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Welfare State vs Communist

Post 1

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Still lurking on 'Stalin...' but not participating. (Who wants to be a punchbag?)

Re. Welfare States being superior to Communist ones. We should, I think, be careful at what we mean by 'Communism'. Marx is - as ever - misunderstood, I think. Yes, the early Marx was part of an active movement that was pursuing a Communist (see The Communist Manifesto). But the later Marx (inc Das Kapital) sees Communism as emerging as a natural consequence of economic dynamics within Capitalism. This is 'The Crisis of Capitalism' and all that...competition (and technology) make things cheaper and cheaper so you might as well just give them away...and in any case, competition depressed wages and technology puts people out of jobs, so you have to.

NOW: You might or might not agree with this Marxist Theory of History. My point is, though, that Communism isn't necessarily a forced levelling of the playing field of the kind that Lenin attempted.

A less emotive word might me 'Socialism.' My working definition of that is 'Managing the economy for the benefit of society as a whole.' The dynamics of Capitalism are such that you *have* to do that, otherwise you're in big trouble. (Rioting in the streets, etc. etc...very bad for business!). Hence strong Welfare States are part of the process of moving away from naked Capitalism and towards...something else.

'Course Marx said it better than me:
'To each according to their need from each according to their ability.'
smiley - shrug and some people have the entrepeneurial qualities that make them good providers.

I do wish I could mention Marx without someone firing Pol Pot back at me. smiley - yawn They might be right - some argue that dictatorship is an inevitable consequence of Marxism. *But at least let's hear the argument!*

Welfare State vs Communist

Post 2

Mister Matty

When I say "Communist" I mean Marxist-Leninist; it's one of those shorthand terms which doesn't necessarily mean what it literally entails (similarly, when most of us say "democracy" we actually mean "a representative, parliamentary or republican system" which isn't quite the same thing smiley - winkeye).

>A less emotive word might me 'Socialism.' My working definition of that is 'Managing the economy for the benefit of society as a whole.'

That would be my definition of socialism as well but, unfortunately, it isn't what people think of when anyone says the word. Many on the right, of course, think socialism means the government controlling things and a depressing number on the left believe the same thing thanks to the mainstream left's enduring love of nationalisation as a route to social justice (I actually read a post on another website where someone, apparently with approval, said Canada had a "socialist" approach to selling alcohol because the government controls the liquor stores smiley - facepalm).

Welfare State vs Communist

Post 3

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

And I've been told elsewhere the the welfarist Nordic nations *aren't* socialist.

Well...that's at the root of why I'm staying out of 'Stalin...' even though I started it. Some people can't grasp that I'm *not* talking about Marxism-Leninism. In fact - as a general rule, I'm not saying what people seem to be reading.

(the other reason is a disgraceful comment made about my daughter).

Welfare State vs Communist

Post 4

Mister Matty

>And I've been told elsewhere the the welfarist Nordic nations *aren't* socialist.

That's probably from someone taking the Marxist-Leninist perspective, they tend to disregard anything that isn't a conscious attempt to drive humanity toward's Marx's "workers' paradise" as not socialist (which makes some kind of sense from their perspective - they tend to use "socialism" as a euphamism for the first post-revolutionary stage of this process). Personally, I think the nordic states are socialist to a large degree but I also think they have capitalist economies (the irony being a capitalist economy is the best practical way yet found of supporting a socialistic society).

Something quite interesting is that people have started calling various Western European countries (notably France and Germany) "socialist" (and I don't just mean mud-slinging rightwingers) even though no one would have called them that twenty-odd years ago when they were firmly regarded as being part of the capitalist-democracy bloc. I suppose it's indicative of how much the collapse of communism shifted the percieved ideological goalposts.

Welfare State vs Communist

Post 5

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Intersting p.o.v. here:

Communism/Socialism vs Capitalism/Fascism is perhaps too emotive a dichotomy. A less ideological formulation would maybe be 'Aiming to serve, broadly speaking, the interests of the whole of society' vs 'Aiming to serve, broadly speaking, the interests of a sub-section of the society' (where n can be as low as 1)

Or 'On the side of the angels' vs ...

Welfare State vs Communist

Post 6

Mister Matty

"Intersting p.o.v. here:" Ah, the old "it was someone else! They didn't know!". Absolutely every apologist for tyrants and dictators tends to use this get-out clause. I've seen it used for Milosevic, Pinochet, even Adolf Hitler. Of course, common sense and a bit of historical knowledge tells us that dictators usually get where they are by being ruthless and controlling and the idea that large-scale repression and murder would take place under their watch outwith their control is self-evidently ludicrous.

Welfare State vs Communist

Post 7


Sorry to butt in (I'll unsub after this). Ed, had your read the comments (by the Perplexing person in the Stalin thread) preceeding my posting on Pol Pot, you would have realised who the post was intended for. I posted on Pol Pot sure, I didn't post everytime - or indeed anytime - you mentioned the word Marx.

smiley - coolsmiley - bubbly


Welfare State vs Communist

Post 8

Edward the Bonobo - Gone.

Well...fair enough. Maybe I'll concede that you're one of the ones challenging me rather than outright abusing me (and the 'Marxism inevitably degenerates into dictatorship' line is a valid one...albeit a wrong one). Challenging is a good ting. I like to be challenged.

But...meh...there are certain idiots on that thread who I simply don't get anything from. I don't need them in my life. And I've not seen an apology for a disgraceful reference to a family member yet.

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