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Is Marxist socialism a viable economic/political theory

  1. Yes.

    10 vote(s)
    26.3%
  2. No.

    20 vote(s)
    52.6%
  3. Maybe.

    2 vote(s)
    5.3%
  4. Wasn't he a comedian?

    6 vote(s)
    15.8%
  1. Dec 20, 2004 #1

    russ_watters

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    This question just brought itself back onto my front-burner due to recent conversations....
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2004 #2

    loseyourname

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    Marxism is flawed on so many levels, I don't know why you would even ask this. The most blatant mistake made by Marx is his assumption that humans are nothing more than the product of their socioeconomic class. The rest of his theory rests on that axiom.
     
  4. Dec 20, 2004 #3

    russ_watters

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    You assume an obvious answer. We shall see. :wink:
     
  5. Dec 20, 2004 #4
    Marxist Socialism? Didn't Marx only see Socialism as the step between Capitalism and Communism?

    I voted assuming you meant the economic system outlined in the Communist Manifesto, and I voted no, since he somehow assumes that there will be a magically benevolent government whose sole interest is helping the people, but no role for government is actually spelled out. In order for his dream to come true, you need a very strong central government, which just turns into a powerful dictatorship without fail.

    Though it is interesting to note, Marxist Communism has never actually been tried. In his theory, full industrialization would have taken place, and Capitalism would have set up the infrastructure already. Only once Capitalism had been sucessful would Communism take over, as Communism couldn't build the same infrastructure etc. that capitalism could. Though I guess he thought Communism could keep improving it, you just needed Capitalism for that first huge step getting your country industrialized. You'd need a country like Japan or America, which already was a sucessful Capitalist country, to really try Communism the way Marx wanted it. Though it would have just degraded into a particularly powerful dictatorship anyway.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  6. Dec 20, 2004 #5

    loseyourname

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    Well, it gets down to that one issue. Marx thinks that human beings act according to socioeconomic class. Adam Smith says that human act in their own rational self-interest. By resolving this one issue, we can answer the question of which system is more likely to work. I do think there are degrees of both, but the brilliant thing about capitalism is that Smith allows for this. Rational self-interest can account for anything important to an individual, including the well-being of any group that individual identifies with. Marxism is not so flexible; to be a viable system it requires that human beings give up their individuality, something that will never happen.
     
  7. Dec 20, 2004 #6
    Hey wait, that's right Karl wasn't a brother. Just kidding! :rofl:

    On a more serious note, I personally do not think any of the "-ISMS" will work in the real world because they all share the same fatal flaw-"idealism". That's right, I think that communism will not work because it fundamentally requires an ideal world in order to work. But we do not live in an ideal world, con men and scoundrels abound and they flourish in any system. Though Karl Marx had some very excellent criticisms about the capitalist system as well as the fact that the manifesto was written to protest child labor practices, his solutions were idealistic at best. He is probably better thought of as having started the labor movement/collective bargaining and he should be credited for these movements that has improved the lives of the working class.

    Going back to the other thread, russ, I have to say that you and aquamarine are promoting an ideal of capitalism that just does not work in the real world, though it does just fine in an Aynd Rand novel. Ironically you guys are making the same mistake as Marx, you are assuming an ideal world. At least you're in good company!

    Unfortunately, russ, people will lie, cheat, steal and even kill in order to get wealth or power. So regardless of the proposed socio-economic system one has to directly contend with the very human characteristic of greed, etc. or said system will be overcome by those very people. Animal Farm written by George Orwell dealt with that in response to what he saw as the corruption of the communist party way back when. Fortunately we can refer back to the founders as a guide for dealing with the problems of corruption and greed and how to best organize our system. Either way you look at it there is always a lot of work to do and there must be vigilance to protect the system from the scoudrels. Personally, I think this generation is about to see their handiwork bare fruit.

