A NEW communism

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  • #26
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Originally posted by russ_watters
No, I said in reality because in reality, Soviets cared little about their country because their country cared little for them.

On the contrary, Soviets cared for their country as much as any other people. Nationalism is a virus that infects almost every country regardless of living conditions or ideology.

Any system in practice forces people to care about themselves. Because self-preservation is a basic human instinct. An economic system isn't going to change that in the space of a few hundred years.
 
  • #27
russ_watters
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Originally posted by master_coda
On the contrary, Soviets cared for their country as much as any other people. Nationalism is a virus that infects almost every country regardless of living conditions or ideology.

Any system in practice forces people to care about themselves. Because self-preservation is a basic human instinct. An economic system isn't going to change that in the space of a few hundred years.
Well, I'm not going to do the patriotism vs nationalism debate again, but the quality of the products and services turned out by the USSR was low for a reason: people didn't care because they didn't get paid more or treated better for turning out quality.

But yes, people will always care about themselves first because its human nature - which is part of why communism failed and capitalism succeeded. Capitalism feeds on human nature while communism attempts to suppress it.
 
  • #28
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Originally posted by russ_watters
Well, I'm not going to do the patriotism vs nationalism debate again, but the quality of the products and services turned out by the USSR was low for a reason: people didn't care because they didn't get paid more or treated better for turning out quality.

Capitalism hardly encourages one to make the best product you can. It encourages you to make a product that's "good enough".
 
  • #29
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Originally posted by master_coda
Capitalism hardly encourages one to make the best product you can. It encourages you to make a product that's "good enough".
In a free market, "good enough" is "better than everyone else's."
 
  • #30
Originally posted by russ_watters
Capitalism in practice forces people to care about themselves. Communism in theory rides on the fact that people care about the country above all else. And communism in reality makes people care about virtually nothing.

The problem is that people didn't see benefits from their work. In a true communism, the people would see the fruits of their labor.

I am not here to advocate communism, but I notice that there are some great lies about communism. The Soviet Union never saw communism. It just had a centralized economy. You still had the upper classes benefitting from the work of the many. Many people point to the failure of the Soviet Union as proof that Marx was wrong, yet what Marx talked about was never attempted by the Soviet Union.
 
  • #31
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by russ_watters
In a free market, "good enough" is "better than everyone else's."

Good enough is the one that sells the best. This may relate more to good marketing rather than a good product. This could relate more to false or misleading claims, or even sneaky financial or business maneuvers etc. For example, a large company can just absorb losses for a time in order to run the competition out of business. Look at the garbage on TV that sells by the boat load.

I think this is one great weakness of a free market: The money spent on advertising is just as, or even much more important that the money spent on product value. I think the internet could be the great equalizer in this respect.
 
  • #32
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The point of the free market is that the entrepreneurs and capitalists do whatever they want, without limitation, and the result is the "best" ranges of goods at the "best" prices. It's all about goods, and not at all about people.

What failed in Russia was not Marxism. Lenin postulated that Russia was too primitive to go directly to Communism, because "the dialectic" required a society to first go through capitalism to reach that goal - "historical necessity". So Lenin introduced state capitalism, and Stalin and his successors carried it out. And it didn't work, because state run capitalism is almost a denial in terms. There was also the problem that the "Vanguard party" became corrupt, which Marx could have predicted for them.
 
  • #33
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
For example, a large company can just absorb losses for a time in order to run the competition out of business.

Actually, this practice is illegal against under the sherman antitrust law.


" any combination, contract or conspiracy in restraint of trade. This may include any arrangement between two competitors as to establishment of minimum prices, allocation of geographical or product markets, refusals to deal or boycotts. In addition, one enterprise acting alone, if it monopolizes or attempts to monopolize with a likely probability of success and engages in certain "predatory practices" may, by itself, violate one or more antitrust laws. An inappropriate predatory practice may include pricing a product below cost to drive out competitors, thereby creating the ability to later increase prices to highly profitable levels in the absence of competition"
 
  • #34
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Originally posted by russ_watters
In a free market, "good enough" is "better than everyone else's."
No, it can also mean 'cheaper than everything else'. Capitalism never guarantees quality, except in right-wing Bizarro World.
 
  • #35
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Originally posted by phatmonky
Actually, this practice is illegal against under the sherman antitrust law.


" any combination, contract or conspiracy in restraint of trade. This may include any arrangement between two competitors as to establishment of minimum prices, allocation of geographical or product markets, refusals to deal or boycotts. In addition, one enterprise acting alone, if it monopolizes or attempts to monopolize with a likely probability of success and engages in certain "predatory practices" may, by itself, violate one or more antitrust laws. An inappropriate predatory practice may include pricing a product below cost to drive out competitors, thereby creating the ability to later increase prices to highly profitable levels in the absence of competition"
It still goes on...Walmart is built on practices that just barely manage to squeak by the regulations(aided by bribing politicians, of course)
 
  • #36
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Originally posted by phatmonky
Actually, this practice is illegal against under the sherman antitrust law.

