1. Post #41
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    What exactly do you mean by that?
    That Marxism has no scientific backing.

    The dialectical method itself is a very poor way of acquiring knowledge too.

  2. Post #42
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,048 Posts
    The dialectical method itself is a very poor way of acquiring knowledge too.
    Could you maybe explain this point in some more detail? It sounds a little like you're discrediting almost the entirety of western philosophy.

  3. Post #43
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    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Could you maybe explain this point in some more detail? It sounds a little like you're discrediting almost the entirety of western philosophy.
    Well, it's not discrediting the Anglo-American schools of philosophy, which trend more towards the empirical.

    Dialetics belongs to the continental philosophies.

    My criticism of dialetics is that it should not be used to acquire knowledge from. That is why we have the scientific method, which is superior.

  4. Post #44
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,048 Posts
    I don't know if I agree that the dialectic method and the empirical method necessarily ever have to compete. The dialectic method is naturally prone to empirical evidence. In fact, empirical evidence means nothing without a philosophy of science backing it up: no amount of empirical evidence can be used as empirical evidence of the validity of empirical evidence without arguing totally circularly. So there has to be a rational basis for it. I've often heard people presenting dialectic/empiricism as competing doctrines, but I honestly fail to see why. Philosophers who fail to account for empirical evidence in their philosophies are just bad philosophers, and scientists who refuse to accept the validity of the dialectic method are unable to formally prove anything: even that evidence means anything beyond its instances.

  5. Post #45
    Dennab
    September 2011
    3,417 Posts
    No, no. You didn't understand, I didn't ask for biased books that tell me how communism sucks. I want books that tell me what communism is about.

    Edited:

    The fact that you would even recommend the Black Book shows just how uninformed you are. You might as well start recommending the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to people who ask about Judaism.

    I would recommend, for history:
    Comrades! by Robert Service
    The Red Flag by David Priestland
    1917 by Roy Bainton

    For Communist theory:
    The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels
    The ABCs of Communism by Nikolai Bukharin
    State and Revolution by Lenin
    What is to be Done? by Lenin
    Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder by Lenin
    The Revolution Betrayed by Leon Trotsky
    The Russian Revolution and Leninism or Marxism? by Rosa Luxemburg
    Why Marx was Right by Terry Eagleton

    For Leftist Theory:
    Statism and Anarchy by Mikhail Bakunin
    Marxism, Freedom and the State by Bakunin
    The Struggle Against the State by Nestor Makhno
    My Two Years in Russia by Emma Goldman
    Anarchism: What it Really Stands For by Goldman
    Vision on Fire by David Porter
    Chomsky on Anarchism by Noam Chomsky
    As to Politics by Daniel De Leon
    Reform or Revolution? by De Leon
    Eugene V. Debs Speaks by Eugene Debs
    The Theory of Social Democracy by Thomas Meyer and Lewis Hinchman
    Communism in Central Europe in the Time of the Reformation by Karl Kautsky
    Social Democracy versus Communism by Kautsky
    Thank you comrade

  6. Post #46
    soccerskyman's Avatar
    October 2009
    4,278 Posts
    That Marxism has no scientific backing.

    The dialectical method itself is a very poor way of acquiring knowledge too.
    Once again, I'm talking about anarchist communism, which is separate from Marxism and is a political philosophy, not a historical theory.

  7. Post #47
    Gold Member
    Proffrink's Avatar
    April 2010
    749 Posts
    Here's the thing; I'm not sure if there is ever or can ever be a communistic nation. If you're going for pure Marxism, then you will succeed in building a strong (and possibly utopia-type community), but it's never going to happen because of human nature or outside forces.

    As a theory, the thing is solid, but as you all know, not even Soviet Russia came anywhere close to Marxism in the end.

    There's no half-way-house with Communism - you either do it or you don't - and it just so happens that we're the wrong species to make this happen because we all have brains and some free-will.

    Someone will always want to be better than the man next to them; go Marxist or go home.

  8. Post #48
    Gold Member
    [Seed Eater]'s Avatar
    July 2011
    5,820 Posts
    Here's the thing; I'm not sure if there is ever or can ever be a communistic nation. If you're going for pure Marxism, then you will succeed in building a strong (and possibly utopia-type community), but it's never going to happen because of human nature or outside forces.

    As a theory, the thing is solid, but as you all know, not even Soviet Russia came anywhere close to Marxism in the end.

    There's no half-way-house with Communism - you either do it or you don't - and it just so happens that we're the wrong species to make this happen because we all have brains and some free-will.

    Someone will always want to be better than the man next to them; go Marxist or go home.
    Human nature argument. Tried, countered, argued up and down. Weakest possible argument for this issue. No matter how you rehash it, the human nature argument is wrong because:

    1. There is no settled view on human nature.

    2. Marxism does NOT rely on human nature, humans being nice, or utopias.

    I propose reading the first page for more in depth explanations.

  9. Post #49
    1. There is no settled view on human nature.
    well no but there's also no settled view on diet but I wouldn't advice eating twinkies if you want to lose weight

    2. Marxism does NOT rely on human nature, humans being nice, or utopias.
    of course it does

    Edited:

    The human nature argument is never right anyways. Views on human nature are as subjective as your favorite color being the best one. Capitalists will always say that human nature is only self-interested, and leftists will always say that it is collectivist and that the capitalist view is a social construct.
    no it isn't subjective at all we can fucking study it

    no one informed about the topic sees it as simple as "humans are self-interested". I don't know where exactly you got this from, probably either from the homo economicus "rational man" economic theories, or from confusing proximate with ultimate causation

    if a capitalist says "humans are self-interested" and a leftist says "humans are collectivist", both are equally wrong

    Edited:

    Yet neither of those books really talk about human nature, is the thing. Marx definitely argues that in ancient times and pre-colonial times that primitive human society was more prone to "primitive communism" than exploitative systems, and I would argue that our evolutionary psychology would show that we are naturally collective, as the advent of the family unit and then the community allowed us to survive and prosper through greater production, protection, and development as a species. I'm no psychologist, nor an evolutionary psychologist, so I'm not prepared to say this is the truth or even factually correct, but my basic understanding of the matter would lead me to that conclusion, independent of Marxism.
    this only works in familial environments, it doesn't scale at all. the methods of sharing practiced in families are qualitatively different to those practiced with more distant relatives and strangers, because we share more genes with our close relatives than we do with anyone else. from the gene's point of view, it isn't actually altruism at all because it's simply benefiting copies of itself that reside in the bodies of relatives. for strangers you need a complex web of reciprocity and reputation in order to guarantee that interactions are positive sum, on average.

    if you were to limit all economic activity to the former system the standard of living would plummet

  10. Post #50
    Gold Member
    Proffrink's Avatar
    April 2010
    749 Posts
    Thanks Dain.

    Love how people just refer to the single largest problem with Communism as being "overused" - yes, it's overused because it's damn true.

    Communism has never and will never work so long as we all have brains and an iota of free will - see one-ton nail story.

  11. Post #51
    Here is a brief discussion of the topic of human nature as related to individualism vs. collectivism

    Humans, like ants, could have a gung-ho superorganism thing that prompts them to do everything for the colony. The idea that people are instinctively communal is an important precept of the romantic doctrine of the Noble Savage. It figured in the theory of Engels and Marx that “primitive communism” was the first social system, in the anarchism of Peter Kropotkin (who wrote, “The ants and termites have renounced the ‘Hobbesian war,’ and they are the better for it”), in the family-of-man utopianism of the 1960s, and in the writings of contemporary radical scientists such as Lewontin and Chomsky.41 Some radical scientists imagine that the only alternative is an Ayn Randian individualism in which every man is an island. Steven Rose and the sociologist Hilary Rose, for instance, call evolutionary psychology a “right-wing libertarian attack on collectivity.”42 But the accusation is factually incorrect — as we shall see in the chapter on politics, many evolutionary psychologists are on the political left — and it is conceptually incorrect. The real alternative to romantic collectivism is not “right-wing libertarianism” but a recognition that social generosity comes from a complex suite of thoughts and emotions rooted in the logic of reciprocity. That gives it a very different psychology from the communal sharing practiced by social insects, human families, and cults that try to pretend they are families.

