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Thread: Is Communism a Religion?

  1. Top | #11
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    People always say that communism doesn't work out as well in practice as it does in theory. Have they ever looked at capitalism with the same critical eye? Wealth for a tiny cluster of elites, dismal drudgery for the rest of the world?
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

  2. Top | #12
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    People always say that communism doesn't work out as well in practice as it does in theory. Have they ever looked at capitalism with the same critical eye? Wealth for a tiny cluster of elites, dismal drudgery for the rest of the world?
    I'm of the belief that comparing capitalism and communism in this way is a false-dichotomy. Capitalism is a modern label for what actually exists, and has existed before the label, communism is an idealistic theory that was largely popularized in the 19th century. It's been elevated to a place in discourse that isn't really warranted.

    Critique of how the world currently works is fine, but that critique has to have some bearing on reality, not just be wild speculation and pseudo-scientific ideas that feel good.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I'm of the belief that comparing capitalism and communism in this way is a false-dichotomy. Capitalism is a modern label for what actually exists, and has existed before the label, communism is an idealistic theory that was largely popularized in the 19th century. It's been elevated to a place in discourse that isn't really warranted.
    So collective ownership of critical resources didn't exist before Marx? Or are you applying a double standard?
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I'm of the belief that comparing capitalism and communism in this way is a false-dichotomy. Capitalism is a modern label for what actually exists, and has existed before the label, communism is an idealistic theory that was largely popularized in the 19th century. It's been elevated to a place in discourse that isn't really warranted.
    So collective ownership of critical resources didn't exist before Marx? Or are you applying a double standard?
    Beliefs about Communism today primarily come from Marx. Sure, collective ownership predated it, but that's not the argument I'm making, I'm arguing that our current beliefs about communism and capitalism are speculative theories. Both of these things can be true at the same time - that collective ownership is a thing, but our current economic theories are pseudo-science.

    In a way we're already applying more subtle, and productive beliefs about collective ownership, but that doesn't have to extend into full-blown communism. By a portion of our population protecting the collective, and the other portion protecting the individual we get a nice balance between the two. But it would be better if both of these factions went to the library from time to time.

  5. Top | #15
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I'm of the belief that comparing capitalism and communism in this way is a false-dichotomy. Capitalism is a modern label for what actually exists, and has existed before the label, communism is an idealistic theory that was largely popularized in the 19th century. It's been elevated to a place in discourse that isn't really warranted.
    So collective ownership of critical resources didn't exist before Marx? Or are you applying a double standard?
    Beliefs about Communism today primarily come from Marx. Sure, collective ownership predated it, but that's not the argument I'm making, I'm arguing that our current beliefs about communism and capitalism are speculative theories. Both of these things can be true at the same time - that collective ownership is a thing, but our current economic theories are pseudo-science.

    In a way we're already applying more subtle, and productive beliefs about collective ownership, but that doesn't have to extend into full-blown communism. By a portion of our population protecting the collective, and the other portion protecting the individual we get a nice balance between the two. But it would be better if both of these factions went to the library from time to time.
    If capitalism existed before Marx, so did communism. If you're abstracting things to the point that unintentional strategies bear the same weight as intentionally constructed systems of governance, neither formalized greed nor collectivism are inventions of the 19th century. Indeed, collective ownership of most goods is a far, far older idea than currency and its perpetual accumulation are.

    I think all economic ideologies are pseudoscience, so there's some common ground there.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

    Beliefs about Communism today primarily come from Marx. Sure, collective ownership predated it, but that's not the argument I'm making, I'm arguing that our current beliefs about communism and capitalism are speculative theories. Both of these things can be true at the same time - that collective ownership is a thing, but our current economic theories are pseudo-science.

    In a way we're already applying more subtle, and productive beliefs about collective ownership, but that doesn't have to extend into full-blown communism. By a portion of our population protecting the collective, and the other portion protecting the individual we get a nice balance between the two. But it would be better if both of these factions went to the library from time to time.
    If capitalism existed before Marx, so did communism. If you're abstracting things to the point that unintentional strategies bear the same weight as intentionally constructed systems of governance, neither formalized greed nor collectivism are inventions of the 19th century. Indeed, collective ownership of most goods is a far, far older idea than currency and its perpetual accumulation are.

