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An alternative society? Can Communism really work?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Everyone knows about Russia and the USSR and how it "failed" in its bid to overtake capitalism, but was it really a true reflection of Socialist principals or simply a dictatorial, corrupt regime?

Is there still an alternative to Capitalism?

Your views please.....

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Alan london:
    Everyone knows about Russia and the USSR and how it "failed" in its bid to overtake capitalism, but was it really a true reflection of Socialist principals or simply a dictatorial, corrupt regime?

    Is there still an alternative to Capitalism?

    Your views please.....

    I think that communism is an ideal. If I understand it correctly.

    Wouldn't it be great if everyone could work together, doing what they are good at and everyone get what they need.

    Unfortunately, in gerneral, it is not human nature to be happy with your lot. Most people want to better themselves and alot want to be better than the people next door.

    It's alright to say that everyone is equal, but unfortunately some people consider themselves to be more equal than others. The very fact tat you need to have someone to oversee a communist society immediately destroys the communist ideal.

    I would love to live in a commune, sadly I don't think it could ever work.

    What are your views Alan?

    j9

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    j9, you're right, as a concept communism is fantastic... but it's got a bad rep cause of some pretty fucked up attempts to facilitate it!

    the soviet union was basically a dictatorship with empire building as a sideline industry.

    however, while not crediting regimes like china and the USSR, they were never really given a chance due to the trade sanctions and constant threat of invasion. them guns coast a lot of money....

    a bigger problem is the inherent greed of your average joe. keep up with the jones's? it's more like 'earn twice as much as jones and show off your brand new diamond incrusted jet rider at every opportunity'.

    which is why you need govt policy to distribute wealth more fairly - not something this govt sees as a priority by the looks.
    this is the "third way", apparently, a mix of state provision and private industry. you only need to look at the railroad mess to see it doesn't always work.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well J9, I was interested to see what people would say, so far the response was actually rather sober! None of the anti-left comments I thought there would be - even though there are only two people who have replied!

    Very quiet in the politics room, which is rather worrying when there are all these young people on here! Why aren't they in here complaining about the world etc....!! Far too interested in sex and relationships as usual (which is where I will be going after typing this response LOL)

    Anyway, back to the topic... I was curious to see what people think of an alternative to capitalism. The Anti-Capitalist demonstrations of the recent months have obviously been raising the profile of such advocates of different society options, but in truth, whether we feel it could work or not, I personally feel that those who have a vested interest, keep capitalism in a very safe and strong position.

    The money makers have made it a very resilient societal model. Even with economic crashes, capitalism is still relatively stable.

    Therefore, even if a group wanted to attempt some sort of revolution, I cannot see it ever happening.

    Countries like Cuba or China have virtually lost all of their communistic ways. Capitalism is insidious and (so far) is challenged by nothing.

    We need a major global catastrophe (like a meteor or something equally big and dramatic) to break the hold that money, greed and individulism has on the world. In such circumstances, a rawer, more natural type of shared society tends to emerge (basic communism) such as during the war, or as stories of tribal villages denote.

    The thing is, maybe by the time a catastrophe occurs (if ever), it will already be too late anyway!!



    [This message has been edited by Alan london (edited 28-11-2000).]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd be interested to know if anyone has heard any serious alternatives to traditional Socialist/Communist and Capitalist/laissez-faire models of economics and ways of managing and structuring human society and progress.

    In my opinion both of the more traditional approaches are failures for different reasons:

    Capitalism fails very obviously to help the vast majority of those in society who are less able or advantaged, and in a pure form benefits the greedy, the selfish, and often despite it's 'meritocratic' (selfish driveocratic) and dynamic intentions the status quo as well (not in terms of technology/innovation but in terms of power and the abstraction of its structure). It is not designed in any way to encourage altruism or justice (though it is of course 'fair'). Modern capitalism (as opposed to 19th century industrialism) is however a system which is very good at sustaining itself, as Alan london said, and therefore at maintaining a stable if unpleasant society.

    Socialism/Communism could be said to grow from the opposite direction in that Marx believed that communism would arise as a result of all the injustices, principally to the working classes, and create a utopian cooperative society. This is the position that many left wing people have traditionally come from in some form, wanting to redistribute wealth and carefully sculpt society to perfect people's lives. Unfortunately this is an impossible task and as as been pointed out, people are generally too selfish for any self-organising model similar to Communism to work. Of course in any system with masses of organised control, there is the potential for abuse (cf. Stalinism).

