What is Socialism? Many will tell you that socialism is a moderate form of Communism. Others claim them to be two distinctly different and opposite theories, communism being a cruel and harsh failure and socialism being an enlightened and successful theory. Both of these notions are false though. A recent popular distinction defines one as government controlling the means of production and the other as “the people” controlling the means of production. This too is false considering that the pursuit of either such definition is prone to developing government management of human activity. Though theory may claim distinctions between the two, in practice they become one in the same. The idea of the sharing of incomes and government management of resources exists with little distinction from communism and its euphemistic partner socialism. In practice though the same problems plague both as freedom becomes necessarily usurped and trampled on due to abuse of power, economic impossibility, and unforeseen and unintended variables among other things. Because of socialism’s inherent failures, it tends to resort to extreme measures. Communism is essentially Marx’s name for socialist like systems. The only reason communism is equated with more extreme is mostly due to its acquaintance to the Soviet Union.
What is Communism? Again to many this definition is often a matter of great confusion. Some think it means socialism with force, others think it is socialism gone bad. A better definition is a utopian plan to enforce complete economic equality and achieve this by means of forced income redistribution and economic management. In short it is the same idea of socialism operating most often under a smaller branch of the socialist following known strictly as the communists. The ideas are practically the same only the name “communists” tend to attract more ideologues due mostly to a desire among them for alienation from a dissenting opposition, the capitalists, and for a hope of haste in implementing their utopian schemes. As displayed below, communism is in essence and in practice the same thing as its euphemized sister socialism.
The Differences Between the Two: The Six Shared Truths: It is hard to fully explain the idea of communism compared to socialism (due much to the fact that communists and socialists have never been able to agree upon and solidly establish exactly what distinguishes one from the other) but a few truths are undeniable:
(1) Both communism and socialism have an end utopian goal of complete equality in their ideal state.
(2) Both communism and socialism employ the practice of centralized economic managing and income redistribution as their primary means of working toward this so called “equality.”
(3) Both communism and socialism experience the same types of problems in accomplishing this economic managing – the unintended side effect.
(4) Both socialism and communism are structured in such a way that an inherent inequality develops from the administrative top of the power structure for such is necessary to enforce compliance. Such compliance must be mandated in a socialist system due to the fact that human nature creates skepticism, opposition to the control of others, and a desire for free will.
(5) In both systems when this unequal elite inevitably emerges, the concentration of widespread power in a single space must intensify. This naturally attracts individuals seeking widespread power, or it corrupts individuals already in power with the lure of the same widespread power.
(6) As a result of the government structures found in both systems, the intensification of power and control on the upper level necessarily translates into the usurpation of remaining personal freedoms during its expansion.
Communism’s failures in practice: Communism’s main failure in practice comes from the failure of a centralized economy to function. Though socialists often attribute it to problems elsewhere, the simple reason behind this occurrence is the mathematic and physical impossibility of managing an economy from a centralized form. One of communism’s main ideals is complete control over industries. In order to efficiently plan industries, communism must simultaneously account for all industries (there are billions of different industries) and their relationship with each other at the same time. Within each specific industry certain goods are internally consumed to produce more of a certain product. An example of this occurrence, which is true in any economic system, is the market for oil. For instance, to drill more oil requires the use of gasoline for transportation, generators, machinery operation, refinery operation, and a dozen other things. Therefore to get more gasoline and drill more oil wells, some existing gasoline must be used up in the process, or internally consumed. This occurrence exists in every industry to varying extents resulting in a massive structure of interlining and constantly changing relationships between all industries. Further, if production in one industry changes, this change effects all other industries in one way or another due to inter linking relationships and internal consumption. On top of these complex internal relations exists a tendency of change relating to substitute and complementary goods effecting related markets and further entangling the complex relationship between industries of a large economy.
