Has communism failed in human nature?
Communism, socialism, anarchism: why they don't work
"Take people as they are, there are no others." (Konrad Adenauer)
“That's all communism / socialism” is a killer argument of the market radicals against the Economic Balance System (EBS) from economy4mankind. As FAQ answer # 22 proves, this is wrong.
Socialists / Communists accuse the EBS of the exact opposite, namely that it Not is communist / socialist and it does not abolish capitalism. The latter is true. Luckily.
1. Definition: What is socialism / communism?
Many people equate socialism and communism. Others call socialism a (not precisely defined) preliminary stage of communism. Lt. Wikipedia has "no clear definition of the term" socialism. In forums like the “Uni-Protocols” everyone has their own views. The “Marxist Library” takes the view that parties like the SPD that have the word “social” in their name (or are members of the “Socialist International”) are socialist. Since the SPD and its sister parties Labor (Great Britain), PASOK (Greece), PS (Portugal), PSOE (Spain), Partito Democratico (Italy), PS (France) etc., one cannot really consider socialist because of their neoliberal policies .
“Germanblogs” thinks that the fundamental difference between communism and socialism lies in the fact that in communism no government / leadership and no money is necessary. However, a society without leadership is not communism but anarchy. Communism comes in many flavors. The most widely used flavor probably defines the Communist Party's manifesto. Anarchist communists, in turn, reject parties and any leadership. A common feature of the best-known communist variants is the abolition of money, so that the economy no longer has a medium of exchange and instead a return to the pure exchange economy is demanded. It is also controversial who defines what a fair distribution of goods is or how much planned economy is required.
The Economic Balance System (EBS) from economy4mankind has nothing to do with any of this - as point 2 shows.
2. Why the “EBS” from economy4mankind is not socialist / communist
The EBS from economy4mankind is social because it enables everyone to have far more justice, far better opportunities, a decent income and fair participation in the economy. However, the EBS is not socialist / communist because it:
- works with money (no one has too little income and no one can hoard too much wealth)
- works without a planned economy. Companies can produce and sell what they want, how they want, where they want, when they want, with whom they want, as much as they want, at self-determined net prices and on equal terms within each industry.
- is not redistributed in the socialist sense or afterwards. All people have a high minimum income, but it does not come about through expropriation of the rich, but through fair participation of people during the creation of value.
- Inequality in terms of people's incomes and wealth is significantly reduced, but not eliminated (an acceptable level of inequality is inevitable for psychological reasons or for motivational purposes).
- no forced or full employment is prescribed. Anyone who wants to work will find well-paid work with good working conditions at EBS. If you don't want to work, you don't have to do that. (See also comparison with the old basic income under “Tax-saving BGE”). People have the choice whether they want to be put on a payroll for at least € 2,000 per month without working as a pure tax-saving model (“absent employees” as pensioners, students, housewives, mother / father, etc.). Or whether they want to be employed as a trainee. Or whether they work part-time or full-time and want to earn significantly more money. See “Job Bonus Act”, points 3ff and “Bandwidth model from the entrepreneur's point of view”, page 6. The EBS means the total freedom of choice for employees who, due to the oversupply of jobs, can tell employers: “You can only put me on your payroll if you offer me the income model that I want. ”So the EBS does not necessarily mean work for everyone, but income for everyone.
- private property is not affected. Asset restrictions are a political decision that has nothing to do with the EBS.
- The pursuit of profit continues to be the driving force and motivation of entrepreneurs, which is completely lacking in socialism.
A suitable term for the EBS would be one "Trained social market economy". Proponents of a highly competitive market economy will ponder whether they should be happy about another competitive factor: For companies, in addition to the competition for the most customers / sales, the best products, the lowest costs, the best locations and the best employees, there is only 1 competitive factor - the competition for a sufficient number of employees.
3. No socialism / communism without selflessness (for an anonymous mass)
We find that socialism / communism has a certain charm. Everyone is a big family, everyone shows solidarity with one another and works for one another, even if they do not even know one another in an anonymous crowd. What sounds so charming has in reality failed despite numerous attempts in every country. Why? Because socialism, communism and other “cooperative economies” based on selflessness and solidarity with an anonymous mass are not in human nature. Wolfgang Koschnick describes the "free rider dilemma" and quotes the political scientist Mancur Olson as saying: "The individual makes use of the blessings of a collective good, but in turn does nothing for the common good."
