What went wrong with communism?

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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Terrapin Station wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:57 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:36 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:13 am Will you encourage altruism by appealing to selfishness? It doesn't look to me like an obviously successful strategy....
Terrapin Station wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:28 am The way to do it is simply to reward access to scarcer resources to the people who do the most, via some balance of hard work and ingenuity, to satisfy what other people want/need, without taking anything away from other people in the process.
But surely the point about scarce ("scarcer") resources is that demand exceeds supply? So if you give them to me, someone else who wants them has to miss out, yes?
Yes, hence how we'd be exploiting competitiveness.
Yes, but you referred to "without taking anything away from other people in the process"! Which was my point: you are (or would be) "taking away from other people in the process"!
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2021, 11:45 am
Terrapin Station wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:57 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:36 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:13 am Will you encourage altruism by appealing to selfishness? It doesn't look to me like an obviously successful strategy....
Terrapin Station wrote: June 1st, 2021, 10:28 am The way to do it is simply to reward access to scarcer resources to the people who do the most, via some balance of hard work and ingenuity, to satisfy what other people want/need, without taking anything away from other people in the process.
But surely the point about scarce ("scarcer") resources is that demand exceeds supply? So if you give them to me, someone else who wants them has to miss out, yes?
Yes, hence how we'd be exploiting competitiveness.
Yes, but you referred to "without taking anything away from other people in the process"! Which was my point: you are (or would be) "taking away from other people in the process"!
You're not taking away anything anyone else already had, and the competition is to help others acquire what they want/need.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Terrapin Station wrote: June 1st, 2021, 11:59 am You're not taking away anything anyone else already had, and the competition is to help others acquire what they want/need.
Dealing with scarce resources is a problem for any political system. Given the state of the environment, maybe scarce resources should be conserved, not consumed?
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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chewybrian wrote: May 31st, 2021, 6:37 am It's fair to say that a lot of similar outcomes occur from the Chinese and American systems. People are people, and they will try to take power just to have it, they will act selfishly and cruelly in many cases. The key difference is the possibility of recourse built in to the American system. You won't see a Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks emerge and bring about change within China on behalf of the Uighurs, or of Tibet or Taiwan. If they did, they would be silenced before they could have the same impact. If China went to war with Taiwan, you could not have the public backlash within China that took place in America which eventually ended the Vietnam war. If it existed...
You're probably idealizing and putting more confidence in the "American" system than it actually deserves. Even if one overlooks that Martin Luther King was shot dead, the idea that political dissidence is widely tolerated in so called "Western democracies" has no base in reality. Anything is tolerated as long as it presents no actual threat to the political and economic system, but let's not forget the fate of the Assanges and the Snowdens, just to mention recent cases, all of which enforced the Espionage Act of 1917, which is still intact. Press censorship was widely implemented in the US during the Bush administration to protect the government from scrutiny about the Iraq invasion. The anti-red witch hunt of the cold war not only was one of the first waves of "cancel culture", it produced the execution of the Rosenbergs. When one looks at political forces in the hegemonic centers of capitalist systems, such as the US, it looks as if their own citizens are favored with more political rights than any other country, however, this is at the expense of the rights of other citizens of the world in which these countries intervene heavily to control almost every aspect of their political and economic life, using clandestine, unaccountable operations of "security" agencies such as the NSA and the CIA, as every major imperial power has done in the past. And that includes also a lot of assasinations of political leaders, genocide, wars, etc., for which the perpetrators (military or civilians) cannot be held accountable. US crimes of war cannot be prosecuted in any international tribunal. At the same time, these hegemonic powers actively contribute in the prosecution and killing of dissidents by their non-democratic allies. So, if we reduce the notions of freedom and democracy to only what happens within the borders of a national state, it may be that some states are more authoritarian than others, and communist China might come out as having a very firm political control of its citizens, but one should not forget that any attempt in "Western democracies" to overthrow their current political regime, will be repelled with heavy force. It's just a matter of calling those manifestations of dissidence "rebellion" or "fight for freedom" to serve your political interests.
chewybrian wrote: May 31st, 2021, 6:37 am So, we can engage in whataboutism and find abuses all around. But, the checks and balances and human rights written into law here are pretty important. I can be represented by a lawyer, even if I cannot afford one. I can speak my mind, assemble peaceably in public, worship (or not) as I please. These protections don't stop people from being people, both the tyrants and the gullible ones who follow them. They don't create an environment where justice reigns. But, they allow the possibility for justice to win out in the end.
Formally speaking, most of these civilian rights are in place in the Chinese court system. Such a large and economically developed country simply would not work without a rule of law and order. No doubt that the system is not strange to abuses of political power, but when one looks at the list of political prisoners in the US, one is tempted to believe that such abuses are associated with the very existence of the state as an inherent repressive organ of society.
chewybrian wrote: May 31st, 2021, 6:37 am Is it state capitalism or pure communism in China? It is probably closer to the former. But, you asked what was wrong with China's communism. My answer is not that it is not economically productive (although the profits are distributed very unevenly and unfairly, just as they are in the U.S.). My answer is that they are missing important protections that are present in many other places in the world. I would rather forgo the extra profit and keep the rights, if that is the choice. In the end, the rights matter more.
My impression is that state propaganda in the West is responsible for people having an unbalanced view of the real state of affairs regarding citizen's rights in their own countries or the countries that fall within their own geopolitical system, in comparison to their rivals. It's an information war, where the defects of your enemies are overblown and the ones of your allies are minimized.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Count Lucanor wrote: June 1st, 2021, 8:30 pm
You're probably idealizing and putting more confidence in the "American" system than it actually deserves. Even if one overlooks that Martin Luther King was shot dead, the idea that political dissidence is widely tolerated in so called "Western democracies" has no base in reality.
The very act in which you engaged here would not be tolerated in China. There is no free use of the internet or freedom of the press. The differences are more stark than you wish to acknowledge. You say you don't want to do the whataboutism thing, but that's really all you did here. MLK was shot, but he didn't become an 'unperson'. We have a national holiday in his honor, and we honor his dream collectively in the letter and spirit of the law, even as many individuals, and even powerful ones like Trump, do not.

