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Communism Logic

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Motivation

Firstly, before delving into such a hot topic, it's worth mentioning the reason for discussing it. As I write, it's currently late September of 2019 and there is a reasonable chance that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, could be the next leader of the UK in the upcoming general election. This is at a time when we find ourselves seemingly on our way out of the European Union (i.e. Brexit). Tensions are high and nobody quite knows exactly what will happen, both inside and outside of the UK.

The following video is of Jeremy Corbyn arguing for the implementation of Socialism throughout the UK, from late 2013 at the Oxford Union. At the time of writing, the video has 800k+ views, 13k upvotes and 8k downvotes. If you can find it, the rest of the talks for and against the proposition of socialism are very much worth hearing.

NOTE: Original here.

Ground Rules

Here I present a few ground rules:

  1. As Vladimir Lenin once said: "The goal of socialism is communism". I believe it to be a reasonable stance that when arguing for Socialism, Corbyn also argues for Communism, or at least the majority of it's practices. I hereby treat them as the same, with very little difference between the two ideologies.

  2. I won't argue from a perspective of history. Communism doesn't have such a great track record and arguably there is high correlation between Fascism and Communism also. As Communist supporters often reject history with the rhetoric: "They didn't try hard enough", let us ignore the teachings of history and approach this purely logically.

  3. The normal argumentation "rules": I don't aim to attack anybody's character, intelligence, etc. The aim is to keep this on topic. I genuinely do believe that the majority of supporters of this ideology do in fact have the best of intentions in mind, so my aim is show them (or you) that these efforts could be better guided.

I'll attempt to section the rest of my argument up in order to keep ideas and concepts together.

Idealism

As you may notice from Jeremy Corbyn's talk, he argues from a perspective of idealism. One must have much respect for that, much of politics ends up losing it's idealism and morality in favour of compromise. In this section we'll discuss some of his points and discuss the concept of idealism in general.

Social Care

The points he raises about the US's healthcare system are accurate and do represent a massive problem. How can a Country with arguably the most advanced medicine and best health care in the world have so many people unable to access it? As with many things, it comes down to money. People find themselves either unable to afford it or trapped in policies where they are not able to access the help they require.

In the scenario of the US's healthcare, capitalism has failed to provide an adequate solution. But there is no reason for this to be the case. As is well known, pure capitalism doesn't work, it needs to be carefully guided with regulations in place to ensure monopolies are not formed and corporations don't act against the interests of the people. The reason this doesn't exist in the US is actually part of a larger problem, political donations, lobbying and other forms of back scratching are not correctly regulated. This is because the system rewards those persons with more money and there's little to no incentive to change it. To fix this, regulations regarding financing of politics needs to be more strictly created and controlled.

Once a proper competitive market is created, companies are then incentivized to bid against one another in a race to the bottom to gain customers. Like British supermarkets, they'll eventually reach some floor (and sometimes even go beyond it).

The National Health Service (NHS) on the other hand, whilst being "free" and "accessible", still fails to deliver quality and competitive service. Waiting times for some operations are exceptionally high, people often abuse the system in order to not pay for over-the-counter drugs or cosmetic operations, the hospitals are often under-staffed and many of the hospitals are classed as "failing". Better yet, as there is little to no competition, the NHS is often forced to buy very expensive drugs through tedious contracts.

Both capitalist and communist social care systems have their positives and negatives, it's not nearly as clear cut as Corbyn makes it appear. I'll concede that when it comes to basic survival, a Socialist model can possibly be effective, as long as Capitalistic elements are introduced. Public Schools for example work quite well, because the option of private Schools exist in tandem, ensuring that there is competition.

Planet Survival

Corbyn raises the point of planetary survival and how corporations are incentivized to exploit natural resources. Capitalism works on the basis of supply and demand, to prevent the use of oil for example, either the demand for it should be dropped (i.e. renewable sources, taxes, etc) or the government can enforce regulations (force manufacturers to produce electric vehicles). It's only through a complete lack of effort that such changes haven't already been made.

With Capitalism, the individual is empowered to spend their money responsibly. By winning the hearts and minds of the people, it is possible for the people alone to create large-scale change. Just look at Starbucks and paper straws, people saw a turtle with a straw lodged into its nasal cavity and they went about bringing change. Recycling is yet another success story of Capitalism, as well as electric vehicles. By slowly changing the social attitudes towards these subjects the collective of individuals can introduce global changes.

With Communism on the other hand, changes are enforced by the government alone, whose sole motivation is to deliver a "fair society". This does not allow the individual to help bring about change. What's more is the government is not incentivized to make any changes that may affect the economy and therefore the people's belief in their centralized decision making capabilities (more on this later).

An example in China (a Communist Country as of writing) is where the government has banned the use of coal through harsh winters in the North, which in turn has lead to deaths and harsh living conditions. The central government rolled out a blanket policy it saw fit as beneficial to the people, and in doing do was inflexible to the needs of the remote few. A Capitalist nation on the other hand may have implemented different laws in different areas depending on need, or better yet subsidised companies that offer renewable sources of heating.

Free Market

This brings us nicely towards the power of the free market. As long as monopolies are avoided, good competition exists and regulations are in place, companies are incentivized to deliver exactly what the people want at the lowest possible price point. In this case, the majority dictates the future, without the need for intervention from government authorities.

If Capitalism tends towards delivering what the majority of people want, Communism can be considered the opposite, where often it fails to deliver what the majority of people want, in fear of introducing inequality. As an individual, if I am willing to sacrifice something important for something else I deem important, I am unable to do so as the state enforces what I must have.

With Capitalism you have a system that allows for the majority of people themselves to select what they want and with Communism you have the state trying to (and often failing) to predict what the people want. Surely, if you want to act within the best interests of the people, you would empower them to be able to make their own decisions? And herein lies a simple truth: Communism isn't about doing the right thing, it's about a bunch of people in power getting together and deciding what the right thing is. It relies very heavily on those people knowing what the right thing is to do.

Centralization Vs Decentralization

This is an argument to efficiency. Whilst micro-managing can reveal the greatest optimizations for any given system, there are a few issues:

Of course, the response to the last point from Communism is to simply "tax the rich more". Of course, you can only tax somebody however much they are willing to be taxed. Any more than this amount and you'll find they are either better off not paying it or they find creative ways to hide their wealth, including business assets and moving to low-tax havens.

Once the money bags (rich people) are depleted, once the environment is exhausted of all natural resources, the only place to find more wealth is from the people, the working people, the people who can ill afford to provide more.

Reliance

Another major issue with centralization is that people become overly reliant on the system to provide. "I don't have to go to work, the system will provide". "I don't need to save for a house, the system will provide". You get the point. People are not motivated to perform their best because the outcome is the same for the majority.

In a Capitalist society, those who work hard tend to be rewarded. There is a carrot. Those who work against the system are often punished. There is stick. Those people who don't aspire to better their own situation can comfortably sit between the carrot and the stick, but still remain a productive member of the society.

Fundamental Failure

Communism fails because of one simple reason: It assumes we are all equal. I look around me and I see individuals, with different wants and needs. I see children with dreams of becoming footballers, celebrities, astronauts, engineers - each of these goals requiring different and often specialized resources.

Current State

This is where I break my three promises previously made and get a little more political. You may be asking yourself: "Surely, the UK is very far away from Communism, it's only Socialism we want". Well Comrade, things are not all they seem. The slow drift into Communism has already begun:

The list could go on forever. The UK is steadily slipping into a Marxist society. Communism looks attractive on the outside, but on the inside it's fundamentally flawed.