less than half a century. The proletariat at the time of the revolution numbered 4% of the population. The command economy catapulted the USSR to superpower status, which it only lost as a result of trying to maintain military superiority (40% of GDP on arms is going to do that). Many criticisms can be made of the USSR, lack of economic growth is not one of them. When capitalism was allowed in, look at the mess that resulted.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

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    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    Dae,

    I hear you and have said many times that I'm not a Laissez Faire type guy. My point was that the ability to accumulate capital (personal property) is the reason that the US is the country it is today. Sure there's a place for the govt. in ANY system, including this one. However, the reason our country has done so well, for so long and the reason we're so productive as workers is the fact that we have a right to participate in the system and accumulate wealth.

    Yes, the govt. will be needed to provide certain services. Yes, it is necessary to have rules, taxes, and a govt. to provide security and facilitate trade and etc... I've never said any different. However, there's a difference between saying that and saying that everything good has come through the govt. That's not true and if it was the USSR (or Germany) would rule the world today. The private sector is what drives the govt. and the economy. Without the Private Sector, there wouldn't be any govt. or tax money or tax payers to fund all the wonderful things that the govt. does. But too much govt. and the private sector whithers and with it, the govt. as well.
    I think you undervalue the combination of poor immigrants and vast untapped natural resources as it pertains to our success.
    "They asked if I had found Jesus and I didn't even know He was missing."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    Your argument doesn't hold up. The economy of the USSR went from feudal agrarian to industrial in less than half a century. The proletariat at the time of the revolution numbered 4% of the population. The command economy catapulted the USSR to superpower status, which it only lost as a result of trying to maintain military superiority (40% of GDP on arms is going to do that). Many criticisms can be made of the USSR, lack of economic growth is not one of them. When capitalism was allowed in, look at the mess that resulted.

    First of all, the people of the USSR were whipped into submission for that entire time. Not only didn't they have freedom, they didn't have meat, butter, or any of those 'little extras' we're so used to here. They were slaves to the state, basically. It's completely ludicrous to think that the 'average' citizen of the USSR lived in any comparable comfort to Westerners. Of course, those are the ones who lived and weren't murdered by Stalin or the KGB. GREAT PLACE, YEAH!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    First of all, the people of the USSR were whipped into submission for that entire time. Not only didn't they have freedom, they didn't have meat, butter, or any of those 'little extras' we're so used to here. They were slaves to the state, basically. It's completely ludicrous to think that the 'average' citizen of the USSR lived in any comparable comfort to Westerners. Of course, those are the ones who lived and weren't murdered by Stalin or the KGB. GREAT PLACE, YEAH!!!!!!
    And you think that the tyranny and oppression under which the Soviets lived was the result of their economic system???
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by daewoo View Post
    And you think that the tyranny and oppression under which the Soviets lived was the result of their economic system???

    Actually, the only way a govt. could ever control a person enough to supplant their natural wish for freedom and opportunity is to brutally subjugate them. So, yes, actually, the brutality IS a result of their economic system. If the people (in the USSR) had had the ability to participate in the economic system then they wouldn't have had to have been suppressed like that. Look at China now (and Cuba, etc...) the reason that communist citizens must be totally controlled is because they aren't free and because that economic system can't produce enough of the products that people need (much less the products they want).
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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    Actually, the only way a govt. could ever control a person enough to supplant their natural wish for freedom and opportunity is to brutally subjugate them. So, yes, actually, the brutality IS a result of their economic system. If the people (in the USSR) had had the ability to participate in the economic system then they wouldn't have had to have been suppressed like that. Look at China now (and Cuba, etc...) the reason that communist citizens must be totally controlled is because they aren't free and because that economic system can't produce enough of the products that people need (much less the products they want).
    You continue to neglect the very recent pre-industrial starting points of all these countries. I should also point out that America's wealth was built on slavery too. The reason the USSR couldn't provide for its people was that it was spending 40% of GDP on armaments and empire building. Political freedom has little to do with economic systems, most ordinary citizens have little control over what is produced by the economy, and what goods are available to them. A democratically controlled command economy would actually have more scope for freedom than the current plutocratic system. Every time a country has attempted democratic socialism, the CIA have intervened backing death squads and the like to suppress it. Ever heard of the School of the Americas?
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Bennett View Post
    You continue to neglect the very recent pre-industrial starting points of all these countries. I should also point out that America's wealth was built on slavery too. The reason the USSR couldn't provide for its people was that it was spending 40% of GDP on armaments and empire building. Political freedom has little to do with economic systems, most ordinary citizens have little control over what is produced by the economy, and what goods are available to them. A democratically controlled command economy would actually have more scope for freedom than the current plutocratic system. Every time a country has attempted democratic socialism, the CIA have intervened backing death squads and the like to suppress it. Ever heard of the School of the Americas?

