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How socialism is a more materialistic ideology than capitalism

TexasSam13

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In my opinion, the socialist worldview is more materialistic than the capitalist view because it's based on the idea that you have to have money in order to be a happy person.

Socialists might not believe that you have to be rich in order to be happy, but they believe that being "poor", not having a good healthcare plan, etc etc is guaranteed unhappiness.

I disagree. I believe that building character and living a purposeful life is the key to happiness, regardless of how your financial situation is. The stereotypical view of capitalism is that it values materialism - I don't see how this is. Capitalists just believe that if you want money, or want to be rich, you should find a way to get there on your own, instead of just having the government hand you everything.

I don't have much money, but I don't see why I need free handouts either. Money feels a lot better to spend when it's earned than when it's just handed to you anyway, especially if other people had to lose it without their consent. And personally, if I keep misspending my own money and end up poor as dirt, then I'd rather be poor and just accept my own financial responsibiity, with an incentive to change my spending habits, than go crying for other people to pay for my own mistakes.

I don't think that in the grand view of things, financial stability has a big role in individual happiness. That seems to be the socialist worldview, but it isn't mine. That's why I see socialism as a very short-sighted and materialistic ideology. So what if I can't always afford my medical bills? Most people in India and Africa can't afford a doctor at all - does that mean (according to the socialist mindset) that every Indian and African must be a purely miserable person, just because they don't have things that were considered luxuries for most of the world's history? Not only is this short-sighted, but it also seems patronizing if you ask me.

In summary, socialism teaches that monetary "necessities" buy happiness, to the point that it's fair to take from other people just because they've earned more than you have. Capitalism teaches that your monetary situation should be left up to you. Personally I'll take capitalism. I used to think that having a lot of material stuff given to me would make me happy, but then I moved out of my parents' house - and I haven't wanted those things sense. That's my view anyway.
 

GodsWrath

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Im really sorry, but this has got to be most flawed argument i have ever heard since the invasion in Iraq
 

Barbbtx

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Little bites of it make sense even if it's still confusing. Below sounds like a person willing to take responsibility for his own actions.
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I don't have much money, but I don't see why I need free handouts either. Money feels a lot better to spend when it's earned than when it's just handed to you anyway, especially if other people had to lose it without their consent. And personally, if I keep misspending my own money and end up poor as dirt, then I'd rather be poor and just accept my own financial responsibiity, with an incentive to change my spending habits, than go crying for other people to pay for my own mistakes.
 

CriticalThought

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I believe that building character and living a purposeful life is the key to happiness, regardless of how your financial situation is.

Uh huh. Tell starving children in third world countries that the key to their happiness is building character and living a purposeful life.

I really try to fight for libertarians, but then you post crap like this and expect people to take you seriously.

At the very least, go educate yourself on Maslow's hierarchy of need.
 
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Civil1z@tion

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Considering that Marxism, upon which modern Socialism is based, is an explicitly materialist ideology the basic point of the OP is probably correct. Indeed Marx's writings argue that materialism is the best way to produce a good society and supports the suppression of non-materialist ideas (religion being the biggest one of course).

Meanwhile, Capitalism is materialistic to the extent that it is about economics. However, any economic system is inherently materialistic as the subject its dealing with is completely materialistic (I have not heard of metaphysical economics). However, Capitalism says nothing about how individuals should behave or about what non-materialist ideas they should or should not hold. Capitalism simples describes how people, without government restrictions, will likely behave in an economic situation, and that this behavior is not necessarily bad.

So Marxism seeks to actively suppress non-materialism while Capitalism simply makes no statements on it. Where does this leave modern Socialism (which has of course changed significantly from Marxism)?

Well, for most modern socialists probably somewhere between Marx and Capitalism in terms of materialism. Socialism today does not typically support the suppression of non-materialism, but its emphasis on the need for material equality to produce happiness would seem to base happiness more in materialism than Capitalism (which makes no statements on what produces happiness). Capitalism says growth happens when restrictions are reduced, how to seek happiness is left to the individual and there are no material preconditions for said search. Socialism adds a precondition of equality meaning that happiness is materially based and thus Socialism entails a greater extension of materialism than Capitalism (though not so great as Marxism).
 

