Communism vs Capitalism (was Neal vs Michael slugfest)

From: Chris Russo (
Date: Fri Feb 16 2001 - 08:57:27 MST

At 09:37 -0800 2/15/01, wrote:
>Capitalism has not been successful either. There are no capitalist
>countries in the world. All so-called capitalist countries are actually
>mixed systems which override the market with government regulation
>and control.

Granted, there are no purely capitalist systems in existence. One
could probably argue that there never have been purely communist or
capitalist systems in existence, because some absolute definition
isn't being obeyed. For example, in "Communist Russia", there were
those who had more money, power, and influence than others because of
their positions. Inequities like that would seem to be disallowed
within a purely communist society.

>Neither capitalism nor communism appears to be consistent with human
>nature as it exists today. Communism fails due to the human tendency to
>be lazy and to get as much as possible with as little work as possible.
>Capitalism fails due to the human tendency to be envious and to be
>intolerant of great differences in wealth and power.

I think that you're redefining "fails" here. communism fails in the
sense that the whole society stagnates. Innovation and productivity
fall to levels that are incapable of supporting the society as a
whole. Even at Russia's height, the toilet paper lines were long,
and medical care - though available - was poor, by western standards.

The failure that you mention for capitalism is more of a failure of
capitalism to dominate and overcome democracy. It's hardly an utter
failure like experiments in communism have been.

>So let me ask your rhetorical question back at you. Why do capitalists
>and such attempt to treat communists with such disdain "when they
>have never been able to show even one success after all these years?"
>Just curious.

Instead of pretending that there are absolutes in the world that we
can look at as examples, I think that it's important for us to
examine the spectrum from predominately communist societies to
predominately capitalist ones. At one end of the spectrum, you have
the former Russia and China. At the other end, you have the United

In which ways do the opposite ends of the spectrum even compare? I
don't think that it's beating our own drum to say that the US is,
overall, the most desirable place to live in the world. Immigration
statistics alone make that fairly clear.

As such, I think that those who decry communism in an offhand way
while trumpeting capitalism actually do have an argument for doing
so. It's not simply a matter of perspective as your post implied.


Chris Russo

"If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought 
or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet 
hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance 
which does harm."
              -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21

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