Is a classless society a society without or with no economic

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enrico_dandolo
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12 Jun 2012, 11:12 am

@ WilliamWDelaney : That is actually rather interesting. It makes me think of Venetian society (because, you know, everything does). In Venice, a city with rich capitalists if there ever was one, with two groups of politically privileged citizens above the rabble (the nobles and the "citizens"), the rich and poor were freely mixed, not separated from each other. In every parish, there were rich people and poor people, and they went to the same church on Sundays. They could live in the same building, with a rich family on one level and several poor ones on another.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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12 Jun 2012, 11:52 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 ?

Unlikely because management will always be necessary to accomplish goals among communities and these managers will always feel superior to workers. Workers will always resent it.
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Can the upper class and the lower class ever be equal in terms on wealth and income and economics ?

No. If that were the case, there would be no classes. I have never heard of a classless society existing.


Quote:
Did the Soviet Union and other Marxist Nations such as Cuba still have Rich or Wealthy People a Upper Class ?

Yes. The government leaders and mafia. Black marketeers. They ran the show.

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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

You have to have structure in order to accomplish. If you live in a society where nobody eats and nothing needs to get done, you can live in a classless society and just sit there your entire life looking at the sky. In order to accomplish goals, structure is needed. These classes are the structures that allow goals to be reached that benefit the community. Without them, you have sloth and laziness. Nothing gets done.
The pay gap should close some, between worker and CEO. The workers should be paid enough to be happy in life and afford the things they want, within range. The CEO and his staff shouldn't suck up millions of dollars at the expense of everyone else. In a system that is purely free market/capitalism, this is often the fatal flaw. Profit should be shared by all with the Managers getting slightly more but not a humongous amount.

Communism acknowledges this need for leadership during the reign of the dictator. A dictator is the one who will make everyone else accomplish tasks.



Last edited by ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo on 12 Jun 2012, 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TM
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12 Jun 2012, 11:59 am

WilliamWDelaney wrote:
Jeez.

A "classless society" is simply this: if you were to encounter Warren Buffet, you don't owe him anything just because he's rich. You don't have to assume that he has authority over you. You don't have to behave as if there is some social boundary between you and Mr. Buffet. You can treat him like you would any of your drinking buddies. Anyone who views this kind of situation as ideal can be said to be pretty left-leaning in every respect that matters, even if that person's economic beliefs are "ultra-conservative."



You wouldn't treat Mr. Buffet different because he's rich, but because of his accomplishments. In the same manner a grad student in physics would be a bit awed by Stephen Hawking or a behavioral psychologist would be meeting Paul Ekman. People do not tend to defer to money, but to knowledge, wisdom, accomplishments and other merits. Much in the same sense that most left leaning people I've met would defer to Chomsky or another leftist authority. The mere quote from Marx earlier in this post is in fact a manner in which one treats his thinking differently than other people's thinking on the same subject matter.



WilliamWDelaney
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12 Jun 2012, 12:39 pm

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
You have to have structure in order to accomplish.
And a Marxist-style thinker who is also a believer in capitalism, in the colloquial sense, would tell you that the structure ought to be based on trade. You work for your employer and follow your employer's rules because your employer is the person who controls your salary. If it's not worth the salary, you can simply "vote with your feet" on the issue. You might even have a higher income based on your salary than your employer does based on profits. It is not necessary for structure to be based on wealth or class. Some people might even see capitalism as the best path to fulfilling Karl Marx's ideals, and there you have an example of how the ideas can work together extremely well.

Also, all that classism really accomplishes is to block communications between the brain and the appendage. If you can't tell your employer, "you manage this company like an imbecile" and not fear being fired, the company is doomed. On the other hand, if you can say to your employer, "I noticed your equipment is archaic and bogging everything down with all the wiring problems, and I have worked on the machine you are thinking of replacing our bulldozer with and know it's a lot worse than what you already have. It's a mistake. However, I know a Komatsu dealer not twenty miles from here who was bitching to me the other day about a surplus. Don't ask me what we were doing together." When that class tension is removed, the gears of a company run a lot more smoothly.