Hoplite

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In my opinion, the socialist worldview is more materialistic than the capitalist view because it's based on the idea that you have to have money in order to be a happy person.

Socialists might not believe that you have to be rich in order to be happy, but they believe that being "poor", not having a good healthcare plan, etc etc is guaranteed unhappiness.
We dont feel that money is necessary for a happy life, but we understand that our world revolves around money; if you dont have it, there's a lot you cant do. I'm sure there are people who can be and are happy scrounging through the trash while living under an overpass.

As a Socialist, I believe that ALL people should have their basic needs guaranteed if they are a working member of society.

I disagree. I believe that building character and living a purposeful life is the key to happiness, regardless of how your financial situation is. The stereotypical view of capitalism is that it values materialism - I don't see how this is. Capitalists just believe that if you want money, or want to be rich, you should find a way to get there on your own, instead of just having the government hand you everything.
You cant eat purpose or character. It's a good thing to have self-confidence and purpose, but in the realistic view, neither of these things will do you much good if you cant get food to eat.

I don't have much money, but I don't see why I need free handouts either.
Were would you get these handouts?

And personally, if I keep misspending my own money and end up poor as dirt, then I'd rather be poor and just accept my own financial responsibiity, with an incentive to change my spending habits, than go crying for other people to pay for my own mistakes.
That's nice, but not everyone is poor because of their own mistakes and even if they are, why should being poor be a punishment?

I don't think that in the grand view of things, financial stability has a big role in individual happiness. That seems to be the socialist worldview, but it isn't mine.
Except that view is factually incorrect, we do not believe that money = happiness.

So what if I can't always afford my medical bills?
Then the nice men with brass knuckles and baseball bats take your car and your house to pay for the medical bills. Unpaid bills and debt will wreck your credit score and make it difficult to buy anything big in the future, even if you DO have money.

Most people in India and Africa can't afford a doctor at all - does that mean (according to the socialist mindset) that every Indian and African must be a purely miserable person, just because they don't have things that were considered luxuries for most of the world's history? Not only is this short-sighted, but it also seems patronizing if you ask me.
Dying or suffering from preventable afflictions does seem pretty miserable and if adequate healthcare were provided, people would die and suffer LESS from preventable afflictions. Less suffering usually makes people happier.

In summary, socialism teaches that monetary "necessities" buy happiness, to the point that it's fair to take from other people just because they've earned more than you have.
No, it doesnt. Socialism says "we have enough to go around, why dont we make sure we all have enough before we start worrying about seconds?"
 

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In my opinion, the socialist worldview is more materialistic than the capitalist view because it's based on the idea that you have to have money in order to be a happy person.

Socialists might not believe that you have to be rich in order to be happy, but they believe that being "poor", not having a good healthcare plan, etc etc is guaranteed unhappiness.

I disagree. I believe that building character and living a purposeful life is the key to happiness, regardless of how your financial situation is. The stereotypical view of capitalism is that it values materialism - I don't see how this is. Capitalists just believe that if you want money, or want to be rich, you should find a way to get there on your own, instead of just having the government hand you everything.

I don't have much money, but I don't see why I need free handouts either. Money feels a lot better to spend when it's earned than when it's just handed to you anyway, especially if other people had to lose it without their consent. And personally, if I keep misspending my own money and end up poor as dirt, then I'd rather be poor and just accept my own financial responsibiity, with an incentive to change my spending habits, than go crying for other people to pay for my own mistakes.

I don't think that in the grand view of things, financial stability has a big role in individual happiness. That seems to be the socialist worldview, but it isn't mine. That's why I see socialism as a very short-sighted and materialistic ideology. So what if I can't always afford my medical bills? Most people in India and Africa can't afford a doctor at all - does that mean (according to the socialist mindset) that every Indian and African must be a purely miserable person, just because they don't have things that were considered luxuries for most of the world's history? Not only is this short-sighted, but it also seems patronizing if you ask me.