    Trivers built on arguments by Williams and Hamilton that pure, public-minded altruism — a desire to benefit the group or species at the expense of the self — is unlikely to evolve among nonrelatives, because it is vulnerable to invasion by cheaters who prosper by enjoying the good deeds of others without contributing in turn. But as I mentioned, Trivers also showed that a measured reciprocal altruism can evolve. Reciprocators who help others who have helped them, and who shun or punish others who have failed to help them, will enjoy the benefits of gains in trade and outcompete individualists, cheaters, and pure altruists.44 Humans are well equipped for the demands of reciprocal altruism. They remember each other as individuals (perhaps with the help of dedicated regions of the brain), and have an eagle eye and a flypaper memory for cheaters.45 They feel moralistic emotions — liking, sympathy, gratitude, guilt, shame, and anger — that are uncanny implementations of the strategies for reciprocal altruism in computer simulations and mathematical models. Experiments have confirmed the prediction that people are most inclined to help a stranger when they can do so at low cost, when the stranger is in need, and when the stranger is in a position to reciprocate.46 They like people who grant them favors, grant favors to those they like, feel guilty when they have withheld a possible favor, and punish those who withhold favors from them.

    An ethos of reciprocity can pilot not just one-on-one exchanges but contributions to the public good, such as hunting animals that are too large for the hunter to eat himself, building a lighthouse that keeps everyone's ships off the rocks, or banding together to invade neighbors or to repel their invasions. The inherent problem with public goods is captured in Aesop's fable “Who Will Bell the Cat?” The mice in a household agree they would be better off if the cat had a bell around its neck to warn them of its approach, but no mouse will risk life and limb to attach the bell. A willingness to bell the cat — that is, to contribute to the public good — can nonetheless evolve, if it is accompanied by a willingness to reward those who shoulder the burden or to punish the cheaters who shirk it. The tragedy of reciprocal altruism is that sacrifices on behalf of nonrelatives cannot survive without a web of disagreeable emotions like anxiety, mistrust, guilt, shame, and anger. As the journalist Matt Ridley puts it in his survey of the evolution of cooperation:

    Reciprocity hangs, like a sword of Damocles, over every human head. He's only asking me to his party so I'll give his book a good review. They've been to dinner twice and never asked us back once. After all I did for him, how could he do that to me? If you do this for me, I promise I'll make it up later. What did I do to deserve that? You owe it to me. Obligation; debt; favour; bargain; contract; exchange; deal.... Our language and our lives are permeated with ideas of reciprocity.

    Studies of altruism by behavioral economists have thrown a spotlight on this sword of Damocles by showing that people are neither the amoral egoists of classical economic theory nor the all-for-one-and-one-for-all communalists of Utopian fantasies. In the Ultimatum Game, for example, one participant gets a large sum of money to divide between himself and another participant, and the second one can take it or leave it. If he leaves it, neither side gets anything. A selfish proposer would keep the lion's share; a selfish respondent would accept the remaining crumbs, no matter how small, because part of a loaf is better than none. In reality the proposer tends to offer almost half of the total sum, and the respondent doesn't settle for much less than half, even though turning down a smaller share is an act of spite that deprives both participants. The respondent seems to be driven by a sense of righteous anger and punishes a selfish proposer accordingly; the proposer anticipates this and makes an offer that is just generous enough to be accepted. We know that the proposer's generosity is driven by the fear of a spiteful response because of the outcome of two variants of the experiment. In the Dictator game, the proposer simply divides the sum between the two players and there is nothing the respondent can do about it. With no fear of reprisal, the proposer makes a far stingier offer. The offer still tends to be more generous than it has to be, because the proposer worries about getting a reputation for stinginess that could come back to bite him in the long run. We know this because of the outcome of the Double-Blind Dictator game, where proposals from many players are sealed and neither the respondent nor the experimenter knows who offered how much. In this variant, generosity plummets; a majority of the proposers keep everything for themselves.

    And then there is the Public Good game, in which everyone makes a voluntary contribution to a common pot of money, the experimenter doubles it, and the pot is divided evenly among the participants regardless of what they contributed. The optimal strategy for each player acting individually is to be a free rider and contribute nothing, hoping that others will contribute something and he can get a share of their contribution. Of course, if every player thinks that way, the pot stays empty and no one earns a dime. The optimum for the group is for all the players to contribute everything they have so they can all double their money. When the game is played repeatedly, however, everyone tries to become a free rider, and the pot dwindles to a self-defeating zero. On the other hand, if people are allowed both to contribute to the pot and to levy fines on those who don't contribute, conscience doth make cowards of them all, and almost everyone contributes to the common good, allowing everyone to make a profit.51 The same phenomenon has been independently documented by social psychologists, who call it “social loafing.” When people are part of a group, they pull less hard on a rope, clap less enthusiastically, and think up fewer ideas in a brainstorming session — unless they think their contributions to the group effort are being monitored.

    These experiments may be artificial, but the motives they expose played themselves out in the real-life experiments known as Utopian communities. In the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth, self-contained communes based on a philosophy of communal sharing sprang up throughout the United States. All of them collapsed from internal tensions, the ones guided by socialist ideology after a median of two years, the ones guided by religious ideology after a median of twenty years.53 The Israeli kibbutzim, originally galvanized by socialism and Zionism, steadily dismantled their collectivist philosophy over the decades. It was undermined by their members’ desire to live with their families, to own their own clothing, and to keep small luxuries or sums of money acquired outside the kibbutz. And the kibbutzim were dragged down by inefficiencies because of the free-rider problem — they were, in the words of one kibbutznik, a “paradise for parasites.”

    In other cultures, too, generosity is doled out according to a complex mental calculus. Remember Fiske's ethnographic survey, which shows that the ethic of Communal Sharing arises spontaneously mainly within families (and on circumscribed occasions such as feasts). Equality Matching — that is, {258} reciprocal altruism — is the norm for everyday interactions among more distant relatives and nonrelatives. A possible exception is the distribution of meat by bands of foragers, who pool the risks of hunting large game (with its big but unpredictable windfalls) by sharing their catch.56 Even here, the ethic is far from unstinting generosity, and the sharing is described as having “an edge of hostility.”57 Hunters generally have no easy way of keeping their catch from others, so they don't so much share their catch as stand by while others confiscate it. Their hunting effort is treated as a public good, and they are punished by gossip and ostracism if they resist the confiscation, are rewarded by prestige (which earns them sexual partners) if they tolerate it, and may be entitled to payback when the tables turn. A similar psychology may be found among the last hunter-gatherers in our own culture, commercial fishermen. In The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger writes:

    Sword[fish] boat captains help each other out on the high seas whenever they can; they lend engine parts, offer technical advice, donate food or fuel. The competition between a dozen boats rushing a perishable commodity to market fortunately doesn't kill an inherent sense of concern for each other. This may seem terrifically noble, but it's not — or at least not entirely. It's also self-interested. Each captain knows that he may be the next one with the frozen injector or the leaking hydraulics.

    Beginning with Ashley Montagu in 1952, thinkers with collectivist sympathies have tried to eke out a place for unmeasured generosity by invoking group selection, a Darwinian competition among groups of organisms rather than among individual organisms.59 The hope is that groups whose members sacrifice their interests for the common good will outcompete those in which every man is for himself, and as a result generous impulses will come to prevail in the species. Williams dashed the dream in 1966 when he pointed out that unless a group is genetically fixed and hermetically sealed, mutants or immigrants constantly infiltrate it.60 A selfish infiltrator would soon take over the group with its descendants, who are more numerous because they have reaped the advantages of others’ sacrifices without making their own. This would happen long before the group could parlay its internal cohesion into victory over neighboring groups and bud off new offspring groups to repeat the process.

