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Anarchisim is the only True Socialism >>
In a pure socialist society, there is absolutely no motivation. There is no reason for people to better themselves, because bettering yourself is hard work, but there is no reward. The Soviet Union managed to make some advances, but they were motivated by fear; fear of the Western democracies, and fear of their own government. And even then, the best they could do is the SCUD missile, which is guaranteed to detonate somewhere within 100 square miles of the intended target. Even the things they did manage to accomplish, they couldn't maintain, because the workers couldn't be bothered to maintain them thus:
1) The entire nuclear sub fleet is a rusted ruin.
2) While we're on the subject of nuclear... Chernobyl?
3) Mir is falling apart.
Under Socialism, the same people who build Volkswagens, Mercedes, and BMW's built Trabants. P.J. O' Rourke, the modern Mark Twain, describes East German automobiles like this: "Trabants that were still working wobbled and smoked and shuddered around me with the equally ill-built and awful-running East German Wartburg cars and IFA trucks and Czech LIAZ semis, Skoda sedans and Jawa motorcycles. The whole of the traffic in the East seemed like something that should be crushed at a county fair by a pickup truck with giant tires." Then there's the bit where he describes a visit to a Kiev restaurant. The food is lousy, the service is horrendous, and three apathetic individuals operate the one cash register. Because, given that all wages are equal, it's a whole lot easier to be a cashier than an automotive engineer.
I don't want an argument but:
There is motivation, just consider a slightly modified Maslow where the bottom two layers are removed.
The nuclear fleet ran out of funding due to the rise of capitalism
Chernobyl's explosion was caused by the plant head being too stupid to realise that testing saftey procedures on the main reactor wasn't a good idea. He was brought to justice by the Soviet system.
Mir is ten years older than its design spec lifetime and yet it kept going. Skylab wasn't anywhere as well designed as that.
Joe aka Arnia (ACE)
Socialist Fishies of the Second School
But I see you didn't manage to explain how a scrupulously clean people managed to make East Germany dirty, nor how a people that takes so much pride in efficiency and technology managed to produce Trabants.
Or how a country obsessed with the free market manages to produce Microsoft or a country devoted to supply and demand as a way of keeping prices low churns out Dixons.
Joe aka Arnia (ACE)
Down with Dixons fishies
What you're both forgetting is that the actual socialism
never went into effect. Stalin and his regime were supposed
to give up power in favor of the state after 5 years or so,
but never did. It wasmore of a dictatorship (the almost
exact opposite of socialism. Dictatorships never last
eg. Rome, Germany, Italy, whether defeated in war or
they just crumble on their own. Most of the stuff that
the USSR had at the beginning was state-of-the-art
(remember, they beat us in 'nam and Korea), but the money
started to run out and corruption spread like a bad disease
from a gas station restroom, and the whole thing collapsed on
Ummm....what's a Dixon?
Actual socialism will never go into effect. Someone has to regulate it. That someone has power. Absolute power. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. USSR isn't a model of what happens when socialism goes wrong. USSR is an example of when socialism happens.
The only country that has ever managed to implement socialism without purging half their own population and enslaving the rest is Sweden, and they pulled it off for two reasons. One, their leaders are selected democratically. Two, they maintained a somewhat free market in the beginning. As their government has grown, however, they've started to feel the strain. The voters elect the people who will promise them the most stuff. They can no longer afford to maintain their mass of social programs, and the country is now heavily in debt, to the tune of 60% of their GDP. And the government can't afford to cut programs, either, because then the voters will vote them out and replace them with people who will maintain their programs. End result: Sweden will be bankrupt within the next 10-20 years. And that's going to be socialism's shining moment.
And a couple of corrections: USSR had state of the art stuff. True, but only because of lack of competition. Germany would have had better stuff if they had been allowed to make stuff, and the same for Japan. Western Europeans spent little on weapons development because they had to rebuild their countries. Only the US had better stuff, because only the US had the resources to compete. But the US was using extra resources, while the USSR was using ALL their resources. That's why people were hungry as they walked into work at the weapons plants in Moscow, but government contractors in the US were quite well off. And the blueprint for Soviet technology has always been "make it simple, and make it cheap." Make it simple, so they can be mass produced at breakneck speed. Make it cheap, so they can afford a lot of them. The T-34 tank (WWII) was horribly slow, but heavily outnumbered and outgunned the German Panzers. They also had much stronger armor. But the Germans just ran circles around them, found advantageous positions, and kicked their slow asses. Then they produced the Panzer II, which packed more firepower, had better plating, and still ran circles around the T-34. The Soviet response: more T-34's to get beat up. The Russian national language would be German today if the Nazis hadn't decided to provoke too many people at once. And for post-war development, they drew on enslaved East German scientists, their own scientists, and heavy espionage on the US scientists. And still, they only barely kept up, until the weight of maintaining their military arsenal collapsed their economy. Socialism collapses eventually on its own, but the Cold War served to accelerate the process.
