My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Misplaced Debate Between Communism and Capitalism

Since the economy has transformed into a dying duck, everyone has found it necessary to bash Capitalism.  The entire system must be at fault for the disruption in our economy.  Since our economy is "Capitalist," that must mean that anytime our economy fails that proves the failure of Capitalism.  Then, of course, those critics of Capitalism admirably look on any other economic system that is not Capitalist.  Communism becomes the best thing ever.  Capitalism becomes the worst thing ever.  In this whole quagmire, I want to point out a dire inconsistency that always occurs whenever people debate over what economic system is better.  The comparison is never, as it should be, between how both systems play out in reality.  Instead, the comparison is always made between the ideal of one versus the reality of the other.

The ideal will always look better than the reality.  That is because an idea is always free of the variables we did not consider.  There are always infinitely more variables that we did not consider than we did.  You probably have had a moment in which you thought your idea was perfect.  You then wondered why no one else has thought of your marvelous idea and implemented it.  I know I have.  See, your idea is perfect, given the variables that you have considered.  However, once you start to load it down with the variables you did not consider, it quickly becomes imperfect.  There is simply no perfect human idea, because no human idea can take account of all the variables.  

This is what people compare the Communist
ideal to.  No wonder Communism wins.
Therefore, when any ideal is implemented, it becomes fair game to the brutal rules of reality.  Every idea must pass the reality test to be even worth considering.  If it fails in reality, it is not a good idea, given the variables.  Now, this does not mean that the idea is always bad.  The idea may indeed work if implemented in the right setting, but if it fails in one setting, then it is certainly bad in that setting.  

Comparing an ideal to reality is like comparing apples to oranges.  There is no comparison.  Yet people stupidly argue this way all the time.  They will say, "Communism is better than Capitalism because it cares for the poor."  Hmmmm, true, Communism in its ideal form cares for the poor, but what about in reality? Communism's record in reality has been atrocious.  Millions upon millions have died by the hands of Communist dictators.  The system has failed to deliver its people a better way of life.  Inequality is rampant, just manifested in a different way.  Instead of money being the determinant of inequality, its power.  The elite got what it wanted, and the poor suffered.  People make all sorts of arguments that Communism would be great if it was implemented right.  True, but so would Capitalism.

Now you can argue that the ideal of Communism is better than the ideal of Capitalism.  That indeed may be true.  However any utopian dream I make would be better than both.  I do not believe arguing over the ideal outcomes of both systems makes any more sense than arguing over what dream I think is better.  If one is to argue over these, the only logical thing to argue over is the reality of both.

The reality of Capitalism is far from perfect.  Monetary inequality is rampant, materialism is praised, and greed is fine.  Many people get left behind in its wake.  Its relentless, and does not stop for anyone, rolling over those that are not good at the game.  There is a strong element of Social Darwinism to it as well.  The strongest win, coming out on top while the weakest lose.  

Yet, it has produced great benefits to society.  People are much better off now, even the poorest, than people were in the past.  Capitalism has created incentive for people to work hard and try to be the best they can be.  Capitalism has unleashed a storm of human creativity and productivity.  Its benefits have been enormous, can you say the same about Communism?

No! Communism has utterly failed anyone that has experimented with it.  Many in an ideal world with ideal people it would work, but the world we live in is not ideal.  It is fallen.  A fallen world will never be suitable for a perfect system.  I am not saying that we must accept all the negatives of Capitalism.  We can try to tweak it through legislation.  We do not have to accept it the way it plays out.  However, it must nonetheless be recognized that all ideals are subject to reality.  Capitalism works in our fallen world, more or less, while Communism fails, every time.  Therefore, next time you get in a debate on this, at least debate it from the perspective of reality, not from the perspective of your dreams.

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