The larger and more anonymous a communist / socialist society becomes, the more dependent it becomes on functionaries with all their human weaknesses. Whether in the Soviet Union or GDR, in North Korea or Romania, in China or Yugoslavia: the functionaries have always behaved like the group of pigs in George Orwell's “Animal Farm”.
Socialism works within limits in kibbutzim because in such mini-societies everyone knows each other personally. Kibbutzim contain 3 essential components of success:
- The motivation to work in a small community for the benefit of known people
- Mutual control and sufficient pressure not to live idly at the expense of the other
- The acceptance of a very humble lifestyle
The limits of the kibbutzim are that they
- not being able to exist autonomously without money because they have to buy machines, medical supplies, kitchen appliances and much more
- be able to implement simple agricultural operations, but not complex, industrial production processes
Socialism is systematically doomed to failure as soon as it exceeds the size of a kibbutz. Communism or an exchange economy without money only works with indigenous peoples who do not need any industrial products, have no access to modern medicine and need very large natural areas to survive.
4. Planned economy without money - completely impossible
Communism is even more utopian through "the abolition of money as a medium of exchange and the direct, systematic and jointly administered exchange of goods." Communists (and others who want to abolish money) are of the opinion that everything from the tampon to the house can be done without money " exchange systematically ".
Now imagine a (planned) economy without money. There would be no medium of exchange, only a direct exchange of goods and services. Let's do a practical test.
In Germany today, bills totaling € 70.6 trillion for 19.9 billion bills / transactions are billed annually in cashless payment transactions alone. Each invoice in turn contains several items for individual products.
Assume that an average person buys an average of only 5 things a day, from coffee to diapers and apples to gasoline, furniture, etc. That is around 150 billion changes of ownership of products in Germany every year, in retail alone. If we add the entire economy with all its production chains and individual parts, over 1 trillion products and services change hands every year in Germany. In addition, there is the international exchange of goods.
In this huge and extremely complex system, who should clairvoyant and plan in what way, who needs what, when and in what quantity?
Especially since there is no one who is rewarded with profits for producing in line with demand?
5. Council republics, district councils, works councils
Depending on the definition (also on this question the supporters are divided), communism includes a different state organization. Some communism supporters want a representative democracy (which also corresponds to this name).
Others want a soviet republic. In a council republic there is no separation of powers and two types of parliaments: In residential districts, which have to be so small that all citizens know each other, the district councils / neighbors should judge their neighbors instead of courts. In addition, decisions about politics are to be made in a radical democratic way. The councils in turn send representatives to the next higher parliaments for the purpose of supraregional decisions. The second type of parliament governs companies. Since there are no longer any entrepreneurs, all employees are equal bosses. All business decisions are made in the works council. There are just as few hierarchies as there are differences in salaries. However, there is no longer any motivation either (see 3.), and whoever shouts the loudest prevails. Council constructs are not anarchy, but a smaller-cell variant of democracy. In the case of council constructions, not everyone has the power and also not nobody - but the councils, like members of parliament.
There have been many attempts to establish Soviet republics in France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Soviet Union. Some failed after months, others after a few years. Sometimes they were broken up by force, sometimes they imploded due to construction errors. The fact that all attempts (as well as all attempts at communism) have failed does not prevent their supporters from persevering in demanding them, instead of wondering where the design flaws lie and how they can be remedied.
A radical grassroots democracy certainly has its charm. However, it only makes sense if the citizens are politically responsible and not (as is the case today) most citizens of government parties are so disinformed and manipulated via the education system and the media that the swarm is too stupid for swarm intelligence. A radical grassroots democracy would theoretically be feasible, but it would require a lot of educational work.
In companies there is no discernible chance of how a council system should work. Who is involved if there are no differences in pay? How should successful decisions about products and investments be made when most people (like today's voters) are not at all interested in the economy, systems and the environment of their own job? Where should the motivation for entrepreneurial action come from (see 3.)?
