Is a classless society a society without or with no economic

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mikecartwright
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07 Jun 2012, 9:29 pm

Is a classless society a society without or with no economic classes impossible in a society with money or even without what about now a days is this unlikely ? Can the upper class and the lower class ever be equal in terms on wealth and income and economics ? Did the Soviet Union and other Marxist Nations such as Cuba still have Rich or Wealthy People a Upper Class ?

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

Manifesto
of the Communist Party
1848

II -- PROLETARIANS AND COMMUNISTS

When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class; if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/class ... festo.html



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07 Jun 2012, 10:21 pm

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"



ruveyn
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07 Jun 2012, 11:43 pm

No such thing as a society without rank or hierarchy. Bands of primates always have alpha males, beta males etc.

We are primates.

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07 Jun 2012, 11:57 pm

Strictly speaking, you could have a system with money and that broadly has equality, but you'd have to prevent people from investing in capital goods, but rather have all investment be social. Instead money would be a spending token dispensed by whatever set of social forces are in control of the egalitarian order.

Equality, however, is quite unlikely. The reason being that equality requires immense social controls to maintain. Some people/groups will have greater power over the resources than others, and those groups have an incentive to cheat, and the problem is probably worsened by social controls. This power will be greatest during the period of upheaval to create an egalitarian society, and once it exists, it is likely to be institutionalized and maintained, or even exacerbated.



Last edited by Awesomelyglorious on 08 Jun 2012, 12:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

John_Browning
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07 Jun 2012, 11:58 pm

Non-military scientists, artists, musicians, policemen, senior military officers, any officer in the supply line, KGB, those in positions of power, those with connections to them, and people who were simply good at trading and ran a black market tended to live better to varying degrees. People in "closed cities" were given a higher standard of living, but the control over their lives was far more severe. Trying to make a perfectly equal society is futile but so many fail to see that people inherently unequal in their skills, talents, personalities, physical abilities, and physical and mental shortcomings, and people have a natural instinct to use them to their personal advantage. Fully modern free market countries make an effort to provide the best opportunities feasible to help someone get ahead to the best of their abilities. Trying to forcibly level off everyone's assets creates never-ending disputes about what's fair (unless you would get shot for dissenting). When your best and brightest feel short-changed and nobody gets ahead or sees any positive changes from working harder, people stop giving 100%. Sure the Soviet Union beat us to almost every benchmark in the space race, but the rest of the country was waiting 2 hours a week in bread lines hoping a full ration of groceries was available.

The standard of living in a US urban housing project is slightly below the "equal" standard of living in most communist countries during the cold war.

Q: How many Soviets did it take to change a lightbulb?
A: 3. 1 to stand in line to try and get a lightbulb, 1 to stand in line to try and get a ladder, and 1 in reserve to go stand in line for the other 2 in case toilet .paper became available! :P


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08 Jun 2012, 12:08 am

The Soviet Union and Cuba both had elites. Maybe not "classes", because that term is overused even though it has a specific definition, but there were people better off than others -- the nomenklatura, party members, the stakhanovists who didn't die from exhaustion, etc. A quick read about the events should clear the issue.

Technically, the Soviet Union was strictly marxist in practice. It didn't replicate the ideal marxist society. However, since that society is entirely utopic and, for Marx, was supposed to "happen" more or less by itself (for an anti-religious person, he was quite a millenarist), it shouldn't really matter too much.



Oldout
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08 Jun 2012, 10:12 am

Perhaps the question should be when the inequality gap is too high, what can or should be done? Total equality is a near impossibility considering the differences in people's abilities, upbringing, etc.



NeueZiel
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08 Jun 2012, 10:31 am

Its not unlikely, its impossible. Until major sweeping changes occur that effect the human psyche in a widespread way. You can try to get close but it will never work out and the majority will always end up as the victims.

A real shame because I'm no fan of capitalism.



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08 Jun 2012, 10:49 am

In a classless society, would aspies function better or worse? Would there arise a new "mental problem" in the population? Would the people that strive to be rich then not find their place in the world and develop "symptoms"?


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ruveyn
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08 Jun 2012, 6:21 pm

NeueZiel wrote:
Its not unlikely, its impossible. Until major sweeping changes occur that effect the human psyche in a widespread way. You can try to get close but it will never work out and the majority will always end up as the victims.

A real shame because I'm no fan of capitalism.


