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Roger Schreiver

Communism vs. Capitalism

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. . . and I'd add the the most important product of a capitalist company is probably its customers! In other words, capitalism is also about creating 'needs' where they don't exist, or about changing 'needs' so that they fit in better with what capitalist companies want to make.

Two examples spring to mind:

1) fabric softener … which didn't exist as a product before advertising companies decided that we needed it and started to sell it to us

2) Cornflakes … who'd have thought a hundred years ago that people in northern Europe would see roasted, rolled maize as an essential ingredient of their breakfasts.

Isn't capitalism in its 'perfect' form about the market responding to demand rather than creating false demand? The problem is that capitalism cannot achieve this 'perfect' balance - it is controlled by corporations exercising monopolistic power over governments and consumers. This allows the corporations to serve their rich shareholders and directors - increasing their wealth at the expense of others misery. The other problem is that capitalism (even in its 'perfect' form) is corrupting. It corrupts human nature - it makes sociable beings competitive, greedy, materialistic and selfish. It is the source of many of the worlds problems. The only problem with communism is that it is virtually impossible to achieve while capitalism exists. Those attempts to put communism into practice have failed because it cannot co-exist with the corrupting power of capitalism.

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Isn't capitalism in its 'perfect' form about the market responding to demand rather than creating false demand? The problem is that capitalism cannot achieve this 'perfect' balance - it is controlled by corporations exercising monopolistic power over governments and consumers. This allows the corporations to serve their rich shareholders and directors - increasing their wealth at the expense of others misery. The other problem is that capitalism (even in its 'perfect' form) is corrupting. It corrupts human nature - it makes sociable beings competitive, greedy, materialistic and selfish. It is the source of many of the worlds problems. The only problem with communism is that it is virtually impossible to achieve while capitalism exists. Those attempts to put communism into practice have failed because it cannot co-exist with the corrupting power of capitalism.

Marxists have always agued that there is a conflict between the needs of individual capitalists and the overall system. Marx believed that it was this conflict that would eventually result in revolution. That mass unemployment would result in the overthrow of capitalism.

However, Marx's theories were undermined by the theories of John Maynard Keynes. He pointed out that the state could intervene to deal with an economic slump. Members of the American Communist Party used to argue that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the man who saved capitalism. There were of course right.

It could be argued that John Maynard Keynes played a similar role in Europe. Some have argued that the first important political leader to become influenced by Keynes was Adolf Hitler.

In my opinion the purest form of capitalism today can be found in China. In China the state rigidly controls the functioning of the market by controlling wages, prices, investment, production, etc. This is enabling China to undercut all other nations and within ten years will be the dominant economic power in the world. Capitalism will no doubt be healthy in China, but what about other countries like the United States. Marx might be right after all, the first successful socialist revolution could indeed take place in the world’s most advanced economy.

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Marxists have always agued that there is a conflict between the needs of individual capitalists and the overall system. Marx believed that it was this conflict that would eventually result in revolution. That mass unemployment would result in the overthrow of capitalism.

The "collapse of capitalism" theory owes its existance to Lenin not Marx. I am also convinced that neither of them saw unemployment as the prime causal factor in objective class consciousness and revolution

Marx predicted that revolution would occur because the mass of workers would become conscious of how they are exploited in their everyday working lives. Marx thus underestimated the ways in which the extended state could shape consciousness in ways that would ensure capitalism's survival.

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Are not individual freedoms more prominent in capitalism than Communism or socialism?

Yes. I would not try to defend the power of the state in places like China and the former Soviet Union. The point is, were they ever really communist states? If you look at the situation in China today, it is more like a "state capitalist" economic system. It clearly is a very efficient system (its growth-rate is far higher than in capitalist countries). However, the gap in inequality is also growing faster than in any other country in the world. I was talking to a man last week who has spent the last few years managing golf courses in China. He told me that the extremes in poverty and wealth in China will result in a "communist" revolution in the next few years.

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Are not individual freedoms more prominent in capitalism than Communism or socialism?