Quote:
The workers should be paid enough to be happy in life and afford the things they want, within range. The CEO and his staff shouldn't suck up millions of dollars at the expense of everyone else. In a system that is purely free market/capitalism, this is often the fatal flaw. Profit should be shared by all with the Managers getting slightly more but not a humongous amount.
If the CEO talked and dined with the regular workers and knew what was going on in the lives of each of them, he wouldn't need any encouragement to increase their wages when it was the right thing to do. If the workers believed that their trades were something to be proud of, not something that made them "socially inferior," they would work a lot more efficiently at their jobs, perhaps even come up with innovative ways of doing those jobs. If you do away with class, the difference in their pay no longer matters, and the system runs more smoothly.



WilliamWDelaney
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12 Jun 2012, 1:10 pm

TM wrote:
WilliamWDelaney wrote:
Jeez.

A "classless society" is simply this: if you were to encounter Warren Buffet, you don't owe him anything just because he's rich. You don't have to assume that he has authority over you. You don't have to behave as if there is some social boundary between you and Mr. Buffet. You can treat him like you would any of your drinking buddies. Anyone who views this kind of situation as ideal can be said to be pretty left-leaning in every respect that matters, even if that person's economic beliefs are "ultra-conservative."



You wouldn't treat Mr. Buffet different because he's rich, but because of his accomplishments. In the same manner a grad student in physics would be a bit awed by Stephen Hawking or a behavioral psychologist would be meeting Paul Ekman. People do not tend to defer to money, but to knowledge, wisdom, accomplishments and other merits. Much in the same sense that most left leaning people I've met would defer to Chomsky or another leftist authority. The mere quote from Marx earlier in this post is in fact a manner in which one treats his thinking differently than other people's thinking on the same subject matter.
Well, the fact that you are responding this way causes me to suspect that you are misunderstanding the point, and I think it arises from a historic conflation between Marxist thinking and radical deconstructionism, which I often fall victim to myself.

Marxism arose in a society where, if you were a "social inferior" and some rich guy came walking down the street, you were expected to move off into the gutter. You were expected to bow to people who had titles and so on. Russia was particularly bad for this before the reforms, and it's part of why their society ended up being so backward even before Communist rule.

Marxism was an attempt to address a very real social ill. It wasn't based on some deconstructionist philosophy because philosophical dissertations are a dime a dozen, but it was a reaction to the ills of society. To say that the Marxists of the time period were motivated primarily by a desire to create a Marxist utopia, thoroughly reliant on the theories of Karl Marx, is confusing the ends with the means. Karl Marx would probably want to revise a lot of his theories in light of a lot that has transpired since his time.

The idea was not born in a vacuum, though.

Really, the only person I would be overawed by would be Robert A. Heinlein, who fills the same job for me that Jesus does for most people.



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12 Jun 2012, 5:16 pm

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:

Communism acknowledges this need for leadership during the reign of the dictator. A dictator is the one who will make everyone else accomplish tasks.


The hand that wields the whip runs the show.

ruveyn



WilliamWDelaney
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12 Jun 2012, 5:45 pm

Actually, I think that I ought to explain why I am bringing up a semiotics concept in a socio-political discussion, namely deconstructionism. Although deconstructionism pertains mostly to language, it also pertains to sociology. I'm not an advocate of a radical application of deconstructionism, and this actually makes me a bit of an outcast (and occasionally a minion of Satan) among far-left thinkers. I consider the founding principles of it to be valid, but I see the purpose of deconstruction as being to break down the idea that we ought to make tendencies of nature into laws, just because the tendencies are there. I am essentially very pragmatic in my viewpoint on it.

For example, it might be part of human nature to be deferential to people who have made impressive accomplishments, and this might result in a degree of social definition. We are going to have athletes who are considered to be "all stars" and given "all star treatment," and we are going to have athletes who play only as amateurs. We are going to have people born to royal or noble lineages, and we are going to have commoners.

However, my view is that there is a fine line between recognizing athletic achievement and making laws against non-all stars ever being allowed to play in a sport. It's like saying, "white men can't jump, therefore white men shouldn't (try to) jump." It doesn't make sense. It's like saying, "since paraplegiacs can't climb stairs, there ought to be a law against paraplegiacs being allowed to enter buildings that require ascending stairs." The point is, sometimes the structure has a function, sometimes it is incidental, and occasionally it's something we ought to try with all our hearts to overcome or work around.

