Friday, October 12, 2012

Re: Communism v. Capitalism

Why is this even still a question? We've done the experiment twice already.

Take a society of diligent, hardworking people with the same heritage and cultural values, put half of them under Communism and half under Capitalism, and come back and check the cars forty years later. Capitalism gives a range of vehicle choices ranging from the diesel Golf to the Benz 600SEL, and Communism produces the Trabant, and so few of those that they have to be rationed at that.

In the follow-on experiment, Capitalism produces the Hyundai Genesis and Equus, and Communism produces the... the... does North Korea even have an auto industry?

(Because I hate it when a bon mot dropped in comments elsewhere turns into something long enough to be a post-ette here.)


Divemedic said...

That's because the right people haven't tried it yet. Just ask one of the American communists, and they'll explain how it will work this time, on account of how smart they are.

RevolverRob said...

I saw a bunch of Trabants when I was in Dresden. I was enamored with the idea of buying one, shipping it home, ripping out the Communist suck and dropping in a giant big block turbocharged American V8.

I still want to do it. Because I live in a Capitalist society and not a suck ass Commie one.


Ken O said...

Look at communism and socialism like cocaine. You know it's a bad idea. You've heard the horror stories. "But that will never happen to me, besides, think of how much I can get done!" it might even seem to work for a little while until addiction to cocaine or government sets in.

Angus McThag said...

The Trebbie is even worse.

Communism didn't just do that to people, it did that to GERMANS!

westofthewest said...

"Communism didn't just do that to people, it did that to GERMANS!"


Panamared said...

Neither of the examples are true communism, they are extreme examples of socialism. But that said, these governments have in common the grinding destruction of the human spirit. Socialism seems to manage that, in direct proportion to the degree of complete control, the government maintains over the people.

Tam said...


Well, to be fair, neither of the counterexamples are exactly what you'd call straight-up laissez faire Capitalism, either.

Let's just say that the countries that had less socialist governments did better than the ones with more socialist ones. ;)

Anonymous said...

Capitalism makes a VW Rabbit
Socialism makes a Fiat Multipla
Communism make a Yugo


Bubblehead Les. said...

True Story Time. Summer of '74, I get to go to Hungary for a month to visit the relatives. At Grandma's hometown of Miskolc, the local Grocery Store looks like a Piggly-Wiggly 5 hours before a Hurricane makes Landfall. And it stayed that way for the 3 weeks we were there.

Head up to Budapest and we stay at my Uncle's place. He's part of the Political Elite, so we go to his "Grocery Store." Actually, it was Street Full of Shops, with a CheckPoint manned by the local PoPo armed with AKs. We had to be signed in and get Passes, and then we got to Shop.

Ever been to a "Haute Couture" Dress Shop that had a small brass sign by the door that said "Clara Rothschild?"

So True Communism DOES Work. For a few people , at least.

JohninMd(help!) said...

Under Communism, the party "eletes" live the life of, say, upper middle-class America, while the lowest class folk--- let's just say February in a Siberian Gulag must really suck a lot.

Anonymous said...

"I saw a bunch of Trabants when I was in Dresden. I was enamored with the idea of buying one, shipping it home, ripping out the Communist suck and dropping in a giant big block turbocharged American V8. "

Waste of time. The whole car was a disaster, by the time you got to swapping the tranny, the suspension, and the Frame, to handle the horsepower and basically re-doing the body work so it wouldn't rust on contact with a pitying look and the interior so it would not disintegrate in the sunlight or cold or melt if water got in, and the instrument panel to make sure it worked it basically wouldn't be a Trabant in any way.

In it's favor the two-stroke engine was easy to fix.

Anonymous said...

"Why is this even still a question? We've done the experiment twice already."

I have the same feeling about R^2 vs NoHope and NoChange, and I don't even particularly like R^2...

Scott J said...

When I visited Russia in 2004 I became enamored with the Lada Niva.

I thought they were cool even though I knew they were commie crap.

Wolfman said...

My wife made a chilling comment a while back. We were talking about Cuba, Cambodia et al at the time. She's a semireformed utopian communist from youth; her comment was along the line that Communism wasnt supposed to be for developing areas- it was supposed to be for Post-Industrial societies- she never made the connection that entails. Communism cannot create, it can only consume. Even yhe 'But We can do it RIGHT' crowd admits it was always about killing off the successful and stealing their stuff.

