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Communism is an ideal society that is unrealistic for humans to maintain. In this system major resources and means of production are owned by the community rather than by individuals. The society is without money, without a state, without property and without social classes. All people would contribute to the society according to their ability and take from the society according to their needs. Fredrick Engel’s believed that a proletarian could only be liberated by abolishing competition, private property, and all class differences, and replacing it with association.
The concept was derived from ancient sources, such as Plato’s Republic and the earliest Christian communes. In the early 19th century, the idea of a communist society was a response to the poor social classes that developed during the beginning of modern capitalism. Communal societies have existed for centuries, yet they eventually failed. Throughout history, religious groups have had the most success in maintaining communes. The Roman Catholic Church established monasteries all over Europe in the middle Ages. Most of these small-scale private experiments involved voluntary cooperation, with everyone participating in the governing process.
Philosophers Karl Marx and Fredric Engel influenced the movement of communism greatly. In the late 1800’s the two discovered that they had individually come to ideal opinions on the perfect society. They collaborated their ideas in their most famous “Communist Manifesto”, as well as many other informative pamphlets. Third World countries striving for national independence and social change experimented with their philosophies on economics.
Fredrick Engel wrote, “The general co-operation of all members of society for the purpose of planned exploitation of the forces of production, the expansion of production to the point where it will satisfy the needs of all, the abolition of a situation in which the needs of some are satisfied at the expense of the needs of others, the complete liquidation of classes and their conflicts, the rounded development of the capacities of all members of society through the elimination of the present division of labor, through industrial education, through engaging in varying activities, through the participation by all in the enjoyments produced by all, through the combination of city and country — these are the main consequences of the abolition of private property.”
The philosopher’s ideals were kindled by the mistreatment of the working class throughout history. Every social system of the past, Marx argued, had been a device by which the rich and powerful few could live by the toil and misery of the powerless many, therefore causing class differences and conflict. Engel and Marx believed that the capitalist system was flawed and was bound to destroy itself. They tried to show that the more productive the system became, the more difficult it would be to make it function: The more goods it accumulated, the less use it would have for these goods; the more people it trained, the less it could utilize their talents. Capitalism, in short, would eventually choke on its own wealth.
Poverty rapidly spread through civilized countries during the industrial revolution in the late 18th century. It was precipitated by the discovery of the steam engine, mechanical loom, and other various mechanical devices. Only “big capitalists” could afford the expensive machines, which transformed the entire mode of production. Former workers were replaced by machines, which were more productive, along with cheaper labor. Industrial product (brought about by machine labor) prices decreased, completely destroying the old system of hand labor. Within no time the bourgeoisie (big capitalists) increased profits and the former workers remained with nothing. The former workers, proletarians were then forced to work minimum wage for the bourgeoisie. They only provided the lower class enough money to survive, so they would not be able to rise above their class. So as the old saying goes, “the rich got richer and the poor only got poorer”.
Many countries were revolutionized by Europe’s mechanical industry production. Countries such as India and China were complete strangers to historical development, until they were violently forced out of their isolation. They bought cheaper commodities from the English and allowed their own manufacturing workers to wither away. Due to the one world market, civilized countries have repercussions in third world countries.
By abolishing private property, competition would become obsolete. Karl Marx did not think that competition and individual management of industry could be separated, so his solution was to destroy both of the problems with one stone. He wanted to limit private property through progressively increasing property taxes (basically taxing the bourgeoisie). By removing competition, greediness would be eliminated. “Greediness is a consequence of capitalism and is merely a learned quality”, explains Kominf. If all humans were treated equally, there would be no need to compete with one another.
In the ideal society, the state would provide education for all children. The children would be trained for a variety of occupations. Thus entering the work force, they would be prepared for a variety of jobs. Workers would rotate occupations in response to the needs of society. No longer would they be bound or exploited to their occupation. This would remove class differences, such as the one-sided character that is transfixed upon our current society. The variety of classes would soon disappear because there would no longer be a division of labor.
Within a communistic society commodities are traded, opposed to using money. Commodities value is based upon the amount of labor time that was necessary to produce the product. However, this could result in a situation in which a lazy worker taking their time about making a commodity makes a commodity worth much more than the commodity made by a hard working efficient worker. If this were the case then employers would be sacking their diligent workers while telling the rest to go as slow as they can. Instead of Right-Wing politicians lambasting the poor for being lazy they would be lambasting them for being too hard working. This is not, however, what determines the value of a commodity. What determines the value of a commodity is the labor time
socially necessary for its production.
Shortages, inequalities, and coercive government have persisted in countries that call themselves ‘communist’. The followers of Marx that have come into power in nations have lacked some preconditions that Marx and Engel considered essential. Russia was one of the first countries to experiment with their own revised version of communism. In the early years its enemies within the country challenged the government’s very existence repeatedly. The country strived to transform their backward country into a leading industrial nation and first rate military power. However this task required harsh discipline imposed only by an unrelenting dictatorship. Which controlled all of citizens activities. The resulting system of total control has been labeled totalitarianism.
Totalitarianism by no means carried out Marx and Engel visions of utopia. The country’s cultural and intellectual life remained under the control of the ruling party. Eventually in the early 1980’s, the USSR had become the world’s second-ranking industrial power. Its armed might and industrial potential were backed by important scientific advances and by a generally high level of technical education. However, their living conditions were low in comparison to that of the Western countries. The success was not maintained for more than a decade. In 1991 the political struggle led to the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party.
In order for communism to succeed, it must be world wide. This is because of our one world market that exists in modern day. Countries in the world depend on one another for economical growth. Although with this dependency, the countries rise and fall with one another’s economy. The internet is spreading the word of communism. Groups represented throughout the world are preparing for a future revolution. Unfortunately they are not afraid of brutally taking lives to get what they want. It is expected that one day the large number of the working class will join together and revolt against their higher class. If communism were to be world wide, they would be able to completely abolish competition. Within removing competition, people’s trait of greediness would soon wither.