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Overcoming economic flaws in Communism

Strelok

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What do you think are genuine ways (if any) that a communist society could overcome the problems of inefficient generation of resources due to factors such as abolition of profit motive and abolition of diverse economic variables, e.g corporations - and to which fair distribution becomes much more of a difficulty?
 
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Lord Tammerlain

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The only method would be through smaller social units.

A version of communism works with Hutterite communities in Western Canada and US. The resources of the farming community are shared between the members (they sell there production to groups outside the colony).

The reason they work is that the people in the colony all know each other. Should a member not pull their own weight, it is known to all in the community. As such the social pressure to work hard and contribute to the colony is strong as those who dont are "shunned" and as the colony is the only social group most members have, such actions are rather devastating to the person.

When a colonies population gets to large, it splits and uses the common resources of the original one to form a new colony. Overall the Hutterites are one of the most successfull farmers/ranchers in western Canada.


Not sure on how this would work in more specialized technology industries , Consider that Fox Con a contract manufacturer has factories that employe 100 000 people in China for example
 

Hoplite

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You also need to have a way to ensure that the state does not become too oppressive, IE: China. The citizens have no recourse to change the government or it's members without fear of being killed. Citizens need a way to effectively petition the government without fear of silencing.

You also need some sort of qualification process for government work to ensure those applying to work in the government are competent for what they do and there needs to be an effective means of policing the government.

Doing these helps cut out corruption and increase the efficiency of the government.
 

phattonez

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There is no way to determine the most efficient allocation of resources without profit.
 

obvious Child

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What do you think are genuine ways (if any) that a communist society could overcome the problems of inefficient generation of resources due to factors such as abolition of profit motive and abolition of diverse economic variables, e.g corporations - and to which fair distribution becomes much more of a difficulty?
Unlimited resources.

Good luck with that.
 

Hoplite

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Unlimited resources.

Good luck with that.
Not an unreasonable request, nor is it impossible. With the development of reprogramable matter through the use of nanotechnology, our possibilities become...extensive.
 

phattonez

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Not an unreasonable request, nor is it impossible. With the development of reprogramable matter through the use of nanotechnology, our possibilities become...extensive.
In other words, your economic ideas are a pipe dream. Matter only comes from matter, and to change something into something else requires energy. Energy is never unlimited.

So since we live in a world of scarcity, we need to determine where resources should go. That's where the profit motive comes into hand. How do we know how many potatoes should be used in french fries, sold in markets, mashed and processed, etc.? How do we know how many houses should be built and where? How do we know how many tractors we should use for the beet farm and how many should be used for the orange grove? How do we know if farm land should still be used as farm land instead of being converted to housing? You cannot answer these questions without profit.
 

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What do you think are genuine ways (if any) that a communist society could overcome the problems of inefficient generation of resources due to factors such as abolition of profit motive and abolition of diverse economic variables, e.g corporations - and to which fair distribution becomes much more of a difficulty?
Democratic socialism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organisations, to emphasise the democratic character of their political orientation. The term is sometimes used synonymously with 'social democracy', but many self-identified democratic socialists oppose contemporary social democracy because it is based on the capitalist mode of production
Too easy.

Edit: also, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_socialism

Remember, communism is only a pipe dream on par with anarcho-capitalism.
 
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Hoplite

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In other words, your economic ideas are a pipe dream. Matter only comes from matter, and to change something into something else requires energy. Energy is never unlimited.
Energy's supply is great enough that it ought as well be unlimited.

This is not a pipe dream, this is hard science that is currently under development. I do agree that it is probably decades from being workable and decades further from being economically viable, but it WILL happen.

Universally Programmable Intelligent Matter Homepage
Claytronics - Carnegie Mellon University
National Nanotechnology Initiative

This is a basic breakdown of the (ideal) process we will eventually have access to.

In a world of essentially unlimited resources, there is no need for scarcity and thus no need for profit.

This is why I refer to myself as a Transhumanistic Socialist
 

Camlon

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The only method would be through smaller social units.

