The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

Tags: Communism, socialism

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I wasn't using "enjoy" in the sense you think. Substitute the word "have" for it (which is a common usage of the word) and you'll see what I was actually saying.

I didn't say that.

I don't see communism working in the long run with a larger population. Some people are driven by wanting more status (bling) than the drive to say be creative or helping others etc. Nothing wrong with that it's what makes the world go around. So long as there's a basic standard of living that the rest of the community can enjoy: basic medical care, food, clothing, shelter, safety then I think it's OK. And we all have to pull our fair share of the load. But to move forward there has to be motivation and if you take that away then unfortunately I can see many bright, resourceful people not meeting their potential due to no reward system being in place.

And honestly we already DO live in a democratically socialist nation. Fire, police, garbage collection, government, etc etc is all of us pooling together for the common 'good'. Just like you don't call a fire service and negotiate a contract when your house is ablaze, and hopefully never have to use the fire service we have, it's in the best interest of all to have these programs in place BEFORE they're needed and where everyone contributes. What's wrong with extending it to healthcare? Not an everyone-gets-everything-they-want but basic preventative medicine and pay your way into the kitty for when you need it (like fire or police etc).

I believe communist theory goes that eventually people won't live in your "large populations" but in much smaller communes.

Alaina D:

"And honestly we already DO live in a democratically socialist nation."

If you're referring to today's US of A, the owners of businesses that can hire lobbyists get socialism (i.e., bailouts by taxpayers). The rest of us get democracy only on the days we elect our oligarchs. They, our oligarchs, get democracy in legislative bodies.

I understand the very first bailout to have been the redemption at face value of the paper given to veterans of the Revolutionary War in payment for their service. Most of them sold their paper for far less than face value to speculators. The new government paid them face value.

For info on another early bailout, search on Yazoo land claims or related terms.

The US of A has had many economic crashes. Our most recent one (2008-2009) brought huge taxpayer bailouts to the same people who caused the crash.

It strikes me that you have hit squarely in the bulls-eye of this discussion. Like MOST people (the VAST majority) you seem to react more to the words "communist" and "socialist" than to the reality of the systems they represent. You seem to want everything that any good communist wants - just not the name. The idea that hugely progressive tax rates (which are one side of the "share-the-wealth" equation) serve as a major disincentive to ANYTHING has simply been proven false time and again. When I was growing up the tax rates for the very top tax bracket was 90%. And at that time there was, on one hand the greatest expansion of wealth ever in America and, on the other hand FAR less bitching by the oligarchs than now, when they are paying little or nothing. (Sends me spinning back to my theory that wealth and income disparity is the factor that contributes most to national "unhappiness".)

Hi all,

I agree with Cara Coleen,

And you know, Unseen... I've only read part of the Communist Manifesto, but it's not really that horrible as an idea, either. Now, I do not think it should be implemented, but the intention is not evil by any means. The real problem is people corrupting all great "isms" and subverting them to their own ends, and giving them bad reputations.

I would question the defensive nature of the statement:

The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

What's wrong Communism? Seriously, there is a considerable degree of merit in the idea of planned economies and one doesn't have to take all of Stalin's garbage to accept some of the basic premises of Communism, imo.

- kk

I suppose dictatorship "isn't all that horrible as an idea" until some fallible human(s) assume the role of dictator.

Explain, please, what is meritorious about a planned economy, since it takes considerable limitations on human rights to achieve it.

The problem with communism (note the small "c") is that it can only work in a dictatorial atmosphere of one party without the interference of competing parties and ideas. This is why a "dictatorship of the people," while a later accretion to the notions of communism, is also a necessary one. 

Planned economies fail when the planners estimate wrongly what people will buy. The planners don't pay for their mistakes; the taxpayers do.

Unplanned economies succeed when producers estimate correctly what people will buy. When they estimate wrongly, they pay for their mistakes. When they estimate correctly, they profit.

Methinks America has too much corporate welfare to be called an unplanned economy.

Methinks America has too much corporate welfare to be called an unplanned economy.

Absolutely true.  When you (as a business owner) can be bailed out for the consequences of a poor decision, you are not living in a totally free market.  Such bailouts have all sorts of deleterious effects on the rest of the market (including actually encouraging people to engage in risky behavior since they can't actually lose money when the downside happens--this includes everything from reckless investing to lending on the corporate end, but there is also a lot of individual behavior that qualifies).  I note though that when this sort of thing happens and the bailouts begin, the "free market" (that we don't actually have) gets the blame for the consequences of the non-free-market part of the system.

Hi Tom

This is a common belief.

Planned economies fail when the planners estimate wrongly what people will buy. The planners don't pay for their mistakes; the taxpayers do.

This is not what the data shows, however. Planning by itself doesn't amount to much.

- kk

Hey Unseen,

Data coming out of the USSR since its ceremonious collapse showed some interesting things:

1.) State planning, by itself, was not indicated as a cause of the economic collapse of the Soviet Union

2.) "Public" ownership, by itself, was not indicated as a cause of the economic collapse of the Soviet Union

3.) Lack of incentive to profit from financial productivity was the primary causative factor in the failure of the Soviet economy.

This is backed up by the experience in the PRC which shows that as long as you address item 3, it works pretty well. The PRC has had one of, if not the, most rapid increase in GDP for several decades running. Their aging population wil cause far more problems than socialism.

Also, Marxism vice Marxism-Lenninism places no premium on how the planning is done. There is no reason why that can't be done in a representative form of government. As a distinction, in the Soviet Union Marxism-Lenninism was an ideology of exported socialism, not dictatorshp. That was Stalin's idea (and Lenin's too as long as he ruled). Vanilla Marxism just refers to an emphasis on Surplus value and the economics of the bourgoise and proletariat.

- kk

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