    On a different level, heavily socialist structures also tend to be both inefficient and demotivating to (the greedy ? <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">? ) sections of a population.

    Those are my views - socialism came from the right ethical background, but is impractical whereas capitalism is not immoral but rather amoral (having no concept of such things in its structure) and so in a world of selfish humans causes inequality. What do you lot think?

    And does anyone know of a real alternative apart from 'third ways' which are careful (and I think well meant) mixes of old ideas?

    (I'm gonna get a reputation for long postings...)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh yeah, something else. I also think that one of the big failures of the 'concepts' and models of laissez-faire capitalism and so forth is the focus almost purely on economics. It's late and I can't remember exactly what I was thinking the other day, but there is far more to society than economics - these models fail to address issues such as feminism, racism and homophobia (etc.), issues of which most of you will feel strongly about at least one of them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What is communism? is it the opposite of capitalism? equality & stuff?

    OPEN YOUR MIND...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by ~*LIBERTY*~:
    What is communism? is it the opposite of capitalism? equality & stuff?

    Different people have different ideas of what communism is - there's been lots of interpretations of the original ideas though up by Karl Marx (and Engels) in the 19th century. I'm going to try and explain, but I could get some of this wrong because I only have an amateur interest in politics.

    Marxism is probably originally what communism was. It's a way of looking at a society in terms of the oppression and interaction of different classes, and there's quite a lot of economics involved to back up the ideas, which we don't really need to worry about here.

    The simplest way to put it is that Marx believed that due to the horrific conditions in which the working classes (proletariat) lived, and the huge levels of inequality (money, life quality and length, health, everything), there would eventually come a point where the people would become so angry with the situation that a revolution would occur, and the old unfair system would be destroyed. He then believed a new fairer system would rise to take it's place in which everyone shared everything (literally - he believed there would be no need for posessions) and worked for the good of each other.

    So Marx believed that communism was a logical result of extreme capitalism - the march of history so to speak. What's interesting is that Marx believed that it would be the most developed industrialised states that would first be overthrown, but that Russia, a massively underdeveloped state was the one that first had a revolution (1917).

    A lot of people cite Russia as an example of communism and how bad it all is. Russia was actually controlled by despots such as Stalin who, while they told the people they were working towards a communist society, actually exploited the country for his own power hungry ends. While Marx had said that a period of dictatorship would be necessary to restructure society after the revolution, he had nothing in mind like Russia, and it was supposed to happen in a matter of years - in Russia it never did in about 70 years. Stalin's model of 'communism' is generally known as Stalinism.

    So much for the history lesson <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/wink.gif"&gt;

    It's the opposite of capitalism in that it believes that the ideal situation is one where people work together (and yes be completely equal), rather than compete with each other to be the best and happily tread others underfoot in the process. Capitalism is about 'may the strongest win, and the weakest perish' and a lot of die hard capitalists see it as being very close to Darwinism (which is more or less what I 'quoted' just now).

    IMO Marx didn't understand just how easy it is for people to be weak, selfish and power hungry (I'm a bit of a cynic).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I must confess that until quite recently I had what is probably best described as a healthy scepticism of the 'anti-capitalist' demonstrators at Prague/ Seattle. This has changed rapidly in the past six months as I have become more aware of the 'state of the world'. Noteably more people to die of AIDs in Africa in the next ten years than died in the first and second world wars combined!!

    I won't bore you with any more of the depressing details (email me of you would like a more developed/reasoned arguement), but essentially I believe that communism has failed not so much because of dictatorship, but the context in which it was first tried... east-west conflict/cold war and growth driven industrialised capitalist economics. What is very, very slowly starting to dawn on people is that the world's environment (natural capital) is a finite resource that we have very little understanding of how to repair when it goes wrong. Humanities 'taming' of nature just aint working.

    In short there can only be two outcomes: socialism (with environmental conservatism) or the end of the human species!

    ...how about that for stirring contraversy. :-)

    Andy

    PS. There are alternative models (that work). Visit www.gaia.org

    [This message has been edited by AndyD (edited 01-12-2000).]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by AndyD:
    ...
    In short there can only be two outcomes: socialism (with environmental conservatism) or the end of the human species!

    In what way do you mean socialism?

    Traditional socialism in terms of structuring government and the economy seems to have been unsustainable everywhere, including in European economies which don't have the same kinds of pressures as third world socialist countries. In every case there seems eventually to have been some form of stagnation and inefficieny. This is the reason why Britain (in the 80s) and now Germany and France are gradually having to deregulate and scale down their states.