A version of communism works with Hutterite communities in Western Canada and US. The resources of the farming community are shared between the members (they sell there production to groups outside the colony).

The reason they work is that the people in the colony all know each other. Should a member not pull their own weight, it is known to all in the community. As such the social pressure to work hard and contribute to the colony is strong as those who dont are "shunned" and as the colony is the only social group most members have, such actions are rather devastating to the person.

When a colonies population gets to large, it splits and uses the common resources of the original one to form a new colony. Overall the Hutterites are one of the most successfull farmers/ranchers in western Canada.


Not sure on how this would work in more specialized technology industries , Consider that Fox Con a contract manufacturer has factories that employe 100 000 people in China for example
This could work, but it would still be a very poor society. Because one of the things that makes developed countries rich, is because they have huge instutitutions. A family of 100 can't build a road from one state to another, they can't have a big farm, and they won't know what restrictions the society needs. It will work, but it will be a poor society who won't function very well. Also, it will open up for gangs to rob these societies.

If you want to a richer communist society, you need to do what Sovjet did. Have a government that decides everything, and use force to make sure that all jobs in the society are done. It will be poorer than capitalist nations and people will be miserable because there is no freedom, but the society will function.
 

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In other words, your economic ideas are a pipe dream. Matter only comes from matter, and to change something into something else requires energy. Energy is never unlimited.

So since we live in a world of scarcity, we need to determine where resources should go. That's where the profit motive comes into hand. How do we know how many potatoes should be used in french fries, sold in markets, mashed and processed, etc.? How do we know how many houses should be built and where? How do we know how many tractors we should use for the beet farm and how many should be used for the orange grove? How do we know if farm land should still be used as farm land instead of being converted to housing? You cannot answer these questions without profit.
In our current reality, I agree with you 100%.

In Hoplite's alternate reality, the government would own the unlimited number of machines that just magically create everything that we need. Maybe the government could even distribute one of the machines to every individual so that they can just press a button on their replicator and instantly anything that they could wish for (a sexy spouse, a house with a pool, a vacation home, etc.) would just instantly appear with no effort or thought required. So at that point, there might not actually be a need for communism. Capitalism and communism are both just economic systems which exist to distribute resources. If we no longer needed a system of economic distribution, then would we even need any type of distribution system? Heck, we could just tell our magic box to make more magic boxes. If we needed a new heart, maybe our magic box could just instantly replacate a new heart for us (already in place with no surgery needed).

Taking this one step further, would our happyness increase or decrease due the advent of this magic replicator machine. Isn't part of the pride of life is working and creating and being productive? Part of why we realish about being alive is the simple fact that we will eventually be dead. If we no longer had a need to be productive, if we no longer had needs and if aquiring something new was no longer a goal to strive form, and if we had the ability to be immortal, would we still have any reason to exist?

For the time being, at least up until the time that we actually have an infinate supply of replicators, I will have to side with capitalism.
 

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Yes but I think anarcho-capitalism is very much plausible. It's simply the deligitimization of government.
 

masonkiller

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Energy's supply is great enough that it ought as well be unlimited.

This is not a pipe dream, this is hard science that is currently under development. I do agree that it is probably decades from being workable and decades further from being economically viable, but it WILL happen.

Universally Programmable Intelligent Matter Homepage
Claytronics - Carnegie Mellon University
National Nanotechnology Initiative

In a world of essentially unlimited resources, there is no need for scarcity and thus no need for profit.

This is why I refer to myself as a Transhumanistic Socialist
Grey Goo :(. Hahaha

Grey goo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

drz-400

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Yes but I think anarcho-capitalism is very much plausible. It's simply the deligitimization of government.
But capitalism requires private propery, without a government it is pretty hard to recognize that.

Kind of like communism requires everyone to get what they want based on need, but goods are scarce.

They simply contradict themselves.
 