    The term “group selection” survives in evolutionary biology, but usually with different meanings from the one Montagu had in mind. Groups were certainly part of our evolutionary environment, and our ancestors evolved traits, such as a concern with one's reputation, that led them to prosper in groups. Sometimes the interests of an individual and the interests of a group can coincide; for example, both do better when the group is not exterminated by enemies. Some theorists invoke group selection to explain a willingness to punish {259} free riders who do not contribute to the public good.61 The biologist David Sloan Wilson and the philosopher Elliot Sober recently redefined “group” as a set of mutual reciprocators, providing an alternative language in which to describe Trivers's theory but not an alternative to the theory itself.62 But no one believes the original idea that selection among groups led to the evolution of unstinting self-sacrifice. Even putting aside the theoretical difficulties explained by Williams, we know empirically that people in all cultures do things that lead them to prosper at the expense of their group, such as lying, competing for mates, having affairs, getting jealous, and fighting for dominance.

    Group selection, in any case, does not deserve its feel-good reputation. Whether or not it endowed us with generosity toward the members of our group, it would certainly have endowed us with a hatred of the members of other groups, because it favors whatever traits lead one group to prevail over its rivals. (Recall that group selection was the version of Darwinism that got twisted into Nazism.) This does not mean that group selection is incorrect, only that subscribing to a scientific theory for its apparent political palatability can backfire. As Williams put it, “To claim that
    [natural selection at the level of competing groups] is morally superior to natural selection at the level of competing individuals would imply, in its human application, that systematic genocide is morally superior to random murder.”63
    Edited:

    wow you broke my automerge you evil kulak

  12. Post #52
    Gold Member
    Proffrink's Avatar
    April 2010
    749 Posts
    Isn't that from The Blank Slate?

    For those who will inevitably speed-read the whole thing: 'humans are complicated'.

    wow you broke my automerge you evil kulak
    Free post count /o/

  13. Post #53
    Isn't that from The Blank Slate?


    Free post count /o/
    Yeah, great book

  14. Post #54
    Gold Member
    Proffrink's Avatar
    April 2010
    749 Posts
    Indeed.

    I think I can summarise my points with: Communism doesn't/cannot deal with any fluctuation in human nature, and for that reason is never a suitable starting point.

  15. Post #55
    Marbalo's Avatar
    June 2011
    2,310 Posts
    We can work out human nature through the science of Psychology. Which is what we have been doing for the past 100 or so years.

    I have a big fat university book on psychology that tells me more about human nature than the communist manifesto and das kapital has for me.
    Except psychology is a pseudoscience that is no more reliable than political books as a way of understanding 'human nature'.

    Psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability.

    Give this a read if you don't believe me.

  16. Post #56
    Except psychology is a pseudoscience that is no more reliable than political books as a way of understanding 'human nature'.

    Psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability.

    Give this a read if you don't believe me.
    that's about psychiatry you fucking idiot, psychology as a whole is vast and the parts that I cited aren't disputed as science.

    students of psychology are cautioned that terms such as "psychology," "clinical psychology" and "psychiatry" are used interchangeably
    this is just disingenuous

    Edited:

    it's also wrong on several factual aspects as sobotnik points out, and doesn't even mention new advances in treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy

    you should really read about the field of psychology as it actually stands today, I recommend "Cognitive Science" by José Luis Bermúdez

  17. Post #57
    Proudly supporting the JIDF
    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Except psychology is a pseudoscience that is no more reliable than political books as a way of understanding 'human nature'.
    Yes it is. Psychology literally is the scientific study of human behavior and cognitions.

    Psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability.
    Except psychology is such a vast field. At one end it is practically biology and at the other is the psuedoscientific stuff like psychodynamics and sociological thinking.

    What do you think of neuroscience or cognitive/biological psychology then?

    Give this a read if you don't believe me.
    The source is horribly biased. It denies that IQ is heritable (it is) and says that only racists claim its heritable.

    In fact a lot of the psychologists it criticizes are from the early to mid 20th century. It's been decades since then.

    At this point it must be clear to the intelligent reader that clinical psychology can make virtually any claim and offer any kind of therapy, because there is no practical likelihood of refutation – no clear criteria to invalidate a claim. This, in turn, is because human psychology is not a science, it is very largely a belief system similar to religion.
    This is just childish on the authors part. Comparing religion to psychology is silly.

  18. Post #58
    Gold Member
    [Seed Eater]'s Avatar
    July 2011
    5,820 Posts
    well no but there's also no settled view on diet but I wouldn't advice eating twinkies if you want to lose weight
    Subjective.


    of course it does
    Bullshit. Fundamental misunderstanding of the most basic principles of leftist theory.


    no it isn't subjective at all we can fucking study it

    no one informed about the topic sees it as simple as "humans are self-interested". I don't know where exactly you got this from, probably either from the homo economicus "rational man" economic theories, or from confusing proximate with ultimate causation

    if a capitalist says "humans are self-interested" and a leftist says "humans are collectivist", both are equally wrong
    The common capitalist accusation about the nature of humans is that we are all naturally savage and self-interested. I've heard it enough times to make the (apparently incorrect) assumption that this is the position that you'd be arguing for, or something similar to it.

    this only works in familial environments, it doesn't scale at all. the methods of sharing practiced in families are qualitatively different to those practiced with more distant relatives and strangers, because we share more genes with our close relatives than we do with anyone else. from the gene's point of view, it isn't actually altruism at all because it's simply benefiting copies of itself that reside in the bodies of relatives. for strangers you need a complex web of reciprocity and reputation in order to guarantee that interactions are positive sum, on average.

    if you were to limit all economic activity to the former system the standard of living would plummet
    I'm not convinced of this, since the same theory proposes that this family unit was encompassed outwards to fit into a community, and from there a society, and that the basis of our development into civilization came from basic collective instincts and social contracts that came from the same. But again, this is independent of Marxism and is not advocated by Marxism, nor is human nature even something that Marx advocates as being a factor in the superiority of a collective system.

    I'll read your Blank Slate selection later, since I'm only stopping by to grab some lunch between school and work.

  19. Post #59
    Subjective.
    ladies and gentlemen: the postmodernist fad diet! deconstruct yourself thin!

    Bullshit. Fundamental misunderstanding of the most basic principles of leftist theory.
    marxism (and to a much lesser extent, leftism in general) relies on a vision of the human condition which is hopelessly utopian. I'll give credit where it's due and concede that marx's ideas were a damned sight better than some of his communist contemporaries at least in this regard since he at least recognized that communism at the time was basically a marysuetopian ideology and tried to give it a more realistic footing. but this refactoring still left behind bits and pieces which weren't recognized as counter to our nature until the modern studies of sociobiology, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and neuroeconomics came along. putting it bluntly, collectivism just does not scale to large, interconnected societies like ours. it's only really feasible (if at all) when the group you're talking about is smaller than dunbar's number.

    The common capitalist accusation about the nature of humans is that we are all naturally savage and self-interested. I've heard it enough times to make the (apparently incorrect) assumption that this is the position that you'd be arguing for, or something similar to it.
    In fairness I can't really fault you on this since a lot of contemporary branches of economics are still based on this principle (oftentimes because it just makes a niche model simpler and introducing the added complexity of human psychology doesn't offer enough predictive benefit to make it worth the effort). Indeed, I don't think anyone told the Austrian economists about it at all. Regardless, human irrationality is something that is being taken seriously in economics nowadays, especially since the recession.

