What went wrong with communism?

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Pattern-chaser
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What went wrong with communism?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Belindi wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:33 am What went wrong with communism that was supposed to distribute luxuries equally?
Steve3007 wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:59 am Sounds like a cue for a new topic.

It does indeed, and here it is.



The topic is all in the title. What went wrong with communism? My answer is that nothing went wrong with communism. The fault, if there is any fault, is in humanity. Yes, we are social animals, and we live, group, and act together in social groups of all sizes, from families to nations. But we also want stuff for ourselves, maybe stuff that others don't or can't have. The streak of greediness in us is as strong as the urge to socialise, and that is what went wrong with communism: human greed.

Morally, communism is far superior to Capitalism, but communism asks us to behave atypically, while Capitalism panders to our greed and baser nature, and so is more successful.

That's my take; what's yours? What went wrong with communism?
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Angelo Cannata »

I think that communism was an ideology and, as a consequence, it lost sight of its relativity, its limits. It was a way of thinking in an objective way, pretending independence from the thinkers, putting its efforts in giving answers than asking questions.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Steve3007 »

I wouldn't call it greed. I'd just call it the natural human tendency towards hierarchical societies and competition. But I guess others with more knowledge of the circumstances of particular nominally communist regimes, or probably just the USSR, will probably have more to say.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Steve3007 wrote: May 28th, 2021, 11:03 am But I guess others with more knowledge of the circumstances of particular nominally communist regimes, or probably just the USSR, will probably have more to say.
I was always confused about the USSR and China, in the latter half of the 20th century. They called themselves "communists", but that seemed to me to be propaganda of the worst kind. They looked to me, from the outside, and at some distance, like state dictatorships. Communism is (in theory!) about the community, a thoroughly social thing.

The second observation I like to make about communism is that it can only work at its best if the individual is nurtured, within the communist community. If the individual is stifled, we end up with something little different from an ant-nest or bee-hive. And, for all that ants and bees are social animals, we are social animals who operate (socially and otherwise) quite differently. Mindless following of the hive-queen's commands is not for us. The individual is secondary to the community, if only through force of numbers, but nevertheless is necessary for any successful human civilisation. It's all about compromise, and finding the right balance. IMO, of course.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Nick_A »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2021, 9:17 am
Belindi wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:33 am What went wrong with communism that was supposed to distribute luxuries equally?
Steve3007 wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:59 am Sounds like a cue for a new topic.

It does indeed, and here it is.



The topic is all in the title. What went wrong with communism? My answer is that nothing went wrong with communism. The fault, if there is any fault, is in humanity. Yes, we are social animals, and we live, group, and act together in social groups of all sizes, from families to nations. But we also want stuff for ourselves, maybe stuff that others don't or can't have. The streak of greediness in us is as strong as the urge to socialise, and that is what went wrong with communism: human greed.

Morally, communism is far superior to Capitalism, but communism asks us to behave atypically, while Capitalism panders to our greed and baser nature, and so is more successful.

That's my take; what's yours? What went wrong with communism?
"Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace." Simone Weil

Simone was a brilliant Marxist admired by Leon Trotsky the head of the French Marxist party. She finally came to experience that the human condition denied her political ideals and the only help was through the influence of the higher energy of grace which is increasingly denied in modern technological society.

Communism is impossible. The reality of the human condition prevents it.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by LuckyR »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2021, 9:17 am
Belindi wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:33 am What went wrong with communism that was supposed to distribute luxuries equally?
Steve3007 wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:59 am Sounds like a cue for a new topic.

It does indeed, and here it is.



The topic is all in the title. What went wrong with communism? My answer is that nothing went wrong with communism. The fault, if there is any fault, is in humanity. Yes, we are social animals, and we live, group, and act together in social groups of all sizes, from families to nations. But we also want stuff for ourselves, maybe stuff that others don't or can't have. The streak of greediness in us is as strong as the urge to socialise, and that is what went wrong with communism: human greed.

Morally, communism is far superior to Capitalism, but communism asks us to behave atypically, while Capitalism panders to our greed and baser nature, and so is more successful.

That's my take; what's yours? What went wrong with communism?
I think your summary is quite comprehensive and accurate. I have very little to add other than it is easier psychologically to correct capitalism than communism.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Nick_A wrote: May 28th, 2021, 12:39 pm Communism is impossible. The reality of the human condition prevents it.