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Anarcho-capitalism fails to account for market failure. You know - that thing that separates those crackpots from us real libertarians, and what the average uneducated Joe turned pseudo-economist thinks that libertarians are.

Anarcho-capitalism has existed, and it's become a band of corruption. Law reflecting the rights of the few (rich). Services that fail to extend to an entire people. Power based on influence with disregard for human rights.

Nobody wants that, unless you're one of the few against one of the many have-nots. Libertarianism recognizes law and fairness. Anarcho-capitalism does not.

And as far as economic flaws in communism, they're inherent with the structure. First of all, it violates human nature to think that wealth distributes evenly, no matter what. It's a brave man who can look you in the eye and say that the engineer has equal worth to society as the street-sweeper.

In addition, it's just the joke of Marxist economics due to the belief that social factors can outweigh empirical proof and belief. It essentially assigns a "socialist goodwill" to attempt a balanced field, one that half of the economy (the half above the "average") probably wouldn't adhere to.

In short, it's a guy with no apples stealing one from someone who has 2, and saying it's fair.
 

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Anarcho-capitalism has existed, and it's become a band of corruption. Law reflecting the rights of the few (rich). Services that fail to extend to an entire people. Power based on influence with disregard for human rights.

Nobody wants that, unless you're one of the few against one of the many have-nots.
Quit talking about my buddy Turtledude! (hee hee)

And as far as economic flaws in communism, they're inherent with the structure. First of all, it violates human nature to think that wealth distributes evenly, no matter what. It's a brave man who can look you in the eye and say that the engineer has equal worth to society as the street-sweeper.
Exactly. The title of this thread is "Overcoming Economic flaws in Communism", but the flaws aren't directly with the economics of Communism, they are within human nature itself and how it relates to economic production. People need incentive to achieve, communism takes incentive away. The real flaw of communism is human nature.
 

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First of all, it violates human nature to think that wealth distributes evenly, no matter what. It's a brave man who can look you in the eye and say that the engineer has equal worth to society as the street-sweeper.
Both serve an important function to society. The engineer has a more visible profile but it would be foolish to undervalue a street-sweeper; if all the street-sweepers in the country stopped working, you'd notice.

In short, it's a guy with no apples stealing one from someone who has 2, and saying it's fair.
How is that unfair?
 

rathi

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Communism only functions if the goal of the nation-state is simple. Central Planning has limits to the complexity of the system it can handle. Optimizing the entire countries industrial output for fighting a total war is quite possible, as shown by the success of the USSR in WW2. However, the consumer economy is many orders of magnitude more complex, beyond the ability of a human to efficiently manage it.
 

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Both serve an important function to society. The engineer has a more visible profile but it would be foolish to undervalue a street-sweeper; if all the street-sweepers in the country stopped working, you'd notice.

How is that unfair?
Expanding on that a little, if the engineer gets paid two apples, and if he has to pay one apple to the street sweeper for sweeping his street, then the street sweeper did not "steal" the apple, he earned it - in the same way that the engineer earned his origional two apples.

What would happen if every single billionaire dropped dead today? His assets would be inherited by other people, some of his assets may be sold off to pay for taxes, but his assets, and their value to our society would still exist. The companies that they owned would continue to produce products and services, the real estate that they own would continue to provide housing for someone, and any cash type assets would be redistributed to someone else. No one would notice any difference in their standard of living.

But what would happen if everyone except billionaires suddenly dropped dead. It would be only a matter of hours or days before the billionaires electricity and communications systems went off. Maybe only a matter of days or weeks before their water supply was shut off, maybe a matter of months before their nearest source of gasoline ran out. Their maid service and cook and driver service would all immediately shut down. They would be without fresh food in a matter of weeks.

So is the billionaire really as valuable to society as the common working folk? I would seriously doubt it.
 
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masonkiller

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So is the billionaire really as valuable to society as the common working folk? I would seriously doubt it.
So should we kill billionares? Hahah just kidding.

