Blog Post 2-SK Hatcher
The following will be a slightly opinion based matter, but it deals nicely with the central themes of economics and aids in the further exploration of economic systems’ success. I believe that the average American (consider this post to be from an American stance on economics) would disagree with communism. In general we associate oppression, poverty, and other negativism with that form of economic structure. However, I think once fully informed of the concept and its benefits, most would say it is theoretically a good idea, if human nature was different. So my question is this: in order for communism to be a successful system, what different characteristics would people need?
The Communist Manifesto, as written by Carl Marx states that “The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.” This essentially means the party wishes to dissolve the class system so everyone is basically equal. Now, for this to work, there would have to be nobody in the system who wishes to take advantage of this equality to rise above everyone to power. As we have seen in the former USSR, people have a tendency to do most things out of their own self-interest, even if that means rising above an economy and oppressing your people. Communism, in this way is dangerous. It opens doors for excited politicians to take over and maximize their own utility, forgetting about the good of the population.
Marx calims the following to be essential parts of a successful communist system:
- Abolition of property ownership
- High income ax
- No inheritance
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels
- State ownership of credit (national bank)
- State ownership of communication and transportation
- State ownership of factories and the extension of like areas
- Equal liability of all to work and the creation of industrial armies
- Abolition of the difference between town and country by distributing the population evenly
- Free education for all children and abolition of child labor.
These all seem like theoretically good ideas, but humans being the way they are, inclined to self-preservation and advancement, are always (maybe not even purposefully) going to clash with this. Furthermore, humans crave control, it is simply human nature. This system does not allow the people to take matters into their own hands at all, the entire economy is run as a cooperation and primarily by the state–everything is out of the hands of the individual, which is too hard to come to terms with. State ownership of our inheritance, our property, our credit, our transportation, and even our communication is way too much for the average American to allow. Furthermore, with joined ownership of everything, people will go one of two ways: they will get lazy since it is a jointed effort, relying on everyone else to pick up their slack, or they will give into their desires for control and try to break the system and take advantage of any acquired power. So although communism may, in theory, be a good idea, American’s could not survive in it.
Marx, Karl. Manifesto of the Communist Party. United States: Jefferson Publications, 2015