    This is what I said before - socialism seems to have failed because it seems not to be sustainable (at least in its traditional form).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by JB:

    This is what I said before - socialism seems to have failed because it seems not to be sustainable (at least in its traditional form).

    Socialism has only failed if you believe that growth-driven industralised capitalism works! GNP/GDP do not measure the quality of life of the world's citizens.

    Check out the 'Living Planet Report' from Redefining Progress (http://www.rprogress.org ) and 'Its Democracy Stupid' from the New Economics Foundation' (see publications at http://www.neweconomics.org ).

    It is worth remembering that is only very recently (past 200 years) that fairly socialist/communitarian village lifestyles started to decline.

    A significant shift occured (IMHO) with the first image of earth from space. This confirmed that the earth's resources are finite. We can either join a race to be the last man or women standing (and have a decimated world to live in alone) or live and promote a more balanced and egalitarian society. Surely we can 'evolve' to a level where we can live our lives in harmony with each other and our environment? Is this not the happy, peaceful existence many of us desire?

    Andrew

    [This message has been edited by AndyD (edited 01-12-2000).]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Andy D

    I congratulate you on having such a fine philosophy and one that I aspire to myself.

    But to answer Liberty's(?) question first, and to enhance and add to a good summary by JB, I would like to add the following to define the meaning of communism.

    The simplist explanantion that I have read (in fact penned by Marx himself) was thus:

    As man's exisitence becomes more sophisticated, society (the organisation of how we live) becomes more complex. There are several stages of society that man will inevitably progress through during EVOlution:

    1) primitive communism (defined as the tribal village type of society e.g. BC1000)
    2) Colonial man (world power being defined via encompassing slavery etc - e.g.AD500
    3) Feudal society (kings and queens rule the land (to AD1800)
    4) Capitalism (as we know and love / hate it. From AD1800 to present, sparked by many things but largely an industrial revolution)
    5) Advanced Communism.

    Point 5 was largely what Marx concentrated on. He argued (and don't forget that he wrote much of his philosophy during the industrial revolution period) that the working-classes have continually been enslaved to the bourgoise (the wealthy land owners). Advanced communism (or socialism) would occur at the point where society had progressed or evolved through such an expoitative period, to become a much richer and ethical society - the exploitation of the working-classes would become unsustainable and at that point, the wealth system would collapse meaning equal and fair distibution of property, land and ownership of the means of production.

    Marx and Engels wrote many papers on this, perhaps the most famous being "Das Capital" which was several volumes of their life-times writing.

    In this, they argued that it was possible to speed up evolution to create a REVolution - an acceleration in the pace of change in order to effectively bypass Capitalism and to free the proletariat.

    Marx's idea on revolution were embraced by the Bolshaviks in Russia (a group of workers who lobbied for fairer laws for the working class). The Bolshaviks embraced the idea that if the working classes could unite, they could overthrow the rulers and put in place an artifical socilism (in line with Marxist thought).

    We know what happend next - Lennin (a Bolshavik) presided over the revolution.

    However, they bastardised Marxism and used it to develop a strong hold for their own power and greed. This was only the start of a corrupt 70 years of rule.

    If you want to read a book on it, I have a great recomendation which I will post later - simple to read and very interesting.

    More later as have to get ready to go out!!

    Regrds

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Alan london:
    Advanced communism (or socialism) would occur at the point where society had progressed or evolved through such an expoitative period, to become a much richer and ethical society...

    We know what happend next - Lennin (a Bolshavik) presided over the revolution.

    However, they bastardised Marxism and used it to develop a strong hold for their own power and greed. This was only the start of a corrupt 70 years of rule.

    I think this raises two issues:
    1) Did Marx see one facit of 'wealth' as material wealth? As I understand it 'Neo-Marxists' have developed Marxist philosophy into a more 'sustainable' (in the strictest sense of the word) form.
    2) As Lenin bastardised Marxism - is there a valid arguement to say 'Socialism' has failed? I think probably not. Would 'Communism' to date not be better described us capitalism under totalitarian dictatorship? Hence, we have yet to try it/ get there.

    There is an alternative line of thought that some might use to argue against the environmental movement. This would be that by the time death by environmental pollution is on the door step of Western politicians (let's face it - only then will enough of them care) our understanding of genetics will have progressed to a level where we can use genetic engineering/ eugenics to create a 'superhuman' that can cope with a new world environment and nanotechnology to rebuild the world from today's waste.