What alternative would you recommend to the primarily capitalist mixed economy? Without prices and money producers would not know what to make and how much.

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09 Jun 2012, 5:11 am

People are not equal. Some people are more valuable to society than others.

Oh, and look up tribal societies like the Native Americans if you want something close to a classless society.



edgewaters
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09 Jun 2012, 5:39 am

mikecartwright wrote:
Is a classless society a society without or with no economic classes impossible in a society with money or even without what about now a days is this unlikely ? Can the upper class and the lower class ever be equal in terms on wealth and income and economics ? Did the Soviet Union and other Marxist Nations such as Cuba still have Rich or Wealthy People a Upper Class ?


Well Marx's ideas are not really reflected in the Soviet Union, for starters.

Next you have to understand what Marx meant by class, which has not that much to do with money, but with how money is earned. The Marxist system in its first phase would not allow anyone any share in the production, if they did not contribute to it. You wouldn't be able to make any money simply by owning things (like factories or apartments that can be rented) because all the mechanisms to do so would be absent. This would pretty much wipe out all the other classes. All the production would be going to the industrial workers; if you had been a factory owner you would have no means to survive except to get to work.

Finally, it wasn't just hte upper and middle classes Marx wanted to erase, it was also the very lowest classes, which he called the lumpenproletariat, as well as peasants and small farmers (because agriculture was going to be industrialized, as it has been)

It's difficult to apply the orthodox Marxist views of class on modern society because the lines are not as clearly drawn as they were in Marx's time. For example, workers did not play the stock market in Marx's time and to him it probably would have been inconceivable that they ever would.

Marx was never an egalitarian, either. In proposing a system of labour certificates as a new model for an economy, he defended unequal distribution of wealth on the basis of natural superiority:

This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It acknowledges no distinctions of class, because everyone is a worker just like everyone else, but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual talent and hence productivity in labor as natural privileges. Therefore in content this is a right to inequality, like all rights. By its nature a right can only consist in the application of a common standard; but unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are only commensurable in terms of a common standard



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09 Jun 2012, 9:30 am

The problem is how do you measure contribution?

If you have a million people all breaking rocks how do you measure contribution, weight of the rocks that he personally breaks each day?

But then what happens if a worker slacks off and invents a tool that enables the other 999,999 workers to break rocks 10x faster, how do you measure his contribution?

Do you refuse him bread because the worker didn't fulfil his quota, or do you give him 9 million loaves of bread every day for the rest of his life?



enrico_dandolo
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09 Jun 2012, 9:47 am

DC wrote:
The problem is how do you measure contribution?

If you have a million people all breaking rocks how do you measure contribution, weight of the rocks that he personally breaks each day?

But then what happens if a worker slacks off and invents a tool that enables the other 999,999 workers to break rocks 10x faster, how do you measure his contribution?

Do you refuse him bread because the worker didn't fulfil his quota, or do you give him 9 million loaves of bread every day for the rest of his life?

In standard utopic systems, he wouldn't slack off at all because he would find a job that fulfils his interests in the first place, and even if his contribution were less than someone else's, he would still have all the bread he needs because no one would take more than their fill.



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09 Jun 2012, 10:00 am

enrico_dandolo wrote:
DC wrote:
The problem is how do you measure contribution?

If you have a million people all breaking rocks how do you measure contribution, weight of the rocks that he personally breaks each day?

But then what happens if a worker slacks off and invents a tool that enables the other 999,999 workers to break rocks 10x faster, how do you measure his contribution?

Do you refuse him bread because the worker didn't fulfil his quota, or do you give him 9 million loaves of bread every day for the rest of his life?

In standard utopic systems, he wouldn't slack off at all because he would find a job that fulfils his interests in the first place, and even if his contribution were less than someone else's, he would still have all the bread he needs because no one would take more than their fill.


And that utopian thinking is the problem, in practice there are no jobs for network engineers until someone invents the network.

In this utopia where none shall eat until they contribute equally, are we going to create a million jobs for 'deep thinkers' and give them an equal share of bread for the next 30 years hoping that one day they will make an astounding breakthrough?

Are we going to give people the free choice between hard punishing labour in the cold all day or sitting on your butt thinking all day?

What happens when a 'deep thinker' just eats bread all his life and doesn't actually make a great through? Do we starve his children as punishment?

Trying to implement the utopian vision gets very messy very quickly...