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Old 10-11-2019, 02:39 PM
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Other than a strict authoritarian government, in what ways is China still communist?


It's indisputable that the government of China is brutal and authoritarian. And also, arguably, the most effective government in absolute terms of the last 20-30 years.

(In absolute terms they have increased their economic power and standards of living more than anyone else)

So I wonder a couple things:


1. I thought authoritarian governments were hideously inefficient, tying everything up in endless paperwork, with "one to watch and one to work", a phrase from a book about the Soviet gulag. How does the Chinese government get anything done and build more high speed rail than all of Europe in a fraction of the time?

2. What benefits of communism are still in place? "Too each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs". Is any of that still true? Do unemployed Chinese workers get any benefits or assigned a new job like it was in the Soviet Union? Is there national health insurance or free bread or ration cards or any of the other trappings of Communism? Are income taxes progressive?
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:52 PM
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it never was, really. one of the core tenets of Marxist communism was collective ownership of the "means of production." As far as I can tell, in the vast majority of cases (Soviet Bloc, China, etc.) the supposed "communist" revolutionaries never actually took it past seizing the means of production. They decided they very much liked being in charge and stayed put as the new ruling class.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:54 PM
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Intolerance toward religion is a communist ideal.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:15 PM
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They still maintain a one-party system and censor information that is available to the people. And some of the cosmetic aspects are still there (for example, the flag of Hong Kong, which was adopted on its being repatriated from the UK, has an original design, but they included very small, subtle five-pointed stars in it). It is not the kind of Stalinist-type of communism that existed under Mao, but some of the basic ideas of Marxism continue to be formally maintained.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:34 PM
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So uh all I am hearing about are costs. Any benefits to communism? Even in the worst of Soviet Russia you would be assigned a job and a ration card, unless someone reported on you, and the job might suck but probably better than being homeless.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:56 PM
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Blacks in antebellum Dixie had guaranteed employment. That's not necessarily considered a benefit.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:09 PM
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So uh all I am hearing about are costs. Any benefits to communism? Even in the worst of Soviet Russia you would be assigned a job and a ration card, unless someone reported on you, and the job might suck but probably better than being homeless.
Authoritarian regimes can be tough on individuals but they are capable to getting things done at a larger scale. China has been very effective in building up its infrastructure; if the government decides a dam or a bridge or a highway is a good idea, it will be built in short order.

Communist regimes are also fairly egalitarian (at least in comparison to the regimes they tend to replace). Women, for example, have many rights now that they didn't have before the communists took over.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:16 PM
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Blacks in antebellum Dixie had guaranteed employment. That's not necessarily considered a benefit.
I would say that it is a benefit, just not a net benefit. Absolutely, slavery is awful overall, just like Communism, but you need to be consistent. One alleged 'perk' of slavery was that more blacks were skilled tradesmen than they were during the Jim Crowe era because the owner has an incentive to invest in long term training. Was it better to be destitute and unskilled, doing scut work, but free, than being a skilled slave under slavery? I cannot answer that as I have not experienced either, but I might point out that "freedom" doesn't mean anything if it grants you no measurable or tangible benefits.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:17 PM
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They still maintain a one-party system and censor information that is available to the people. And some of the cosmetic aspects are still there (for example, the flag of Hong Kong, which was adopted on its being repatriated from the UK, has an original design, but they included very small, subtle five-pointed stars in it). It is not the kind of Stalinist-type of communism that existed under Mao, but some of the basic ideas of Marxism continue to be formally maintained.
I think the important distinction is that China is a communist country which contains capitalism, whereas countries like the United States are capitalist countries. The distinction is the United States sees capitalism as something which is a worthwhile goal for its own sake. In China, capitalism is seen as a resource. Capitalism in China is like oil in Saudi Arabia; it's not seen as being valuable for its own sake - its value is that it produces assets that the government can use to further its own agenda.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:46 PM
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China is not communist; no society ever has been since the primitive communalism of the hunter gatherers. The constitution of the Communist Party of China says:

"The highest ideal of communism pursued by the Chinese Communists can be realized only when the socialist society is fully developed and highly advanced. The development and improvement of the socialist system is a long historical process."