    Although hypothetically 'possible' this seems a rather dubious line of thought.
    1) It is high risk:
    - what if we don't develop a complete enough understanding of genetics/ nanotechnology fast enough?
    - research to date suggests quite strongly that our destructive ability is working at far quicker a pace than our ability to reconstruct a world that we are still far from understanding. Remember the Biosphere II project in Arizona - an attempt to reconstruct an ecosystem under glass - it collapsed after two years!?
    2) Ethically extremely dubious
    - provides a basis for racism/ ethnic cleansing on the basis of who, by 'chance' has acquired 'power'
    - but where do we draw a line between 'artifical' and 'natural' selection...? How do we define these?
    3) Suggests that we can not be happy within the confines of the more innate evolutionary process and environment we have inherited, which I can not accept. Why? Because I am fortunate enough to be very happy (except with the world environment/system!) and believe everyone else could be too. <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    Andrew

    [This message has been edited by AndyD (edited 01-12-2000).]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by AndyD:
    Socialism has only failed if you believe that growth-driven industralised capitalism works! GNP/GDP do not measure the quality of life of the world's citizens.
    ...

    Firstly, that is a complete non-sequitur. They are two different ideologies, but one is not the logical negation of the other IMO. And hence the belief that one has worked does not mean that the other has failed because of that, nor does the belief that one has failed imply that the other has succeeded. Ignoring the logical errors...

    Also, that is not what I said (in fact I said that while capitalism works in terms of money, it fails in terms of things such as quality of life). You seem to have misunderstood me saying that socialism generates inefficient structures to mean that it is inefficient economically, though this can be true. What I was actually saying is that these inefficient structures can be overcomplex and controlling, too static, too resistant to new ideas that could improve things, and bad at responding to problems.

    Note also that I never said this is a natural consequence of socialism - but it is what seems to happen.

    Something else: it is true that the reason many more socialist 20th century countries (e.g. Germany) have become more capitalist is because they were inefficient monetarially - they couldn't afford the cost of a large state, which rose and rose to the point where the system was breaking down (though perhaps partially due to an ageing population). You could argue therefore that if money was made irrelevant to people, these problems would to some extent disappear.

    The problem is that I'm not sure that at least some people won't _always_ try and compete in some way, and be selfish. Being only 20, it is perhaps difficult to say whether this perception is due to living in a Reagan/Thatcher and post Thatcher era (I believe the changes in society under Thatcher definitely encouraged selfishness - a word not to far away from 'individualism').

    If people such as that were always to exist (or come into existance) wouldn't any purely altruistic society have problems working, when a section of it never worked properly?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by AndyD:
    ...
    2) As Lenin bastardised Marxism - is there a valid arguement to say 'Socialism' has failed? I think probably not. Would 'Communism' to date not be better described us capitalism under totalitarian dictatorship? Hence, we have yet to try it/ get there.


    We've already said several posts ago and more than once that communism 'proper' has never been tried - though the original intention of Lenin / the bolsheviks probably was to aim for communism (things didn't go really wrong until Lenin died, people started in fighting and Stalin took control with Trotsky ending up exiled and murdered I think).

    Once again though, you're confusing your definitions (sorry to be a bit harsh, but it's late and I feel like you're repeating my own words against me a little). Because Communism has never occurred as such, it does not mean that Socialist states have never been constructed, and that we cannot look at what has happened to them. Some Labour governments earlier in the century were pretty socialist. Some governments on the continent have been much MORE socialist (and have included communist parties in their coalitions). The facts are that traditionally socialist viewpoints have been dying off because the policies have resulted in systems that are unpopular with the people regardless of intentions. There is not really (unfortunately) any 'new socialism', at least not in the mainstream (the fabians are still interesting in their views though).

    Lastly, 20th century models of communism cannot be described as 'capitalism under totalitarian dictatorship'. They had a large, active state that (theoretically) attempted to create and manage a system of equality. One thing that should be remembered is that while Stalin was a monster, Russia _did_ actually catch up with the rest of the developed world in terms of available commodities, industry and simple things such as availability of bread between 1917 and the 1980's because of the planned programs of reform, investment. In many respects it is further behind now it is capitalist: whatever, the style of government was totalitarian, but not capitalist and closer to a 'socialist/communist' approach, though as you say not a Communist society.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry about all the volume of my posting, it's just that I find it all interesting! <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    Just picking up on other points earlier.
    www.gaia.org: This is aimed at relatively small-scale communities. Do you think it could work on a global, ubiquitous scale? And don't you think that if they became important in that way that the selfish, capitalist/market forces societies would seek to compete with and destroy these communities (like America has with socialist third world states the world over), and win. Unfortunately, in many ways on a large scale Darwinism would be right. I cannot see any system taking control from capitalism merely by being better and 'nicer'. REVOLUTION (ssshhh... anyway, I'm not that keen on bloodshed). These points apply to a wider set of ideas than 'eco-villages'.
    'It is worth remembering that is only very recently (past 200 years) that fairly socialist/communitarian village lifestyles started to decline'.