    I'm not convinced of this, since the same theory proposes that this family unit was encompassed outwards to fit into a community, and from there a society, and that the basis of our development into civilization came from basic collective instincts and social contracts that came from the same.
    No, the way we interact with family and with strangers are different because they are separate processes implemented in distinct regions of the brain. Familial emotions can be repurposed to serve a larger group but it is generally unstable and unhealthy (ie cults). The following is in the context of a discussion of human morality, but given that the way we distribute resources is basically a moral question (or in any case, people tend to treat it that way), it applies here too.

    The first model, Communal Sharing (Communality for short), combines In-group Loyalty with Purity/Sanctity. When people adopt the mindset of Communality, they freely share resources within the group, keeping no tabs on who gives or takes how much. They conceptualize the group as “one flesh,” unified by a common essence, which must be safeguarded against contamination. They reinforce the intuition of unity with rituals of bonding and merging such as bodily contact, commensal meals, synchronized movement, chanting or praying in unison, shared emotional experiences, common bodily ornamentation or mutilation, and the mingling of bodily fluids in nursing, sex, and blood rituals. They also rationalize it with myths of shared ancestry, descent from a patriarch, rootedness in a territory, or relatedness to a totemic animal. Communality evolved from maternal care, kin selection, and mutualism, and it may be implemented in the brain, at least in part, by the oxytocin system.

    Fiske’s second relational model, Authority Ranking, is a linear hierarchy defined by dominance, status, age, gender, size, strength, wealth, or precedence. It entitles superiors to take what they want and to receive tribute from inferiors, and to command their obedience and loyalty. It also obligates them to a paternalistic, pastoral, or noblesse oblige responsibility to protect those under them. Presumably it evolved from primate dominance hierarchies, and it may be implemented, in part, by testosterone-sensitive circuits in the brain.

    Equality Matching embraces tit-for-tat reciprocity and other schemes to divide resources equitably, such as turn-taking, coin-flipping, matching contributions, division into equal portions, and verbal formulas like eeny-meenyminey-moe. Few animals engage in clear-cut reciprocity, though chimpanzees have a rudimentary sense of fairness, at least when it comes to themselves being shortchanged. The neural bases of Equality Matching embrace the parts of the brain that register intentions, cheating, conflict, perspective-taking, and calculation, which include the insula, orbital cortex, cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, and temporoparietal junction. Equality Matching is the basis of our sense of fairness and our intuitive economics, and it binds us as neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, and trading partners rather than as bosom buddies or brothers-in-arms. Many traditional tribes engaged in the ritual exchange of useless gifts, a bit like our Christmas fruitcakes, solely to cement Equality Matching relationships.

    (Readers who are comparing and contrasting the taxonomies may wonder why Haidt’s category of Harm/Care is adjacent to Fairness and aligned with Fiske’s Equality Matching, rather than with more touchy-feely relationships like Community or Sanctity. The reason is that Haidt measures Harm/Care by asking people about the treatment of a generic “someone” rather than the friends and relatives that are the standard beneficiaries of caring. The responses to these questions align perfectly with the responses to his questions about Fairness, and that is no coincidence.175 Recall that the logic of reciprocal altruism, which implements our sense of fairness, is to be “nice” by cooperating on the first move, by not defecting unless defected on, and by conferring a large benefit to a needy stranger when one can do so at a relatively small cost to oneself. When care and harm are extended outside intimate circles, then they are simply a part of the logic of fairness.)

    Fiske’s final relational model is Market Pricing: the system of currency, prices, rents, salaries, benefits, interest, credit, and derivatives that powers a modern economy. Market Pricing depends on numbers, mathematical formulas, accounting, digital transfers, and the language of formal contracts. Unlike the other three relational models, Market Pricing is nowhere near universal, since it depends on literacy, numeracy, and other recently invented information technologies. The logic of Market Pricing remains cognitively unnatural as well, as we saw in the widespread resistance to interest and profits until the modern era. One can line up the models, Fiske notes, along a scale that more or less reflects their order of emergence in evolution, child development, and history: Communal Sharing > Authority Ranking > Equality Matching > Market Pricing.

    Market Pricing, it seems to me, is specific neither to markets nor to pricing. It really should be lumped with other examples of formal social organization that have been honed over the centuries as a good way for millions of people to manage their affairs in a technologically advanced society, but which may not occur spontaneously to untutored minds.177 One of these institutions is the political apparatus of democracy, where power is assigned not to a strongman (Authority) but to representatives who are selected by a formal voting procedure and whose prerogatives are delineated by a system of laws. Another is a corporation, university, or nonprofit organization. The people who work in them aren’t free to hire their friends and relations (Communality) or to dole out spoils as favors (Equality Matching), but are hemmed in by fiduciary duties and regulations. My emendation of Fiske’s theory does not come out of the blue. Fiske notes that one of his intellectual inspirations for Market Pricing was the sociologist Max Weber’s concept of a “rational-legal” (as opposed to traditional and charismatic) mode of social legitimation—a system of norms that is worked out by reason and implemented by formal rules.178 Accordingly, I will sometimes refer to this relational model using the more general term Rational-Legal.

    For all their differences in lumping and splitting, the theories of Shweder, Haidt, and Fiske agree on how the moral sense works. No society defines everyday virtue and wrongdoing by the Golden Rule or the Categorical Imperative. Instead, morality consists in respecting or violating one of the relational models (or ethics or foundations): betraying, exploiting, or subverting a coalition; contaminating oneself or one’s community; defying or insulting a legitimate authority; harming someone without provocation; taking a benefit without paying the cost; peculating funds or abusing prerogatives.
    No, the But again, this is independent of Marxism and is not advocated by Marxism, nor is human nature even something that Marx advocates as being a factor in the superiority of a collective system.
    It might not say it implicitly but certain assumptions inherent in marxism just don't make sense in the light of what we know about ourselves.

  20. Post #60

    August 2012
    14 Posts
    2. Marxism does NOT rely on human nature, humans being nice, or utopias.
    I disagree with this, because I think that genetics and communism are not compatible.

    For communism to be succesful, our DNA will have to learn that it is beneficial to share equally beyond our immediate family unit. And that is going to take a very, very long time.

  21. Post #61
    soccerskyman's Avatar
    October 2009
    4,278 Posts
    our DNA will have to learn
    I'm sorry?

  22. Post #62
    Gold Member
    [Seed Eater]'s Avatar
    July 2011
    5,820 Posts
    I disagree with this, because I think that genetics and communism are not compatible.

    For communism to be succesful, our DNA will have to learn that it is beneficial to share equally beyond our immediate family unit. And that is going to take a very, very long time.
    I'll hit two in one by answering this and responding to Dain's second response above.

    Communism does not rely on altruism. There is economic incentive in post-scarcity communism, and the same incentives as in capital in socialism.