This is why China is full of private businesses. The CPC encourages entrepreneurship and doesn't punish rich people or even billionaires, but they have no political power, but people like Jack Ma have a serious advisory role.

State owned enterprises constitute the backbone of the economy, but they are run like Google, not like the post office or the DMV. Most important is that the four largest banks are government owned which allows it to direct resources.

A key characteristic of China's system is the setting of long term goals. This allows businesses to plan accordingly. These plans include the usual five year plans and longer goals up to and including plans to become a global leader by 2049.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:31 PM
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There are popular Chinese jokes to the effect that, right from the beginning and most definitely now, China was "communist" in name only (to get popular support) and wholeheartedly embraced capitalism. (See the above post- the quote from the CCP giving lip service to communism as something to maybe aspire to far in the future is especially rich.)

Maybe some of the Chinese users of this forum can quote some of the latest political jokes, so that you will not be stuck with the garbled third-hand versions I remember...

Note, having, say, a universal health care system, like China now does (or wants to say it does), or a functioning railway network, are not hallmarks of a true hard-core left-wing government, just basic services that any government is expected to provide. I don't think state-owned enterprises are a decisive sign, either.

Last edited by DPRK; 10-11-2019 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:14 PM
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Authoritarian regimes can be tough on individuals but they are capable to getting things done at a larger scale. China has been very effective in building up its infrastructure; if the government decides a dam or a bridge or a highway is a good idea, it will be built in short order.
From my dealings with in China, that absolutely isn't true, despite it being basically an article of faith amongst Westerners.
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Communist regimes are also fairly egalitarian (at least in comparison to the regimes they tend to replace). Women, for example, have many rights now that they didn't have before the communists took over.
Commie tend to be fairly progressive on womens rights but it was more development and prosperity which did that.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:41 PM
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From my dealings with in China, that absolutely isn't true, despite it being basically an article of faith amongst Westerners.
I'm not sure what you're saying is untrue. Are you saying this infrastructure doesn't exist?
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:46 PM
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There are popular Chinese jokes to the effect that, right from the beginning and most definitely now, China was "communist" in name only (to get popular support) and wholeheartedly embraced capitalism.
That doesn't seem to match Chinese history. Mao certainly did not view himself as a capitalist. He was the guy who promoted the Great Leap Forward (and the Cultural Revolution). Big on central planning and collectivism.

It wasn't until Mao was dead and Deng rose to power in the eighties that you started seeing some support for capitalism. (Deng was still a communist and no true believer in capitalism. But he saw capitalism as something that was necessary for developing China.)

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-11-2019 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:03 PM
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It wasn't until Mao was dead and Deng rose to power in the eighties that you started seeing some support for capitalism. (Deng was still a communist and no true believer in capitalism. But he saw capitalism as something that was necessary for developing China.)
I stand corrected. The joke I heard started with China coming to a fork in the river where it had to choose between communism and capitalism, so it may very well have been about Deng, not Mao.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:05 PM
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1. I thought authoritarian governments were hideously inefficient, tying everything up in endless paperwork, with "one to watch and one to work", a phrase from a book about the Soviet gulag. How does the Chinese government get anything done and build more high speed rail than all of Europe in a fraction of the time?
Dictatorships have one HUGE advantage over other forms of government when it comes to capital projects: namely, if anybody is foolish enough to protest that the project would harm the environment, destroy historic buildings, displace people, etc.--the government rides roughshod over them. Anybody in China who dared to wave signs, chain themselves to trees, etc. would find themselves in prison or a work camp in short order.

I don't know about other Western nations, but in the US, the environmental studies for widening a road or building something often take longer than the actual construction. And that doesn't even take into account the public-input part of the process.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:04 AM
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From my dealings with in China, that absolutely isn't true, despite it being basically an article of faith amongst Westerners.
The amount of high speed rail, subways, airports, tollroads, dams and other infrastructure built in the last 20 years isn't true? Care to back this up? Imminent domain is lighting quick, labor is cheap, and leading projects are worked on 24/7. It's freaking astonishing how fast things move compared with the geriatric US.