Well, the radical deconstructionist would say that, in order to eliminate all distinctions between paraplegiacs and able-bodied people, we ought to outlaw the construction of buildings that don't have wheelchair access ramps. Or, to be more extreme, to outlaw stairs altogether, so both able-bodied people and paraplegiacs have to use a ramp. Well, it is obvious that we ought to make public buildings that are necessary to go into accessible to paraplegiacs if feasible. However, should we require a guy to make his private residence wheelchair accessible? Well, there is a point where the trade-off equation doesn't make sense. Someone who really wanted to be a radical deconstructionist, though, would want to make it a statute that all residences must have wheelchair ramps or ground-level entrances, since to do otherwise would create a situation of "haves and have-nots." This is not some fantasy I am having, but there are actually flesh-and-blood people who think this way.

Alternatively, the structural functionalist would tell you that the definitions and boundaries in our society all serve an important purpose, and all of it works together somehow to keep our society intact. Things like norms, customs, institutions, etc. are a complex system that has to be maintained and occasionally propped-up with laws and ordinances to reinforce it. Of course, you can see how this figures into conservative philosophy.

The problem with structural functionalism is that it's thoroughly daft to assume that, just because something is there, it must be helping matters for it to be there. For example, the deficiency male students have sometimes in verbal learning does not serve any purpose. It is a natural drawback of being a guy that you are more likely to have an autistic spectrum disorder, and it is a natural drawback of being a guy that you are somewhat more likely to have difficulty understanding different layers of meaning in what you read. This is not a big deal for most men. However, if it ever becomes a problem for you, try picking up a book. Although I can see the logic behind structural functionalism, the philosophy is flawed.

Therefore, a more fruitful realization of Karl Marx's ideal is for us to be able to overcome our natural limitations and deficiencies. It might be harder for you to understand someone who comes from a different socio-economic group, but you can do little things to improve your facility with their language and their culture. If you ever get to be some bigshot corporate executive, it might be hard to get an engineer who works for the company to understand certain things about the business end of things, but you could try chatting with them during their coffee break and casually slipping in remarks about a corporate merger that isn't going well; a particularly intelligent employee might nudge his coworker and say, "hey, I think these guys are serious. We really do need to kick things up a notch." The distinction between the corporate executive's job and the engineer's job might serve a valid purpose, but they cannot work together effectively if they don't understand each other or some of each other's issues.

It seems self-evident to me that the structural functionalist and the deconstructionist outlook are both dead-ends, and the real answer is not some shade of gray that could lead to false compromises. The reality is that, in any situation, you have to look at all of the trade-offs, and you have to think. There is no excuse not to think. There is no easy answer that is universally applicable everywhere. Trying to find one will only put you in the same position that Einstein put himself in when he became obsessed with finding a "Theory of Everything." You will find yourself frustrated and confused. One day, you might be overcome with a sense of triumphant joy as you come to believe you have found it. As you realize it's just another false compromise, you will find yourself overcome with a sense of humiliation. Forget trying to find the "magic formula" for "perfect social harmony." We just aren't on that page yet.



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14 Jun 2012, 9:12 am

WilliamWDelaney wrote:

It seems self-evident to me that the structural functionalist and the deconstructionist outlook are both dead-ends, and the real answer is not some shade of gray that could lead to false compromises. The reality is that, in any situation, you have to look at all of the trade-offs, and you have to think. There is no excuse not to think. There is no easy answer that is universally applicable everywhere. Trying to find one will only put you in the same position that Einstein put himself in when he became obsessed with finding a "Theory of Everything." You will find yourself frustrated and confused. One day, you might be overcome with a sense of triumphant joy as you come to believe you have found it. As you realize it's just another false compromise, you will find yourself overcome with a sense of humiliation. Forget trying to find the "magic formula" for "perfect social harmony." We just aren't on that page yet.


What about being half-way decent folks? Given that we can muddle through the difficult times.

