The dialectical method itself is a very poor way of acquiring knowledge too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
of course it does
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
if you were to limit all economic activity to the former system the standard of living would plummet
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.
Here is a brief discussion of the topic of human nature as related to individualism vs. collectivism
wow you broke my automerge you evil kulak
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.
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.
this is just disingenuous
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
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?
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.
This is just childish on the authors part. Comparing religion to psychology is silly.
Bullshit. Fundamental misunderstanding of the most basic principles of leftist theory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
this is a utopian fantasy
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.
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.
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.
What? You said that wants are caused by scarcity, and so your solution for this is to ... make more scarcity ?????????
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:
The irony is that this kind of capitalism is more egalitarian than your anarchosyndicalist idea, since it actually benefits more people.
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.
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.
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":
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)
Ok, so how does evolution tie in with Marxism?
This has no credible scientific backing. Psychologists and biologists (or anybody who knows fucking anything about those fields minus humanists) will laugh at you.
What about soldiers who form close emotional bonds with their comrades despite being in danger, or holy men who starve themselves for god?
Grazed a bullet but how does this explain soldiers or holy people?
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.
Ok this seems somewhat obvious and straightforward.
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.
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.
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.
No you can't.
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.
Rather than using shoddy economic arguments, why not use psychology or biology to help us work out things about humans?
True, apart from the years when production falls (usually after a big war or revolution, but those are hiccups so lets ignore those).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
I guess this is why.
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.
read this so you don't make stupid mistakes http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Evolution
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.
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.