Social Question

Berserker's avatar

What is your opinion on Communism?

Asked by Berserker (33506points) March 31st, 2015

I don’t know who said this, but I remember; communism is like spandex. It’s a bright idea at first, but it gets ugly once people start using it.
That’s not my opinion, as I’ve never lived in a communist country it’s hard to say, and I don’t think there are too many people here who have experienced it firsthand. But still, what is your opinion of it? Is it good? Does it work, or not?

Russia ditched the system, and I’m not sure but aren’t they the ones who came up with it? Countries that have this seem to experience a lot of poverty, so how good can it be? And there is poverty everywhere, so can communism be blamed for it, in the places where it’s present? I don’t know much about it, care to enlighten?

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37 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Short term, it sounds enticing and positive.

Long term, it always fails. It has to, because human are humans, and not all alike.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It does sound enticing and positive, but it doesn’t factor in human greed and desire for power.

Blackberry's avatar

The world would be a lot better if people were more like me. No greed, except for the hoarding of plus-size white women. Then communism would flourish.

cazzie's avatar

It sounds all Utopian and special, but people don’t work that way. @Dutchess_III is right. People are lazy and greedy and absolutely not logical or objective about themselves or other’s problems or needs. Like any ideology, it doesn’t work because… well…. people.

jaytkay's avatar

It’s a fantasy like Libertarianism.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Don’t get me started.

kritiper's avatar

Last time I looked, there were at least 20 different types of Socialism, one of them being Communism. Every time, it seems, that someone or some governing body wants a Socialist type of government, they craft their own. What specific type of Communism (Socialism?) are you asking about?

ragingloli's avatar

It has never been actually implemented on a large scale.

Berserker's avatar

@kritiper Like what they had in Russia, and what they currently have in China.

@ragingloli What would you consider large scale?

Berserker's avatar

over 9000

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve never read Marx or Engels, and I don’t trust that what I’ve read is unbiased. I saw the East Bloc back in the 1980’s and it wasn’t pretty. But, as @ragingloli said, I’m not sure it has really ever been implemented beyond the tribal level. It works on a tribal level where there are limited resources and a system of mutual responsibility and sharing is necessary.

But I’ve adapted to the capitalist system and believe that if we just not allow ourselves to get too selfish, somehow prevent too much top-heavyness where the wealthy infringe upon the democratic rights of the many, not let the system get like the mafia or a Monopoly end-game, that we keep the greater good in mind after our individual needs are met, I’m OK with the way that. But I believe only wealthy countries can afford both capitalism and democracy side-by-side.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Wish it could be applied properly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You don’t consider Russia “large scale,” @ragingloli?

ragingloli's avatar

The SU was state capitalist.

kritiper's avatar

@Symbeline I think the (former) Russian type would work best as long as EVERYBODY played by the same rules. Maybe this could be said for ALL the other types as well. I’ve worked for companies here in the US who have a company manual, a book describing the policies of the company and how they apply to ALL employees. (And by ALL they mean to say ALL people in the company, from president/CEO to the janitor. But when push comes to shove and there is a problem, people in the company find out that the company manual is only there to serve the big boys and find ways to fire the little guys. Communism/Socialism can’t work that way.)

Berserker's avatar

@kritiper That’s sort of what I was thinking. Essentially it seems that communism only exists for an elite few to line their pockets with gold. (although I could say that about most systems)

josie's avatar

Probably not the best way to deal with the economic of super efficiency and surplus.

Mimishu1995's avatar

From someone who live in a Communist country.

I think Communism is being a bit overrated here. I was always taught that capitalism is evil, greedy, inconsiderate, blah blah blah… and Communism is the best, the highest level of human development, ect ect. But think again, how the heck can people work within their ability and earn as much as they please as the same time? And how can the goverment takes control of every profitable job and leave people with nothing beneficial to do? I choose thst job, I work hard, I earn my money. What is wrong with that? I think the reason why Capitalism is viewed as ugly is because the people at that time were too greedy and pushed too many people around, not the community itself is ugly.

I think every community has its own advantages and drawbacks. Capitalism has its own good side, and so does Communism. I’d like to say we aren’t ready for Communism yet. But who know? Maybe in the future we will achieve it?

Hey! Don’t tell anyone what I said OK? Or I will be accused of treason :(

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Communism does not exist, it’s an ideal that cannot be realized.

