Is a classless society a society without or with no economic

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abacacus
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09 Jun 2012, 12:40 pm

Classless societies are not feasible on a large scale due to basic human nature. That's really all there is to it.


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slave
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09 Jun 2012, 6:40 pm

Rainy wrote:
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.


I'll ask the Chief and the Shaman if you are correct. Hierarchy is ubiquitous. Don't be naive.


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edgewaters
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09 Jun 2012, 6:42 pm

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


More or less that's how Marx saw it. 1 hour of labour would be a standard that would be defined according to average production times for a good (which would also determine the cost of goods, when you wanted to redeem your labour for goods). So if it takes, on average, 1 hour of labour to produce 40lbs of gravel, then if you only produced 30lbs per hour you'd have to work 80 minutes to get an hour's worth of labour certificates. This is the transitional phase of communism, anyway. Things are supposed to change when the forces of production are completely liberated.

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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?


Well, he'd be credited for the work he put into the invention, since it was useful labour. But no, he wouldn't profit from it for the rest of his life. All labour is seen as equally valuable by Marx, so long as it is performed according to a standardized intensity. It's not a quota system per se.

Marx also admitted technological innovation would be reduced, but again, you have to understand Marx in historical context of the times he was writing in, here. In Marx's day it seemed like technological progress was at its apex and there were only a few tiny improvements in design to be made here and there. I have seen some paintings/sketches of how they imagined the future, and all it looks like is the 19th century but with more of everything. More trains, more factories, more new cities on a grid design, more modern sanitation, etc. Nothing revolutionary in terms of technology, they just didn't conceive of it for the most part.



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09 Jun 2012, 6:45 pm

slave wrote:
Rainy wrote:
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.


I'll ask the Chief and the Shaman if you are correct. Hierarchy is ubiquitous. Don't be naive.


Native Americans did not live in a classless society.



CSBurks
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09 Jun 2012, 7:31 pm

I don't think you can have 'classless' societies. Hierarchy is just natural.



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09 Jun 2012, 7:32 pm

CSBurks wrote:
I don't think you can have 'classless' societies. Hierarchy is just natural.


That is correct.



edgewaters
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09 Jun 2012, 10:03 pm

CSBurks wrote:
I don't think you can have 'classless' societies. Hierarchy is just natural.


Each class has its own hierarchy. You have to understand what class meant to Marx to comprehend it. It wasn't just a social hierarchy - it was groups in different economic modes. He believed there should be just one economic mode - you produce. If you don't produce, then you're not part of the economy.



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09 Jun 2012, 10:06 pm

edgewaters wrote:
CSBurks wrote:
I don't think you can have 'classless' societies. Hierarchy is just natural.


Each class has its own hierarchy. You have to understand what class meant to Marx to comprehend it. It wasn't just a social hierarchy - it was groups in different economic modes. He believed there should be just one economic mode - you produce. If you don't produce, then you're not part of the economy.


Hmm interesting.



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11 Jun 2012, 12:58 pm

Yah, its arguable that there was class division in "communist" countries. In fact the small, elite, political class served as an upper class, since it was they that technically had control over all the resources, had the greatest privileges, had the largest homes, and wielded great power over everyone else. Interestingly, after the collapse of the SU, the government owned co-operatives were sold off by former politburo officials who became the modern oligarchs of Russia. The way it was sold to the public through propaganda was that the government stood for the Soviet people, so the people collectively owned everything since the Communist Party owned everything. This was of course just BS, just rhetoric they hammered people with to accept their own subjugation by a tiny elite class. There were power players in the CPSU, just like in every other centralized institution, and they were the ones that truly ran, owned, and controlled everything.



JNathanK
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11 Jun 2012, 1:03 pm

CSBurks wrote:
I don't think you can have 'classless' societies. Hierarchy is just natural.


There can be horizontal forms of hierarchy though. Rather than a few people having extreme, economic and/or political leverage over everyone else, you can have respected, wise members of the community that lead without hording resources. That's how the Chiefs or medicine men in Native American societies were. They brought their expertise and knowledge to the community, but they didn't try to keep more food or land for their selves. The plains dwelling, nomads would, of course, attack the more agrarian Indian tribes, because dry prairies were more scarce in resources. However, most tribes divides up what they produced (or stole) evenly among their selves and didn't have the strong concept of land ownership we have nowadays. People had their boundaries and territories, but they didn't look at land as a pure commodity as we do today. The problem is we need to get past the in-group mentality and expand our tribal identity outward to the whole species where we aren't willing to sacrifice an out group for the benefit of an in group. It would be better to spread knowledge about cultivating an abundance of resources so nobody has to fight over them when they become scarce.



techn0teen
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11 Jun 2012, 8:10 pm

I have many reasons to know that capitalism mixed with socialism and self-sustainability is the best long economic model.

