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Old 07-31-2005, 12:02 PM
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Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

why do you think the socialist systems of government that have been implemented in the past have failed? what were its problems?

one of the biggest problems i think was the fact that there was never a socialist government that was truly represetative of and held accountable to the people. but is it even possible to maintain a socialist system if the system was democratic or a true republic (law makers would not have to be "approved" by the current governing body). would such a system basically move away from socialism?

another problem is collective ownership of the means of production. in practice, this has not exactly promoted innovation, and it ignores the fact that many people do want to be business owners or land owners. and would it even be possible to continue collective ownership if the government was truly representative of the people? or would people choose to end collective ownership?

and if there was private ownership, how do we solve the problems that socialism was to solve by way of eliminating it?
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:35 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

I think the main reason that Communism/Socialism failed is because those types of systems remove any incentive to work hard.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:56 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

QUOTE:
Originally Posted by LaiSteve66
I think the main reason that Communism/Socialism failed is because those types of systems remove any incentive to work hard.
actually, i think that's a common misconception propagated by American education about communism in the beginning of the Cold War. but i think, at least in China, during different periods of its communist days, people were pretty driven by patriotism to work hard for the collective good. i know that, also, workers were given bonuses for doing exceptionally well, so it's not that there's no personal incentive for working hard.

basically i don't think socialism is against paying people more for exceptional work, it is just against private ownership of the means of production.
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:53 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

Why did it fail? Rampant Capitalism still rules the world, that's why it failed.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:16 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

Socialism failed because of human nature and natural tendencies towards self-centered behavior, natural tendency for power to corrupt (and ultimately you need people in power for any system to work no matter how socialist), citizens not motivated to work any harder than anyone else if there is no additional benefit, etc. Capitalism may be a necessary evil that has proven to be more workable than socialism simply because it takes human selfishness into consideration and allows individuals to pursue their own selfish ends within the confines of a controlled system upholding specific societal standards.

Last edited by Napoleon Chynamite; 07-31-2005 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:25 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

I don't believe social darwinism is the sole excuse that we can cultivate to explain why more community oriented governments don't work. I believe that it's a lot of reasons, whether that be culture, practice and experience working in a statehood, societal impacts, and economic factors need to be examined. Dismissing the impacts of these things are dismissing a larger scope in which to explain the problems of socialism. I believe that socialism does have its merits, but in a world where capitalism will continually force its own dissemination and promote a particular sort of economic competition, socialism was dealt a losing hand.

Aren't many European governments (like Sweden) Socialist Democracies? Where MANY things like medicine, housing, and education are considered RIGHTS. Unlike in the United States a Capitalistic Democracy which considers these same ideas privileges. Give me a Socialist Democracy.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:30 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

^ I believe socialism is too idealistic and looks great on paper, and quite frankly while you can argue for something to be said about the influences of capitalism and the promotion of economic competition, there's no reason why you can 't make a case for the reverse. One can argue yes that the pressures and promotion of capitalism on a global scale is stronger due to the traditional economic and military dominance of western powers, but to me this simply means that the governments and citizens of these previously socialist countries sold out their own ideologies to the seductiveness of economic gain just like the western powers who shoved this ideology in their faces did so long before. Why are socialists more easily influenced by the capitalist ideology than vice versa? Because economic and selfish gain appeal to the corruptable nature of human beings. I agree that explanations regarding human nature are not the sole excuse and that many other processes of socialization and historical trends have much to explain for perhaps why socialism has not gained such a strong foothold, but even if this were to have happened I believe it would have just been a matter of time before it proved unworkable, it just would have taken longer. Perhaps this is why many advocate for a blend of socialism and capitalism or the promotion of a social democracy designed to take into account natural human tendencies and selfish wants while seeking to preserve social fairness and equality on a variety of different levels deemed necessary.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:37 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

You do know that capitalism works under a socialist government?
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:39 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

^ Then it's not really socialist, is it? Kinda like China, which sold out its communist ideologies at least in the economic realm long ago (with the political realm sure to follow). Not saying it's a bad or good thing, but my point is it simply isn't socialist anymore unless you want to go into semantics. The core capitalist focus of the accumulation of capital via hard work or ambition for one individual or entity in comparison with the rest of the citizens of the state is pretty darn incompatible with the core communist focus of putting the state and the people first. Of course you could once again argue that a social democracy is both capitalist AND socialist, whereas I see them as purely neither.

Last edited by Napoleon Chynamite; 07-31-2005 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:42 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

QUOTE:
Originally Posted by Gumby
^ Then it's not really socialist, is it? Kinda like China, which sold out its communist ideologies at least in the economic realm long ago (with the political realm sure to follow). Not saying it's a bad or good thing, but my point is it simply isn't socialist anymore unless you want to go into semantics.
LOL. Right. Depends on how you define socialism? Capitalism isn't necessarily always in free markets and socialism doesn't mean the state control ALL functions.

