Why the Soviet Union failed - my hypothesis

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Awesomelyglorious
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06 Oct 2010, 9:36 pm

Right, I am really not going to take the case for socialism seriously until the mathematical problem is recognized, and a solution proposed. This isn't to say that there is no solution, as I am empirical enough to think that maybe some set of devices *could be* clever enough to do the work of the market while still promoting more social equality than that market. However, I don't see much reason to take the idea seriously without more evidence. A logical proof against something may not be 100% always correct, as seen in the history of philosophy, but it is often enough to disregard an idea until the problem is solved.



ruveyn
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07 Oct 2010, 5:13 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Right, I am really not going to take the case for socialism seriously until the mathematical problem is recognized, and a solution proposed. This isn't to say that there is no solution, as I am empirical enough to think that maybe some set of devices *could be* clever enough to do the work of the market while still promoting more social equality than that market. However, I don't see much reason to take the idea seriously without more evidence. A logical proof against something may not be 100% always correct, as seen in the history of philosophy, but it is often enough to disregard an idea until the problem is .


I would not hold my breath until a working algorithm for socialism is formulated. Here is the catch: humans will always find ways to cheat any system be it capitalistic, socialistic or any other. Cheating is what we homo sapiens do best. We have gamed and cheated our way in the world which is why our not so nice species has survived for over 200,000 years since it appeared. The other human species found out the hard way that we homo sapiens are cheats and bad neighbors. Think of the unfortunate Neanderthals.

The only way to make socialism "work" is to create a super robot which will impose it by force. Call this super robot Gort or more accurately, Joesef Stalin.

Stalin Barada Nikto.

ruveyn



Master_Pedant
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08 Oct 2010, 1:14 am

The main problem with whether "socialism" is possible is the ambiguity of the term. For instance, would a network of worker's cooperatives count as "socialism" despite the lack of central planning? It is, after all, workers ownership and the profit motive (while still present) is a lot more connected with a collective goal then in classical capitalism.



RedHanrahan
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08 Oct 2010, 2:49 am

Master_Pedant wrote:
The main problem with whether "socialism" is possible is the ambiguity of the term. For instance, would a network of worker's cooperatives count as "socialism" despite the lack of central planning? It is, after all, workers ownership and the profit motive (while still present) is a lot more connected with a collective goal then in classical capitalism.


I would tend to see that as 'syndicalism' or 'communism'.

During the short lived Spanish Republic the workers formed a multitude of variants along these lines.
Generally in the Catalan region most people subscribed to Anarcho-Syndicalist ideas and given that they did so in far from ideal circumstances achieved considerable success [subjectively - depends on aspirations really dosen't it?].

Somewhere around 1918-1919 a short lived revolt and syndicalist movement took over the city of Limerick and for two weeks in spite of being besieged by the English military kept everything running fine.

Nicaragua's Sandinista regeme allowed the workers to form rural collectives while administering the centralised services in a much more 'socialistic' manner.

It is unfortunate that the political systems people choose are done in such absolutist ways, it has become dicotic like religion with goodies and baddies. It is a bad joke as human life is not so simple, and depending on the 'journey' so far different cultures will desire different things and atempt to achieve them in different ways.

So far the 'failure' of 'socialist experiments has not happened in isolation from external non 'socialist' pressures and as far as I am concerned the jury is out as much as it is with the 'religion' question. Anyone who see's these things in fixed absolutist ways from either side of the argument, are little more to my mind than morons, mental retards incapable of flexible thinking and acceptance of other peoples right to be different, to choose different things, to look beyond dogma etc.. - just like religious zealots the world over, it is a pity because humans are such endlessly varied creatures and know so little... :(


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RedHanrahan
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08 Oct 2010, 3:00 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
RedHanrahan wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Master_Pedant wrote:
RedHanrahan wrote:

Thankyou sir.

It obviously takes a compatriot of John Ralston Saul to understand my point, have you read any of his work?


I haven't and the forum member who references his work the most happens to be a conservative forum moderator. I don't really agree with the whole "policy technocrats are bad 'cause the analyze details" thesis. I think the great economist John Keneith Gabrieth made a rather elegant point that a new industrial economy requires educated technocrats.

I dunno, I've read two major intellectuals challenging technocrats.
1) Jacques Ellul, who thinks that the over-use of rational methods of organizing society can crush moral freedom by making it into another bit of data and division of labor, rather than individual choice.
2) Friedrich Hayek, who believes that the data of reality is too complex for technocrats to handle everything. Instead, we need to recognize that a lot of people have tacit knowledge on how things work, and that relying on this is essential.


Thank you for the tip I have read neither writer, however I would agree generally with both statements and they are now on my interest list, cheers :)

You might dislike Hayek. Hayek is relatively conservative in some ways(which isn't necessarily evil), and he is also a staunch defender of capitalism as he is a member of the Austrian school.

Jacques Ellul, however, is a social theorist who is a Christian anarchist. I would guess that he is more neutral towards markets than openly opposed, as in one writing of his, he saw them as marginally better than the Soviet planning efforts. But he doesn't seem to be a clear fan, and I would really tend to think of him as more on the left.