    It is also worth remembering:
    a) my previous point. Wonder why they declined?
    b) that many of those village communitarian lifestyles were actually still based on the exploitation of others (slaves, women, often ritually sexually abused in much of the world) and on competition (with other tribes, or for control of the group structures). Ok, they had many good points, but they still mostly provided an outlet for selfish, competitive/opressive/etc. desires.

    Sorry, I'm just a cynic (like I said) but it is easy to see lots of problems with all these examples that I think get ignored. It's one thing for altruistic wannabe-utopian ideas to work on a small scale, but can they make a difference to the bigger scale, when they can't compete with it.

    At least Marxism had a proposal / outline of how things could be done and changed on the big scale.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JB: First of all if my posting seemed like a hostile critique of what you had previously stated, it was not intended.

    I appreciate and understand the arguement you are making. Indeed I have heard it many times before.

    Really to focus the debate a little, do you think the context has perhaps changed for socialism and it may have a better chance of emerging successfully in the next century. What is significant about the communities at www.gaia.org is their focus on sustainability.

    Could sustainability provide a stronger ideological basis for socialism and zero-growth economics? And in response to the 'scalability' of small scale communities, I think it is less a case of scaling them up, more one of replicating them for which the Internet is a fantastic asset. The Internet is of course a child of the capitalist system to some degree although much of its underlying architecture has been developed on a voluntary basis (eg Linux).

    [This message has been edited by AndyD (edited 02-12-2000).]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by AndyD:
    JB: First of all if my posting seemed like a hostile critique of what you had previously stated, it was not intended.

    Nah, don't worry. I'm just tired and so slightly grumpy.

    I'm more tired now so I'll think a bit before replying to your latest post. But if I'm going to reply to your chosen bits of discussion, can you reply to mine? <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt; I'll think about the feasibility of a (semi-anarchic?) network of zero-growth sustainable communities and you can tell me how a change over to this model could be effected... deal?

    Also, you realise this will start to lead on to more philosophical topics such as the pursuit of technology, science and medicine to improve quality of life versus natural sustainability...

    I'll say one thing: I think the internet is allowed to be as it is because in reality large corporations make masses of money out of it and believe in the end they'll be able to control how it develops, and they may be right. Quick counterexample to what you said: the internet is based far less on linux than it is on routers, firewalls, etc made by huge corporations such as Cisco. Linux might drive lots of the servers on the net, but it doesn't do most of the actual lower level internet stuff - it's a bit new for that, developed pretty much in same time scale as modern internet.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh, also: the internet protocols and stuff were not for the most part developed on a voluntary basis. They were mostly developed in research centres run by the US military, or by large corporations, or by some US universities and tech research centres, mostly sponsored by commerce / government. This is less true now than it was though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Beginnings of a reply about eco-villages etc.

    You realise of course that I wasn't saying originally I thought there was anything wrong with them, merely that I thought they could never be successful in competition with global markets and corporations, laissez-faire countries such as America, etc. simply because these things are designed to 'compete, improve, change, conquer, adapt, overcome...' etc. and this doesn't bode well for the altruistic approach of eco-communities. But I've already stated that argument more or less and left you to answer it.

    Moving the argument on a bit while you answer those problems, the issues around 'eco-villages' etc I think are these:

    1. How to structure the communities into a society as a whole.

    2. Science and technology. What tech, how should it be developed and researched, what's off limits and what's not. Implications for society (e.g. what do you do with technologies such as a cure for aids or cancer, when probably only a few would be able to have it - causes tensions). Other stuff see later.

    3. Super-long term view: Part of the gaia movement comes from the viewpoint that this planet is all we've got, so we'd better look after it. But eventually this planet would be uninhabitable anyway (billions of years). Relating back to technology, should research be undertaken on how to survive beyond this planet (goes against much gaia emotional stuff methinks)? If so, then is gaia unnecessary in long term? Question is, what's more important in the end; the planet, the people, or life? For me it's people and life - this planet is a lump of rock that just happened to foster it.