They kicked our butts in 'nam and Korea: First of all, if Truman hadn't been too chicken shit, MacArthur would have kicked the North Koreans clear into China. Secondly, USSR had nothing to do with Korea. China was involved, however. Same with Vietnam. The Soviets did contribute to arming the North Vietnamese, but that's all they did. And politics in Washington (again) had more to do with the failure of Vietnam than fighting skill and weaponry. The tools were there, but they weren't used properly. And don't forget that the Soviets got handled in Afghanistan for over ten years, and the Afghans didn't even have trees to hide in,
...and of course everyone refuses to work on Kibbutzes because they have no motivation! Come off it - we don't all live in societies where we refuse to work unless we get biscuits everytime we please those above us in society. Plenty of people do stuff for reasons other than material rewards. It's no surprise that capitalists get utterly infuriated that this is the case, since they'd much prefer to believe that everyone lives in communities as selfish as theirs, but this simply isn't the case. Doing stuff for the love of it produces better results than simply doing stuff because you have to, and because the rule that you live by associate goodness with various occupations above others.
The mind boggling irritation of discussing anything with modern socialists is trying to pin down what they mean by the word.
If I buy a copy of big issue someone tells me that's socialist, If one gives to charity, that apparently is also socialist. If I take money from someone, that apparently is capitalist. (but not, presumably if I am a big issue seller or a charity!). Everything that is altruistic is labelled socialist. This is not socialism!
Socialism is, purely and simply, a dictatorship of the proletariat. Its not about kindness, its about greed. It's about greed of the collective mentatility over any advantages that the expression of individual freedom may give to a person. It's about putting the state before the individual in the mistaken beleif that the state, as a representative of the people, must always be right. It's about building a bureaucracy to serve the needs of the people (because it knwos best). It also has no place for big issue sellers or charities.
Well fine, if you beleive that. But lets get it clear what we are talking about.
Phew! I fell better now. Better go to bed.
The national debt of sweden is actually decreasing. The peak of the countrys economic problems occured during the period of conservative/liberal rule 1991-1994. When the social democratic party returned to government things started going better again. I don't really think it had anything to do with that, though. Some things are not within the control of politics.
Soviet Union/Russia had, and still has state of the art technology and science. Russian optics are for instance the best in all the world.
Russias greatest economic growth ever occured during the twenties and thirties. The following stagnation is a result of demented dictatorship, not of socialism.
The german tanks were clearly the best of WWII. However, The Soviet Union still won WWII, and it wasn't because of the great help they recieved from USA.
I would say USA won the Korean war, but it must be seen in a strategic perspective. Truman considered it unwise to start a war with china, which is the reason North Korea still exists. The North Korean regime of today is best described as a theocracy, and deserves to be imprisoned. It should however be remembered that the South Korean regime of the fifties was by no means democratic.
General McArthur was insane, which is proven by his actions in the Philippines during WWII.
The Vietnam war and the Afghanistan war has many similarities. It was the question of a Superpower attacking a guerrilla army. The battleground isn't really the land but the mind of the people. Few Southvietnameses felt they had anything in common with the South Vietnamese government, or the americans, for that part. When every citizen is an enemy soldier you just can't win. The issue is similar in Afghanistan. I saw a documetary about the Afghanistan war where some russian veterans were interviewed. One of them said he believed the russian army won 99% of all battles in Afghanistan, the problem was it never mattered, because as soon as the russian troops left a captured village, it went back to beeing a guerrilla-base. The opponents, a military dictatorship and an islamist guerrilla was by the way supported with weapons and advisors from USA.
Soviet technological development has always been good, but, as I maintain, that was largely ecause they coerced their scientists and stole heavily from everyone else. However, what has that technology gained them? There are still steam engine trains in Russia. In many ways, it is the most backward European state. They have a horrible electrical system, phone system, stinky clunkers for cars, etc. But they have good optics, which means one of two things: they either concentrate on just a few things, and do them well, or they're just not interested in social progress.
WWII had nothing to do with the fact that the Nazis were fighting on three fronts? Come off it... and in spite of that, they still rolled up the Soviets as far as the outskirts of Leningrad. Only two things stopped the Germans, the Western powers, and the Russian winter. The Western powers tied up enough resources so the Germans couldn't storm Moscow before winter, and then the complete lack of roads in Russia bogged down those amazing Panzers, and everything else. The dirt tracks the Russians traveled over turned to muddy swamps. Not a way to win a war that they should be proud of. Then they burned all thier own food, so disease and hunger caught up with the Nazi war machine. When the roads finally turned solid in late spring, the rest of the Allies had cleaned up Africa, were sweeping through Italy, and planning the Normandy invasion. The Germans had to remove forces from the Eastern front to try to salvage the Western front. At that point, the Russians went on the attack, putting guns in the hands of twelve year old boys and women and overwhelming the Nazis by sheer numbers, not caring about the cost in lives. U.S. Grant won the American Civil War in the same fashion, but we're not proud of him for it, and he didn't even have to resort to using women and children. But if you want to live in some construct of self-denial and claim that the Soviets beat Germany single handedly, well, I leave you to it.