In summary, socialism teaches that monetary "necessities" buy happiness, to the point that it's fair to take from other people just because they've earned more than you have. Capitalism teaches that your monetary situation should be left up to you. Personally I'll take capitalism. I used to think that having a lot of material stuff given to me would make me happy, but then I moved out of my parents' house - and I haven't wanted those things sense. That's my view anyway.

Great post. I like the way you think. It'll serve you well your whole life long. Don't agree with all of it, but that's not the important thing. I don't really have a problem with socialists in and of themselves. They are altruistic, which is a good thing in the world -- but to a fault -- at the expense of self-reliance.

Time and time again in my personal life I'm reminded how important it is to work for what we want in life. I see it most clearly when I've gifted someone something -- whether it's money or material -- it's never appreciated as dearly as when one works for it on one's own.

You're right. Building character and living a purposeful life definitely is the secret to happiness. Combine those two things with good health, and one has it made. Money and things aren't the answer. Never have been.
 
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onsidering that Marxism, upon which modern Socialism is based, is an explicitly materialist ideology blah blah blah

Um, wow. Materialism is a philisophical branch. It has nothing to do with the colloquial use of the word.

and supports the suppression of non-materialist ideas (religion being the biggest one of course).

Marx never supported the suppression of religion. In fact, he argued against it.

The rest of your post follows logically, i.e. it's completely wrong. In fact you very clearly have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. That reads like a fifth grader wrote it.
 

Civil1z@tion

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Um, wow. Materialism is a philisophical branch. It has nothing to do with the colloquial use of the word.

To a degree yes, but Marx's entire focus is on the "means of production" which determine everything. This is then linked to the colloquial use of the word by virtue that both place all emphasis on economic situation (whether personal or for the society as a whole). Ultimately, Marx's entire idea is bringing society an economic utopia where the proper means of production are the root cause of happiness. Having a fulfilling job plays some part but the emphasis is almost entirely on financial and economic security, and that is basically the colloquial definition of materialism.

Marx never supported the suppression of religion. In fact, he argued against it.

Where in your link does it say that? Religion for Marx is a social construct used to perpetuate the current ruling structure (whatever it happens to be at the time). In order to have Communism the current ruling structure (in the Capitalist era that of the bourgeoisie) must be broken down. As religion is part of that structure by Marx's own argument how can he be consistent and not desire the downfall of religion? Maybe, he thought that would happen naturally (though that certainly isn't clear from the link you provided) but the end result is the same.

(Note: I'm an atheist so I have little stake in seeing religion continue to thrive, I'm simply arguing from Marx's logic that the death of religion is necessary)

The rest of your post follows logically, i.e. it's completely wrong. In fact you very clearly have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. That reads like a fifth grader wrote it.

Thank you for that. I always appreciate a good ad hominem. It contributes so much to the discussion.
 

Hoplite

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Great post. I like the way you think. It'll serve you well your whole life long. Don't agree with all of it, but that's not the important thing. I don't really have a problem with socialists in and of themselves. They are altruistic, which is a good thing in the world -- but to a fault -- at the expense of self-reliance.
How is recognizing that a group of people can accomplish much more than a single person being altruistic to a fault? Humans have evolved to be social creatures, we dont do very well on our own.
 

Civil1z@tion

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How is recognizing that a group of people can accomplish much more than a single person being altruistic to a fault? Humans have evolved to be social creatures, we dont do very well on our own.

That wouldn't be a fault...if that's all socialism was. Socialism believes humans should work together with either a highly limited or no incentive structure. Capitalism has humans working together all the time, but giving incentives to do so (primarily in the form of wage/salary/benefits). In its most idealistic form, people are supposed to work with each other out of a sense of altruism or community (neither motivation is completely absent from human actions, but neither provides a lot of motivation except in responding to a specific, immediate crisis or with the small number of particularly altruistic people). More "practical" socialism tends to recognize the motivation problem and decide that coercion can replace incentives (the collapse of economies using the Soviet system has proved that to also be ineffective over the long term).
 

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How is recognizing that a group of people can accomplish much more than a single person being altruistic to a fault? Humans have evolved to be social creatures, we dont do very well on our own.