    I think all economic ideologies are pseudoscience, so there's some common ground there.
    I think you're missing my point - 'capitalism' didn't exist until it was labelled as such, and communism as it's thought about today couldn't have existed before the nation state. And this thought has set the framework for the global conversation in the past century or so. Whether hunter-gatherers shared their food has no bearing on what's happening in the 21st century.

    And this goes back to my original point: you have the way the world works, and you have ideas about how to change it. The world is the world, communist thought as it exists today is an idea - you can't really contrast the preexisting world with a largely pseudoscientific theory.

    That doesn't mean it isn't productive to think about collective ownership, or even strive for it, but we should probably try to make pains to be more empirical about our economic theories.

  7. Top | #17
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    Capitalism mixed with effective regulation as well as a decent safety net, or Democratic socialism if one must label it, is the best system that humans have ever invented. Still, every religion, organization, economic system, political ideology are all myths, imo. They all have flaws, but mixing the best of each is better than becoming an absolutist in regards to any of them.

    I don't think everything should be shared equally. As I said earlier, that only works in very small groups of people that are related or like each other and want to share. Different occupations have different value to society and should be rewarded for that value. But, all work should be paid a living wage, if a country is prosperous enough to achieve that goal. In the modern world, communism has always lead to authoritarianism. Communism has always left a large percentage of the citizens living in poverty.

    Everyone should have access to nutritious food, a decent shelter, basic medical etc. That should be the goal, although it's easier said than done.

    There are things that should be shared. We need decent public schools, parks, roads etc. for all to share. But, we don't need to share all of the wealth. That leaves most people in poverty. It dampens down creativity and innovation.

    Besides, that type of economic system gets every bit as corrupted and just as misused as capitalism. But, at least capitalism motivates production, new ideas, creativity. Not everyone is motivated by getting ahead materially, but most people are to some extent. There are those who are perfectly content and successful living a minimalist lifestyle. Apparently, there are those who are only motivated by acquiring wealth. That doesn't mean we should put a value judgement on either lifestyle.

    Humans are the problem!

    I'm PWI, but how did we get into this discussion about economic systems?

  8. Top | #18
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    The way I see it religion is one manifestation of a common human need ot dynamic.

    Religion, unions, political parties, unions and all human social groups are fundamentally the sme thing. Power, leaders and followers, ideology and norms, group identity.

    Dead Heads followed the Grateful Dead around the world. People made Bob Dylan into a mystical prophet, which he publicly rejected. His followers were literally horrified when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival.

    More accurate to say po0lical faction can become religious like.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    People always say that communism doesn't work out as well in practice as it does in theory. Have they ever looked at capitalism with the same critical eye?
    Yes.



    That's the fence of the West German embassy in Prague. Those are East Germans who found out there was a hole in the curtain separating communism and capitalism.

    Wealth for a tiny cluster of elites, dismal drudgery for the rest of the world?
    Dismal drudgery is the common heritage of mankind; capitalism is what made it possible for ordinary people to pull themselves up out of the ditch our species was born in.



    The most religion-like aspects of communism are its faith that the rich are the cause of poverty, much like fundamentalists' faith that the Jews were the cause of Jesus' crucifixion, and the magical thinking it engages in to convince itself modern civilization's enormous production caused by private property rights would still exist in the absence of private property rights, much like the magical thinking fundamentalists engage in to convince themselves species would still exist in the absence of any physical mechanism causing origin of species.

  10. Top | #20
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    There is a saying that goes capitalism is the worse possible system until something better better comes a long.

    The Chinese and Russian communism failed to delver even basic needs like food and housing.

    China morphed to communism in name only becoming free market in a general sense. Western capital built modern China.

    Free market capitalism with all its problems and inequities has raised the bottom along with the top. A rising tide raises all boats is the saying. Until climate change started to kick I the UN had been reporting a steady decline in global poverty. Food insecurity was going down.

    A political derail.

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