Happy to see cites that speak otherwise, but I've got to call you on this facet.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:25 AM
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I'm not sure what you're saying is untrue. Are you saying this infrastructure doesn't exist?
That they have built infrastructure wisely and that somehow if the Government wants to build something it will.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:40 AM
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Dictatorships have one HUGE advantage over other forms of government when it comes to capital projects: namely, if anybody is foolish enough to protest that the project would harm the environment, destroy historic buildings, displace people, etc.--the government rides roughshod over them. Anybody in China who dared to wave signs, chain themselves to trees, etc. would find themselves in prison or a work camp in short order.

I don't know about other Western nations, but in the US, the environmental studies for widening a road or building something often take longer than the actual construction. And that doesn't even take into account the public-input part of the process.
An advantage to the government itself, perhaps. To the people, not so much.

Unless of course, you LIKE living in a nation where the government can kick you out of your home, rampantly pollute your town, destroy your city, etc.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:51 AM
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That they have built infrastructure wisely and that somehow if the Government wants to build something it will.
You're shifting the goalposts. I said they got things built; I didn't say they built things wisely. The Three Gorges Dam, to cite a well known example, was probably a bad idea - but it got built anyway.

As the government doing what it wants - I think that's pretty accurate. Who do you think is supposedly telling the Chinese government no?
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:58 AM
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Dictatorships have one HUGE advantage over other forms of government when it comes to capital projects: namely, if anybody is foolish enough to protest that the project would harm the environment, destroy historic buildings, displace people, etc.--the government rides roughshod over them. Anybody in China who dared to wave signs, chain themselves to trees, etc. would find themselves in prison or a work camp in short order.

I don't know about other Western nations, but in the US, the environmental studies for widening a road or building something often take longer than the actual construction. And that doesn't even take into account the public-input part of the process.
I think it's part of a broader difference. In a democratic country, it's not enough for the government to just decide it wants to do something. It has to devote time and energy to convincing the public that its idea is a good idea.

So democracies suffer in comparison to dictatorships because they have the added cost of building this consensus on top of the cost of the actual project.

But here's where democracies have an advantage; not all ideas are good ideas. Some ideas are really bad. And the fact that the government has to sell its ideas to the public before implementing them acts as a screening process; good ideas are a lot easier to sell than bad ideas.

So democracies take longer than dictatorships to get somewhere. But they're more like to get to the right place.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-12-2019 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:20 AM
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A few other interesting facts about China:

There is no private land ownership in China. All land in China is state property. People who want use a piece of property must negotiate a lease with the government. This obviously gives the government leverage over people and companies; if they argue with the government, the government can threaten to evict them.

The Chinese government does not have any military forces. Obviously, the People's Liberation Army exists (and is the largest military force in the world). But it is not subject to the government. The PLA is the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party.

China is not technically a one party state. The Chinese government is run by a United Front of nine legally authorized parties. Of course, one of the nine parties is the Chinese Communist Party and the members of that party hold all of the important offices in the government (as well as controlling the army as described above). Members of the other eight minor parties are given a few token positions to maintain the illusion that China has a multi-party system.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:29 AM
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...Imminent domain is lighting quick, labor is cheap, and leading projects are worked on 24/7. It's freaking astonishing how fast things move compared with the geriatric US...
Is "imminent domain" a typo or a clever phrase? It certainly describes the Chinese method of public works.
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Old 10-12-2019, 05:18 AM
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Remember Deng Xiaoping? When he started steering China away from Maoism, he used a typically gnomic figure of speech of the sort Mao liked to use to signal changes in economic policy: "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice."
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Old 10-12-2019, 06:14 AM
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I lived in China about six years ago. There was a new and growing middle class that would have been unthinkable a generation earlier. Also, there was an explosion of car ownership; the first time I went to Beijing a few years earlier, bicycles outnumbered cars. Boy, those were the days! By 2016, parking was difficult even in mid-level cities. Enterprising Chinese can get very wealthy; I knew a bar owner who also owned an after-school academy. Sidewalk grills with skewer food were quite common.