This great complexity provides the root of the problem that inherently dooms communism and socialism from the start. To efficiently manage a centralized economy, all variables of that economy must be accounted for mathematically. This means that internal consumption must be fully compensated for and tightly controlled at optimal level by the government. In that case a centralized government would have to develop methods to accurately calculate the internal consumption rate of all other goods by any one particular industry. The only non free market way to do this is through the form of Leontief input-output equationing where detraction rate relations for one particular industry to all other goods are calculated. Taken that an economy can often have several hundred thousand distinct industries, businesses, and goods, a great deal of information must be accumulated to form an equation for one single industry. This would then have to be repeated for every other industry in the economy. Your result: a million distinct equations with a million distinct internal consumption relationship figures within each of these equations (in other words a million large polynomial equations each with a million variables to be solved for i.e.. 0.3x+2y+0.6z+…..=X, large X being the optimal level of production for that particular industry X as desired by the centralized government). Therefore at any given time the centralized economy could require 1 million squared pieces of information, or 1,000,000,000,000 distinct relationships between specified goods in an economy.
The greater problem arises as things are complicated more. Not only must these trillion figures of information be researches and related, but this must be done simultaneously. In other words, the established input-output equations for each industry must be solved in a simultaneous multiplication of matrices incorporating the equations of each and every distinct industry at once (remember solving 3 equations together with 3 variables, x y z, in high school algebra? Imagine that only with 1 million equations and 1 million variables). On top of that, this process must be repeated constantly as relationships change due to external conditions (i.e.. a bad crop or striking a new oil well). Since all markets are tied together in varying degrees of relationships, a change in the corn market due to a bad crop necessarily changes each and every other market on varying degrees. Therefore when one market changes in even the slightest form, the entire process of equationing must be repeated and adjusted.
Taken that such massively complex mathematical relationships are far beyond the capabilities of even the strongest and most modern super computers, it is practically impossible to manage an economy through a centralized government and succeed in doing so (for as has always and will always happen, a non accounted for variable destroys any attempt to manage an economy).
Fortunately there is a system where all factors are accounted for by natural forces and are adjusted for by the forces of self interest working in check to each other requiring no mathematical relationships to be established. The capitalist free market automatically does what socialist managing attempts and fails at doing mathematically. Natural forces of self interest drive a natural and efficient use of resources and natural compensatory adjustment when a change in one industry spreads through all others. The Soviet Union and other socialist countries failed due to the physical impossibility of managing the complex relationships of industry and resources yet capitalism has survived and thrived by naturally carrying out these tasks for they form the very root of the capitalist system. 1.
Communism’s Theoretical Failures: Communism strives for the complete equality of all incomes, and therefore, everything. As income approaches complete equality, productivity disappears. For example: people work so they can make money to support themselves. They work driven by the incentive of making more money and succeeding. In capitalist systems, he who chooses not to work suffers the consequences while he who works receives the incentives, money, which he is working for. Human nature includes a desire to “do better” and, therefore, make more money or advance in a job. In an attempt to make more money, people are driven naturally work harder and longer, seek further education for themselves, and develop skills which distinguish them as rare talents among that labor which is available as supply. Under true communism, income is completely equal. When there is nothing to achieve by working harder or longer, people begin to become idle. People begin to work less or not work at all because there is no longer the incentive of making more money or advancing in job. When there are no workers, production drops to nothing. It will then be true that all incomes are equal but this equal income will be zero.
Marx misjudged the middle class!
Communism’s original and most basic principles deal with the rich owners and the workers or proletariats. Unfortunately for Marx’s cause, a third order was coming to power and it would prove to be the larger and more powerful than either the proletariat or the capitalist aristocracy. This third middle grounds was completely misjudged by Marx and incorrectly lumped in with the bourgeois rich. Marx’s entire theory was based on class struggle and a difference in these classes forcing a revolution to be followed by an “equality” of all classes (the irony: Marx and Engels were factory owners when they published the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital!). The petit-bourgeois, Marx’s term for the middle class, was only to further divide the upper and working classes by an irreconcilable rift. In reality, the opposite happened and the middle class actually bridged any “rift,” that is to say if there was one in the first place! The arrival of the middle class practically ruins any chance for this revolution as well as any need for it. Further it presents a variable unaccounted for simply because it fits incorrectly into the communist and socialist theory. Strange that people put faith in a theory that completely misjudges the majority of the population! 2.