    Going back to 1 above. The GEN provides at the moment a very loose form of government and communication structure for the eco-communities, and a face for the rest of the world to look at. However, this structure would be insufficient if:

    a) You want to develop complex technology requiring large resources, or do research into virtually any science (medicine for example). In these situations, it is the goals and resources that are important rather than the people in the teams aiming for them, which is a bit different to the eco-community approach in the first place. Plus you need advanced industry for this kind of thing. Non-polluting advanced industry does not currently exist.

    b) Trading of resources such as foods, clothing, oil, etc. on a global scale would probably not be possible, and go against the philosophy of the eco-communities, which live off and sustain their own land. But what then happens when people realise that just a few hundred miles away another community has incredible natural resources that it uses (fish, fresh water, fuel for heating, doesn't have to be complex), which ones own community doesn't have. Especially in areas of the world where nomadic lifestyles might be neccessary for a sustainable community (Africa), there will end up being conflicts of interest. In times of scarcity and need (which do occur even in a balanced eco-system) you can see serious problems developing: why should these not approach a 'tribal war' when children are starving and dying, crucial livestock are decimated, and a resource such as water is depleted and insufficient. You could possibly even see a reversion to tribal barbarism and a collapse of the 'eco-community' ideals to a simpler form of tribalism.

    Don't get me wrong. The solution to this could be to simply settle everyone around the world with pop. density according to natural resources and risks... but for this, and in fact any sustainable approach, the number of people on this planet would need to be reduced. We can't all fit into places which are relatively safe, temperate, lush and resource rich such as Europe. That would also not be sufficient on its own.

    Without the kinds of (damaging) global transport technologies that currently exist, don't you think the kinds of problems could occur that I mentioned, since communities would not be able to support each other on a global basis with resources, but only on a local basis (where conflicts are most likely to occur)?

    To develop transport technologies that could replace the existing ones would require massive research and investment (which brings us onto 2) which is something that I do not believe the eco-community system / GEN has ever thought about addressing. In short, it requires resources which only the evil, polluting corporations of this world can supply, and which they blatantly will not.

    I am sure there are many arguments that could be developed similar to this which basically come back to the same problem. GEN et al have a good model for creating communities that sustain themselves within the context of a more complete civilisation. They have not yet addressed the issues of how to make an entire civilisation sustainable and advanced (i.e. a good equal quality of life for all). For me, a solution which could lead to abandoned and isolated communities in conflict and being destroyed, to global travel networks breaking down (and hence interaction and understanding between communities), is no solution.

    I am sure that someone has started thinking about issues such as these... please tell me if they/you have.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey ppl <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt; Was that the biggest ever post? If not, Jeezus, there must be some freaky people out there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    "I am sure that someone has started thinking about issues such as these... please tell me if they/you have."

    There are an awful lot of writers that obfuscate round the crucial issues. I believe it is necessary to cross all disciplines in finding answers/ speculating about the past, present and future.

    I have thought about these issues at length and hopefully over the next 48 hrs will get a chance to write you a coherent response. (I've got an essay due in that needs immediate attention though!)

    best wishes

    Andy
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    One thing I can say guys, we would not have a boring conversation in a pub, which is probably where this debate belongs - or in a book!

    :-)

    As for replying to you both, I think I have lost too much ground and don't know where to start!

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Alan london:

    One thing I can say guys, we would not have a boring conversation in a pub, which is probably where this debate belongs - or in a book!

    :-)

    As for replying to you both, I think I have lost too much ground and don't know where to start!

    Andy's sent me a big Word doc with a summary of stuff so far and we'll continue off the boards for the moment. It was getting a bit big and lengthy for this kind of forum and I don't think most people wanted to have to wade through this kind of thing anyway <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    If you're interested say so. We're not actually doing anything right now because we're both in the middle of a load of work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by JB:
    Andy's sent me a big Word doc with a summary of stuff so far and we'll continue off the boards for the moment. It was getting a bit big and lengthy for this kind of forum and I don't think most people wanted to have to wade through this kind of thing anyway <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;

    If you're interested say so. We're not actually doing anything right now because we're both in the middle of a load of work.

    Please can you come back & summarise when you have finished??

    Ta, if you can

    j9

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Finished? Hmmm... that'll never happen. We'll put a summary here of where we are every now and again. <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by JB:
    Finished? Hmmm... that'll never happen. We'll put a summary here of where we are every now and again. <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;


    That'll do <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif"&gt;
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