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/media-censorship-china
In February 2016, Xi announced new media policy for party and state news outlines: “All the work by the party’s media must reflect the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority, and safeguard the party’s unity,” emphasizing that state media must align themselves with the “thought, politics, and actions” of the party leadership. A China Daily essay emphasized Xi’s policy, noting that “the nation’s media outlets are essential to political stability.”

How Free Is Chinese Media?
In 2016, Freedom House ranked China last for the second consecutive year out of sixty-five countries that represent 88 percent of the world’s internet users. The France-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked China 176 out of 180 countries in its 2016 worldwide index of press freedom. Experts say Chinese media outlets usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content. Censorship guidelines are circulated weekly from the Communist Party’s propaganda department and the government’s Bureau of Internet Affairs to prominent editors and media providers.
That's not a 'whataboutism', because there is no corollary in the US. Things like the Patriot Act go against the spirit of the law. There are abuses, yes. But, they are not as systemic and widespread, and don't match the Orwellian atmosphere in China. I know there is an element of truth to what I am saying, and I am sure you are not too dim to see it. Is it 'whataboutism' to say that Vietnam protesters ended the war in the U.S., while people seeking freedom in China were run over with tanks? I don't know how you can equate these outcomes, but it seems maybe you can. But, there is a key difference that you must see and admit. We can talk about either event here. The Chinese cannot. The mere fact of being able to discuss these issues publicly leaves the door open to resolving them, to improving conditions in the future, to avoiding a repeat of past mistakes and abuses.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2021, 9:17 am
That's my take; what's yours? What went wrong with communism?
It was killed from the top.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 7:17 am ...Vietnam protesters ended the war in the U.S., while people seeking freedom in China were run over with tanks? I don't know how you can equate these outcomes, but it seems maybe you can. But, there is a key difference that you must see and admit. We can talk about either event here. The Chinese cannot.
I have never been to China, but I met a Team Leader from Shenzhen through work, some years ago. We still correspond regularly. And she is able and willing to discuss most things with me, political or otherwise. She is as critical of her government as I am of ours. I don't claim there is (what we would call) free speech in China, but it seems a lot freer than Americans seem to believe.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 7:17 am
Count Lucanor wrote: June 1st, 2021, 8:30 pm
You're probably idealizing and putting more confidence in the "American" system than it actually deserves. Even if one overlooks that Martin Luther King was shot dead, the idea that political dissidence is widely tolerated in so called "Western democracies" has no base in reality.
The very act in which you engaged here would not be tolerated in China. There is no free use of the internet or freedom of the press. The differences are more stark than you wish to acknowledge. You say you don't want to do the whataboutism thing, but that's really all you did here. MLK was shot, but he didn't become an 'unperson'. We have a national holiday in his honor, and we honor his dream collectively in the letter and spirit of the law, even as many individuals, and even powerful ones like Trump, do not.
A major problem with this is that almost all, if not ALL of the information regarding China comes filtered from the major controllers of global communications, tied to the political and economical interests of state and corporate players directly opposed to those of China. So, while it can easily be acknowledged that the state of China's exercises a firm control of mass communications within its borders, it is most likely that the perception of the extent of that control reaching the level of absolute "intolerance" is the result of Western propaganda. It goes with the narrative of a supposedly "free world" of a capitalist heaven comprised of free individuals, contrasted with a "tyrannical" collectivist system, but the truth is more like the two sides of the same coin. The same coin is global capitalism, in which China represents the