    Do we have "socialism" per se in this country right now? You bet we do, except that it only benefits those upper socio-economic stratas that paid those politicians to insure such benefits. Of course the rest of us are basically screwed! I'll cite a real easy example: the revamped "star wars" program. There is no way in hell that thing will ever work and you don't even have to be a physics guy to realize that. Shooting a bullet with a bullet, give me a break! But the companies that are working on this are collectively getting what, 200-300 billion dollars. That is one hunk of chunk of change. Now this would not be bad if there were no other proposals that would work, but guess what? There is and it was made back in the 70's. Here is the idea: Take a small rocket, attach it to say a F-16 as a launch platform and arm it with an explosive device that has a bunch of pellets or BBs in it. Design it to ensure a sufficient density of pellets covering an area that would basically shred the internal components of the incoming warheads and there you go. Problem solved and a bunch of people don't get vaporized. One major problem though, too cheap!

    Perhaps the best system would be one that incorporates elements of capitalism, socialism, or any of the other -isms and provides a flexible system to deal with good times as well as bad. Of course keeping the scoundrels in check is always the hard part though!
     
  8. Dec 20, 2004 #7
    The actual reason why this idea was scrapped is that ICBMs can get from Siberia to Washington DC in less than 5 minutes. Scrambling F-16s takes more time than that, the only way for it to be marginally effective is to have many air fields on constant red alert 24/7, 360 days a year.
     
  9. Dec 20, 2004 #8
    Well I have to disagree with Smith, Human Beings are not necessarily rational, only vulcans are rational!
     
  10. Dec 20, 2004 #9
    I also have to disagree with him on the grounds of self interest, there are so many examples of how people can be quite selfless. Greed is not in our nature, just our culture.
     
  11. Dec 20, 2004 #10
    OK smurf, then just put them on some ICBMs! Either way, the "star wars" system is farce as far as I am concerned!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  12. Dec 20, 2004 #11
    Not disagreeing with that. Just that I havn't heard of any reasonable alternatives.. except for.. oh what was that.. something about disarmament.. some crazy hippie types must've come up with it.

    I mean, no reasonable human being would think that if you have no enemies you'll be safe, we need those nukes to save us from the Killer bees and Y3k and.. and.. and.. TERRORISTS!!
     
  13. Dec 20, 2004 #12
    ...or even worse: Liberal Secular Humanists! :surprised
     
  14. Dec 20, 2004 #13

    loseyourname

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    I think you guys are underestimating how flexible the concept of rational self-interest is, and by extension, how flexible capitalism is. Interest in another's well-being is certainly included. Excessively irrational behavior is largely discounted, as Smith assumes that this accounts only for a very small proportion of human economic decisions.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2004 #14
    PURE anything can and does go bad

    Socialism on a limited scale works fine
    like would you want privately owned and controled ARMYS??
    somethings should be owned and controled by the goverments

    co-opts are an other good form of public control
    with or with out the goverment

    PURE CAPITALISUM IS PURE EVIL TOO
    moderation is the key
     
  16. Dec 20, 2004 #15

    Janitor

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    As a pure guess, I would have said 40 minutes. Do you have a source for your statement?
     
  17. Dec 20, 2004 #16
    Heard it in my history class actually.

    edit: i just tried working it out myself but I can't find any accurate distances to compare so someone who's better at physics will have to do it instead.

    How far do you think it is between Khabarovsk and Washington?

    edit2: i'm posting something about this in the debunking subforum
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  18. Dec 20, 2004 #17

    Janitor

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    Without a globe to look at, I will hazard a guess that the great circle route goes kind of close to the North Pole, and that the distance is roughly 6,000 miles. I could be pretty far off, though.
     
  19. Dec 20, 2004 #18
    Well, according to Wikipedia, 40 minutes would be quite on target, but I'm not ready to retire my 5 minute theory yet. I'm sure a SLBM or some other kind of ballistic missile could make it in that time, athough it would be quite a bit more expensive, even short-burst ICBMs would shorten the flight time quite a bit.
     
  20. Dec 20, 2004 #19
    In case you haven't heard, this country is full of private armies.
     
  21. Dec 20, 2004 #20
    Which is why we need to nuke them before time runs out!!!!
     
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