Sunday, October 19, 2008

Capitalism with a Human Face?

A response to another good Lindsay post - East Germans Getting Nostalgic for Socialism

I had a friend in the mid-80's that had escaped from Poland before the Solidarity thing. He was pretty apolitical but thought there wasn't much wrong with Communism in principle. My question to him was how they got anyone to do the shit work and hard labor if everyone was equal?

His answer was that it was done by prisoners and this was really the biggest problem, because they had to actually generate enough prisoners to fill the needed slots - curfew violations, improper documentation, drunkenness, trespassing, black-marketeers etc. because there wasn't enough actual crime to supply the manpower and the real psychos weren't suitable. This was very convincing to me, and today I look at America's gigantic prison-industrial complex with a wary eye.

It would seem that human nature works against any system, and that greed is probably a better basis for society than compulsion where everyone is either a prisoner or a guard. Equality can be a two-way street and it's much simpler for everyone to be equally poor than rich, or for some to be more equal than others.

I meant to mention. although it goes against my theory of the general evilness of all governments, the dozens if not hundreds of guys that worked to bury the reactor after Chernobyl blew up, even though they knew the were taking amounts of radiation that would inevitably lead to a slow and agonizing death. Not to mention the firemen that voluntarily went into and died in the WTC. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have, it's just a mystery to me. Maybe ideology only goes so far, y'think?

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