How is it still Communist? The party selects all political office holders, elections are still unknown. Medicine is heavily socialized and not in a good way; you go to a hospital, you will wait 45 minutes to talk to a doctor for 5 minutes. Medicine is cheap and affordable. Salaries for foreign teachers are in lockstep, going to a different school will get you essentially the same pay. Consumer goods are priced by some means other than supply and demand, which is great if you're buying penicillin but not so great if you're buying Cognac or Scotch. That's awfully Marx-y.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:41 AM
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I wonder if it's worth differentiating centralization from communism? On the axis of individual rights vs state power, China definitely leans more towards centralized authoritarianism. It's fascist, really: the iron-handed mobilization of the population towards ultranationalist, militarized, statist goals. There is no meaningful exercise of democracy or of collective worker power, only the pretense of such, kinda like North Korea. Socialism has always been a great dog-whistle for dictators.

Meanwhile, on the axis of wealth concentration, China's wealth and resource distribution is not meaningfully more equitable than that of, say, the United States's. On the Gini index (where 100 is completely inequality), China is a 38.6 and the USA is 41.5; compare that to Norway & Finland's 27 or most of Africa's mid-to-high 50s.

I always thought the overriding tenet of communism/socialism is to do for the economy what democracy is supposed to have done for political power: give it back to the people. Is that not true?

In that sense, China is not any more communist than it is, say, a people's republic. It's a capitalist fascist ultranationalist state whose rapid industrialization, built on top of mass oppression and centralized economic planning (despite the corruption) allowed it to build up infrastructure and services dramatically quickly -- yes, perhaps with questionable wisdom and quality, and with great inequality, but nonetheless.

It's a fascinating examination of the ability of centralized states to get shit done, but it's not really an earnest reflection of communism, is it? All sorts of countries like to throw words like "democracy" or "republic" or "socialist" or "communist" into their propaganda, but very few actually strive for any of those ideals...

An interesting question, IMHO, is how far any country is from actually being able to move to that sort of society. Would would it take China, or the DPRK, or the USA, or Finland, or Venezuela, to become actually socialist? Who controls their capital and infrastructure, and how hard would it be to nationalize/municipalize/place it under public ownership? What are the pathways to political power in that country, and are there any means aside from terrorism and revolution for the average working-class person to exercise it?

If the answer to both those questions is effectively, "ha ha, dream on," then that country is not meaningfully democratic or communistic, no matter what they call themselves. In the West, there is at least an imaginable pathway to social change through the exercise of mass electoral power, flawed and corrupt though it may be. In China any such resistance, as in Hong Kong, is quashed much more brutally. Change only happens top-down (normally) through Party whims, or bottoms-up through violent revolution. The workers are still oppressed, the peasants still have no power. It's the same in most countries in the world, just a matter of degree, no matter the labels. Heck, by that token, I'd argue San Francisco and Portland are actually more communist than China, despite operating under a capitalist framework, because at least the average person there can exercise control over their governments and economies at the city and state levels (federal is a whole different ballgame). It's meaningless to talk about communism without talking about working-class power...
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:02 PM
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Is "imminent domain" a typo or a clever phrase? It certainly describes the Chinese method of public works.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:31 PM
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:36 PM
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I always thought the overriding tenet of communism/socialism is to do for the economy what democracy is supposed to have done for political power: give it back to the people. Is that not true?
It's a matter of differing definitions. The typical western definition of democracy is a government in which the people rule. The communist definition of democracy is a government which serves the people.

So a communist regime can sincerely claim to be democratic - by its definition of the word. They'll argue that their government is set up to serve the entire population unlike a capitalist regime where everyone is expected to look out for themselves and is in a competition against everyone else.

And to a communist, a socialist economy is a natural facet of true democratic politics. Government control of the economy allows the government to steer it so it serves the population as a whole rather than private owners.

