- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Spoken like a true believer...

Posted by: Stoller on September 28, 1999 at 12:17:02:

In Reply to: Ode to Socialism posted by Stuart Gort on September 27, 1999 at 01:52:21:

Not bad, considering the reliance upon lazy rhymes (such as water----fodder). And speaking of lazy, that seems to be your main point:

>Just find you a box or go sponge off your neighbor.
Just live off the fruits of another man's labor.

The argument that Communism makes people lazy is quite the old saw. As old---and discredited---as the idea that people will work best if economic disparity is open to them.

Consider that '[i]n 1990, the incomes of the highest decile of the Soviet population were only four times higher than those of the lowest decile' and that '[b]y the end of 1995, the spread increased to twenty-three times.'(1) Shall we now observe that 'good, old fashioned' incentive has saved the day in Russia? Or shall we consider the fact that most Americans (wage-laborers employed under the Babbage Principle) receive little incentive at all when they go to work (other than privation)? Speaking of incentive, you might like to read up on some Skinner, an expert on incentive systems (Schedules of Reinforcement, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1959), who I highly recommend on the subject.

1. Menshikov, 'Russian Capitalism Today,' Monthly Review 51: 1, July/August 1999, p. 86.

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