No but seriously punishing the rich is punishing success. Also that billionare's company provides millions of jobs to lower class people. If you shot all the major people in walmart then millions of their employees would be unemployed. That really isn't helping society much. (And might I add, all those sweatshops that make many of their products would be shut down, meaning all the laborers there would end up either becoming theives or prostitutes or dead)

But what would happen if everyone except billionaires suddenly dropped dead. It would be only a matter of hours or days before the billionaires electricity and communications systems went off. Maybe only a matter of days or weeks before their water supply was shut off, maybe a matter of months before their nearest source of gasoline ran out.
Well yes there does happen to be division of labor in most of the world. But do not forget that every single person who makes a profit without any government involvment is providing a product or service to another who is privately exchanging value for said product or service. Those billionares contribute by making whatever they make. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates deserve to be billionares. They provided a service that has contributed to a huge, I mean huge increase in the overall productivity of human society, and also even to world peace! Richard Branson provides affordable transportation for millions of productive workers to get where they need to go, and many of those workers have employees under them who benefit from it as well. People like Bernard Arnault make items that often employ workers in poorer countries. This is literally saving lives. Unlike 1st world nations, in 3rd world countries unemployment often means starvation and death. So having a job at all is a wonderful thing. Yeah it sucks and the working conditions are often poor, but considering their situation, it's better than dying on the street or selling yourself to prostitution, or doing hard labor for even less pay in the hot sun. Plus it contributes to the accumulation of capital to help develop said 3rd world nations.

The only rich people who are not valuable to society and don't deserve to be rich are people who get rich from violence (corrupt dictators, powerful politicians, etc.)
 

Hoplite

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So should we kill billionares? Hahah just kidding.

No but seriously punishing the rich is punishing success. Also that billionare's company provides millions of jobs to lower class people. If you shot all the major people in walmart then millions of their employees would be unemployed. That really isn't helping society much. (And might I add, all those sweatshops that make many of their products would be shut down, meaning all the laborers there would end up either becoming theives or prostitutes or dead)
How is asking the wealthy to give back to a society what they've taken out construed as punishing them?

No modern wealth or money is truly "self-created." That is a myth. Wealth in the modern world is derived from an individual or group of individuals using the existing mechanics of a society to their benefit. Without the society as a machine, wealth could not be produced. The greater amount of wealth someone has, the more extensively they have utilized their society to gain that wealth. Unless a person has ripped the raw materials needed to assemble that wealth from the ground with their own bare hands, there can be no such thing as a "self made man," forgetting for a moment that the very idea of "wealth" is one created, maintained, and cared for by the society a person lives in. It is the society itself that recognizes the value of what a rich person owns AS wealth and treats it accordingly.

It's not only a question of what one has gained by being in the top 1%, but what one has used society to achieve. That use demands a repayment if a society set up to be utilized in this way is to survive. If individuals are constantly taking from a system with resources in it without replenishing what they take out, the system will die.

The top 1% gain a significant amount by paying more. We have varying social attitudes about the "super rich" however it would be laughable to say we treat or value someone who makes $20,000 a year the same as we do someone who makes $2,000,000 a year. Our society has a much kinder view of the wealthy and treats them with far gentler hands in almost every aspect of it's operation. This can be ably demonstrated by the well-known maxim "Poor man's law, rich man's justice"; the fact that our legal system is slanted heavily in favor of the wealthy. Our political system is also a game for the wealthy; how many politicians do you know in the modern era who have to shop at the bargain bins? Our healthcare industry is also much more open to those with great amounts of money as they can afford comprehensive preventative care or new treatments that are often too expensive for your average 20k-er.

Our social mentality about the rich is also quite generous; despite some leanings in the opposite direction, the majority of our society tends to think highly of someone with money and those with less money will often go to great lengths to emulate the super wealthy. Our popular culture and entertainment glamorizes the lifestyle of obscene wealth and there are ways for even the poor to "try on" the high life if only for a while.

THAT is why I dont see a problem with taxing the wealthy at a higher rate than those who have less money.
 
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