The problem with communism is that it imposes standards on human beings that are not biologically backed up. For instance, equality, the basic foundation of communism, is actually just an outcome of human thought and conscience. Human beings are not biologically/naturally geared towards equality. Man\’s desire to excel above his peers betrays his need to be unequal. So, to achieve this inequality, you can either pull yourself up or push others down or do both simultaneously. It doesn\’t help that homogeneity is against nature\’s design.
As opposed to capitalism, which is purely an economic system, communism is an econo-political system. It propounds a way of society, while capitalism just expounds a system for circulating money and value. Capitalism has as its ally, democracy, which is actually the political system that lets capitalism proliferate in the most prudent fashion. Still, because of the overarching nature of communism, the communistic thought has been popular with thinkers and liberal intellectuals over the years.
If humanism is the doing of communism, then human nature has been the undoing of it. When a nation-state is established and governance begins, greed easily overshadows conscience, and misplaced concerns and myopic judgement supplant the basic ethos of communism.
Have you ever wondered how capitalistic consumerism appeals to most of the masses? People may complain about economic inequality, but will sooner indulge in conspicuous/inconspicuous consumerism when they lay their hands on money, than share it with their fellow citizens. \”Have money, will shop!\”
It all boils down to choice. The history of the evolution of the human species is one of overcoming limitations and inventing options; of struggling to find an alternative to what we\’ve been handed down. It is a history of not being satisfied, itching for improvement, finding an easier, better way, working hard to become lazy and taking the long way to find a short cut. Human beings are naturally attuned to bettering their lot, of wanting to have an option, of wanting to express themselves creatively. This is where communism fails. It simply stifles people. The collective smothers the individual. And that just wont do in the long run.
Democracy, on the other hand, lets the collective and the individual coexist in a kind of an uneasy state of truce. It is aided by capitalism in this effort. While democracy maintains the collective decorum, capitalism lets the individual have choices, options and creative outlets. It is only when capitalism starts playing dirty that the truce falters. Therefore, sometimes democracy has to reprimand capitalism and restore the truce.
It is true that given all circumstances, capitalism can succeed only as long as it does not breach the limits of human sensibilities. Greed, among humans, will be tolerated only so much. People may eat meat, but they still love their pets and appreciate wildlife. Excess of anything is bad. But maintaining that state of equilibrium between greed and conscience is a very delicate affair and an extremely difficult one. As of now, democracy is our best bet. But what\’s next?
5 thoughts on “The Undoing of Communism”
anupam!greetings!well well! quite an exhaustive comparison! it reminds me of a quote (or something!) regarding the two political parties of US: the republicans are basically people who cannot trust human nature and believe that anything which generates money (and as an extrapolation removes poverty, increases spending, improves earnings and increases happiness … QED) while the democrats believe in the inherent goodness of people and hence promote social reform (women and minorities rights, gay rights, improving health care spendings, … increases freedom). The democrats can scarcely be called \”communists\” but then perhaps thats what communists will be called in \”capitalist\” america!
Hey Rohit! Long time! Actually, when you put it like that, I feel like preferring the Republicans. They\’re as non-judgemental as God. Their philosophy of money runs like a taut rope through the society enforcing equality and pursuit of happiness, negating the frailties of human nature, while Democrats sound like the floppy string of a lost kite. But then we humans like to see our gods as kind and compassionate. Pure reason has very few takers among the masses. Compassion and greed have equal numbers of devotees. I\’m all for the disadvantaged. Somehow, I\’m one of them.
you have a perceptive and dynamic mind that is not averse to political thought, as in most cases they are… pursue this Anupam…you might as well find your calling…
Hey Anupam,Were you ever at Kenriya Vidhyalaya Ballygunj 2 or 3rd grade ??Nikhil Meena
Damn Nikhil! Where were you all these years? I remember you like it was yesterday…