We don't live in a democracy, do we now?
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:50 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

^ I guess that's why social-democracies are all the rage among topics of liberal discussion on campus these days. But as far as I'm concerned a government that allows for economic freedom as defined by capitalist proponents can never be called truly socialist. Again China is a perfect example. After the conversion to a free market economy under Deng Xiao Ping's reforms, the rich-poverty gap has increased and the situation of women's rights and equality has actually gotten worse.
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:51 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

QUOTE:
Originally Posted by Gumby
^ I guess that's why social-democracies are all the rage among topics of liberal discussion on campus these days. But as far as I'm concerned a government that allows for economic freedom as defined by capitalist proponents can never be called truly socialist. Again China is a perfect example. After the conversion to a free market economy under Deng Xiao Ping's reforms, the rich-poverty gap has increased and the situation of women's rights and equality has actually gotten worse.
The same can be said that no truly capitalistic state can be truly democratic. China isn't an example because it was a Communist country, but as you can see has slowly moved toward privatization and foreign investment.
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Old 07-31-2005, 03:05 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

QUOTE:
Originally Posted by hooligan
The same can be said that no truly capitalistic state can be truly democratic. China isn't an example because it was a Communist country, but as you can see has slowly moved toward privatization and foreign investment.
I guess we can argue all day about just how "capitalist" or "democratic" certain governments are and just how "socialist" other systems of authority have proven themselves to be over the years, but ultimately there is this trend of socialist and communist governments coming to embrace capitalist ideology than vice versa due to reasons we somewhat disagree on (with me leaning towards the natural state of human nature and you leaning towards both current and historical global trends of influence and socialization). My stance is that humans and governments are simply more easily seduced by capitalist ideas than by socialist ones.

You do notice that it's mainly the have-nots and the underprivileged that fight for privilege and change in the first place right? To me it's equally understandable why those who already have the privilege would be, as a whole, unwilling to give up this power. The mere gist of this, the fact that people without power are doing what they can to get power, and that the people in power are doing what they can to stay in power; This is enough to convince me just why socialism has been tossed aside, or at the very least, compromised, for capitalist tenets and thinking. Contrarily, as for progressive change on the part of the government towards more socialist ideals and going along with my cynical train of thought, I believe it only happens when the government is pushed by, once again, those from the underprivileged or lower classes or by the threat of revolution or uprising.

Last edited by Napoleon Chynamite; 07-31-2005 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 07-31-2005, 03:10 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

Exactly my point, but social darwinism isn't the sole reason for this to happen. You can't just surmise it as human nature. And that's what I'm arguing, there are so many different factors that may influence the world and simply to dismiss more open-minded people because their governments have been unduly influenced by international or capitalistic factors may be your fallacy.

Also, Communism was never about promoting a Nationalistic movement seen in many countries, but has been a new dimension to traditional Marxism you see in China today.

It's kind of funny because the middle-class has been the ones that inspire revolutions. Kay and I were just talking about this, but I agree with your arguments about the loss of privilege though.
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Old 07-31-2005, 03:29 PM
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Re: Why did socialism fail? What were its problems, and can they be avoided or solved?

^ Well members of the lower-class often do not have access to higher education, are often unaware of the factors and systemic causes behind their current situations of economic hardship and struggle, are unaware of their political options even if they wanted to take some sort of action much less the potential consequences of their actions (positive or negative), and finally, there is a serious lack of efforts to politically mobilize individuals in poorer communities. Furthermore, when you're struggling day to day with 2 full-time jobs just to put food on the table for you and your family, extracurricular political activity such as campaigning, writing letters, protesting, lobbying, etc. is probably the last thing on your mind. This may also explain for why many of lower socio-economic status may harbor more conservative ideologies over their educated middle-class counterparts. It's not too surprising to note that the members of the middle-class or lower-middle class, many of which have actually received the amount of education necessary to become informed about such societal ills as well as what they can actually do about it, would be at least the initiators of any type of progressive or social movement - although there needs to be more effort in rallying and raising awareness among the poor.

Ultimately however, I guess we're at a standstill. To me it's still apparent that it's the poor and those without power fighting for more equality and power, and it's the rich (even the educated rich who have perhaps already learned about how systemic qualities have reinforced hierarchies and wealth gaps) having the tendency to support policies which keep or protect their power and wealth. Among the middle class you will find those that identify more with the poor and those that identify more with the currently existing power structure. It's my belief that people simply will not take action, support certain laws or policies, or fight for something in which they stand little to gain, I guess from this is how I've arrived at my current conclusion(s). For now I'm not sure how to proceed, but I'd be interested to see what others think.

Last edited by Napoleon Chynamite; 07-31-2005 at 03:33 PM.
 

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