The Best is the Enemy of the Good Enough.

ruveyn



WilliamWDelaney
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14 Jun 2012, 9:54 am

ruveyn wrote:
What about being half-way decent folks? Given that we can muddle through the difficult times.
But what do you define that as? The structural functionalist thinker regards that as helping uphold the values and traditions of society, sticking to your guns and all that. The deconstructionist thinker regards that as being open-minded and showing tolerance for individual differences.

The structural functionalist thinker would say that, if you are treating someone who is out-of-step in the same way you would treat someone who is behaving "correctly," you are messing up the system. To them, you are being unfair because you aren't giving someone fair return on trying so hard to do a good job. If you take away people's motivation to try to do well and try to be good citizens, everything will just dissolve into anarchy. If we're all the same, no matter what we do, what should we do with a serial killer? Pat him on the head and say, "you are really just as good as everybody else"? That's insane.

The deconstructionist thinker would say that, if you are showing special favor to one person over others, you are creating a source of disharmony. If someone can't live in the same house as a rich guy while living on welfare, that's creating a source of jealousy and therefore potential for conflict. The deconstructionist thinkers wouldn't just say it's wrong to treat them differently, but they would question the authenticity of even implying that one is "better" than the other. They would accuse you of trying to create a system of subjugation in which you are authorizing people who are very wealthy to commit acts of aggression and persecution against the poor.

Forget about politics. For a minute, I'm going to make you the CEO at a major company. You are the Big Boss now, and everything is up to you. If you were the boss at a company, how would you resolve this problem? The answer is not always easy. Here is your job: you have to set up a management hierarchy and system of promotion that puts the best leaders in charge and prevents abusers and slackers from crawling up in the ranks. How will your system of promotion prevent abuse?

So let's say that you set up a system where you give pay raises and promotions to people who manage to get the most work done. You may be feeling pretty clever about that. Remember, you are the CEO, and you are puffing on your cigar and thinking about what a clever guy you are. You just set up a system of promotion that makes sure that people get rewarded for their labors and good behavior.

Suddenly, you get a call from one of your senior executives, and she is in tears. People are getting into fist fights in the offices because greedy, advancement-seeking employees have been undermining their coworkers, and this not only gets people frustrated and pissed-off but destroys productivity and morale. Not only that, but you just realized that one of your other senior executives got into his current position by taking undue credit for a lot of other people's work! At every level he had been promoted, he had sought out a talented but clueless, young employee, gotten him to do all of the work, and then handed it in with a smile.

Well, in a misguided attempt to resolve this, you try to switch to a system based purely on seniority. This sounds good at first, but you eventually figure out that you are falling behind the competition. While you were holding onto people who graduated from college several decades ago, your competitor across the street was hiring on talented, young hotshots who all had fresh ideas and fresh memories of their lessons. Your people may be more experienced, but they don't know the latest trends. They don't have the quick problem-solving ability that the young guns have. It just doesn't cut it. Furthermore, nobody is really trying all that hard to get things done. They know that, if they just stay around long enough, they'll be promoted to the top. This cuts pretty deep into your profits.

I don't know a simple answer to these kinds of problems, and I've actually read journals of sociology and business ethics. I'm not talking about abstracts, but I've actually studied them very closely. It's a much more complex topic than most people give it credit for. If you were to try to sell these authors a one-word answer to all social ills, such as "libertarianism," they would laugh their asses off.

But hey, whatever! I'm just full of opinions. Don't mind me.



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14 Jun 2012, 10:45 am

There are hierarchies and there are hierarchies. We've seen a vast variety of them within human societies. I read a few years ago about the tribes of Native Americans that used to live where I live now. They lived in small nomadic bands. Some bands had leaders who were more authoritarian and told the others what they would do as a group, some had leaders, usually a man and woman (a mated pair or sometimes a sister and brother), who would basically tell the others something like, "We're going over here to do this. Come along if you want." Living in a group was important enough to most people that they would go along.

It seems to be in much larger, more populous societies that complex hierarchies develop, and they seem to be all about power, status, and an uneven distribution of wealth, some acquiring more than enough to survive, and sometimes even in scarcity, the more complex hierarchy exerts enough power that some still accumulate wealth.