Thanks for the extra info. I am not afraid of different and new ideas, just endlessly bored with the tired old ones that have achieved the same credibility with me as religious dogma, peace j


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Macbeth
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08 Oct 2010, 9:21 am

RedHanrahan wrote:
Master_Pedant wrote:
The main problem with whether "socialism" is possible is the ambiguity of the term. For instance, would a network of worker's cooperatives count as "socialism" despite the lack of central planning? It is, after all, workers ownership and the profit motive (while still present) is a lot more connected with a collective goal then in classical capitalism.


I would tend to see that as 'syndicalism' or 'communism'.

During the short lived Spanish Republic the workers formed a multitude of variants along these lines.
Generally in the Catalan region most people subscribed to Anarcho-Syndicalist ideas and given that they did so in far from ideal circumstances achieved considerable success [subjectively - depends on aspirations really dosen't it?].

Somewhere around 1918-1919 a short lived revolt and syndicalist movement took over the city of Limerick and for two weeks in spite of being besieged by the English military kept everything running fine.

Nicaragua's Sandinista regeme allowed the workers to form rural collectives while administering the centralised services in a much more 'socialistic' manner.

It is unfortunate that the political systems people choose are done in such absolutist ways, it has become dicotic like religion with goodies and baddies. It is a bad joke as human life is not so simple, and depending on the 'journey' so far different cultures will desire different things and atempt to achieve them in different ways.

So far the 'failure' of 'socialist experiments has not happened in isolation from external non 'socialist' pressures and as far as I am concerned the jury is out as much as it is with the 'religion' question. Anyone who see's these things in fixed absolutist ways from either side of the argument, are little more to my mind than morons, mental retards incapable of flexible thinking and acceptance of other peoples right to be different, to choose different things, to look beyond dogma etc.. - just like religious zealots the world over, it is a pity because humans are such endlessly varied creatures and know so little... :(


Surely one of the tests OF a socialist experiment: the ability to endure despite external non-socialist influences. After all, any attempt at a socialist regime is going to have to cope with that, endure it, perhaps even overcome it.

A lot of things tested in laboratory (ie isolated) conditions fail when taken into the field.


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waltur
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08 Oct 2010, 1:46 pm

RedHanrahan wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
RedHanrahan wrote:

Systems fail because of humans and their failings, every failing that occurred in the soviet economy is present in modern capitalist economies, this is because of human failings, human weaknesses and just because one experiment fails I ask again shall we cease to try more?

.


Socialism fails because it demands from each of us they we subordinate our own personal and family interests to the "greater good" of society.

Let me make it plain to you. I will look after the good of my children and grandchildren long before I attend to the good of strangers. That is a wired in genetic impulse shared by most, if not all, human beings. It is a survival characteristic that has been wired in by the process of natural selection. Born altruists tend to die off before they go upstream to spawn which is why there are so few of them.

ruveyn


It is good that those were 'I' statements and they may be entirely true for you and those with similar cultural mores to yourself.
I would however suggest that the conclusions you have drawn are erroneous, you need more data hater, your rantings about nuking an entire race and your constant spouting of boring one line opinion statements as facts has destroyed any possibility of credibility of either your mental or emotional reason.



as much as i like to oppose ruveyn's point of view on the worthiness of altruism, i can't help but point out that he's right about this.

http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html


and yeah, i did just link a comedy column to back that up.


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ruveyn
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08 Oct 2010, 3:30 pm

waltur wrote:


as much as i like to oppose ruveyn's point of view on the worthiness of altruism, i can't help but point out that he's right about this.

.


Worthiness of Altruism.? May the G-D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob melt me into a pool of smoking grease if I ever do anything for altruistic reasons.

ruveyn



kokopelli
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04 Dec 2017, 2:01 pm

The Soviet Union failed because of the great inefficiencies of central planning in a modern world.

In an agricultural world, it could have kept going and showed good productivity. Even into the mid 1970s, they still had a good economy if their economic reports are accurate.

The further we progressed towards today's high tech world, the more the incompetence of their central planning was shown.

In the mid 1970s, the Soviet economy was losing ground and they were falling behind year by year with less hope of ever catching up with what they once had. Their economy was stagnant. The Soviet Union was crumbling.

Then came Mikhail Gorbachev. He saw what was happening and tried to reform the Soviet Union to save it. If he had been a hard-liner, he could have kept it going for some time by massive repression but to his credit, he didn't go that route. In the end, his loosening of control ended up in dissolution of the Soviet Union.

For an example of the pitfalls of central planning, consider integrated circuit computer chips. They set the Soviet Standards for the pin spacing slightly different from that used in the rest of the world. As a result, they could not buy computer chips from anyone else and nobody would buy theirs. After all, if you bought a Soviet made computer, you could not buy standard parts to use in it -- you had to use Soviet made parts even if the designs for those parts were made by reverse engineering parts from US computers.

Many people on the right say that it was Reagan's defense buildup that did it. In reality, his defense build up help make it clear what was happening, but the problems were endemic in the Soviet system and not created by us.