centralized approach in economic planning (state capitalism), which requires a tight grip on the decision-making process, and countries like the US that represent the decentralized, unfettered (and almost chaotic) version. That difference certainly sets the tone of the strategies of political control, but does not eliminate political control, which is still carried out by minority groups. Massive surveillance of citizens, therefore, is quite common in the "free world", too, and global communications are firmly controlled by the US government. All internet and telecommunication companies work as partners of the US government in the collection of data from its citizens. And as I said, tolerance is applied only if dissidence represents no threat to the stability of the system: there was not a bit of tolerance towards Assange, Manning and Snowden, and all they did was to expose the political crimes of their government.

https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-se ... rveillance
chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 7:17 am https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/media-censorship-china
In February 2016, Xi announced new media policy for party and state news outlines: “All the work by the party’s media must reflect the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority, and safeguard the party’s unity,” emphasizing that state media must align themselves with the “thought, politics, and actions” of the party leadership. A China Daily essay emphasized Xi’s policy, noting that “the nation’s media outlets are essential to political stability.”

How Free Is Chinese Media?
In 2016, Freedom House ranked China last for the second consecutive year out of sixty-five countries that represent 88 percent of the world’s internet users. The France-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranked China 176 out of 180 countries in its 2016 worldwide index of press freedom. Experts say Chinese media outlets usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content. Censorship guidelines are circulated weekly from the Communist Party’s propaganda department and the government’s Bureau of Internet Affairs to prominent editors and media providers.
You could not have chosen a worst example to illustrate your point. Asking the Council of Foreing Relations for an unbiased, objective assessment of China's politics is the equivalent of asking the Chinese Communist Party to make a balanced, unbiased assessment of US politics.
chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 7:17 am That's not a 'whataboutism', because there is no corollary in the US. Things like the Patriot Act go against the spirit of the law. There are abuses, yes. But, they are not as systemic and widespread, and don't match the Orwellian atmosphere in China. I know there is an element of truth to what I am saying, and I am sure you are not too dim to see it. Is it 'whataboutism' to say that Vietnam protesters ended the war in the U.S., while people seeking freedom in China were run over with tanks? I don't know how you can equate these outcomes, but it seems maybe you can. But, there is a key difference that you must see and admit. We can talk about either event here. The Chinese cannot. The mere fact of being able to discuss these issues publicly leaves the door open to resolving them, to improving conditions in the future, to avoiding a repeat of past mistakes and abuses.
Right since the times of the Cold War, sociological research showed that the industrially-advanced societies of the West were not exempt from their own version of "Orwellian" control through the concurrence of state and corporate power. Noam Chomsky has developed a lot about these themes. While there are several reasons to criticize China, pointing at the West as the best example is not really the way to go.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Count Lucanor wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 2:06 pm You could not have chosen a worst example to illustrate your point. Asking the Council of Foreing Relations for an unbiased, objective assessment of China's politics is the equivalent of asking the Chinese Communist Party to make a balanced, unbiased assessment of US politics.
If the resource I chose seems biased to you, then such bias should be easy to show by finding another source where the rankings are materially different. All the hits from my search, including the one you say is biased, refer back to the same survey from Reporters Without Borders. Even if the CFR had an axe to grind, it doesn't seem like they had to go further than the definitive source to get the result they wanted.

