WHY do you think communism is better?

After seeing all these ‘communist’ threads (most started by the same person) I have a question:

Why do you think that living in a communist system would be better than another system (say capitalism for example)

Most of the threads I’ve seen only talk about ‘communism is enevitable’ or ‘everything is owned by the poeple’ or the mechanics of implementing a communist system. None of the threads seem to talk about WHY it would be a better system.

Just because the government owns everything instead of private individuals does not tell me why that is better. The government runs the DMV/RMV. Does that mean everything will be run like the DMV? Or will everything look like the slick modern offices with the sweeping views you see in TV comercials?

And as a corporate worker-ant, what does it matter to me who owns what as long as I still have to drag my ass on the subway every morning to get to work? Do I even have to work if I don’t feel like it?

Will I live in a nicer house under communism or will I live in something that looks like a HUD housing project. Or will all houses be luxary condos and suburban McMansions?

Can I even choose WHERE to live?

Will I be able to choose my own career or will it be chosen for me?

Will there be an infinite array of clothes to select or will I have to wear a grey jumpsuit and a babooshka? Or will we all wear business causal Banana Republic style chinos and shirts.

Will there be anything good to watch on TV?

Convince me as an upper middle class MBA who works for corporate America that my life would be improved under communism.

Hell, for that matter, convice this lower middle class Associate Degree holding bachelor who works for corporate America that my life would be improved under communism.

I think we’re getting there already. I guess I better start thinking about how good I look in red.

oo…oo…and me. The graduating college student with no job. I went to college so that I could get a better job than flipping burgers. What would be my motivation if not for Capitalism?

–==the sax man==–

Y’all got enough ice here? How’re the munchies holding out? Good, good. Carry on.

Okay. I’d rather not get into one of those pointless “communism isn’t what happened in Russia” arguments. I’m also not interested in defending in communism as a coherent and practical political theory, because I think it relies on an inherently unrealistic view of human nature and a naive understanding of employment and production.

However, I can see the theoretical attraction of communism. The theory espoused by Marx, despite its flaws, sees a world where everyone is a “new model person”, happy to give without demanding excessive amounts in return. It sees a world where nobody goes without, because someone will always provide, but where nobody is exploited. There is no state, no controlling authority – it’s that theory that appeals, not the reality.

Communism as it happened isn’t that popular, IMHO, but communism as Marx described it provides a world view that is both as attractive and as unproven as any other utopian society. And, IMHO, as unachievable.

So they took all our land and the farm, and the bus company we owned. By force.

We left the Ukraine with a suitcase, sold the family jewellery to survive & were moved to the CSSR, which was being ‘protected’ from the west by Russia.

My Grandfather - an engineer - was denied decent employment because of his ‘capitalist’ past, my grandmother found that some more equal citizens got their operations before her. His children were denied places at certain schools and universities despite being far ahead of other accepted students. His /grandchildren/, 15 years later are interrogated over what grandpa has told them before being allowed into middle school and his children are denied a holiday to Yugoslavia based on the family history. His friends, a doctor and an electrician, build roads with their hands because they refused to display the ensign on flag-day - thinking they’re lucky they weren’t shot.

I don’t think communism is better.

Because in the future, it is possible that very few people or entities, perhaps only one, will control all means of production. It is also likely that the means of production will allow for near-limitless production of goods and services. In such a situation, there’s no reason for the government not to take control of the means of production and hand out goods and services to everyone for free.

In the future, there will be little need for people to work. This assumes that goods and services are given out for free. If somebody like Bill Gates controlled the means of production, he might very well make people work.

For the most part, everything will be nice. Keep in mind that some people would prefer a shotgun shack to a McMansion. Honestly, I’m pretty happy in my 1952 ranch and I’m not sure if I would choose to move up.

Even in a world where goods and services are not scarce, real estate would remain scarce. The free market is unquestionably one of the best ways to allocate scarce resources. So, I would hope that when global techno-communism becomes a reality, the real estate markets remain free. In short, you could choose where to live if you could afford it, just like the U.S. today.

You will have great freedom to dress and work as you please. Why not? It seems to me that the communism I envision is compatible with personal freedom. The main thing would be that the government controls the means of production.

