Blog 27

2009-March-02

Are you a Communist or a Capitalist?
Or somewhere in between?

At the outset I would say that I consider myself to be neither a Communist or a Capitalist or a socialist, or any other 'ist for that matter. I would prefer to live in a world that defines and adopts the best virtues of all social extremes, a system that is somewhere in between [which I guess makes me a 'Capunist']. A society where there's still adequate incentive to succeed, that's benevolent enough to support those in society that are unable to do so well, and that includes controls to limit the wealth grabbing/accumulation antics of some individuals and institutions.

I am sure that many citizens of the USA, the doyen of pure capitalism, felt a great sense of satisfaction when the brand of 'so called' communism practiced in Russia failed. Proof positive that Capitalism is right, after all it won the day. It’s ironic that the brand of capitalism many Americans have been brought up on has now also failed. [I won't dwell here on the apparent economic success the Chinese brand of communism is currently enjoying]

Human beings are by their very nature social beings that live in communities. It's so much part of our make-up that it is mandatory to be a member of human society, by law. So it follows that anyone of any political persuasion who lives in and accepts the benefits of living in a social community is by definition both a communist and a socialist (in the sense of a person living in a community and being social).

Before I go any further, let me say that the above statement was intended to be provocative, for no other reason than to make a very significant point. Social (socialism) and community (communism) are not dirty words, on the other hand capitalism as currently practiced and in the light of the current financial debacle and fraud revelations, has become a very dirty word.

A 'quick-fix' of the current flawed system is unfortunately necessary to avoid a complete collapse, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the system failed and needs to be fixed. It’s perhaps time to consider what sort of society we want in the future. The corrupted brands of communism and capitalism that have been ‘tried out’ over the last century have virtually all failed [in a social sense that is; the fat cats that grew rich on the system would of course disagree]. Why have they failed? Well in my opinion, for no other reason than because they were extremes.

Communism, in the sense that it starts with the premise that everyone is equal, is doomed to fail because ii's a fact that everyone is not equal in terms of their ability [and desires]. A society needs to be structured in such a way that each individual has the freedom to achieve his or her own level in society based on their ability, appreciation and ambition. At the same time the system has to be structured in such a way that there is no way that the system can be exploited for excessive personal gain to the detriment of society as a whole.

Never forgetting that because we are [and are forced to be] communal social beings we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone, irrespective of ability, enjoys a standard of existence that the incumbent society can afford.

On the other hand capitalism in its purest form is doomed because it assumes we do not live in a socially interactive community and success is measured by greed, acquisition and a desire to gain at the expense of individuals in the community and the community as a whole. The current astonishing lack of control in the modern capitalistic system allows individuals and groups of individuals to exploit the ever changing elements of the system in order to acquire disproportionately large amounts of wealth from others with a complete disregard for the social consequences.

A free market is OK providing there are rules. In the same way that we have social rules that outlaw murder, rape, revenge killing and so on, so there should be rules to prevent excessive financial exploitation of the social system for personal gain at the expense of the community.

Pure Capitalism is as socially abhorrent as pure Communism.

The Nillionaire and the BillionaireThe number of billionaires in the world now is not a measure of their success but a measure of society's failure. For so many individuals and institutions to be allowed to accumulate so much wealth, wealth that cannot possibly be spent in any individuals lifetime, is a symptom of a society in need of a complete makeover. There should be no need for philanthropy, it's very existence is a measure of the inability of human beings to regulate the society they have created. It is after all the beginning of the 21st century; our technology may be becoming ever more sophisticated but our social laws and subsequent behavior are still in the stone age.

The level of technical expertise and real wealth producing capability in the world is able of achieve NOW is more than enough to eliminate poverty, hunger and disease worldwide. The wealth just has to be managed effectively and distributed fairly by means of effective, benevolent controls.

For those who are sitting on all the misappropriated wealth while there are children in the world dying of starvation or people dying from preventable diseases, well, shame on you.

We are social beings, forced to live in a social system, so let’s start being sociable.

2013 UPDATE - No Billionaires

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