    To quote myself, in post-scarcity socialism:
    1. Collective incentive: Workers have a societal incentive to do what they do. If a teacher doesn't teach, then there will be no teachers, and therefore it is in the interest of the teacher to teach, lest she or he wishes to see their world far less educate or interested. A maintenance man may not think his job ideal, but he knows that if he doesn't do the job, then someone would go without maintenance, and he knows that collectively, no maintenance is a bad thing for all.
    2. Natural incentive: People will want to naturally work how they wish. All people are productive, and we don't have to be coerced to do it. We all enjoy something productive, whether it's actually working at our dream job, or sitting on our ass writing debates online, most actions we do for enjoyment are productive. Marxists will often argue that without limitations on what we can do (that is, post-scarcity), then people will naturally become productive doing what they want to do. Without limitations, you would be a astronaut, and me a doctor, and Charlie down the street would just love to be a contractor and Jenny is perfectly content with being a mailperson, and because there is no market value attached to these skills and room enough for everyone, then they can all do that, and live equally happy. In this way, skill is developed not based on producer-side demand, but producer-side want.
    3. Personal incentive: I want a fucking cheeseburger. I will go make a cheeseburger now. Since I have access to everything I need, and all the time to do it, I will just go make one. Tah-dah. I want an MP3 player. Let me see what the demand is for MP3 players in the community. Enough people to get together and manufacture MP3 players. In this way, the manufacture of MP3 players is determined on real demand, and not over-produce solely for the market. I make what I want, and if everyone else wants it also, then it will happen.
    However, I'm guessing that you won't be referring to post-scarcity socialism, sine post-scarcity socialism relies on the fact that human needs will be satisfied at all times by abundance and natural labor. So I'll argue that libertarian socialism provides for the same incentives as in capitalism: wants and needs. While there is scarcity, there are wants. While we can control our wants by limiting the production of commodities to a reasonable level, and controlling excessive production through producer-side economics, that wouldn't explain what would give Joe the Plumber the want to go to work tomorrow and do the job we all depend on him for. The answer is simple: Joe would have more personal gain this way, in a libertarian-socialist-syndicalist system. When Joe owns his means of production, Joe also get the full value of his labor on return. Compared to a capitalist system, where Joe only receives a small royalty on the product of his labor in the form of a wage or salary, in a socialist system, Joe is entitled to all he produces, because he owns it every step of the way. If Joe works hard, Joe produces more, and therefore Joe receives more on the market- be it controlled or free. I would argue that this would provide greater incentive to Joe to work than in a capitalist free market, because in this system, not only are Joe's needs provided for through social welfare, Joe can choose to work so he can afford commodities as well. And because of the producer-side economics, Joe knows that what he's purchasing is going directly to the owner-producer, like Joe's labor, and that his commodities are produced fairly and in dosages based on real-want, and not estimated excess.

    As far as the merits of state command economies under state socialism, I won't argue those, because I don't agree with them, and deviate from Marx in that way.

  23. Post #63
    Gold Member
    Patriarch's Avatar
    June 2010
    1,507 Posts
    I disagree with this, because I think that genetics and communism are not compatible.

    For communism to be succesful, our DNA will have to learn that it is beneficial to share equally beyond our immediate family unit. And that is going to take a very, very long time.
    Whilst our genotype is important in determining our psychology, it would be foolish to ignore the role of socialisation, or better yet, our phenotype.

  24. Post #64
    Proudly supporting the JIDF
    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    For communism to be succesful, our DNA will have to learn that it is beneficial to share equally beyond our immediate family unit. And that is going to take a very, very long time.
    How exactly would you select for this?

  25. Post #65
    I disagree with this, because I think that genetics and communism are not compatible.

    For communism to be succesful, our DNA will have to learn that it is beneficial to share equally beyond our immediate family unit. And that is going to take a very, very long time.
    genetics does not work that way

  26. Post #66
    Gold Member
    Proffrink's Avatar
    April 2010
    749 Posts
    our DNA will have to learn.
    And we'll splice in some genes while we're at it

  27. Post #67
    1. Collective incentive: Workers have a societal incentive to do what they do. If a teacher doesn't teach, then there will be no teachers, and therefore it is in the interest of the teacher to teach, lest she or he wishes to see their world far less educate or interested. A maintenance man may not think his job ideal, but he knows that if he doesn't do the job, then someone would go without maintenance, and he knows that collectively, no maintenance is a bad thing for all.
    2. Natural incentive: People will want to naturally work how they wish. All people are productive, and we don't have to be coerced to do it. We all enjoy something productive, whether it's actually working at our dream job, or sitting on our ass writing debates online, most actions we do for enjoyment are productive. Marxists will often argue that without limitations on what we can do (that is, post-scarcity), then people will naturally become productive doing what they want to do. Without limitations, you would be a astronaut, and me a doctor, and Charlie down the street would just love to be a contractor and Jenny is perfectly content with being a mailperson, and because there is no market value attached to these skills and room enough for everyone, then they can all do that, and live equally happy. In this way, skill is developed not based on producer-side demand, but producer-side want.
    3. Personal incentive: I want a fucking cheeseburger. I will go make a cheeseburger now. Since I have access to everything I need, and all the time to do it, I will just go make one. Tah-dah. I want an MP3 player. Let me see what the demand is for MP3 players in the community. Enough people to get together and manufacture MP3 players. In this way, the manufacture of MP3 players is determined on real demand, and not over-produce solely for the market. I make what I want, and if everyone else wants it also, then it will happen.
    this is a utopian fantasy

    1. Collective incentive: Workers have a societal incentive to do what they do. If a teacher doesn't teach, then there will be no teachers, and therefore it is in the interest of the teacher to teach, lest she or he wishes to see their world far less educate or interested. A maintenance man may not think his job ideal, but he knows that if he doesn't do the job, then someone would go without maintenance, and he knows that collectively, no maintenance is a bad thing for all.
    This is a very weak rationalization for what is actually the case - i.e. you're expecting pure altruism. Yes, the world would be a worse place if there were no teachers, but this does not imply that this is all the incentive someone needs to go out and teach. The world in which there are 5000 teachers and the world in which there are 5001 teachers does not look very different at all, and that extra teacher will not judge that the epsilon increase in collective welfare he or she sees as enough to justify getting out of bed in the morning. What you're basically saying is that people will look at all of the positive externalities their work could create as a justification for their interest in doing that work, which is clearly self-defeating by definition.

    2. Natural incentive: People will want to naturally work how they wish. All people are productive, and we don't have to be coerced to do it. We all enjoy something productive, whether it's actually working at our dream job, or sitting on our ass writing debates online, most actions we do for enjoyment are productive. Marxists will often argue that without limitations on what we can do (that is, post-scarcity), then people will naturally become productive doing what they want to do. Without limitations, you would be a astronaut, and me a doctor, and Charlie down the street would just love to be a contractor and Jenny is perfectly content with being a mailperson, and because there is no market value attached to these skills and room enough for everyone, then they can all do that, and live equally happy. In this way, skill is developed not based on producer-side demand, but producer-side want.
    Well this is simply wrong, people are idle by default and only a select few people with the right combination of intelligence, creativity, ambition and diligence can actually make their hobby productive. Furthermore people won't be equally happy with their jobs because status is a human universal and is also zero-sum - there will be permanent jostling for prestige and dominance.

    3. Personal incentive: I want a fucking cheeseburger. I will go make a cheeseburger now. Since I have access to everything I need, and all the time to do it, I will just go make one. Tah-dah. I want an MP3 player. Let me see what the demand is for MP3 players in the community. Enough people to get together and manufacture MP3 players. In this way, the manufacture of MP3 players is determined on real demand, and not over-produce solely for the market. I make what I want, and if everyone else wants it also, then it will happen.
    I don't think you understand quite how markets work. You could make a cheeseburger, but it probably would be of substandard quality compared to what you could get from a trained chef working in a company specializing in food production. You are, in all probability, not an expert in making cheeseburgers. It's like the whole concept of "specialization of labor" is foreign to you. Yes, you can make a cheeseburger yourself for the pleasure of doing so, but you can do that just as well in a capitalist society, which indeed has already cornered this market by providing a whole genre of home cookery books and utensils and TV shows.