Free will cannot be suppressed: Communism attempts the impossible: to control human individualism by making a society of inherently individual people uniform. Thought is free and independent and, no matter how hard anyone tries, can never be fully controlled. Communism and socialism depend upon ideological compliance with their theories, yet human nature prompts inevitable dissention from such theories. As a result, communism and socialism may achieve full compliance only through coercion, which in turn translates into communism and socialism’s great failure. This failure led to the disastrous massacres of communism which were often attempts to combat opinions different from the communist governments. Try as it may, socialism and communism has never been able to destroy dissenting free thought and form a universal thought: one accepting of the communist/socialist theory necessary for such a theory to be implemented and succeed. It is simply human nature to ask questions and to look for the new and the alternative!
The Bad Always End Up on Top: Due to the fact that free will exists even under the strictest attempts to oppress it simply due to human nature, compliance with socialism and communism becomes a major problem in a communist or socialist state. In order to combat this free will, noncompliance, disagreement, and dissension it often becomes necessary for an inherently unequal elite to assume authority and power in a communist state in effort to combat this problem. A concentration of widespread power arises at the top among those elite as a natural result of there existing a superior few. Just as Lord Acton noticed “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” large amounts of power intensified in a small area tend to attract those hungry for power while corrupting those in power. 3
Examples of “the bad” on top in control economies:
Josef Stalin, Soviet Union
Pol Pot, Kmehr Rouge
Adolph Hitler, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers Party (nazi in short)
Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Union
Fidel Castro, Cuba
Mao Zedong, China
Kim Il Sung, North Korea
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Huey P. Long, communist leaning governor of Louisiana in the 30’s famous for ‘removing’ opposition
Communism’s Death Toll: Communists and socialists will often tell you that capitalism “kills” the poor. Statistically, though, it is communism that is the cause of the greatest massacre in the history of the world. This results from starvation due to failed central economies, political killings of those defiant of the system, and killings due to the abuse of power and tyranny inherent and encouraged by an unchecked system. Approximately 100 MILLION deaths by direct murder worldwide can be traced to communism.
– Soviet Union: between 20 and 50 million were put to death at the hands of this evil empire. (some estimates exceed upward of 50 million. As people were sent to camps, the Soviets often deleted all records of that persons existence making exact totals hard to find) Intentional starvings and man made famines were a major killer in the USSR. Worse were the gulag concentration camps (the Soviet equal to Hitler’s concentration camps). At one point in 1940 Stalin held over 10 million people in the gulag camps. Enemies of the government were enslaved here then worked and tortured to death. Others were lined up in forests, shot, and buried in unmarked graves. In one Polish site from Stalin’s occupation of Poland after treaty with Hitler in 1940, almost 5 thousand captured Polish POW’s were lined up and shot at one time. Other cases involved 10 to 15 thousand being lined up and shot. The majority of these killings took place under Stalin’s regime, often referred to as a “reign of terror.” Stalin is estimated to have put 20% of Russia’s population to death.
– Cambodia: Under the Kmehr Rouge and regime of Pol Pot in the 1970’s, one of the most extreme forms of communism ever was attempted. 2 million were massacred in killing fields in attempts to move toward this “equal form of communism.” The reason behind these massacres came from an attempt to build an “equal” society though the only equality which resulted was death. Those who had distinguishing differences from the government’s planned economy of farmers were murdered. Scientists, doctors, laborers, and teachers with non-agricultural professions were targeted and murdered because they differed from the agricultural profession and created inequalities in jobs. Pol Pot murdered an estimated one fourth of the population of Cambodia.
– China: Mao Tse-Tung’s “Great Step Forward” is widely known as the greatest disaster in attempt of a centralized economy. Countless millions were murdered and starved to death in China during this period. China also established a series of gulag concentration camps under Mao, complete with slave labor employing over 10 million people on numerous occasions. In fact, China still employs widespread forced labor today. Estimates on China suggest the total to be about 40 million dead.
– Vietnam: Though the totals on Vietnam are unknown due to poor record keeping and the fact that Vietnam remains communist today, several hundred thousands were murdered in Stalinist fashion of execution and slave labor camps.
