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Old 06-12-2002, 10:53 AM   #1
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Capitalism and Socialism. Reality vs idealism

In the history department of which I am a quasi-proud member, marxists run amok(or amuk or some shit), as any history major will know.
Many of them quote Marx or Engels like christians would the bible! I find this VERY annoying, especially when surveying the debate about the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Historians like Sweezy and Dobb study this, using Marx, to determine how Socialism will rise from capitalism...likes its inevitable or something.

anywhooo...I digress

Don't worry, I'm not gonna turn red on ya or anything.
I'm am trying to hang on to my capitalist upbringing but I have a question for you all.

I know if we pictured ourselves in a pure socialist society we would probably wince. I mean who would want to live in a society where you have no chance of getting ahead of the others, making more money than the others.
Thomas Hobbes says that humans, in a state of nature, will compete and try and steal from each other. This is natural.
We want to have more than our neighbors.(WE is generalizing the human race!)
This is why communism and socialism rarely works. The leaders cannot overcome the temptation to swindle money.

But look at Poland.
Once communist, turned capitalist. Everyone thought that would jump start their economy, but at this moment in time its in turmoil(see the new york times for today...or yesterday)

My questions are:
do you think capitalism, in its pure form, is right?
Do you not think an ideal socialist world would be better?
if not, Is there something you can invision being better than capitalism?
Would socialism work if the inherent human greed and drive for more success and better standing were not present?
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Old 06-12-2002, 11:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap

But look at Poland.
Once communist, turned capitalist. Everyone thought that would jump start their economy, but at this moment in time its in turmoil(see the new york times for today...or yesterday)

My questions are:
do you think capitalism, in its pure form, is right?
Do you not think an ideal socialist world would be better?
if not, Is there something you can invision being better than capitalism?
Would socialism work if the inherent human greed and drive for more success and better standing were not present?
Don't have time to go into great detail, but here are a few random thoughts to throw into the mix. Are you drawing an assumption in the case of Poland that it is the economic structure that is causing turmoil? Because from what I have studied of communist countries trying to transfer to capitalism...it is a very slow and not smooth process at all. You can change the external structure, but the minds and impulses and reactions of the masses are still programmed to function within the old form, making it hard to measure how effective the new structure really IS or could be.

Capitalism in its pure form being right or wrong. Hmm. I don't think that economic structures can be by their own virtue morally right or wrong. That distinction I would reserve for free will agents, such as humans or even groups of people. I think that all economic structures have some good and bad points to them, but in and of themselves are not inherently right or wrong.

That said, human nature tends towards greed and capitalism by its nature tends to "capitalize" (pardon the pun) on that. So perhaps it is the best we can do. I don't feel I can truly be objective about it though because my upbringing has been coloured by my involvement in this society and absorbption of its values. I would have to say that inasmuch as capitalism has a tendency to allow for personal freedom and drive, turning greed into a force that can be used for the "good", then yes it is a system that works.

However, as a Christian, I find myself torn, because if you look at the life of Christ and the way he tells us to live towards each other, you see complete self-sacrifice and a refusal to put "self" first. This seems to me to run counter-productive to 'greed is good'. I think that I am called to reach out to my fellow man and to share what I have with others. But can this be legislated? Should it be? I don't know.

That may make no sense whatsoever. To surmise, I find myself split right down the middle on this one. Living in a world that has to cope with the problem of evil, I think that capitalism makes the best of a bad situation. Living as one who has hope in the kingdom of God being a true reality and not just a vague thing of the future, I also feel that I should be working towards equality with my fellow man, which you might call socialistic.
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Old 06-12-2002, 03:06 PM   #3
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Re: Capitalism and Socialism. Reality vs idealism

Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
My questions are:
do you think capitalism, in its pure form, is right?
Do you not think an ideal socialist world would be better?
if not, Is there something you can invision being better than capitalism?
Would socialism work if the inherent human greed and drive for more success and better standing were not present?
In brief:

Capitalism (which, unlike all other economic -ism's, is merely an explanation of what naturally occurs) is both the most free economic system and the most effective.

An ideal socialist world would be better, but it's impossible to achieve.

Socialism would work if human self-centeredness was out of the picture, but there's no way for a mere government to cause that to happen.

Basically, I believe socialism immanentizes the eschaton. Read The American Freedom thread for an explanation.
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Old 06-12-2002, 08:10 PM   #4
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It has been debated time and time again, and really, I don't see why its being debated again; those who have made up their minds about Socialism have done so.

Socialism and Capitalism are not facts, its a question of opinion, and it is the independent opinion that decides the outcome.

MY opinion tells me that I am not an idealist, not in the slightest. However, I am a Socialist. Evidently, my view of Humanity is not as cynical as some might have it.

The world is what we make of it.


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