Ron_C's avatar

Social democracy good. Central Communist control is bad because it was so easily corrupted. Communism is a government system designed for idealists and angels, not many of the former and none of the latter exist in our world.

Kropotkin's avatar

You’re not asking about communism.

You’re asking about Marxist-Leninism, which was the ideological basis of the USSR.

It was corrupt and authoritarian. That said, they made remarkable technological leaps and went from a backward peasant society to an industrial powerhouse in a single generation.

Until about the 70s, they had comparable economic growth to many western nations.

The real poverty came when Yeltsin took power after the break up of the Soviet Union. If their economy was stagnant in the 80s, they went into a shocking depression in the 90s, as they lurched to neoliberalism and the massive transfer of wealth and resources to their new “oligarchs”.

As for actual communism. Early Christians were communists. The Israeli kibbutzim are communist. Hunter-gatherer bands were communists—which is essentially the entirety of our prehistory and much of our evolutionary past. Gerald Winstanley and the Diggers during the English Civil War were communists. And some of the anarchist societies of the early 20th century in Spain, Korea, and Ukraine were communist.

Communism is politically decentralised, and the economy is typically based on mutual aid and gift exchange—about the complete opposite of the Soviet Union.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I don’t see how socialism is communism? I live in a socialist democratic country and it doesn’t seem communist at all?

kritiper's avatar

@trailsillustrated It’s not that socialism IS communism, it’s that communism IS A FORM of socialism. Many different types, as I said before, communism is only one form of socialism, and there are probably variations on that form as well. You can’t lock it up into a single defining definition.

cazzie's avatar

@trailsillustrated arguing with an American about the definition of socialism and communism is pointless. The seem to lack the understanding for the nuances of the system. They continually use the two terms interchangeably. I think it is a culture thing.

trailsillustrated's avatar

When I think I live in a communist ! country that just sounds soooo weird.

cazzie's avatar

I know
Me too. Granted, I’m not allowed to vote in national elections but they certainly take taxes out of my wage.

Misspegasister28's avatar

Isn’t it one of those things that works perfect in theory but not in practice?

Communism has been tried many times. Millions died.

rojo's avatar

@Misspegasister28 pick the name of any system you care to, substitute that name for where you have the word Communism and your comment would still be true.

kritiper's avatar

Democracies aren’t perfect either, EVERY Democracy in history has only lasted about 200 years and then evolved into something else. Socialism, I’ll wager.

Misspegasister28's avatar

@rojo That’s true! I guess it really depends on whose hands the power is in?

@kritiper Yep, democracy isn’t perfect and never will be. Personally I don’t think any form of government will be perfect because we’re imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think most of us here will agree that the flaws of both systems are rather glaringly apparent. It really is refreshing that so many of us agree with @Dutchess III on the BIG flaw in Communism. The problem with centralized control wherein the system itself is defined as “the dictatorship of the proletariat” is that usurpation of power is all but guaranteed. The apparatus for achieving this is DESIGNED into the system. The bureaucrats become the equivalent of our zillionaire robber barons. The bottom line (to quote the great Jacob Burckhardt) is that whatever the system, when it comes to human beings “turpitude is immortal”.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ My thoughts exactly.

Ron_C's avatar

@cazzie I’m an American and I know the difference between Soviet Communism and Democratic Socialism. The difference is that communism focuses on central control and a “command” economy. My favorite quote from an anonymous Soviet citizen is, “I pretend to work and they pretend to pay me”.

Social democracies, like the ones in Scandinavian countries, are citizens working to help citizens. Profits are not discouraged but most businesses in those countries also have a social conscience. That conscience is sorely missing in the U.S. The largest corporations look at three month profits and if the goals aren’t met, heads roll. Unfortunately they roll down-hill with labor, engineering, and middle management losing the most heads.

PuffUvSmoke's avatar

I like the idea of it and so do most of my friends and family but I relized after a short experience not all parts of it are terrific.

rojo's avatar

@cazzie ” arguing with an American about the definition of socialism and communism is pointless. The seem to lack the understanding for the nuances of the system. They continually use the two terms interchangeably.”
In whatever minimal world history we received in our education is the way we are taught in school so I guess it is a nuance purposefully obscured in order to perpetuate a prejudice and/or fear.

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