So long as there is easy social-mobility then I want capitalism full throttle. If social-mobility is a huge issue then I argue that capitalism will not be the proper model.



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11 Jun 2012, 8:13 pm

Their will alsways be a hiearchy in society.



TM
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12 Jun 2012, 10:04 am

You can never have a classless society, its a pipe-dream. Humans naturally create classes regardless of if there is such a thing as property, money or anything valuable. Humans are very adept at judging the status and "intrinsic value" of another person, then assign a label to the person. Even if its on a pure economic level, you will have those who produce more and those who produce less. If production is averaged out, that metric will still remain but will be something like "over-producers" and "under-producers". Marxism if taken to the logical extreme, is a scary world.



YippySkippy
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12 Jun 2012, 10:16 am

I don't think economic hierarchy is a bad thing. It encourages people to work harder, get a higher education, etc.
The problem is when a few people have more money than they can spend in 10 lifetimes, many people work hard and can barely afford to feed themselves, and there are fewer and fewer people in between those two groups. Welcome to America.



WilliamWDelaney
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12 Jun 2012, 10:54 am

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."

On the other hand, some people would not see that as ideal. Some people think that, if Warren Buffet were to meet some Hispanic construction worker to have lunch at a Cracker Barrel, that's bad behavior for both Mr. Buffet and the construction worker. Both of them ought to be ashamed of themselves, associating with people who are not on the same level as themselves. It's unprofessional! It's tawdry! Some people feel so strongly about class that they insulate themselves in "protected communities" to make sure they and their children only get to interact with people who are "on the same level." This is classist thinking.

My s.o. and I have neighbors on both sides of us. One set of them is pretty much on the same economic level as ourselves, and the other is a black woman supporting a daughter and an unemployed husband, who must be living on veteran's benefits or something, on the income off a McDonald's job. Now, if we were classist in our way of thinking, we would want to share the company with our economic equals (actually, we're in better shape than either), not with the black woman. However, we are a couple of godless commies, here, and the black lady makes a mean batch of fried grouper.

In fact, you are actually kind of right-wing if you have relatively little means and see "the rich" as some "other kind of people" who must think differently and act differently and go to special schools and eat special foods. People who think it's all about government ownership of capital or "redistribution or wealth" or "sticking it to the man" are missing the point. Karl Marx's paradise would have the rich man and the poor man naming their children after each other's grand-dads, and the corporate executives would interact directly with the people who work for their company. Regardless of any inadequacies in his economic theories, that was the ideal behind Karl Marx's ideas.

And not only does it work, but it's virtually the only thing that really works at all in modern times.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/21/autos/a ... 2009102103

"The cultural deficiencies were equally stunning. At GM's Renaissance Center headquarters, the top brass were sequestered on the uppermost floor, behind locked and guarded glass doors. Executives housed on that floor had elevator cards that allowed them to descend to their private garage without stopping at any of the intervening floors (no mixing with the drones).

In my relatively few interactions with chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, I found him to be likable, dedicated, and generally knowledgeable. But Rick set a tone of "friendly arrogance" that seemed to permeate the organization.

Certainly Rick and his team seemed to believe that virtually all of their problems could be laid at the feet of some combination of the financial crisis, oil prices, the yen-dollar exchange rate, and the UAW."


If you are house shopping and you drive through an area that is full of nothing but protected communities and "ghetto" areas, drive away. It's going downhill. That's what West Palm Beach, Florida looked like, before the Great Recession. When the recession hit, it had the third highest foreclosure rate in the country. Right now, it's a desert wasteland full of retail ghost towns. The once massively overpriced houses in those gated communities have a drug bust just about every week, a murder about every month. Instead, you want to find a place that has some charm and some character. Those kinds of communities have a lot more staying power.

And that's really about the size of it.



Last edited by WilliamWDelaney on 12 Jun 2012, 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.