As for giving the people political power, the communists see that as an ideal. But it's not one that the people are ready for yet. Right now, only a minority of people - a vanguard - understands how communism works. So they need to run things for everyone else's sake. Most people are still stuck with the mistaken ideas that the old regime imposed on them. They need to be educated up to the point where they can run things for themselves in an ideal communist way.

It's like parents raising children; you love your kids and you're doing what's best for them. And that means you often make decisions for them, including ones which they disagree with. But your goal is for them to grow up and become responsible adults who can run their own lives.

It's important to realize that communists don't see themselves as evil. They believe they're doing good. And even if you don't agree with their ideology (I don't) it's good to try to understand what it is.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:44 PM
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So uh all I am hearing about are costs. Any benefits to communism? Even in the worst of Soviet Russia you would be assigned a job and a ration card, unless someone reported on you, and the job might suck but probably better than being homeless.
There were homeless in the USSR.

and many men in the gulags.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:46 PM
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... One alleged 'perk' of slavery was that more blacks were skilled tradesmen than they were during the Jim Crowe era because the owner has an incentive to invest in long term training. ...
Very doubtful as the slaveowners used their slaves rarely for "skilled" trades. This sounds like more Southern apology.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:06 PM
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Very doubtful as the slaveowners used their slaves rarely for "skilled" trades. This sounds like more Southern apology.
My source was history class. Yes, taught in a university in the south but after the year 2000.
Here's an article, written by MacArthur fellow, on this irony. This isn't an apology for slavery, more showing that the Jim Crowe era was in some ways worse.

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There were homeless in the USSR.
How, exactly? "Comrade you appear to be shiftless and idle. Come, we have <penal duties> for you to perform".
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:15 PM
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...



How, exactly? "Comrade you appear to be shiftless and idle. Come, we have <penal duties> for you to perform".
Its more Soviet propaganda:

https://www.csmonitor.com/1988/0519/ehome.html

SOVIET officials have long boasted that there are no homeless people in the Soviet Union, thanks to a constitutional ``right to housing.'' To give the boast bite, Soviet newspapers and magazines often print photos of homeless people in the West. In fact, there are homeless people in the USSR. They can be found in abandoned houses, cellars, coal bins, and garbage dumps, around railway stations, or in special detention centers run by the uniformed police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). Here they are held for a month while their identities are checked and attempts are made to find them a job and a place to live. These attempts are seldom successful...The official fiction that there are no homeless people in the USSR has fallen victim to glasnost. In May 1986, Literaturnaya Gazeta published an article about homeless people and vagrants in the Kazakh Republic. The author, Anatoly Sterlikov, did not estimate the number of homeless people in the USSR; he did say, however, that ``they have already begun to stand out against the background of contemporary life.'In February 1987, the popular weekly magazine Ogonyok printed what is still the most vivid piece of reporting on homeless people in the USSR. The author, provincial journalist Alexei Lebedev, wanted to experience life among the homeless firsthand. So he hid his internal passport and other documents, donned an old overcoat, and, with three rubles in his pocket, descended for six months into the lower depths of Soviet society.

Mr. Lebedev's exploit seems to be a first for Soviet journalism. He described in detail the special detention centers for vagrants that can be found in every large Soviet city and railway station, the places where homeless people find shelter, the temporary jobs they take to survive, and the fine distinctions between different classes of vagrants, from hopeless alcoholics to quasi-professional drifters.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:53 PM
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Its more Soviet propaganda:

https://www.csmonitor.com/1988/0519/ehome.html

[I]SOVIET officials have long boasted that there are no homeless people in the Soviet Union, thanks to a constitutional ``right to housing.'' To give the boast bite, Soviet newspapers and magazines often print photos of homeless people in the West. In fact, there are homeless people in the USSR. They can be found in abandoned houses, cellars, coal bins, and garbage dumps, around railway stations, or in special detention centers run by the uniformed police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). Here they are held for a month while their identities are checked and attempts are made to find them a job and a place to live.
So they tried to do everything I just said but were ineffective at it. Part of the reason for the ineffectiveness is that a corporation, when it fails to do something, doesn't make as many sales as the companies that succeed. Unfortunately governments are all monopolies by their very nature, so if a local government in a particular part of the USSR fails to accomplish something, it stays unaccomplished.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:55 PM
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So they tried to do everything I just said but were ineffective at it. Part of the reason for the ineffectiveness is that a corporation, when it fails to do something, doesn't make as many sales as the companies that succeed. Unfortunately governments are all monopolies by their very nature, so if a local government in a particular part of the USSR fails to accomplish something, it stays unaccomplished.