I'm not aware of the recent development in Sweden, but, what exactly is a conservative/liberal? Isn't that an oxymoron? But, and this is just a hunch, I would bet that any recovery in Sweden's economy is based on a return to the free market principles they promoted in the beginning, while still calling themselves socialist.
Doing stuff for the love of it is all well and good...but what about doing stuff because you have to? Do you think janitors love their jobs? Sanitation workers? And I know from P.J. O'Rourke's report that everyone in that restaurant hated their jobs. Are you saying we should only put people into jobs they'll love? I think you'll find yourself with an entire country of ballplayers and rock musicians, and the trash will never go out.
I'm sick and tired of capitalism getting such a negative connotation. Capitalism isn't about exploitation of workers. That was called feudalism. Capitalism is just about the power of the individual. Anyone who can command the proper resources can ascend from the depths of society to the pinnacle of achievement. Employees are one such resource, and any company that fails to consider the welfare of their employees is doomed to failure, because all of their talented ones will quit to work for their competition. Certain jobs carry no respect for the employee, like in fast food, but that is only because uneducated workers are a massive resource, so they're easily replaced, and the job is easy for a new employee to learn. Greater education yields greater opportunities, greater salary, and greater respect. That's the way it should be... anything worth having is worth working hard for.
I would hate to be considered equal to everyone else. My intelligence tests higher than 95% of the population. I am highly talented, I pick things up quickly, and I am capable of more than most people, and I have a strong work ethic to go along with it. Why should I be forced to accept the same share of the fruits of labor as some dolt who can't do half the work I do? It wouldn't be fair. Now capitalist systems aren't fair either, but at least I have the opportunity to get my fair share. Whether I do or not is all up to me.
Can I give you a quote?
A fanatic is a person who does what he thinks the Lord would do if he knew the facts of the case.
Peter Finley Dunne
If the discussion of capitalism v socialism is personal choice v collective responsibility we need to answer some basic questions.
Is it OK for one person to have the free choice of storing all of the food in an area because they have more money than everyone else and to deny local people access to the food because they don't have this thing called money?
Capitalism and Medicine. There is a really serious problem of incurable tropical diseases which kill thousand of people every year but the drug companies do nothing to research them because there is no market (they mean money/profit)in producing the drugs. Is this OK?
1) Name a tropical disease that is flourishing in a major capitalist country.
2) Name a major capitalist country with rampant starvation.
1, name a gangster who is starving
2, name a gangster who would have to wait for private medical treatment
Poor example, because gangsters work outside the economy and government. Anyway, in all the countries that have employed true socialism (remember, Sweden doesn't count), you don't have a worse problem with gangsters, but they're known collectively as the government.
There is plenty of poverty in "capitalist" countries. Many people in the US and in many European countries are suffering from malnutrition. Homelessness is a major porblem and there is an underclass of people who never expect to work.
Hungary, which under communism had pretty much full employment has 80% unemployment in some areas and a massive increase in organised crime - but I'm no supporter of Soviet style regimes.
Hungary is just getting started...they have to clean up the mess left by the Soviets before they can progress.
There is hunger in the US, there is poverty, there is no mistaking that. I myself was quite impoverished as a child, and rather poorly fed. But I don't blame the economic system, I blame my parents. If they had been less wrapped up in drugs and alcohol, and more inclined to improve themselves, then they would have. And in the few short years that I've been on my own, I've managed to improve my station significantly, and there are further opportunities awaiting me here in my current profession. In a socialist society, there would have been no need to improve myself, so I would have turned to alcohol and drugs, just like my parents. Which explains, incidentally, why alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, and suicide rates were so much drastically higher in Eastern Bloc countries.
I think you are still linking socialism with Soviet Dictatorship.
Stalin's motivation was no different to many other people's: power.
The US has more people locked up than just about anywhere else and the UK now has more young people locked up than anywhere else in Europe (including Turkey).
Socialism leads to Soviet Dictatorship. I hear socialists go on all the time about how it failed in those other countries:
"The USSR would have succeeded if not for Stalin.
Cuba would have succeeeded if not for Castro.
China would have succeeded if not for Mao.
Vietnam would have succeeded if not for..."
Once again, the only country that embraced socialism and escaped the dictatorship is Sweden, but Sweden has never been wholly socialist in government (democratically elected leadership) nor economics (free-market capitalism elements). Socialism has been an experiment that has gone on for most of the last century, and most of the world has pronounced it an abject failure.
I don't say that socialism in Cuba didn't work because of Castro. America has never allowed socialism the chance to work by blockading the ports and not allowing imports - hence the huge numbers of 1950's cars still on the roads in Cuba - a testament to the skills of Cuban motor mechanics - you don't see them on the roads in the US!
You mentioned drugs earlier. Surely the height of drug addiction is not in the socialist countries but in the capitalist ones. Free market money funds drugs, surely.
If price is the final arbiter how could any business with a social ethic survive. If I pay my workers a living wage I will be undercut on price by the sweatshop owner who doesn't give a fig for workers rights or standard of living. Then I go out of business.
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