Yes, but these laws are rarely applied. The anti-trust laws are like speeding laws. They're selectively applied, nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and they don't really stop people from breaking the law.


The idea that "good enough" is "the best product" is absurd. In a society where everyone was completely informed that might be true, but in life things are quite the opposite.

Most of the time, people purchase products they know little about. Look at the computer industry. Almost all the money spent on computers come from people who know practically nothing about how computers actually work. So why should manufacturers make high-quality parts for people who can't tell the difference?

Besides, people mostly think short-term when they make purchases. If you can reduce the price of a product 20% by reducing the expected lifetime by 80%, it would be a good move. The majority will buy the cheaper product.
 
  • #37
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by phatmonky
Actually, this practice is illegal against under the sherman antitrust law.

Yes, wouldn't it be nice if things worked in practice as they do in theory. Cheaters have to be caught and then proven guilty. Proof of guilt is generally hard or impossible to achieve. Also, the accuser often needs a bottomless pit of resources in order to obtain justice; if the accusations can actually be proven.

A couple of realisms from the free market:

It is cheaper to steal than to invent - this is a saying in my industry. Invention is now considered a sucker's game. Anyone who works in an OEM environment knows the difficulty of bringing a new product to market and then protecting their position. Also, with rare exception patents are virtually worthless these days: First you must know of the violation, and then you have to be able to prove that it is a violation. Many small companies simply don't have the resources to pursue such problems; esp. if the problems lie with a company like Microsoft, GM, GE, AOL, etc. When a little company competes with the big company, the big one almost always wins.

I knew the guy who patented a silly kind of thing – a spring loaded lantern mantle…you know for Coleman camping lanterns and the like. No one had ever thought to replace that stupid little string with a spring that simply clamps on. After getting a patent and then making great strides in his marketing, he managed to get his product into a major, very well known retail chain – the holy grail of inexpensive, off the shelf items. Was it Doormart???, Windowmart???, something like that. When his sales reached significant levels his competition became concerned so they threatened to pull all of their products off the shelf with this chain throughout the state if they didn’t pull the spring loaded mantles from the shelves. The inventor had only one product to offer. Guess who lost? Is this the spirit of the free market at work? Here we saw a better product yield to a lesser one due to unfair competition and influence.

Check on the history of the torque wrench. This was in court for something like 30 years. The family of the inventor [vs Craftsman Tools] finally gave up for lack of resources. Are you familiar with the expression: We'll just run them out of money with the appeals process?

I am a total believer in the free market, but I see big problems, sometimes on a daily basis, that need to be addressed. One can virtually get away with murder given the proper wink and nod.
 
  • #38
Zurtex
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Having thought about this for quite some time I've decided that successful governments require a complex set of subtle variables to work.

Taking the example of communism. Old communism had some serious problems, firstly it was not created in resourceful countries and it was created because the previous governments were failing and partly because of this. To start off with communism lived on the euphoria of revolution and no long-term stable base to work on. Further more executive power was not legitimised by the people, you can not run a mass bureaucratic system with a huge amount of power and expect it to work without the peoples consent or a system of checks and balances.

Old communism also suffered other problems, to work in the world governments needed to sustain an active and stable trading system with other countries. At the time other powers were hostile to the political system that it offered and to this end it was cut off in terms of trading.

Now Communism did have its advantages, its very core ideas tried to develop the equality of people and this is something that I believe we certainly need to aim for. Capitalism also has its advantages and disadvantages, it actively works against equality as can been shown in countless examples of how the free market has affected the world. On the other hand because it seems to go hand in hand with democracy it does provided legitimacy that communism did not and because of our modern liberal democracy the equality problem is to quite an extent counteracted.

But then again representative democracy has its disadvantages, as can be seen in the leaders of the modern political world. And their ability to make some of the worst possible decisions and their seemingly inability to understand that the ends do not always justify the means or that the country goes on after their elected term.

So where to go from here? That's the big question isn't it. Maybe we have to seriously look at the government and the powers of the three different branches. To me it would seem that these ideas need to be reviewed, the executive seem to have powers based on archaic principles of what powers the Kings and Queens of med evil times would need. Maybe once we really review the way Government works we will be able to find a compromise between democracy and communism, a system that both incorporates the legitimacy that democracy provides with the effort of social understanding and equality that communism provides.
 
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