Dude, when the revolution comes, what do you suppose will happen to Tori Spelling? :wink:

But I still have to work, right? Obviously someone has to manufacture stuff and grow food. I assume if we are all equal that means we all have to work (including me). So either way, I’m still working for someone else, the only diference is that I’m working for EVERYONE else instead of a few people.

Middle-class computer technician here.

Without inexpensive consumer electronics to fix, I’d starve! I don’t want to know about farms and crap.

Yep. This is my understanding, based on (admittedly) only a year studying Marx at university. The theory is that people work because they want to, and they get to use the skills they enjoy using, and they’re not being ‘exploited’ by anyone else – the slogan ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’. I found this a hopelessly naive idea, since it obviously doesn’t really address the production needs of a large society adequately, and neither does it address human nature and desires (I might not want to be a farmer).

But, to address your original debate, it’s an emotionally appealing concept: you work because you want to, and because people need you to and will repay you in kind. Nobody is trying to screw you out of a wage, or keep you in check with the threat of a reserve army of the unemployed to replace you. I can see it being a powerful appeal for people feeling disenfranchised by their position in a capitalist society.

So, what happens if someone decides he doesn’t want to work? Does he still get “according to his need”? If not, then how is the resulting “mob rule” (when his peers rise up to either force him into working, or drive him out of the community) any better than government doling out the goods? If so, why would anyone choose to work?

Also, does this all mean that communism will only work in an agrarian society? How does it work in a technological one?

Alright, as your official straightdope pink scum, I’m here to answer…I’ll stick to answering the OP, as plenty of these other issues have been fleshed out elsewhere. I’m not the ultimate best one to explain this, but I’ll do my best

Right now, my friends, you do not have freedom. Unless you own the means of production (a factory, a server farm, a lentil field) you are a slave because you must work in order not to die. You do not own the results of the work that you do. If you work at a boot factory and make 5000 boots a day, you do not go home with anywhere near 5000 boots. You fear for your basic existance. You have no security. You have very few choices- often you must do work that you hate in order to survive. You cannot even think freely because of all these pressures and all of these alienations. You do not own your labor, and therefor you do not own your existance. You are a slave.

Communism is what happens when you get sick of being a slave. Under communism you do not face that basic fear of starvation that enslaves you. You will be free to think and act freely. It will be good. Let’s check out some of the benefits…

More Security When I ask people why they are so worried about getting high paying jobs, the answer is not usually “I want to buy cool stuff”, but usually “Security”. People want their families to be able to weather hard periods, want to be take care of when they are old, and want to know that they will never worry about having a roof over their head and food in their mouth. Under communism, you would not have that overwhelming fear.

More choices Right now, if I want to make a movie (I’m a filmmaker) I am pretty much stuck making a film that pleases the market- not necessarily one that enriches our culture or our world. Under Communism, I would be able to do things that capitalism would never allow. I could study anything I wanted, and work in any job I choose. My choices in work would not be limited by access to education. I would not be stuck in one path for the rest of my life.

More Happiness Any number of studies have shown that after basic neccesities, more stuff does not make you more happy. Being in charge of my life, empowered by my labor, and free in my mind, would make me happy. Ending the cycle of mass consumption would help us all focus on other, more effective ways of being happy.

The End of Racism and Sexism Racism and sexism are issues of class and control. When those issues are resolved, there simply won’t be any place for racism and sexism. It will be unthinkably pointless.

Although I don’t agree with them, for the most part I’m willing to entertain the notions of Marxists.

This, however:

Is ludicrous. Utterly. It’s retrofitting class identity onto other identities, and only works if you believe the world and people are so unbelievably economics-driven that even the most metallic Randroid would look at you funny. If anything the problems of race and gender explain a hell of a lot about why class isn’t thought of as an identity in the United States, and believing that the “war between the sexes” would be much different in a communist society, is, well, ludicrous.

But, even sven, it wouldn’t work well if everyone could be in their dream job. Everyone would want to be movie stars and athletes and no one would want to be garbagemen. Without garbagemen, things would get pretty stinky and horrible in a hurry. Someone always has to do the scutwork.

