"Are we more frightened by communism than need to be?"
During the USSR v. USA Cold War I heard this: "It's not their people versus our people. Nor is it their military versus our military. It's their paranoids versus our paranoids."
More likely I think, it was their testosterone-charged people versus our testosterone-charged people. There were exceptions: England's Margaret Thatcher for one.
"...injections of socialism into a capitalist soceity works fine. As we had until the 1980s."
It's now, and since 1787 has been, "Privatize the profits; socialize the losses."
Neither is better. Both are harmful. Money itself is a curse.
Ironically, the last church I went to before I became an atheist had a pastor who was absolutely obsessed with money. Every sermon was about how god wants all of us to be rich (apparently the impossibility of that was lost on him) and successful. Yikes.
Gail, what do you suggest we use in place of money?
I have called the concept the gift economy, however you could call it what you want.
It doesn't involve barter. It involves cooperation and respect. We each pursue our interests and improve our skills, which we then, because we are naturally social and empathic people, share with our communities or humanity at large.
If money were thrown out, there are things that we would all still want. I happen to like electricity and indoor plumbing. If I were younger, I would volunteer time to work in the power/water/sewer plants. But as I am older, there is still much that I can do to contribute.
Think about how many go to work to jobs they hate. One thing I have learned about retirement is that my life is as busy as it ever was, but life is full doing things I enjoy doing. It is far less stressful and way more satisfying. In my circle, my retired friends all have interesting lives. They don't just sit around all day doing nothing.
People I have talked to about a gift economy wonder what to do about people who will not contribute - who only take. If the people are prepared to take over their own government before they stop using money (a few months), they will see that contributing to your society is not only rewarding, but is productive. The fear that causes takers to take without giving (that is part of the great insanity that is currently pervasive) will lessen or disappear when it is socially understood that we are powerful beings, able to manifest our individual needs. Who would discover that they are so powerful and then refuse to use that power?
I look forward to reading the book you suggested: Mutual Aid.
Edit: According to The Heritage Foundation (a conservative think tank), the annual cost of subsidies to agribusinesses is 25 BILLION per year.
In addition to capitalism being averse to forcing people to buy a product, it is also averse to preventing people from buying a product (like marijuana or new corvairs etc).
Not to be rude, but how is this a serious question? The jury is out on this one folks--there is not a single successful nation in the world today that follows the communist model. Cuba is isolated, riddled with poverty, and is totalitarian. China is also poor (GDP PPP 9,146, 91st in the world) and totalitarian. The only reason the Chinese Communist Party is still in power is because they opened up their economy (capitalism). Otherwise they would have gone the way of the greatest Communist power the world has ever seen--the U.S.S.R. The freest, wealthiest, healthiest, and most powerful nations in the world are all economically capitalistic.
The greatest advances in human innovation did not take place until the advent of capitalism. Nearly all of the scientific advancements that we take for granted, cheap electricity, modern medicine, computers, etc. are the result of the free exchange and competition between free individuals. Oh and lets look at that little nugget--freedom. Is anyone seriously considering that communism allows for more personal freedom? Please.
One last point--lets look at the body bags attributed to communist governments vs. capitalistic governments. U.S.S.R--10-11million of its own citizens prior to WWII. China--18-45 million during the Great Leap Forward. U.S.A., Japan, Australia--????? There is no record of mass killings of citizens perpetuated by their capitalist government.
Is capitalism "perfect," of course not. No economic system is without flaws because an economy, lets remember, is people and people are imperfect. Any attempt to make a perfect system smacks of utopianism, which of course communism is.
Eric, you limited a well-thought out analysis to a severely limited question. (BTW, did you mean to say the jury is in? And has a verdict?)
There have been, and are, economies more cooperative than American capitalism. The 1910 book Mutual Aid provides a long history of cooperative economies.
Yeah, many utopias have been tyrannical, and a democracy is a constant struggle against tyranny, oligarchy, etc.
Freedom and fundamental rights have to be guaranteed, that means the state make the justiciable. This is the beginning of the socialism, we have to look into the causes. and the weaknesses of the movement. It is the empowerment of he people who must control every aspect of the society and their associations at all levels become the decisive factor in governing. That means when the people are sovereign and the masters of their destiny. All major decisions are taken by the people at all the levels, and the well being of the people is guaranteed.
Well,you done a broad definition.I want it in abridge.
Under communism, the phasing out of the state is supposed to happen over time. It is supposed to transition to socialism first, either through democratic means or a people's struggle, and then eventually to communism. I think socialism is a permanent workable alternative personally. I'm personally more suspicious of capitalists than communists.
Communism, at least, during the cold war, their Govt. tried to keep religion out of their society. This is only my opinion and a shallow one at that! At least it's a starting point. On the other hand, most Govt. styles have good intentions, until people start perverting the system for various reasons! Manipulation, domination etc. Isn't the word community derived from the word communism or society derived from the word socialism, or is it the other way around? I don't know, but in our community, people that own land, will grow produce and then trade amongst ourselves, so we can have a more diverse variety as compared to growing all the same thing! I start by seeing what the grocery store doesn't carry or is expensive and if we can grow it ourselves then everyone can enjoy a variety of food!