What I meant was that some socialistic programs do more harm than good to a person. In society's eagerness (and altruism) to help the least of us, we have done so, many times, at their own expense.
 
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Some people would have you believe that money buys you happiness.

I agree with them, to be honest.
 

Goobieman

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In my opinion, the socialist worldview is more materialistic than the capitalist view because it's based on the idea that you have to have money in order to be a happy person.
Not sure that I'd put it that way, but you arent off base.

Socialism attempts to subvert human nature by spreading weath as equally as possible.In that, socialism is defined by weath, how it should be created and how it should be distrubuted.

If weath = material, then socialism is every bit as concerned with material - that is, materialistic - as capitalism; perhaps more so because it defines itself as an ideology that demands it be spread equally, through force if necessary.
 

Hoplite

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That wouldn't be a fault...if that's all socialism was. Socialism believes humans should work together with either a highly limited or no incentive structure.
Incorrect. Socialism (in the most general sense) advances that far more can be provided to the individual if the individual works with the group and it's provided in a more sustainable manner. Under the current system, we throw in needs and wants (manufactured and real) and hope greed and a hyper-competitive culture will balance itself out.

Capitalism has humans working together all the time, but giving incentives to do so (primarily in the form of wage/salary/benefits).
Except, they arent. The incentive in Capitalism is NOT to work together, it's to stab each other in the back because if you're the only one still standing, you'll win. Dishonesty and cheating the system are cornerstones of a system that sees only progress and does not care about anything except #1.

And besides, as has been demonstrated many times over, salary is not as good a motivator as we've convinced ourselves it is.

In its most idealistic form, people are supposed to work with each other out of a sense of altruism or community (neither motivation is completely absent from human actions, but neither provides a lot of motivation except in responding to a specific, immediate crisis or with the small number of particularly altruistic people).
In it's idealistic form, yes. However in it's practical form, properly implemented Socialism banks on people recognizing that combined and supported effort yields far better results than independent and competing effort.

More "practical" socialism tends to recognize the motivation problem and decide that coercion can replace incentives (the collapse of economies using the Soviet system has proved that to also be ineffective over the long term).
The Soviets were a Communist system. There has been a widespread problem of improperly implementing Socialism across the world. Often it's forced into place where the population is not ready and predictable problems arise.

What I meant was that some socialistic programs do more harm than good to a person.
How so? And do you have an examples?

Considering the amount of force that it takes to do so, I'd beg to differ.
Force? Capitalism did it in most first world countries without firing a shot.
 

Geo Patric

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Considering that Marxism, upon which modern Socialism is based, is an explicitly materialist ideology

tch... all economics is "materialist"... economics is formal "materialism", the science of the acquistion and distribution of "stuff" based on the 'material' (ie, concrete, physical) nature of existence as opposed to the 'transcendent' or 'spiritual' .... capitalism is "materialism"... marxism is referred to as 'historical materialism', a phrase derived from marx's "materialist conception of history.", which, regardless of your view of his conclusions, is probably the single most rational approach to history anyone ever undertook.

it is also known as 'dialectical materialism', a term coined by Joseph Dietzgen, derived from Hegel's dialectics and Feuerbach's materialism (Feurbach was an 18th c. christian philosopher.)

kee rist... if ever a case of the pot calling the kettle names....

geo.
 
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Civil1z@tion

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Incorrect. Socialism (in the most general sense) advances that far more can be provided to the individual if the individual works with the group and it's provided in a more sustainable manner. Under the current system, we throw in needs and wants (manufactured and real) and hope greed and a hyper-competitive culture will balance itself out.

What the incentive structure then? You get the same amount whether you work or not. The needs and wants you talk about are the incentive structure that socialism lacks.

Except, they arent. The incentive in Capitalism is NOT to work together, it's to stab each other in the back because if you're the only one still standing, you'll win. Dishonesty and cheating the system are cornerstones of a system that sees only progress and does not care about anything except #1.