The followers of pure anarchism go far beyond that. As you can see in the Wikipedia article or at anarchismus.de, there are also different definitions here. The common denominator is the "absence of domination". Nobody has power over whatever. Since money is power, there is no longer any money (what problems this leads to: see 4.). Anarchy is not the same as “anomie” (state of lack of norms). In anarchy, the norm is that all people respect one another, including their freedom, property and other basic rights. But since nobody has the power to enforce these rights against violations of the law, the violent chaos of anomie is the most likely consequence of the actually orderly, nonviolent anarchy. If the excessive number of ruthless, egocentric people is not kept in check, the strongest will prevail. There is no contradiction in claiming that anarchism is the most natural form of society. That's just the problem. In nature, the strong eat the weak. Democracy, on the other hand, is the form of society that protects the weak most effectively (provided that a democracy is not perverted by people in power).
Let’s let the anarchists have their say. David Graeber, Professor of Ethnology and Pope of Anarchy, wrote in an essay in "oya" No. 22/2013: “Put simply, anarchism is based on two basic assumptions. First, under ordinary circumstances, people are as sensible and decent as they are allowed to be, and they organize themselves and their communities without having to be told how. Second, power corrupts. Anarchism is all about having the courage to take what decency commands us seriously and to think it through consistently. ”He gives an example:“ You are standing in line in front of a crowded bus . Do you wait your turn and don't push yourself forward, even if there is no policeman in sight? If you answered "yes" then behave like an anarchist! … Likewise every time you share with friends, when you decide together who does the dishes or behave fairly. ... The most fundamental anarchist principle is self-organization: people do not have to be threatened with criminal prosecution so that they can make reasonable agreements with one another and treat each other with dignity and respect. "
David Graeber confuses consideration with anarchy, and also misunderstands people's motives. If someone treats others the way he / she wants to be treated, it is nothing more than the philosophical ethics of the categorical imperative according to Kant. If one behaves ethically considerate, it has 2 motives: the personal basic attitude as well as the desire to be considerate oneself to be treated. It has nothing to do with power, so nothing to do with anarchy.
As the next example of anarchy in everyday life, Graeber thinks: "Anyone who belongs to clubs, sports clubs or any other voluntary organization belongs to organizations with an anarchist basic principle". That too has nothing to do with reality. In associations there are boards of directors and other functionaries to whom power is delegated within the framework of this organization, namely through elections. That too is democracy again, even legally defined in §§25ff BGB.
What about large corporations? Graeber thinks that "Hierarchical and military organizational forms structured by chains of command from top to bottom, such as armies, administrative apparatus or large companies, are no longer necessary." Sure - they wouldn't be necessary if anarchy worked. But how is that supposed to work? That would be even more extreme than the works council structures of the Soviet republic (see above). Everyone is free to decide what to do when, where and how. Nobody plans or controls the work of others. Everyone works voluntarily exactly where he is supposed to work and purely by chance (!) Exactly what he is supposed to do at the necessary time and in the necessary place. How should a company function in such a chaos - especially when it has to implement complex large-scale projects? How do you build cars, planes, ships, trains, roads, machines in an anarchy? Who builds / finances / operates power plants, refineries, public transport, universities, schools, hospitals, health insurance, pension insurance, justice system etc. without any hierarchy? Graeber says: "If you think about how this could be implemented in a complex, urbanized, technological society, we come across a series of questions to which we have no answers because hardly anyone asks about them." But. We ask for it. And Graeber himself explains that there are no answers to questions about implementation.
Who protects against criminals (because there will always be), arrests them and deprives them of their anarchist freedom in prisons? Who defines consumer protection, environmental protection, etc., and how is this ensured? Graeber says: “Most of the predictions about a world without nation states or without capitalism turn out to be completely wrong on closer examination. Countless societies have lived without governments. In many parts of the world today people still live outside government control without killing each other. " It would be nice if it were like that. However, every (!) Country without a government proves the exact opposite.Whether Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Rwanda ... where governments offer no protection, the strong kill, enslave and terrorize the weak. Graeber also fails to provide a concrete example for his assertion here.