But the natural state of humanity, when we live closest to nature, seems to be to live in smaller groups with loose hierarchies, and to share necessities, to take care of each other. In that type of society no money is necessary. In some hunter-gatherer societies where there was plenty of food, the tribe could spend as little as two to four hours a day gathering all the necessities for life and they had a lot of time for leisure, which allowed them to develop better tools, play, decorate clothing, homes, and so forth.

However we live in a much different world today, not nearly as close to nature. It takes a lot more energy to provide our basics. We consider more things basic, such as elaborate shelters, indoor plumbing, electricity, health care, mono-cultural food production, education, roads and transportation.

Today, in my opinion, the fairest way to distribute money is according to the time spent. Each person should be considered equally valuable. An hour of my time is as valuable to me as an hour of your time is to you.

Apparently the hunter-gatherer model makes up more than 90% of human history, so I would say that a relatively classless, moneyless egalitarian existence is our natural state. Some links for anyone who wants to read further (just to get you started):

LINKS to Hunter-Gatherer Societies articles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter-gatherer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Band_society

http://www.huntercourse.com/blog/2011/0 ... existence/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segmented_sleep (included here because segmented sleep is mentioned in the link just prior)

http://someknowledge.wordpress.com/2008 ... l-society/

http://www.quora.com/Which-economic-sys ... ieties-use



slave
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14 Jun 2012, 2:50 pm

SpiritBlooms wrote:
There are hierarchies and there are hierarchies. We've seen a vast variety of them within human societies. I read a few years ago about the tribes of Native Americans that used to live where I live now. They lived in small nomadic bands. Some bands had leaders who were more authoritarian and told the others what they would do as a group, some had leaders, usually a man and woman (a mated pair or sometimes a sister and brother), who would basically tell the others something like, "We're going over here to do this. Come along if you want." Living in a group was important enough to most people that they would go along.

It seems to be in much larger, more populous societies that complex hierarchies develop, and they seem to be all about power, status, and an uneven distribution of wealth, some acquiring more than enough to survive, and sometimes even in scarcity, the more complex hierarchy exerts enough power that some still accumulate wealth.

But the natural state of humanity, when we live closest to nature, seems to be to live in smaller groups with loose hierarchies, and to share necessities, to take care of each other. In that type of society no money is necessary. In some hunter-gatherer societies where there was plenty of food, the tribe could spend as little as two to four hours a day gathering all the necessities for life and they had a lot of time for leisure, which allowed them to develop better tools, play, decorate clothing, homes, and so forth.

However we live in a much different world today, not nearly as close to nature. It takes a lot more energy to provide our basics. We consider more things basic, such as elaborate shelters, indoor plumbing, electricity, health care, mono-cultural food production, education, roads and transportation.

Today, in my opinion, the fairest way to distribute money is according to the time spent. Each person should be considered equally valuable. An hour of my time is as valuable to me as an hour of your time is to you.

Apparently the hunter-gatherer model makes up more than 90% of human history, so I would say that a relatively classless, moneyless egalitarian existence is our natural state. Some links for anyone who wants to read further (just to get you started):

LINKS to Hunter-Gatherer Societies articles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter-gatherer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Band_society

http://www.huntercourse.com/blog/2011/0 ... existence/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segmented_sleep (included here because segmented sleep is mentioned in the link just prior)

http://someknowledge.wordpress.com/2008 ... l-society/

http://www.quora.com/Which-economic-sys ... ieties-use



Gratitude for the links I feel!


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Since the birth of civilization, small sets of dominant individuals have controlled the numerical majority. Even a cursory reading of world history will substantiate this claim. Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Sultans, Czars, and Dictators have imposed their will upon their subjects. This pattern has not changed over the millennia and it remains so, today. Our Masters rule over every nation and no one can defy them. They will attain Absolute Power as we reach the Singularity. All those who oppose their will, will be destroyed. Given the obvious futility, I will not resist. 2+2=5.


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01 Aug 2019, 2:44 pm

DC wrote:
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...


What about a AI + Robotics and automation assisted Utopia!
Where human beings only work if they feel the desire, otherwise, all essential living is provided for by the AI+Robots+Automation....?

Now that would be better than brave new world... we could all realise our creative, intellectual and "spiritual" potential, or simply just party and loaf around....

The AI assisted neo-beat generation.... Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg from the future....