They say they tried, yes.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:03 PM
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They say they tried, yes.
And they say they tried to not melt down a nuclear reactor (if you count all their various incidents they failed many times) and they tried to go to the Moon and they tried to make cars and so on. I didn't say Communism worked. Just, as a system, the state is nominally taking responsibility for everyone.

Hence I was wondering what, exactly, China is nominally doing for it's people.

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Old 10-12-2019, 04:20 PM
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It's a matter of differing definitions. The typical western definition of democracy is a government in which the people rule. The communist definition of democracy is a government which serves the people.

So a communist regime can sincerely claim to be democratic - by its definition of the word. They'll argue that their government is set up to serve the entire population unlike a capitalist regime where everyone is expected to look out for themselves and is in a competition against everyone else.
I've not heard this "differing definitions of democracy" before. Do you have a cite? I don't necessarily doubt you, just would like to understand it better.

But China... it is neither a government in which people rule, nor a government which "serves the people," unless a sizable portion of "the people" can be ideologically otherized and disposed.

I don't think anyone here is making the argument that "China knows best, therefore it's all OK... growing pains on the way to a better world." But more that modern China never really tried, and is not truly seeking to become, an actual socialist state or communist post-state society; they are merely paying lip service to those ideals to get the populace on board with their programs, the same way any other nation has always used internal propaganda to stir up obedience, nationalistic frenzies, and xenophobia in their laborers.

Last edited by Reply; 10-12-2019 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 04:30 PM
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Unfortunately governments are all monopolies by their very nature, so if a local government in a particular part of the USSR fails to accomplish something, it stays unaccomplished.
Not necessarily. In many governments, you have political parties/factions all vying to replace each other to become "the government" in order to control and distribute resources for a while... that happens at the scale of Somalian warlords all the way up to the United Nations. No government is static for long.

There are also conflicts between different governments within a system, such as our incredibly complicated federation in the USA. Who should arrest this person? Who should investigate this crime? Who should manage this park? Who should build this ship? Who should research nuclear fusion? Who should regulate the climate? Who should interpret ambiguous laws left by dead white people? These are all intra-government competitions, with different branches, departments, states, municipalities, agencies, teams, people -- egos -- all vying for supremacy over limited taxation/labor income. The ones that stay too terrible for too long are eventually conquered or overthrown, through ballot boxes or violence.

Even in the dictatorial so-called "communist" states of today, there are always attempts at coups, juntas, party splits, consolidations, compromises, what-have-you, as factions vie for power. China is not immune to this either, certainly not at the local levels with corrupt bureaucrats, and not even at the national level with inner-party politics at the top.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:33 PM
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I've not heard this "differing definitions of democracy" before. Do you have a cite? I don't necessarily doubt you, just would like to understand it better.
I first encountered this while reading a book about the Yalta and Potsdam conferences in WWII. Britain and America got the Soviet Union to promise that there would be democratic governments in Eastern Europe. But the two sides were agreeing to two different things. So later on, when the Soviet Union established communist satellite regimes in Eastern European countries, they was an argument over whether or not they had broken the agreement. The Soviets insisted they had done what they promised because the regimes they had installed were democratic. And America and Britain insisted these regimes were not democratic so the Soviets had reneged on the agreement they had made.

