- Capitalism and Alternatives -

....and then think for a moment or two

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 14, 1999 at 20:17:05:

In Reply to: Go and live in Cambodia for 12 months posted by Darcy Carter on September 14, 1999 at 01:36:56:

: I really wonder if people with attitudes like yours have ever been to a "third-world" country, let alone a socialist one. I recommend a trip to, say, India and Communist China before spouting ill-informed nonsense about the USA being poverty stricken and socialism being the panacea of the world's ills.

I've visited India before, as all my relatives are from there. You probably know that three of India's states, totaling about 110 million people, live under communist governments that they elected (and re-elected many times.) The conclusion seems obvious, that these people are smart enough to see that communism offers the only hope of actually bettering their lives.

: You would observe that we who are lucky enough to live in Western democracies, even if we are poor by the standards of these societies, live a life of paradise compared to the vast majority of those from the rest of the world.

Really? Were you perchance aware that a Cuban on average lives longer than an American, a Shanghainese longer than a New Yorker, and a black man from Sao Tome longer than a black man from Harlem. Or that starvation and destitution are rare in any genuine socialist / communist society?

: Communism has been tried in case you have been living in a box all of your life:

Most of those experiments weren't genuine communism, the ones that did make an effort at democratic communism generally succeeded. Look at what social indicators like life expectancy, infant mortality, education, as well as things like inequality and satisfaction with the government, did during genuine democratic-communist or socialist revolutions. Such as the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the parliamentary communism in Kerala or Bengal, the Sankaraist Revolution in Burkina Faso, or the Marxists in Namibia or Zimbabwe. Invariably conditions becme better in every regard. Even some states which are not fully democratic, like Cuba and Laos, still have made immense steps forward that put teh rest of teh world to shame.

: - it caused more misery than any other human construct in history (apart from religion).

Great, an atheist anti-communist, the worst of both worlds.

: It might interest you to know that 170 million people have been killed, this century, by their own governments. The majority of these are in countries that were, or still are, communist.

Please, don't make me laugh. Was it communism that causes 40 million people a year to starve to death, by making your access to food dependent on the amount of money you wield? Was it communism that was responsible for the three bloodiest slaughters of the century, measured by % of population killed. (Germans in Namibia, Belgians in the Congo, and Indonesia in East Timor.) Was it communism that is responsible for the misery and inequality found in much of teh 3rd world today. Think about this for a moment, and you will see that the anwwers are "no, no, no."

Yes, a few communist leeaders committed genocides in the name of communism. Such atrocities as the extermination of Native Americans, Tasmanians, and others were committed to further capitalism. But of course in neither case do these tell us anything about the ideology involved. People will kill in the name of virtually everything. Stalinism is not Communism, just as the Inquisition was not Catholicism. The valid comparison between communism and capitalism is that states which go from capitalism to social tend to do better in terms of standard of living while those that go from socialism to capitalism invariably see the standard of living fall.

: Go and live in Cambodia for 12 months (which had the benefit of a great "socialist" revolution a few years ago) and let us all know how you got on. I'm msure you'd find grinding poverty, disease, starvation, early death and the threat arbitrary arrest and / or violence a welcome change from the rigors political freedom and affluence.

1. Cambodia was not socialist. Pol Pot killed people if they didn't harvest enough rice. That takes the capitalist ideal of paying for performance to its disgustsing extreme, and is logically incompatible with communism.

2. Pol Pot said "I am not a communist".

3. There is such a thing as democratic communism, in case you weren't aware. It is logically disingenuous to use Cambodia as an example of communism, and not to mention Nicaragua, Kerala, etc. Cambodia represented, at ebst, one face; Nicaragua represented another.

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