    And again, I don't think you quite know how much infrastructure and interdependence is needed to produce an MP3 player. I mean, even manufacturing the base chip itself is an extremely expensive and delicate process, and assuming you even have those resources, you need a large group of highly intelligent, technically minded people to come up with the blueprint for the device, then a bunch of programmers and so on to write the software, and furthermore some charismatic, intelligent and assertive people to direct the whole process so it doesn't come to a screeching halt. These people are rare and I can guarantee that you won't find all of them in your local town unless you live in the People's Republic of Berkeley. You don't just get together with a dozen people and play with power tools in your shed over the weekend and out pops an MP3 player. If you want evidence of the rarity of this sort of event, look at the success rates of amateur game modding. "Ideas Guy" threads are a staple joke in the various modding forums on FP and for a good reason - it's easy to come up with your cool idea but it's hard to convince anyone else to come along with you for free and hope their own drive and creativity will be enough to keep them going. People are enthusiastic when they're making big-picture plans for their cool game but mysteriously lose that drive once they've been fiddling with brushes in Hammer for a few hours. Even when there is success it's a joke compared to what for-profit studios can come out with in terms of efficiency. Black Mesa took 8 years to come out for christ's sake. Furthermore, why would a company overproduce something for a market? The very idea is simply absurd - in order to maximize profits a company will make as many units as the market demands and then no more, because if it makes more than can be sold then that's money and materials down the drain.

    Human capital is always a limited resource.

    However, I'm guessing that you won't be referring to post-scarcity socialism, sine post-scarcity socialism relies on the fact that human needs will be satisfied at all times by abundance and natural labor. So I'll argue that libertarian socialism provides for the same incentives as in capitalism: wants and needs. While there is scarcity, there are wants.
    Okay, fine.

    While we can control our wants by limiting the production of commodities to a reasonable level
    What? You said that wants are caused by scarcity, and so your solution for this is to ... make more scarcity ?????????

    The answer is simple: Joe would have more personal gain this way, in a libertarian-socialist-syndicalist system. When Joe owns his means of production, Joe also get the full value of his labor on return. Compared to a capitalist system, where Joe only receives a small royalty on the product of his labor in the form of a wage or salary, in a socialist system, Joe is entitled to all he produces, because he owns it every step of the way.
    If Joe is both the sole owner of the means of production and is the sole person making it then he is by necessity limited to small outputs unless he hires more people to work under him which leaves us back at square one, since I doubt those workers would be happy about working for free, especially since they aren't the ones owning the means of production. And if the means of production are collectively owned by the workers (say if each worker gets a fraction of the profits), yes, there are examples of this working in real life such as cooperatives, but their rarity speaks volumes about their efficiency.

    As for "getting the full value of labor on return", this is a common and ancient fallacy so I'll let Hazlitt speak for me:

    This brings us to the general meaning and effect of economic equilibrium. Equilibrium wages and prices are the wages and prices that equalize supply and demand. If, either through government or private coercion, an attempt is made to lift prices above their equilibrium level, demand is reduced and therefore production is reduced. If an attempt is made to push prices below their equilibrium level, the consequent reduction or wiping out of profits will mean a falling off of supply or less production. Therefore any attempt to force prices either above or below their equilibrium levels (which are the levels toward which a free market constantly tends to bring them) will act to reduce the volume of employment and production below what it would otherwise have been.

    To return, then, to the doctrine that labor must get “enough to buy back the product.” The national product, it should be obvious, is neither created nor bought by manufacturing labor alone. It is bought by everyone—by white collar workers, professional men, farmers, employers, big and little, by investors, grocers, butchers, owners of small drugstores and gasoline stations—by everybody, in short, who contributes toward making the product.

    As to the prices, wages and profits that should determine the distribution of that product, the best prices are not the highest prices, but the prices that encourage the largest volume of production and the largest volume of sales. The best wage rates for labor are not the highest wage rates, but the wage rates that permit full production, full employment and the largest sustained payrolls. The best profits, from the standpoint not only of industry but of labor, are not the lowest profits, but the profits that encourage most people to become employers or to provide more employment than before.

    If we try to run the economy for the benefit of a single group or class, we shall injure or destroy all groups, including the members of the very class for whose benefit we have been trying to run it. We must run the economy for everybody.
    The irony is that this kind of capitalism is more egalitarian than your anarchosyndicalist idea, since it actually benefits more people.

    If Joe works hard, Joe produces more, and therefore Joe receives more on the market- be it controlled or free. I would argue that this would provide greater incentive to Joe to work than in a capitalist free market, because in this system, not only are Joe's needs provided for through social welfare, Joe can choose to work so he can afford commodities as well.
    Nonsense. Joe will simply be outcompeted by those who chose to pay themselves less (assuming self-employment) and invest into more efficient and cheap production methods and/or selling at a cheaper price. If he wants to live in his fantasy world where his mode of production is tenable then that's his prerogative but he has no right to expect that anyone else will play along.

    And because of the producer-side economics, Joe knows that what he's purchasing is going directly to the owner-producer, like Joe's labor, and that his commodities are produced fairly and in dosages based on real-want, and not estimated excess.
    Could you explain this better because I've a hard time understanding what this actually means.

    The one time such an socialist-libertarian-anarcho-syndicalist system was practiced in real life was in revolutionary Catalonia, and let me tell you, the results were not pretty.

  28. Post #68
    Dennab
    March 2012
    867 Posts
    So? Just because you "concieve" something does not make it true.

    Also, trying to base your scientific views around your political opinions is awful.
    Here is a marxist explanation of "human nature", because it is central to Marx

    Marx's view on Human nature (which I will call Man's "essence", because that is the term Marx (and later, Jean-Paul Sartre) used to describe it) can best be represented by his 6th Thesis on Feuerbach, which states "But the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations". This, of course, is simply a statement and offers no proof. Let us liken Marx's ideas to natural selection (as he would have done; he dedicated "Capital" to Darwin). Darwin once said "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Maslow's Hierarchy of needs is this:


    Before we can achieve Self-actualization, it is imperative that we achieve the sublevels, especially physiology. Out of this, we can assert that your physical well-being comes before your mental well-being, in most human beings.

    Here's where Marx and Darwin come in: Marx essentially states that if the way in which you achieve your physiological needs comes into conflict with the way you achieve your mental-emotional needs, then one or the other will win out. If you favor the physiological needs over self-actualization, you will survive, and you will work your way up to self-actualization in a way that doesn't conflict with your physiological needs. This is the ability to adapt to your environment. This is what Darwin was talking about when he said that the one most adaptable to change will survive.

    But say you favor your mental-emotional needs above your physiological needs. Let's say you're in a dire situation where you need to kill to survive, but your sense of morality wins out and tell you never to kill. Well then you will starve to death. Physiological needs will always trump psychological needs.

    Now imagine an "economic mode of production" ("The method of producing the necessities of life"), as basically how society at large gets its physiological needs, and "ideology" ("a system of concepts and views which serves to make sense of the world while obscuring the social interests that are expressed therein") as how society collectively gets its psychological needs.

    Now lets take a presumption: Capitalism is a greedy system. The opposition to the marxist argument must accept this, because their original statement is that "communism does not work and capitalism does because humans are naturally greedy", so we can safely assume that the opposition is just as cynical as the Marxist in stating that Capitalism is greedy. Capitalism is a system based not on accumulating capital for usefulness (selling a commodity to buy another commodity which one requires for some need, or as Marx expressed it: C-M-C; C meaning the commodity you start out with and then subsequently sell for the next part: M, or money. you then take this money, go to the market, and buy another commodity which you need, such as food, clothes, etc.) but rather accumulating capital for exchange (Buying a commodity to sell at a higher price elsewhere on the market, or as Marx expressed it: M-C-M. M meaning the money you start out with to buy C, a commodity on the market, which you then mark up to get more money than you originally had, M). This necesarilly means that the ultimate goal of capitalism is the accumulation of more and more capital, unable to be satiated.

    The question, of course, is whether or not this is the way it is because of humanity, or is humanity like this because of capitalism. Marx would argue the following:

    1. The means of production (the tools used to create commodities; think factories and farms) increase in output ability every year
    2. It was the industrial revolution that created capitalism, not vice-versa. technologies created at the birth of the 19th century set the stage for capitalism
    3. Our ability to produce into surplus led to our want to accumulate as much money as possible.