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Old 10-12-2019, 10:53 PM
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China is not communist; no society ever has been since the primitive communalism of the hunter gatherers. The constitution of the Communist Party of China says:

"The highest ideal of communism pursued by the Chinese Communists can be realized only when the socialist society is fully developed and highly advanced. The development and improvement of the socialist system is a long historical process."
The Soviets said similar things. That they don't fit the ideal of a utopian communist state (no one ever will) does not mean they are not Communist.
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This is why China is full of private businesses. The CPC encourages entrepreneurship and doesn't punish rich people or even billionaires, but they have no political power, but people like Jack Ma have a serious advisory role.
Not punished? Not for having money. If the rich are on the wrong side of a power battle, or open their mouths in the wrong way, then they get punished.
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State owned enterprises constitute the backbone of the economy, but they are run like Google, not like the post office or the DMV. Most important is that the four largest banks are government owned which allows it to direct resources.
Which means that under the pressure of the government companies can get forced into bad investments, like the many ghost cities. Plus a lot of companies have silent or not so silent partners aligned with party leaders or the relatives of party leaders. And the party gets very upset when this is pointed out.
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A key characteristic of China's system is the setting of long term goals. This allows businesses to plan accordingly. These plans include the usual five year plans and longer goals up to and including plans to become a global leader by 2049.
Much easier to do if you don't have to worry about pesky elections.
  #41  
Old 10-13-2019, 11:09 AM
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Communist regimes are also fairly egalitarian (at least in comparison to the regimes they tend to replace). Women, for example, have many rights now that they didn't have before the communists took over.
I remember reading in a book about domestic violence, one story was about a chinese man (I think this was in the 70s) being prosecuted for DV against his wife after the communists took over. There was dialogue from the man about how he abused his wife because thats what his parents and her parents did, and their grandparents, etc. Its the way it always was. I have no idea if that was a national policy (the criminalization of DV) but in theory communist nations are more egalitarian.

Communists came to the aid of black people in the US too. They offered legal support for lynching targets and people being railroaded by the legal system.

Women fought for the USSR in WW2. I don't think they were fighting for any other major nation involved.
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  #42  
Old 10-13-2019, 11:24 AM
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The Soviets said similar things. That they don't fit the ideal of a utopian communist state (no one ever will) does not mean they are not Communist.
but they weren't even close. With the government owned industry, relentless nationalism, and harsh suppression of dissenters, they were much closer to fascist. It doesn't matter what they called themselves; after all, North Korea isn't a democracy just because they call themselves the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

If you look at what Marx advocated (simplified)

1) Revolutionaries would overthrown the capitalists (bourgeoisie) and seize the means of production
2) the means of production would be returned to the common person
3) society would thus evolve to be "classless."

every "communist" revolution stopped after Step #1. Human nature being what it is, the revolutionaries found they liked controlling things, thank you very much.

that's why communism can't work on a national scale. Human nature forbids it.

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  #43  
Old 10-13-2019, 08:14 PM
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but they weren't even close. With the government owned industry, relentless nationalism, and harsh suppression of dissenters, they were much closer to fascist. It doesn't matter what they called themselves; after all, North Korea isn't a democracy just because they call themselves the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

If you look at what Marx advocated (simplified)

1) Revolutionaries would overthrown the capitalists (bourgeoisie) and seize the means of production
2) the means of production would be returned to the common person
3) society would thus evolve to be "classless."

every "communist" revolution stopped after Step #1. Human nature being what it is, the revolutionaries found they liked controlling things, thank you very much.

that's why communism can't work on a national scale. Human nature forbids it.
Of course. If you hew to true Marx, no Communist state is communist, or if a true communist society is set up, it won't last very long.
By a similar argument on Christian church is really Christian.
Any ideology evolves over time. Or it dies.

"Give my that old time Marxism,
Give me that old time Marxism,
Give me that old time Marxism,
It's good enough for me."
  #44  
Old 10-14-2019, 09:03 AM
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If you look at what Marx advocated (simplified)

1) Revolutionaries would overthrown the capitalists (bourgeoisie) and seize the means of production
2) the means of production would be returned to the common person
3) society would thus evolve to be "classless."

every "communist" revolution stopped after Step #1. Human nature being what it is, the revolutionaries found they liked controlling things, thank you very much.

that's why communism can't work on a national scale. Human nature forbids it.
Hasn't pretty much every revolution stopped after Step #1? The failed communists pretended to care about the common people, just like every other revolution, paying lip service in exchange for willing bodies (or not so willing, in their case).