https://rsf.org/en/ranking_table

Look at the top of the list: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark... are they on the brink of tyranny?

In the upper middle, near the U.S.: Italy, South Korea, Taiwan... not too bad.

At the bottom: Iran, China, North Korea.. bastions of freedom?

44 United States

177 China
Count Lucanor wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 2:06 pm
While there are several reasons to criticize China, pointing at the West as the best example is not really the way to go.
I am only comparing them to the West in this one area of freedom of expression, which I feel is the most important variable. We have problems, and progress is slow. But, I don't see how there is the prospect of progress if the problems cannot even be expressed in public.

I don't think you and I are in as much disagreement in most other areas as you might presume. But, if you don't think freedom of expression matters, I disagree very strongly. I am disappointed that we can't get up there with Sweden and Finland and such at the top. But, it is important that we are not down near the bottom with Iran, China, North Korea and such.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 6:38 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 2:06 pm You could not have chosen a worst example to illustrate your point. Asking the Council of Foreing Relations for an unbiased, objective assessment of China's politics is the equivalent of asking the Chinese Communist Party to make a balanced, unbiased assessment of US politics.
If the resource I chose seems biased to you, then such bias should be easy to show by finding another source where the rankings are materially different. All the hits from my search, including the one you say is biased, refer back to the same survey from Reporters Without Borders. Even if the CFR had an axe to grind, it doesn't seem like they had to go further than the definitive source to get the result they wanted.
You seem to believe that your internet searches are "censor-free" or unbiased, or that lobbysts and think-tanks, such as the CFR, are implicitly objective. They are interested parties with political interests, which may be legitimate, but nevertheless biased.

In any case, I don't dispute the authoritarian rule in China's politics, but I do qualify it as related to a form of global capitalism that is contrasted with other forms, which have their own authoritarian aspects themselves.
chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 6:38 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 2:06 pm
While there are several reasons to criticize China, pointing at the West as the best example is not really the way to go.
I am only comparing them to the West in this one area of freedom of expression, which I feel is the most important variable. We have problems, and progress is slow. But, I don't see how there is the prospect of progress if the problems cannot even be expressed in public.

I don't think you and I are in as much disagreement in most other areas as you might presume. But, if you don't think freedom of expression matters, I disagree very strongly. I am disappointed that we can't get up there with Sweden and Finland and such at the top. But, it is important that we are not down near the bottom with Iran, China, North Korea and such.
I do think freedom of speech is one of the most important concerns we can have, but while your concern seems to be reduced to administrative control within national borders, I prefer to see the broader context of geopolitics and global control of information, in which certain hegemonic countries have a disproportionate power, and can be said to have a firmer grip on the worldview of most people, perhaps without they even realizing it, which would be a more pernicious control of dissent than the direct, obvious censorship from government agencies.

One-Dimensional_Man
Marcuse argues that while the system we live in may claim to be democratic, it is actually totalitarian. A form of technological rationality has imposed itself on every aspect of culture and public life, and has become hegemonic. Our identification with this hegemonic ideology of modern industrial society, this ideology does not represent a form of "false-conscious", but rather has succeeded in becoming reality.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Count Lucanor wrote: June 5th, 2021, 12:57 pm
chewybrian wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 6:38 pm
Count Lucanor wrote: June 2nd, 2021, 2:06 pm You could not have chosen a worst example to illustrate your point. Asking the Council of Foreing Relations for an unbiased, objective assessment of China's politics is the equivalent of asking the Chinese Communist Party to make a balanced, unbiased assessment of US politics.
If the resource I chose seems biased to you, then such bias should be easy to show by finding another source where the rankings are materially different. All the hits from my search, including the one you say is biased, refer back to the same survey from Reporters Without Borders. Even if the CFR had an axe to grind, it doesn't seem like they had to go further than the definitive source to get the result they wanted.
You seem to believe that your internet searches are "censor-free" or unbiased, or that lobbysts and think-tanks, such as the CFR, are implicitly objective. They are interested parties with political interests, which may be legitimate, but nevertheless biased.