I’m also not at all convinced that Communism would make sexism and racism disappear. Slavenka Drakulic, a Croatian feminist, has some fascinating essays about women in Communist Eastern Europe. I know we’re talking about Communism in the ideal rather than the real sense, but it’s hard for me to separate the two. Almost every government sounds reasonably okay in its ideal form.

Why does everyone want to be a movie star or a pro athlete? Money. If these people wern’t making outrageous sums of money, nobody would want to do those jobs. They are a lot of hard work and stress.

Plenty of people will do scutwork. It’s simple, mindless, easy to socialize while doing and doesn’t require an education. The best job I ever had was as a clerk at a video store. It didn’t pay anything, but the work was mindless enough to be easy and varied enough not to be boring. I could see getting up a couple of mornings a month and driving the garbage truck around. Put on some lound music, invite your kid sister- it could be fun. A lot more fun than sitting around in an office all day typeing.

And race/sex issues are class issues. Being called names sucks, but not being able to feed your kids or go to college or escape from your abusive husband sucks more. Every other country in the world admits this, except America that will clutch at its delusion of a classless society from east coast debutant balls to the streets of Compton.

So, communism is essentially a slave revolt? I was under the impression that that’s what happens when people get tired of being slaves. And how am I less of a slave if I now have to work for the masses instead of only my current higher-ups?


And who will ensure that there are sufficient farmers toiling the fields to ensure that I do not starve? I know I have no interest in farming, so you can count me out, thanks. Surely you won’t mind, then, toiling for my benefit as well, while I go study lizards or something, since that’s far more interesting to me.

Sorry, but unless I make my own clothes, grow my own food, I am still very much under the whims of weather and other people. What if there’s a bad crop? What if people don’t like me? What if someone else is skimming more than their fair share? Why do I no longer have to worry about these things under Communism?

So, youre OK with squandering resources to make a film which, while intellectually satisfying for you, interests your comrades not in the least? Or even just a few of them?
Besides, no-one needs films. Society can exist without them. How do these frivolous endeavors factor into a Communist society? Why should I toil in the fields and boot factories while you are out making films which suit your personal artistic vision? And how do you justify these sorts of “dream” jobs, when clearly it is market demand which creates them in the first place?

Surely “money” is not the only motivation for being a movie star. It may not even be the primary motivation for being a movie star. I think “fame” is probably the chief motivation for being a movie star (or pro athlete)–the recognition and adulation of all those fans out there. Don’t aspiring movie stars usually talk about how someday they’re gonna be “famous”, not how someday they’re gonna be “rich”?

ME: More importantly, the possibility of becoming rich from either acting or being a musician is so remote that only those with no other avenue could possibly consider it the best choice. There are hundreds of other more reliable ways of making the fat stacks. On the other hand, if one does succeed, fame goes hand-in-hand.

(Then again, the better musicians and actors are probably in it because they’re, gasp, artists. That’s usually one of the big arguments made in favour of socialism et al; people could be better musicians/actors/whatever if they could just do it without worrying about getting paid.)

Darwin: because you like watching movies, of course, and if we’re critiquing the Marxian concept of communism you’re about as likely to be on the fields as anybody else in our society… less, even. The basic point is that you don’t have to toil overly hard to produce what you need (or the equivalent amount of specialized labour). What are you going to do with the rest of your time? Well, you could always go watch sven’s movie. Or go make your own, if you can rope together everything required. (Making movies would probably require a lot of work even if money wasn’t an issue. Rewarding, though.)

I am, by the way, amused that the word “toil” is used by both sides to mock the other. Work is work. Sometimes it’s brutal backbreaking labour, but we aren’t living in the industrial revolution, nor are we living in China. Marxists forget that when they act like the vague sense of ennui that work engenders in some is proof of the brutal painful exploitation of the masses etc. etc., and anti-Marxists seem to think that seizing the means of production requires their destruction for some reason. Marx’s whole argument was based on technological growth… since when did it become “everybody is a farmer?”

If I remember right, communism is based on equality…equal shares for all. Until we get rid of those less-than-perfect human traits, such as greed, envy, jealousy, laziness, etc., communism simply won’t work.

Communism requires a level playing field, and you can’t force people to evolve. You’re either equal…or you’re individual.

And I can’t think of any species that works on basic communism. It goes against Nature, which is always a bad idea.