We live in a world with competing -isms, none pure, all mixed, all fucked up. None of our socioeconomic systems were designed for, or capable of dealing with the economic, political, social, religious, environmental, ecological, etc. issues of 8 billion people in a suddenly-connected, rapidly-industrialized world.

"Human nature" evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago, with much smaller in-groups and a finite ability to extract resources and alter our environment. We can look back and chide earlier philosophers at their naivete, but they at least pretended to be concerned about the greater good, in such stark contrast to those who wield real power and wealth today.

It's one thing to wish upon the stars for human camaraderie and see it fail; it is something entirely different, and altogether more vicious, to peer into human vulnerability and cynically wring it tighter, pitting worker against worker, race against race, sex against sex, religion against religion, with the sole desire of coming up on top.

This sociopathy is the hallmark of so many of our countries and societies, no matter what they label themselves. But that isn't the defining characteristic of our species, either. Of the 8 billion or so, how many do you think would put "world domination and exploitations of my inferiors" at the top of their bucket lists? Most just want to eat, pray, love, drink, play, fuck. Yet unfortunately the social systems that have heretofore survived have enabled -- nay, encouraged and demanded -- that sociopaths slaughter their way to the top. And the rest of us, we're supposed to look at these systems, throw our hands up in the air, and go "Whelps, I suppose that's human nature!" Meh.

The communists weren't naive, they were desperate; their movements weren't ill-intentioned, just too easily co-opted. But still the question remains: How do we deal with the 8 billion? None of the systems have a good answer yet.
  #45  
Old 10-14-2019, 11:17 AM
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Blacks in antebellum Dixie had guaranteed employment. That's not necessarily considered a benefit.
Not that I approve of slavery, but as such they were fed, housed and clothed and got rudimentary medical care ... if you were poor white trash at the time and were starving on your farm the local authorities would probably take away your kids so at least they wouldn't starve to death. If you were in a city you probably got your kids taken, ridden out of town or thrown into debtors prison. As far as things went, they were just fine letting poor white trash adults starve to death.
  #46  
Old 10-14-2019, 11:41 AM
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Not that I approve of slavery, but as such they were fed, housed and clothed and got rudimentary medical care ... if you were poor white trash at the time and were starving on your farm the local authorities would probably take away your kids so at least they wouldn't starve to death. If you were in a city you probably got your kids taken, ridden out of town or thrown into debtors prison. As far as things went, they were just fine letting poor white trash adults starve to death.
The only reason slaves received enough food and other necessities was because there was enough to go around. If there had been any serious famines and somebody was going to starve to death, it would have been the slaves. They were at the bottom of the social ladder and had the least control of their own economic conditions.

It's true some white people lived in greater poverty than some slaves did. But that's because they were free to choose to live in poverty. If a white person decided he wanted to live in the streets and beg, he could so so. A black person trying to live like that would have been enslaved and put to work.
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:03 PM
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Hasn't pretty much every revolution stopped after Step #1? The failed communists pretended to care about the common people, just like every other revolution, paying lip service in exchange for willing bodies (or not so willing, in their case).
Corrupt politicians... unfortunately, not an original communist, or Chinese, invention. It occurs in all from the smallest revolutionary political parties to large, established bureaucracies, and the only question is how much the public tolerates and how much damage they can do (quite a lot in authoritarian setups). In Imperial China, we would be saying people are being screwed in spite of, or as an unforeseen consequence of, Confucian ideals.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:27 PM
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The CPC encourages entrepreneurship and doesn't punish rich people or even billionaires,


This is true, as long as you stay in China and pay your share of high taxes to the people. There are numerous Chinese billionaires that have attempted to move to other parts of the world, shift income to other jurisdictions to avoid the Chinese taxes, etc., that have been renditioned and scurried away to a re-educations camp.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:23 PM
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also once you get people who have never had money involved in the hustling and deal-making to obtain it they get caught up in the modern equivalent of gold fever and dont squawk about such things as freedom of speech and the like cause there too busy becoming or trying to become billionaires to care
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