Finally, anarchy Pope Graeber claims. "... Anarchists have developed various ideas and visions for the self-administration of a complex society, which, however, would go beyond the scope of this text." Where are they, these ideas for a complex society? Nowhere to be found.
Graeber evades with a scavenger hunt: “Let us be satisfied with two pointers: firstly, many people have spent a lot of time developing models for a truly democratic, healthy society, and secondly, no anarchist claims to have a perfect blueprint. The last thing we want is to impose pre-made templates on society. In truth, we are probably not even aware of a fraction of the problems that we will encounter on the way to a society in which decisions are made by citizens together. " To put it plainly: So a lot of time has been used, but no one has found a solution. After all, the anarchists are "not even aware of a fraction of the problems". With all sympathy for the goals: What is that other than a declaration of bankruptcy?
For anarchy it is even more extreme than for communism / socialism that it could function in extremely small groups of people under optimal personnel conditions, as long as no commercial business takes place - but not in an anonymous society, not when it comes to money, not in medium and large companies, not in authorities and not in politics. Apart from organizational impossibilities, more than 98% of society would have to be re-educated or trained to become selfless “heroes of work”, which in the best case takes several generations. We don't want to wait for that. We want a much better world tomorrow - with the bandwidth model: problem-solving, quick to implement, and capable of attracting a majority.
In communism, socialism and anarchy we sometimes find very sympathetic utopias. But let's not fool ourselves:
Selfless work in an anonymous mass, in which all people get all the products they want, and at the right time and without money as a medium of exchange, is just as utopian as peaceful coexistence and cooperative production of goods in an anarchy.
We too would like to ride the invisible pink unicorn to Hogwarts to study magic and, among other things, bring Dobby the elf back to life. However, we have seen that this is unrealistic.
Why have all attempts at communism or socialism and anarchy failed? Supporters of this ideology believe that there has never been a real communism / socialism / anarchy. That's the point. Communism / socialism / anarchy fail right from the start because the prerequisites for functioning are not given (see above).
We are democrats and, like Churchill, we believe: "Democracy is the worst of all forms of government - apart from all the other forms that have been tried from time to time."
7. Kitchen table communism
The complete impossibility of communism does not prevent communists from demanding it as the only (!) Solution to economic, justice and distribution problems. At the kitchen table at home, in bar discussions and forums, it is easy to dream. Robert Misik wrote under "Lost Paradise" in 2011 in the taz about communists (and socialists):
“We are cool, the others are bland. We radical, the others adapted. Buy us. ... The one who throws herself into the maximally radical pose can feel like a great, cool pike and gives those who do not talk so radical the image of bland, despondent Luschis. ... This emptied radicalism ... robs those who subscribe to it the ability to make important distinctions. He mocks everything that could bring improvements within "the system" ... For him, the only thing that counts is the very big change, the completely different. Communism is still a long way from coming, and probably never will, but everything that can be done in terms of real reforms until then does not count. ... In the past, the utopia of communism gave strength to tens of thousands of leftists, it had an energetic effect. Today, on the other hand, it is passivated. It does not give strength to anyone, rather it robs them. Because the small, successive changes bring nothing anyway, but the big ones are nowhere in sight, the communist settles comfortably in his passivity. He is the kepping, bad-tempered, know-it-all balcony muppet who has nothing to contribute but the hint that the reformers are only leading to the stabilization of the system. ... unworldly romanticisms, as Andre Brie ... wrote: "Withdrawal of the state, complete freedom of rule, absolute overcoming of merchandise management, the market and money." The word communism evokes nothing but a series of empty imaginations. "
In contrast to socialism, communism and other utopias of cooperative societies, with the bandwidth model we concentrate on a system that fulfills all 3 basic requirements of economic systems (and party programs):
- It solves the problems addressed.
- It is actionable.
- It is a majority.
You can read more about this under “Vision”, “Short version” and “FAQ”.
Can you justify other opinions on the above topics? We look forward to a constructive discussion on this topic. Just write to us (see contact page).
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