– Others: other death tolls caused by communism by failed schemes in communist China and other communist countries add to the count as do the political prisoners of communism: many who only dared to think freely and differently from the government. Tito’s Yugoslavia has estimates of around 1 million deaths to its credit. Mass murders occurred under the communist/socialist regimes of Fidel Castro in Cuba, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Sandinista’s in Nicaragua, Laos, and Ethiopia. In many of these places we will never know the extent of death caused as a DIRECT result of communism and socialism. 4
Museum of Communism
Every attempt at Communism has either failed or is failing:
Failed Communist and Socialist Societies: Went down with the Berlin Wall, failed due to overthrow by other forces, abandoned by inhabitants.
-Brook Farm and other Utopian Communities
Failing Communist and Socialist Societies: Forced to abandon their theories for moderation, pushed to the brink of failure.
-Cuba: all but abandoned socialism due to poverty, has become a dictatorship
-China: seeking capitalist-like reform with an expanded free trade ever since Mao’s failures
-North Korea: on the brink of starvation due to disastrous failure
Modern Communists and Socialists: A Movement of Fraud
This list explains some of the psychological motives behind the neo-socialist/communist motives as well as identifies some major sub movements within the socialist/communist movements as well as the thinking, and fallacies, behind these movements.
The Poser Commie Movement:
Possibly accounting for over 90% of the people who claim to be socialists or communists, the poser commie movement is typically followed by those of younger age groups. Most who follow this movement tend to adopt socialism for the sole purpose of social deviance and protest of society’s values. In other words, they hear that communism conflicts with freedom, morality, and other mainstream societal values so they claim to be communists to protest exactly such. Poser commie followers rarely demonstrate any actual knowledge themselves of the communist and socialist philosophy, though openly claiming to endorse the philosophy. The poser commie movement is not one of true socialism as it adopts only a title of “socialism” with limited and extremely shallow substance behind it. This movement’s motives tend to be limited to a mentality that communism and socialism are against what America stands for and what society teaches one to stand for and therefore must “cool.” Based almost entirely on a desire to find a method to “defy” and “protest” freedom and democracy with a seemingly obvious opposition to it, poser communism is little more than a following of fraudulent foolishness.
Socialist and Communist Ideologue Movement:
Typically comprised of those who have extensively studied Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky’s writings (and often little more), this movement rarely acknowledges the dismal failures of the communist and socialist philosophies when instituted in practice. Often claiming “True communism has never really been instituted” and insisting that if it were, it would work, the ideologue movement often follows utopian dreams rather than recognizing the flaws of reality. Numerous ideologue web sites promising a better society while claiming to sympathize with the workers in an effort to make everything fair and just have sprung up recently with links to this movement. This ideologue movement is often too deluded to realize flaws exist in the socialist and communist theory and therefore it speaks of a utopia physically unattainable due to inherent flaws and simple impossibility. This highly dogmatic ideologue movement often propagandizes communism and socialism with the writings of Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, and Leon Trotsky while trying to force this type of thought on others.
This small movement is mostly limited to those who seek to use communism and socialism as a facade for achieving power. Many of histories great communist dictators such as Stalin and Castro are perfect examples of demagogues. Quoting communist theories while working their way to power behind the scenes, demagogues often prove extremely tyrannical when finally on top. The demagogue movement is in its own right an uninvited and unwanted branch of communism/socialism that draws to the theory inevitably for communism and socialism often entail wide, unchecked power consolidated in a very defined few plus a resulting need to encroach upon freedom and liberty, as is inherently necessary for implementation of communist and socialist systems.
Old Guard Communist Movement:
The Old Guard Communist Movement is typically a reactionary one comprised of Soviet Union leftovers. Endorsing a return to old Soviet way, though in reality that way was a disastrous failure, as a solution to transition problems in the economies of former Soviet states has become a rallying cry for the Old Guard Movement.
Quotes About Communist Utopias:
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” – Winston Churchill
“A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin
“What was wrong with communism wasn’t aberrant leadership, it was communism” – William F. Buckley, Jr.
“Renounce your consciousness and you become a brute” – Ayn Rand