    The STARTING POINT of EVERYTHING was 'pre-industrial'. The US started with a couple of boat loads of people. How's that for a slow start? Hell, the USSR and others had to fence people in to their 'utopian' wonderland. As for the US wealth being built on Slavery, that's just plain wrong. The agrairian South (Actually the South East really) was the only place in the US that used slaves. The general culture of the south was poor and rural. The US spent much more ridding our country of slaver (durring the Civil war) than that economic system ever produced.
    "A democratically controlled command economy"? Yeah, right. Private Property is what gives people the incentive to be productive. Again, the proof is in the pudding. The US isn't the most populous country nor is it the biggest. It certainly isn't the oldest. But something about this young country has propelled not only us but much of the rest of the world into the modern era with a huge middle class and a robust economy that's produced more wealth, as well as technological and medical advances. What is it that makes the US so great? One of the biggest reasons is our SYSTEM. The system that allows people to control their own economic destiny.
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  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUNxTime View Post
    The STARTING POINT of EVERYTHING was 'pre-industrial'. The US started with a couple of boat loads of people. How's that for a slow start? Hell, the USSR and others had to fence people in to their 'utopian' wonderland. As for the US wealth being built on Slavery, that's just plain wrong. The agrairian South (Actually the South East really) was the only place in the US that used slaves. The general culture of the south was poor and rural. The US spent much more ridding our country of slaver (durring the Civil war) than that economic system ever produced.
    "A democratically controlled command economy"? Yeah, right. Private Property is what gives people the incentive to be productive. Again, the proof is in the pudding. The US isn't the most populous country nor is it the biggest. It certainly isn't the oldest. But something about this young country has propelled not only us but much of the rest of the world into the modern era with a huge middle class and a robust economy that's produced more wealth, as well as technological and medical advances. What is it that makes the US so great? One of the biggest reasons is our SYSTEM. The system that allows people to control their own economic destiny.
    LOL. Not exactly.

    The US was originally populated as part of the European imperial drive which was itself the result of the fact that Europe was starting to bump up against some pretty serious resource constraints so they were essentially forced to adopt a (very expensive) drive to increase their territory and, by proxy, their resource base.

    The US was a HUGE land just chalk full of the kind of natural resources that Europe needed. Initially it was this massive resource base that allowed the US to prosper (but only with some decidedly un-capitalist measures to encourage people to emigrate here to exploit those resources). As natural resources in Europe and England dwindled, the US make an enormous amount of money exploiting and selling ours. by 1915 fully half of the worlds gold reserves (talking bullion and coins here...not gold in place) had been produced by the United States.

    What actually allowed the US to emerge as a world leader and the richest nation in the world was WWII. Prior to WWII (and prior to the depression) Americans had a reasonably good standard of living, but nothing to write home about. Most Europeans had a comparable standard of living with many countries actually surpassing the US in that regard. When WWII came along, our government instituted massive spending programs to tool up for the war. They were careful to ensure that the money they spent for wartime production would not be wasted when the war was over. They ensured that the factories, etc.. that were built could serve a dual purpose...they could be quickly converted to civilian production in a post war world.