In any case, I don't dispute the authoritarian rule in China's politics, but I do qualify it as related to a form of global capitalism that is contrasted with other forms, which have their own authoritarian aspects themselves.
There might be similarities but there are significant differences to the way people live. Ask any Chinese expat.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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chewybrian wrote: May 29th, 2021, 6:32 am
Count Lucanor wrote: May 28th, 2021, 6:39 pm In any case, what is wrong with China's communism?
"Authorities control citizens’ internet use by blocking social media sites and restricting news publications. Any news reporting that “slanders the country’s political system” is typically shut down...

The government only allows five officially recognized religions in approved religious sites. In February 2018, a revised Regulations on Religious Affairs was established. The revision invests all control over religious activities to the government, including finances, personnel appointments and publications...

Although labor laws allow trade union organization and elections of trade union committees, the government still controls these rights. Workers cannot vote for trade unions while the right to strike usually goes unacknowledged...

Uighurs, Tibet and Tibetan-populated areas endure higher poverty rates, displacement, discrimination and crucial human rights issues...

About 500,000 individuals are currently detained without trial, charge or access to legal aid. The government uses Re-education through Labour (RTL) to arrest individuals without a trial. Usual targets of RTL include petitioners, protestors and those practicing an unrecognized religion. “Black jails” and mental health institutions are types of illegal detention that are utilized by authorities...

China is currently the leading executioner in the world..."

https://borgenproject.org/human-rights- ... tems...%20
I’m glad you shed light on that. What a shame so many are oblivious about what China & Russia has done to their people. Russia killed - either outright or through starvation more than was killed in the Holocaust. And China under Mao & the “cultural revolution” killed more than both! So why is the focus on schools and media on the Holocaust not the others? By the way things have been lately, it seems obvious the desire is for more to become like Russia & China. In North Carolina, China got caught shipping US body parts to add to their massive human organ-selling industry. They also use organs of prisoners from concentration “re-education” camps.
“Empty is the argument of the philosopher which does not relieve any human suffering.” - Epicurus
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Sy Borg wrote: June 7th, 2021, 10:23 pm There might be similarities but there are significant differences to the way people live. Ask any Chinese expat.
There are plenty of them here, coming since the 19th century. Still an insignificant number compared to their country's population, but if anecdotal evidence works for something, they are not escaping a political system, but poor living conditions. And when you ask the Spanish from the first and second immigration wave, they will tell the same story. And so the Italians, the Greeks, the Dominicans, the Colombians, the Indians, etc.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Newme wrote: June 11th, 2021, 10:35 pm In North Carolina, China got caught shipping US body parts to add to their massive human organ-selling industry. They also use organs of prisoners from concentration “re-education” camps.
I DuckDuckGo'd the sentence "In North Carolina, China got caught shipping US body parts to add to their massive human organ-selling industry", and found ... nothing at all about body parts. You know Fox News is an Entertainment channel, yes?
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: June 12th, 2021, 11:42 am
Newme wrote: June 11th, 2021, 10:35 pm In North Carolina, China got caught shipping US body parts to add to their massive human organ-selling industry. They also use organs of prisoners from concentration “re-education” camps.
I DuckDuckGo'd the sentence "In North Carolina, China got caught shipping US body parts to add to their massive human organ-selling industry", and found ... nothing at all about body parts. You know Fox News is an Entertainment channel, yes?
Why jump to conclusions & engage in appeal to authority - just to see if you could do both simultaneously? :D

I was mistaken in that it was SOUTH, not North, Carolina...

“A Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship departed South Carolina in July carrying 6,000 pounds of human remains valued at $67,204”
https://www.westernjournal.com/shipping ... argo-ship/
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