    In this way, marx is almost arguing against his original argument: humans naturally want all that cheddar. But what Marx is arguing is that in other forms of socially Necesarry modes of production that don't center around this M-C-M cycle of accumulating as much money as possible, this greed is not manifest to become socially necessary. Social necessity is the core of Marxist economics: there can be no progress without social necessity.

    So, Marx concludes, if socially necessary, generosity and decency can be manifest human behavior to all members of society. Marx would then argue that communism has become socially necesarry and how it does so, but that's a slightly less relevant argument to the topic of Man's essence.

    So where do we go from here? Well, about 100 years later there's a man named Jean-Paul Sartre, who argued Marx's opinion in his book "Being and Nothingness". Sartre was an existentialist, which had been closely related with the heavily christian philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, which stated that man must find his meaning (or essence). This essence? It is determined by god. Essentially, it states that god has a plan for everyone and that man must find out what god's plan for him is, and this is his essence. Sartre wasn't happy with this at all. Sartre was an atheist first of all, but moreover Sartre thought that this wasn't freedom in any sense of the word. Sartre states the following in "existentialism is a humanism":

    "Atheistic existentialism, of which I am a representative, declares with greater consistency that if God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it. That being is man or, as Heidegger has it, the human reality. What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. He will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself. Thus, there is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is.
    So, Sartre came to become a Marxist, focusing on how Capitalism (particularly the colonialism and imperialism he saw in his time) robbed people of their own ability to find meaning in life.

    Now I could get into psychological/biological factors (of which I am in no way a trained professional to talk about, but I can offer you a brief explanation of what I have read)

  29. Post #69
    Proudly supporting the JIDF
    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Here is a marxist explanation of "human nature", because it is central to Marx

    Marx's view on Human nature (which I will call Man's "essence", because that is the term Marx (and later, Jean-Paul Sartre) used to describe it) can best be represented by his 6th Thesis on Feuerbach, which states "But the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations". This, of course, is simply a statement and offers no proof.
    So far, nothing to advance scientific knowledge. (Unlike Maxwell or Faraday who did more for the world than Marx ever will).

    Let us liken Marx's ideas to natural selection (as he would have done; he dedicated "Capital" to Darwin). Darwin once said "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
    Ok, so how does evolution tie in with Marxism?

    Maslow's Hierarchy of needs is this:
    This has no credible scientific backing. Psychologists and biologists (or anybody who knows fucking anything about those fields minus humanists) will laugh at you.

    Before we can achieve Self-actualization, it is imperative that we achieve the sublevels, especially physiology.
    What about soldiers who form close emotional bonds with their comrades despite being in danger, or holy men who starve themselves for god?

    Out of this, we can assert that your physical well-being comes before your mental well-being, in most human beings.
    Grazed a bullet but how does this explain soldiers or holy people?

    Here's where Marx and Darwin come in: Marx essentially states that if the way in which you achieve your physiological needs comes into conflict with the way you achieve your mental-emotional needs, then one or the other will win out. If you favor the physiological needs over self-actualization, you will survive, and you will work your way up to self-actualization in a way that doesn't conflict with your physiological needs. This is the ability to adapt to your environment. This is what Darwin was talking about when he said that the one most adaptable to change will survive.
    You're a fucking idiot this isn't what Darwin said at all about evolution. Darwins theory says that when an animal has children, each of them has a small mutation. This mutation may or may not be beneficial, but ultimately the ones with a beneficial mutation for that environment will survive and produce children. In turn, their adaptions will slowly allow them to adapt to that environment.

    It works over a long scale of time, and doesn't apply at all to what you are saying.

    But say you favor your mental-emotional needs above your physiological needs. Let's say you're in a dire situation where you need to kill to survive, but your sense of morality wins out and tell you never to kill. Well then you will starve to death. Physiological needs will always trump psychological needs.
    Ok this seems somewhat obvious and straightforward.

    Now imagine an "economic mode of production" ("The method of producing the necessities of life"), as basically how society at large gets its physiological needs, and "ideology" ("a system of concepts and views which serves to make sense of the world while obscuring the social interests that are expressed therein") as how society collectively gets its psychological needs.
    They get other things from the factors of production too. Dildos, televisions and novelty spoons are all not required to live and breed, but we still want these things and factories produce these things because there is demand. Physiological needs do not factor into this.

    Now lets take a presumption: Capitalism is a greedy system.
    No it isn't. It's an economic system that isn't inherently greedy. People within it can be greedy, but a concept doesn't have greediness in it.

    The opposition to the marxist argument must accept this, because their original statement is that "communism does not work and capitalism does because humans are naturally greedy"
    Erm, there are loads of other objections to Marxism, plus humans aren't inherently driven by greed. Psychological and biological history confirms its not the black-white marxist-capitalist view.

    I for one was a former Marxist, and reject it for recognizing it's a pseudoscience with shoddy methodology and used mainly for political purposes.

    so we can safely assume that the opposition is just as cynical as the Marxist in stating that Capitalism is greedy.
    No you can't.

    Capitalism is a system based not on accumulating capital for usefulness (selling a commodity to buy another commodity which one requires for some need, or as Marx expressed it: C-M-C; C meaning the commodity you start out with and then subsequently sell for the next part: M, or money. you then take this money, go to the market, and buy another commodity which you need, such as food, clothes, etc.) but rather accumulating capital for exchange (Buying a commodity to sell at a higher price elsewhere on the market, or as Marx expressed it: M-C-M. M meaning the money you start out with to buy C, a commodity on the market, which you then mark up to get more money than you originally had, M). This necesarilly means that the ultimate goal of capitalism is the accumulation of more and more capital, unable to be satiated.
    Not sure what you have been reading, but ultimately in economics you produce either capital goods or consumer goods. The reason we have capital goods is so we can use them to invest into something (like a dildo making machine) that promises us more consumer goods in the future. Accumulation of capital for the sake of capital doesn't happen in reality, it flows back into the economy.

    The question, of course, is whether or not this is the way it is because of humanity, or is humanity like this because of capitalism. Marx would argue the following:
    Rather than using shoddy economic arguments, why not use psychology or biology to help us work out things about humans?

    1. The means of production (the tools used to create commodities; think factories and farms) increase in output ability every year
    True, apart from the years when production falls (usually after a big war or revolution, but those are hiccups so lets ignore those).

    2. It was the industrial revolution that created capitalism, not vice-versa. technologies created at the birth of the 19th century set the stage for capitalism
    Bullshit. The capitalist system has been existing in some shape or form since the 17th century. In fact it's quite arguable that the industrial revolution would have not happened without capitalism, for the availability of capital was what helped people to invest into and develop new industries from coal to steel to lumber to plastic.

    3. Our ability to produce into surplus led to our want to accumulate as much money as possible.
    Not sure where you are getting this from, but people have been striving for wealth/power/whores long before the 19th century. Even animals are guilty of this to an extent.

    In this way, marx is almost arguing against his original argument: humans naturally want all that cheddar. But what Marx is arguing is that in other forms of socially Necesarry modes of production that don't center around this M-C-M cycle of accumulating as much money as possible, this greed is not manifest to become socially necessary. Social necessity is the core of Marxist economics: there can be no progress without social necessity.
    This isn't how economics works, and we have had social progress despite the "capitalism". Money is ultimately a means to an end, not an end in itself.

    So, Marx concludes, if socially necessary, generosity and decency can be manifest human behavior to all members of society. Marx would then argue that communism has become socially necesarry and how it does so, but that's a slightly less relevant argument to the topic of Man's essence.
    Do you have evidence backing up that humans are capable of this in large-scale communities for extended periods of time?

    Hell, Communism is practically impossible in any society bigger than Dunbars number.