That's one (strawman) point of view. But in reality while office politics is pretty common, people work together in capitalism all the time. That's what a business is. While everyone is trying to get to the top, that doesn't negate the fact that the job they do is specialized and thus requires the help of others to achieve a goal.

And besides, as has been demonstrated many times over, salary is not as good a motivator as we've convinced ourselves it is.

When has this been shown? The link between wages and productivity is well established.

In it's idealistic form, yes. However in it's practical form, properly implemented Socialism banks on people recognizing that combined and supported effort yields far better results than independent and competing effort.

Except that isn't the case at all. The pre-Capitalist world had very little competition and emphasized cooperation and never produced a tenth as much as competitive systems. The reason the guild system which was designed to prevent competition within a particular market was that they had no incentive to optimize anything. When modern business practices competed against those systems they easily out-produced them even when the government gave support to the guilds.

Socialism is in many ways just a variation on the outdated guild system.

The Soviets were a Communist system. There has been a widespread problem of improperly implementing Socialism across the world. Often it's forced into place where the population is not ready and predictable problems arise.

What constitutes a population that is "ready" for socialism? Marx predicted that those countries furthest into capitalism would be the first to become communist (he thought Britain and the US were likely spots for that reason) but history has shown those least along in capitalist development turned communist (Russia, China, numerous developing countries). Even when communism is put in developed countries it has failed miserably (the Czechoslovakia, Bohemia/Moravia in particular, and East Germany being excellent examples as they were both well developed before the Soviets took over). So under what conditions can a population be considered "ready for socialism?"

Force? Capitalism did it in most first world countries without firing a shot.

Capitalism did not change human nature, it simply allowed humans to be themselves. Pre-capitalist systems relied on the threat of a lot of force to keep people in line to prevent things like social climbing, entrepeneuship, and most forms of economic competition (instead redirecting competitive desires to warfare).
 

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tch... all economics is "materialist"... economics is formal "materialism", the science of the acquistion and distribution of "stuff" based on the 'material' (ie, concrete, physical) nature of existence as opposed to the 'transcendent' or 'spiritual' .... capitalism is "materialism"... marxism is referred to as 'historical materialism', a phrase derived from marx's "materialist conception of history.", which, regardless of your view of his conclusions, is probably the single most rational approach to history anyone ever undertook.

it is also known as 'dialectical materialism', a term coined by Joseph Dietzgen, derived from Hegel's dialectics and Feuerbach's materialism (Feurbach was an 18th c. christian philosopher.)

kee rist... if ever a case of the pot calling the kettle names....

geo.

Marx's approach to history has certainly be helpful, and even transformative (though modern historians move beyond simply parroting class conflict). But his focus on the means of production as the answer to everything was far too limited. Marx pushed history in directions it needed to go, but that doesn't mean his view of history didn't have major weaknesses or that modern historians haven't moved a bit farther away from that. Probably one of his biggest limitations was the assumption that class and the means of production could be used to describe people's psychology and while they certainly have an impact, modern psychology goes much, much further.
 

Geo Patric

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Marx's approach to history has certainly be helpful, and even transformative (though modern historians move beyond simply parroting class conflict). But his focus on the means of production as the answer to everything was far too limited. Marx pushed history in directions it needed to go, but that doesn't mean his view of history didn't have major weaknesses or that modern historians haven't moved a bit farther away from that. Probably one of his biggest limitations was the assumption that class and the means of production could be used to describe people's psychology and while they certainly have an impact, modern psychology goes much, much further.

i absolutely agree and you put it well. Marx made the mistake of overlooking what it is to be human... we do not get to pick and choose which of those attributes we think are "ok"... we have to live with the whole creature.

a sense of personal sovereignty is a fundamental part of what we are as creatures. we cannot negate the importance of the individual.

geo.
 
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But his focus on the means of production as the answer to everything was far too limited.

Except he very clearly didn't do this.

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."
18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Karl Marx 1852

Probably one of his biggest limitations was the assumption that class and the means of production could be used to describe people's psychology and while they certainly have an impact, modern psychology goes much, much further.

Please point to the writing where Marx states that individual psychology can be reduced entirely to one's relation to the means of production.
 
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