    Post WWII we had the only intact industrial infrastructure on the planet. That gave us a pretty good edge when it came to trade. We sold the rest of the world consumer goods. WE sold them industrial goods. We financed all the sales and collected interest on them for the next 20 years. If there was ever a "golden age" for america, that was it. Incomes shot through the roof, standard of living shot through the roof, debt hit an all time low (people did not need to borrow...they were making too much money to need that...only about 20% of people even took out mortgages for their homes). Since all that growth was the result of the production of tangible value, inflation was not even a problem.

    We made so much money in the post WWII manufacturing boom that it pretty much has allowed us to live on our national "savings" and rack up debt for the last 30 years, which from an industrial standpoint have been largely unproductive. That is also why we are now the worlds biggest debtor nation, our treasury secretary keeps having to get up in front of congress and warn that we are nearing insolvency, and our comptroller keeps warning us that we may well end up a third world nation within the next couple decades.

    None of this is the result of capitalism. In fact the resource exploitation that pretty much funded the country for the first half of its existence was primarily the result of socialist like policies.

    I will be the first to agree that capitalism is a pretty good system but you seem to have a real problem with the relationship between correlation and causation.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

  14. #29
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    You missed the key words "very recent" - the USSR pretty much began from an agrarian base in 1917. The US entered the industrial revolution not long after Britain did, in a far more hospitable climate and without outside pressure - let's not forget that the new regime came under attack from white forces almost as soon as WW1 ended.
    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist” - Helder Camara
    “It is not the will of God for some to have everything and others to have nothing. This cannot be God” - Oscar Romero
    "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder" - Einstein
    "We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him" - CS Lewis

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by daewoo View Post
    LOL. Not exactly.

    The US was originally populated as part of the European imperial drive which was itself the result of the fact that Europe was starting to bump up against some pretty serious resource constraints so they were essentially forced to adopt a (very expensive) drive to increase their territory and, by proxy, their resource base.

    The US was a HUGE land just chalk full of the kind of natural resources that Europe needed. Initially it was this massive resource base that allowed the US to prosper (but only with some decidedly un-capitalist measures to encourage people to emigrate here to exploit those resources). As natural resources in Europe and England dwindled, the US make an enormous amount of money exploiting and selling ours. by 1915 fully half of the worlds gold reserves (talking bullion and coins here...not gold in place) had been produced by the United States.

    What actually allowed the US to emerge as a world leader and the richest nation in the world was WWII. Prior to WWII (and prior to the depression) Americans had a reasonably good standard of living, but nothing to write home about. Most Europeans had a comparable standard of living with many countries actually surpassing the US in that regard. When WWII came along, our government instituted massive spending programs to tool up for the war. They were careful to ensure that the money they spent for wartime production would not be wasted when the war was over. They ensured that the factories, etc.. that were built could serve a dual purpose...they could be quickly converted to civilian production in a post war world.

    Post WWII we had the only intact industrial infrastructure on the planet. That gave us a pretty good edge when it came to trade. We sold the rest of the world consumer goods. WE sold them industrial goods. We financed all the sales and collected interest on them for the next 20 years. If there was ever a "golden age" for america, that was it. Incomes shot through the roof, standard of living shot through the roof, debt hit an all time low (people did not need to borrow...they were making too much money to need that...only about 20% of people even took out mortgages for their homes). Since all that growth was the result of the production of tangible value, inflation was not even a problem.

    We made so much money in the post WWII manufacturing boom that it pretty much has allowed us to live on our national "savings" and rack up debt for the last 30 years, which from an industrial standpoint have been largely unproductive. That is also why we are now the worlds biggest debtor nation, our treasury secretary keeps having to get up in front of congress and warn that we are nearing insolvency, and our comptroller keeps warning us that we may well end up a third world nation within the next couple decades.

    None of this is the result of capitalism. In fact the resource exploitation that pretty much funded the country for the first half of its existence was primarily the result of socialist like policies.

    I will be the first to agree that capitalism is a pretty good system but you seem to have a real problem with the relationship between correlation and causation.

    Again, the USSR is bigger than the US and has more resources. How come they weren't doing so well? You've got to admit that it is our SYSTEM that allows a country that isn't the biggest, the most populous, or with the most resources. Its the system.
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