Yes. I would not try to defend the power of the state in places like China and the former Soviet Union. The point is, were they ever really communist states? If you look at the situation in China today, it is more like a "state capitalist" economic system. It clearly is a very efficient system (its growth-rate is far higher than in capitalist countries). However, the gap in inequality is also growing faster than in any other country in the world. I was talking to a man last week who has spent the last few years managing golf courses in China. He told me that the extremes in poverty and wealth in China will result in a "communist" revolution in the next few years.

I really am not understanding it. To even think of going to communism with all its evil is hard to comprehend. I also do not understand trying to solve inequality when nobody has ever been equal because we all have different talents, some are better at things than others. By applying equality laws all around it suppresses those talents and freedoms, rewarding less talented people at things, etc.

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As an aside to the topic thread the prosecution has rested its case in the Ken Lay trial, [there are two distinct trials involving Ken Lay, there is the broader trial of Enron CEO Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, and an individual trial of Kenneth Lay; the broader trial involving Skilling is in it's fourth day of deliberations without a verdict, while in the indivdual trial against Lay, the prosecution has just rested its case]

The future of democracy in America, hinges on many things in this era of uncertainty. There is the NSA Wiretap issue, and the lack of an informed body politic [in the sense that the Dept. of Justice immediately submitted a brief to toss out the lawsuit filed by Electronic Frontiers Foundation the day after the EFF suit was filed the DOJ move was not on the front page of my local paper, but buried on page 7 in the AP/UPI wire stories.] News being buried in the US OF A, is not something that just started, but harkens back to the early 1990's if not earlier.

Most American's didn't realize that the Presidential inauguration of 2000 was 'not a pretty sight,' and most still do not, only the 'contrarians' who were open enough to watch Fahrenheit 911 by the 'controversial' Michael Moore, including myself.

Getting back to the Ken Lay Trial, a 'guilty verdict' would land Mr Lay a life sentence in prison, and the prosecution has, ostensibly, made quite a case; it is also a fact that Kenneth Lay enjoy's [enjoyed?] a strong friendship with Pres. George Bush, besides being a contributor to the Bush coffers.

If there is a 'business as usual' not guilty verdict in the Lay Trial, America may have a 'long hot summer' in more way's than one. Although many American's are too busy playing their I-Pods and watching American Idol to observe current events in America, many American's are not too busy and are watching closely to see if the proverbial 'buck stops here' or the [what's becoming the usual practice in the third millenium of American politic's] 'the buck passes along on it's way from here.'

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COMMUNISM.

an economic theory that stresses that the control of the means of producing economic goods in a society should reside in the hands of those who who invest their labour for production. In its ideal form, classes cease to exist, there is no coercive Government structures, and everybody lives in abundance without supervision from a ruling class. An egalitarian society, with no state, no privately owned means of production, and no social class structure.

If the means of production goods belong to the working class, this is a socialism. These element exist inside a capitalist society - employees owned enterprises.

The next step on the way to communism is destroying classes which on the Communist leaders opinion, are hostile to the Communist ideals: Cleric, intellectuals, Government structures, high-ranking managers etc. In the other word, according to the Marx' and Lenin' theory, Communism should destroy whole economical and political establishment.

Lenin first tried to implement these ideas into reality: in 1918 he declared "The red terror" and ordered to create giant concentration camp on the Russian North, where whole classes of Russian society were sent and tortured to death - many millions of people. They have been declared as "enemy of revolutionary people". The whole economy and infrastructure were destroyed. On the ruins of Old Russia the Communist created new society. The main goal of this society was to destroy the capitalist societies in the whole World. For this purpose they create a gigantic military economy, hostile to people. To create this military production the Communist leaders used slavery, violence, forced labor, mass killing those who was "not enough happy" by such Communism.

The same way the Communist leaders acted in other countries - North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia, China.

Related to a ideas of the French revolution - Liberté, égalité, fraternité which became a slogan of Communism: I saw by my own eyes, what they mean in the real life. May be I will tell you later.

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