The appeal of communism is fantasy. I, like everyone else, wish that everyone’s needs would be met and society wouldn’t stratify men and women into socio-economic classes, some to forever live better than the others. If there was any evidence that communism worked, I’d be at the front of the line, demanding and fighting for it. But the truth is that it does not. A basic understanding of math, human psychology and evolution, and elementary economics will answer the basic questions as to why it cannot work.
The bedrock of capitalism is that everyone has something, and wants something. And that to get something from someone, you have to give them something in return. At the same time, some things are not owned by anyone, and so we have the government watch over those. It’s the barebones of capitalism. If you want something from someone, give them something in return. Communism on the other hand, believes that everything there is belongs to everyone and no one, and so government should organize everything and give everyone what they need, end of story. Which is all well and good if we were all farm animals without the ability to create new things, but unfortunately, we do. And naturally, as a human being, when you create something, you want to use it or get the benefit of it, not have everyone else lay claim to it. If everything you made was immediately turned over to everyone, whether you wanted to or not, soon, you’d refuse to make things anymore. This is at the heart of why communism doesn’t work. In capitalist societies, whatever you create is yours. If others want to use it, they will have to give you something in return, something you think has just as much value or use as what you’re giving them. We simply invented money as an accounting system to tie all those values together and make it easy to exchange. It is, at it’s heart, a very simple system. It’s also a system that gives people the most incentive to create as many things as their energy will allow, for others to use. This is why capitalist societies prosper, while communist or socialist ones generally don’t.
Now, because real life examples are always better than theories, let’s run through one of the sharpest capitalist-socialist experiments we’ve witnessed in the years since A Communist Manifesto was written: China and the Koreas.
China with its vast lands, population, technology, decided to adopt communism. It plunged into a poverty so bad that millions of people starved to death. Nothing was being produced, not food, not houses, not clothing, nothing. Until they got fed up and switched back to a state directed capitalist expansion, which has seen them unleash prosperity on a level that has them now as the second most powerful nation, behind the US. And the Western powers had little to do with their communist fall, and their current capitalist rise.
The Koreas: during the Japanse occupation of the Korean peninsula, the then allies America and Russia got together and freed the two Koreas. The Soviet occupied North was pushed towards Communism, while the American occupied South was opened to capitalist democracy. Decades later, what is the result? Seoul is a financial center, has hosted the Olympics, Korean film and entertainment has poured out into the world, exporting their culture, Samsung, HTC and more are leading the world in mobile technology, and the country has the best Internet, some of the wealthiest citizens, etc. It has, even far more than China, moved from third world to first world. What about it’s Communist North Korean brother who started in the same spot with them? We all know.
We can go on and on. African communist failures in Ethiopia (mass starvation), central Africa (dictatorial leaders, mass starvation), Cuba (great education, but mass poverty, people swimming over the oceans to escape to better countries-including Tony Montana lol), Vietnam (only just abandoned communism, still incredibly poor although its economy is slowly picking up).
When all these people have gone through these theories and proven that communism is never workable in a large scale society (unfortunately, we can’t all live at Indian tribe level forever), I don’t understand why ordinarily smart people will keep preaching about it. When you say “everyone will have everything”, first understand that if no one makes those things, no one will have them. Criticize capitalism if you must, but when the poverty level in the average capitalist country is a princely income in most poor countries, and an astonishing sum of money in any communist one, you’d have to be a little off to think the communism is the way to go.
If you just happen to enjoy poverty for it’s own sake and want true communist living, why not just join the Hare Krishna or move to Cuba, North Korea, or Laos, the only true Communist countries left on God’s earth?