NotClauswitz said...

Summer of '76 I crossed Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. It was an ugly, empty, vacuous Concrete Palace, full of paranoid people spying on each other and Russian tourists in Clothing that looked like it was cut from carpet and upholstery remnants or material suitable for floor-covering. Heavy tweed-weaves in colors of bitter cyanidal orange and radioactive chartreuse, flecked with the bile of chemical-purple...
Communism is like the so-called "conversation" that anti-gun people claim they want to have with us "crazy gun-lovers" - as if we've never even talked before.
In order to claim the "moral high ground" and take away your gun-rights they, "Call for a conversation." It's just a Leftist academic group exercise of criticism/self-criticism before the court of Public Opinion (and behind closed-doors if allowed). It's a circular firing squad that they expect you to enter and become defeated by their repetitious circular logic and Kool-aid.
We've had the conversation over and over, and based on real numbers, real FACTS, and non-circular logic they always LOSE. But based on the sheer brain-rot and the insanity that it (and communism/cocaine) produces, they keep coming back *hoping* to win. This in itself is ample evidence of scientific, logical, and mental instability that is on display as they repeat the same mistakes and wrong-processes over and over, expecting different results.
It's like the old military belief in a massed charge or sea-of-troops attack. It's like the Canadian academic Russian-girl Captain Capitalism linked, breathing a caricature of all Lefty academic-thinking - that they are more special somehow because of that background, and given the dementia it produces (Trabants and Volgas and giant steam turbines) believing it - despite all the evidence and all the repeated failures to the contrary, and despite the fact that the conversation has occurred repeatedly, they act as if it has not and that they are *special* and only need to bring it up again. Talk about the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, they has it in spades, and over ice. Trabant vs. Aston-Martin DB5 - it was already over when Bond was a youngster drinking shaken martinis...

Jerry said...

I attended the Woodward Dream Cruise a few years ago. I'll never forget it. I stepped to the kerb expecting cool, custom hot-rods and the first thing I saw was a Trabant. I swear birds were dropping off the wires as it drove by in a cloud of blue smoke.

Anonymous said...

Gotta admit that the impoverishment, formerly known as communism unleashed, sure does eventually produce a bumper crop of hungry slavic lap dancers.

Borepatch said...

It's actually been tested a bunch of times:

East Germany/West Germany
North Korea/South Korea
Red China/Taiwan

Not always a precise match, but generally close. The results are always the same: per capita GDP for countries on the left is 15-20% of per capita GDP of countries on the right.

Reason did a comparison with twice as many (and numbers from OECD). The only explanation for why progressives still love communism is what Kevin keeps saying: Some dreams are so beautiful that they'll keep being tried, no matter how many die in the process.

Scott J said...

This is only semi related since it's about cars but I seek sympathy from my fellow gearheads.

In late July we lost my wife's A4 to a rear-ender. We searched for a month for a replacement for a month finally settling on a 2001 A6.

We lost it today when someone turned left in front of my wife.

NotClauswitz said...

The Big Lie depends on repetition for it's sustaining "truthy-ness" among the gullible-set, and Communism is to Capitalism as Astrology is to Astronomy.
Each un-real belief-system has a semi-arcane nomenclature of words and phrases used to describe (and disguise) actual physical phenomenon, but they are twisted in the service off a belief system that is irreducible and fake. Sure, numbers (as applied to "Marxist Economics") are added and subtracted and multiplied as-if they belonged on a real balance-sheet or accountant's ledger - but they don't mean a thing because the equation(s) used to derive the results have a major ideological diversion/driver. The Moon is in the Seventh House and the Consumer Labor figures for the Five-Year plan are aligned with Mars and Crop-circle frequency. It's not *just* numbers but pronouncements - and that is just not scientific or rational.

Anonymous said...

So...what of the ChiComs? Or is it ChiCaps? Or both?

Whatever, right now they own our, our kids and our grandkids asses.

Joe in PNG said...

Anon 8:27- Remember Japan Inc. back in the late '80s? China is that today, and headed in exactly the same direction.

Steve Skubinna said...

Intellectuals (whatever the hell that really means) are always enamored of totalitarian schemes because, in spite of all historical evidence, they firmly believe that being smarter than everyone else they will end up in charge.