    So where do we go from here? Well, about 100 years later there's a man named Jean-Paul Sartre, who argued Marx's opinion in his book "Being and Nothingness". Sartre was an existentialist, which had been closely related with the heavily christian philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, which stated that man must find his meaning (or essence). This essence? It is determined by god. Essentially, it states that god has a plan for everyone and that man must find out what god's plan for him is, and this is his essence. Sartre wasn't happy with this at all. Sartre was an atheist first of all, but moreover Sartre thought that this wasn't freedom in any sense of the word. Sartre states the following in "existentialism is a humanism":



    So, Sartre came to become a Marxist, focusing on how Capitalism (particularly the colonialism and imperialism he saw in his time) robbed people of their own ability to find meaning in life.
    Existentialism? Religion? Those are not really applicable when we are trying to create models of the real world.

    Existence comes before essence? What the fuck does this metaphysical statement help with?

    Now I could get into psychological/biological factors (of which I am in no way a trained professional to talk about, but I can offer you a brief explanation of what I have read)
    I guess this is why.

  30. Post #70
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,048 Posts
    This is a very weak rationalization for what is actually the case - i.e. you're expecting pure altruism. Yes, the world would be a worse place if there were no teachers, but this does not imply that this is all the incentive someone needs to go out and teach. The world in which there are 5000 teachers and the world in which there are 5001 teachers does not look very different at all, and that extra teacher will not judge that the epsilon increase in collective welfare he or she sees as enough to justify getting out of bed in the morning. What you're basically saying is that people will look at all of the positive externalities their work could create as a justification for their interest in doing that work, which is clearly self-defeating by definition.
    I don't think the incentive he describes can be categorized as altruistically at all. Even Max Steiner's Union of Egoists relies on these sorts of incentives and the last word you could call that is altruistic. Not really disputing whether or not it's a practical idea, but it's definitely not conventionally altruistic. I don't think it's that utopian to expect people to care about their jobs beyond paying their wages...

  31. Post #71
    Dennab
    March 2012
    867 Posts
    Ok, so how does evolution tie in with Marxism?



    You're a fucking idiot this isn't what Darwin said at all about evolution. Darwins theory says that when an animal has children, each of them has a small mutation. This mutation may or may not be beneficial, but ultimately the ones with a beneficial mutation for that environment will survive and produce children. In turn, their adaptions will slowly allow them to adapt to that environment.
    I'm not addressing the rest because I didn't bother to read it, because frankly you're an upleasant person that I don't feel like talking to, but what I will say is that you completely misread what I said. I didn't say evolution; I said natural selection. Natural selection is whoever is best adapted to their environment will survive. If you got past whatever aversion you have to civilized intelligent discussion you wouldn't have made this mistake.

  32. Post #72
    I don't think the incentive he describes can be categorized as altruistically at all. Even Max Steiner's Union of Egoists relies on these sorts of incentives and the last word you could call that is altruistic. Not really disputing whether or not it's a practical idea, but it's definitely not conventionally altruistic. I don't think it's that utopian to expect people to care about their jobs beyond paying their wages...
    I get where you're coming from, and you're right - people do work for reasons other than wages, (see: charity, volunteer work, etc). You could rate different activities with a (qualitative) ratio of selfishness vs altruism - someone volunteering at a soup kitchen is motivated mostly by altruism and someone working at the stock exchange is motivated mostly by self-interest, though of course the former is probably also partially doing it for the warm fuzzy feelings you get for helping out, and the latter might donate some of his earnings to charity.

    My problem with Seed-Eater's idea is that he's expecting people to be far more altruistic than they could reasonably be expected to.

    Edited:

    I'm not addressing the rest because I didn't bother to read it, because frankly you're an upleasant person that I don't feel like talking to, but what I will say is that you completely misread what I said. I didn't say evolution; I said natural selection. Natural selection is whoever is best adapted to their environment will survive. If you got past whatever aversion you have to civilized intelligent discussion you wouldn't have made this mistake.
    no sobotnik is right, you're fundamentally confused about what natural selection is and is not

    read this so you don't make stupid mistakes http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Evolution

  33. Post #73
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,048 Posts
    Maybe this is just splitting hairs but I'd think of them as other-regarding values, rather than pure altruism. Altruism (in lots of literature, but not all) isn't just helping other people, but helping other people in spite of your own values. I'd say the example he used, teachers teaching not only for the salary, but for the other instrumental gains of teaching a community, is by no means altruistic: I'd say it's two things. On the one hand, many people (if not almost all of them) have values that regard the well-being of others. There does just seem to be something intrinsically valuable in other people leading fulfilled lives (this is the one closer to altruism of the two, but I really don't think it is). And on the other hand, surrounding yourself with able, cooperative, intelligent people normally bodes incredibly well for you (as long as you're both able to benefit each other).

    I've kind of lost focus for what exactly I'm arguing for in this thread, but I feel that it's understated how valuable it is in a very egoistic sense to contribute in a significant way to your community.

    I'd say anarchism (of any species) is less like "gee guys let's pool together and hold hands and ignore our own values" and more like "how can I best prove to this community that I'm not a burden and that I'm worthy of its cooperation?"


    Not gonna lie I can't remember exactly what species of communism was being debated but when I started writing this aimless ramble I had anarchocommunism in mind.

  34. Post #74
    Dennab
    March 2012
    867 Posts
    no sobotnik is right, you're fundamentally confused about what natural selection is and is not

    read this so you don't make stupid mistakes http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Evolution
    natural selection: The weak are meat; the strong do eat.

  35. Post #75
    natural selection: The weak are meat; the strong do eat.
    what

  36. Post #76
    Dennab
    March 2012
    867 Posts
    You're making natural selection and evolution out to be the same thing, rather than one being a component of the other. Natural selection is the means by which successful genes may pass on; it's the tendency for the creature better adapted to its environment to survive to later pass on its genes. Marx says that those who do not subscribe to the national ideology and refuse to take part in the economic mode of production will die out or otherwise be hindered from changing the status quo and thus passing on their psychological worldview. Not genetically, but economically.

  37. Post #77
    Proudly supporting the JIDF
    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    You're making natural selection and evolution out to be the same thing, rather than one being a component of the other. Natural selection is the means by which successful genes may pass on; it's the tendency for the creature better adapted to its environment to survive to later pass on its genes. Marx says that those who do not subscribe to the national ideology and refuse to take part in the economic mode of production will die out or otherwise be hindered from changing the status quo and thus passing on their psychological worldview. Not genetically, but economically.
    But psychological worldviews aren't heritable however.

  38. Post #78
    You're making natural selection and evolution out to be the same thing, rather than one being a component of the other. Natural selection is the means by which successful genes may pass on; it's the tendency for the creature better adapted to its environment to survive to later pass on its genes. Marx says that those who do not subscribe to the national ideology and refuse to take part in the economic mode of production will die out or otherwise be hindered from changing the status quo and thus passing on their psychological worldview. Not genetically, but economically.
    no you're completely retarded this isn't natural selection or evolution or anything at all

    http://lesswrong.com/lw/l6/no_evolut...r_nanodevices/

  39. Post #79
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,048 Posts
    Obviously his darwin analogy isn't completely sound. I'd speculate that some sort of economics-informed memetic theory would get to the heart of what prooboo's point is a little better - if such a thing exists. If ever your debate opponent makes a misanalogy (no idea if that's a word but I'm coining it if not), it's much more productive to ask them to present their argument without it rather than telling them they're stupid and don't understand genetics or whatever.

    It often feels like some posters treat mass debate as an opportunity to prove people are wrong or misinformed in as many spheres as possible rather than as a means to reaching a stronger position on something.

  40. Post #80
    Dennab
    March 2012
    867 Posts
    But psychological worldviews aren't heritable however.
    however they can't spread if nobody is around to spread them