Perhaps "impossible" is too strong a term? To implement real cummunity-ism is difficult, very difficult. But I'd hate to think it's actually impossible. Just as our history is filled with greed, so it is also filled with altruism and things like it, although not to the same degree. But I do take your point. The "human condition", as you call it, is certainly a stumbling-block.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Tegularius »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2021, 9:17 am What went wrong with communism?
Bolshevism.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by popeye1945 »

Communism arose in an era of global colonialism and attracted the hostilities of the major colonial powers, they sent immense armys after world war one to fight against the Russian revolution. The Russian did not indear themselves to the colonial powers in expressing anti-conlonial jargon. Most of the intelligencey responsiable for the revolution were killed off, leaving the non-intelligencey of peasant stock like Stalin who only knew one form of control and that was violence. Today it makes me wonder if it isn't the massiveness expanse of Russia that makes it ungovernable by any other means. One could fit three of the Untied States into her and still have much landspace left over. It does seem strange how all these Christian colonial powers would find the concept of Communism not inline with their Christianity, anti-intuitive to say the least.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Count Lucanor »

What went wrong with communism? Presumably, nothing that much different than what went wrong with capitalism. 20th century communism is often regarded as state capitalism, and so it was acknowledged by Mao himself.

In any case, what is wrong with China's communism?
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by mystery »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2021, 9:17 am
Belindi wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:33 am What went wrong with communism that was supposed to distribute luxuries equally?
Steve3007 wrote: May 28th, 2021, 4:59 am Sounds like a cue for a new topic.

It does indeed, and here it is.



The topic is all in the title. What went wrong with communism? My answer is that nothing went wrong with communism. The fault, if there is any fault, is in humanity. Yes, we are social animals, and we live, group, and act together in social groups of all sizes, from families to nations. But we also want stuff for ourselves, maybe stuff that others don't or can't have. The streak of greediness in us is as strong as the urge to socialise, and that is what went wrong with communism: human greed.

Morally, communism is far superior to Capitalism, but communism asks us to behave atypically, while Capitalism panders to our greed and baser nature, and so is more successful.

That's my take; what's yours? What went wrong with communism?
Agree; your answer is the correct one. the difficult part is accepting it and managing it.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Sy Borg »

I think that history supports Nick A's claim that communism is impossible, although I would say that unsullied democracy is also impossible, and for the same reason. As soon as an institution is set up, be it a political system or religion, those at the top will work to cement their positions and create a gap between themselves and ordinary people.

About, um, 40 years ago or so, I was idealistic and thought communism seemed to be a fairer system. When I said this before a technical college class, a Vietnamese refugee classmate became quite animated in disagreeing and he demonstrated with an illustration on the blackboard. He drew two tall rectangles, as in a bar chart, which indicated that the difference was that, in capitalism you have minority rich, a large middle class and fairly large lower class. In Communism there was a smaller minority of rich and no middle class, just the poor.

In hindsight, I can see it was an exaggerated image, but the thrust of appeared to be correct. There are always gangs at the top controlling, and sometimes oppressing, the rest. This is even the case in tribal societies, where there is inevitably a posse of strong men controlling the tribe. This happens with chimps too.

In the end, we bungle on with the illusion of control, all the time being lead to do what we do by environment, both inter- and extra-societal. We are not free, and we never have been. Rather, Mother Nature leads us by the nose, as she does with all species. It seems to me that humanity's role will be the spreading of the Earth's material to other worlds, where forms (living and non-living) formerly only known on Earth will proliferate around the solar system. Asteroid detection and deflection is also on the agenda.

We like to think that we thought of all these things ourselves, but we are simply responding to environmental exigencies, as does any other species, just that the human ability to perceive the passing of time, remembering the past and projecting into the future at will, empowers them to do things that other animals can't.

But, like other species, one thing we can't do is live in peace. When you have far too many people getting in each others' way and living unsustainably, it's hard to imagine any political system being effective. Perhaps if there appeared a selfless, intelligent, forward-thinking, responsible, honest leader with great communication skills, that could change the situation. Until he or she was assassinated by vested interests, of course.
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by Consul »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2021, 9:17 amThe topic is all in the title. What went wrong with communism?
Google "Gulag"!
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by chewybrian »

Sy Borg wrote: May 28th, 2021, 8:56 pm I think that history supports Nick A's claim that communism is impossible, although I would say that unsullied democracy is also impossible, and for the same reason. As soon as an institution is set up, be it a political system or religion, those at the top will work to cement their positions and create a gap between themselves and ordinary people.
I think the founding fathers were really on to something with the checks and balances, and with laying down the bill of rights. But, they laid down broad ideas which would do the job if people followed them in spirit. However, perhaps they underestimated people's ability to follow the letter of the law and ignore the spirit. Of course, they also counted on an informed and engaged electorate. Possibly the system could work if the rules were laid down more explicitly, in stone, from the beginning, with many more checks and balances to stop people from torturing the rules to further their own ends. The same might be said about communism. Since we've never seen either system run well without being corrupted or coopted, it is still not clear which is a better match for 'human nature'.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."
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Re: What went wrong with communism?

Post by chewybrian »

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
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."
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