And yet they are not likely to claim that Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Cheausescu, Kim Il-Sung or Pol Pot were the smartest guys in their respective countries. It never seems ot click that when you abandon all legal restraint, the people who rise to the top are always the most ruthless.

CGHill said...

Lucky (certainly not prescient) me, I have an actual post on North Korean cars.

perlhaqr said...

Rob: Can't do it. EPA won't let 'em in. The East Germans made the body panels out of pressed fibers, basically like MDF. But being a Soviet satellite state, they had to do it in he most poisonous way possible, so the glue or whatever in 'em is really nasty stuff. They pollute groundwater just sitting still.

Anonymous said...

Joe in PNG:

"Remember Japan Inc. back in the late '80s? China is that today..."

Well, except for having 1000% more expendable flesh 'n blood collateral and a massive nuclear military capability, control of a huge percentage of the planet's natural resources, industrial infrastructure and economic power, and the land mass for perpetual self-sufficiency, yeah I guess you're right.

The point though, is refutation of the assertion that no communist society has been sustainable. The formula of melding the principles of communism and the practices of capitalism, has made the ChiComCaps the sleeping giant of global influence, and nobody wants to disturb his slumber, and it's why no one even wants to say his name in discussions of world influence and/or domination.

bob r said...

Anonymous at 10:10 AM:
"The point though, is refutation of the assertion that no communist society has been sustainable."

You seem to be implying that China is an example of a "sustainable" communist society. That's some funny stuff right there. If I said something like that I wouldn't want my name on it either. But then I've got a little more sense than to say something quite that stupid.

Anonymous said...

Because the linkless letters in "bob r" are way different than those in "anonymous". How clueless to irony can one be?

Which puts the lie to this: "I've got a little more sense than to say something quite that stupid."

Do you have something to say in reference to the Chinese brand of commie-ism and why you think it not sustainable, or do you just like to make moronic and unsubstantiated statements?

the real Mr. O said...

Four years ago, give or take a month, I was on my way home from Coal Creek Armory and stopped at the traffic light for Lovell Road and Kingston Pike.

Ahead of me, on a BMW much like mine, was a bumper sticker that read:

Trabant Owners for Obama

I laughed so hard that I missed the light turning green and somebody behind me got impatient and blew their shitty little single-tone blatter to encourage me to move.

Every time I hit that intersection a smile crosses my lips.

Seerak said...

If you examine what the Chinese are actually doing, you'll notice that the data actually confirms, not refutes, the noted pattern. China is simply attempting to figure out how to have capitalism without liberty. The approach they adopted was to desgnate special economic zones (usually cities) which are exempt from most of the controls sTrangling the rest of the country. The plan was to have the economic productivity of these capitalist zones subsidize the rest of it while attempting to contain the cultural effects of people in those zones realizing that liberty is indivisible, that economic liberty is liberty itself, that capitalism and freedom are of a piece.

Contradictions cannot exist. China is in the midst of an unstable experiment, which sooner or later is going to get out of their control.

Anonymous said...

Seerak: Well-reasoned and well-said. But while I agree with much of your comment, your first and last sentence assertions are not yet proven.

Tam's post title and examples are ripped from tenth grade civics class, and while accurate, they presume that further experiments will repeat the proven folly of those first ones.

Communism at its best (from each, to each) is not that much different from Capitalism at its worst (redistribution through taxation). The Soviets and the NoKos have proven that the former can't exist at all, the Euros are fast proving that the latter can't exist for long, and certain elements right here are trying again, but harder, to use the same methods to reach a different conclusion. It won't work of course, and to that extent Tam's rhetorical first sentence question is accurately incredulous. But it can cause terrible if not terminal damage if allowed to continue.

China's approach is different. Its heart is blood-red communist, but its mind thinks in green. And with the complicity of Wally and Apple et al, has combined the two to amass incredible economic and military power, and possibly a critical mass. They ain't your daddy's commies; they're a lot smarter...and way more dangerous.

Their approach of learning from the mistakes of their philosophical predecessors while embracing the methods and exploiting the weaknesses and naivety of their philosophical opposites, is unprecedented and heretofore extremely effective. To what end we can only speculate, and many choose not to.

While I do believe your last statement will ultimately prove true for the reasons you mention, Seerak, we better hope that it's sooner rather than later, or it just might be *too* late.