Which Communism are you talking about? The one where everybody shares everything or the one where there's a dictator making them share nothing?

@freemo @avlcharlie

Maybe, but if communism converges to these two cases with the same result, it seems to be from the same error in thinking.


The root error comes from the assumption people will cooperate with the principle willingly. Once you assume most people will exploit any system for personal gain when they can it becomes evident communism is not a workable system without a totalitarian government. Even then people will generally do the bare minimum so you get poverty.

Capitalism exploits the inherent selfishness of individuals for the greater good of society.


I wondered if that was the angle. It is an unfortunate but realistic view.

While not probable I still hold out that there is a possibility, however minuscule, that we can break that cycle.


Oh we absolutely can, but that is just capitalism with compassion at that point. It isnt communism if people do it willingly rather than a totalitarian government.

We have it in capitalism all the tine, its called a commune.

I had a long reply but I realized it was this..

John Lennon: Imagine


Right but what im sayi g is,john lenon was describing capitalism, a capitalism filled with altruistic people.

Altruistic Capitalism seems to be an oxymoron.. but I suppose that's the point. That it can't exist. That we are in fact doomed and destined to deal with the greed of humanity... Which is another unfortunate but realistic view.

@avlcharlie How is it a oxymoron. All capitalism is is any system which includes free market trade, that is, trade in which natural supply-demand pressures dominate the markets pricing.

Nothing about that implies greed or altruism, it only implies everyone is trying to maximize their own fitness function (get the most utility for their resources). Its about effiency not greed.

@freemo @avlcharlie well, unless people attempt to develop some level of sophistication, efficiency turns into greed, because thoughtless accumulation is the easiest thing to do. This is reinforced by a social environment where chronic accumulators are considered successful by chronically accumulating media.


Bow ya figure that makes no sense. Accumulating resources in a vault untouched is the least effecient form, you literally have negative effiency as inflation devalues assets. A person would achieve effiency by investing thrir mo ey wisely and ensuring other people are using those resources to effectively increase the total resources in the market.

You are getting stuck in the fallacy that someone havibg authority (ownership) over those resources means that other people cant use it for their own gains as well which is entierly contrary to the reality. Those resources will be in others hands and used by them in some agreement to use them for mutual gain (investment in others).


@freemo @avlcharlie maximisers would invest for profitability and not for sustainability. Clearly this conversation is way too abstract and way too generalising, but rich people investing in cheap resources is a real problem in times of pressing change.

Optimising is by definition deprived of vision, ask effective altruists ;)


Who said anything about sustainability. We said utility, that may or may not line up with sustainability. They will pick sustai able when it has the most utility.

Similarly thry dont buy cheap if cheap is less utility. Somethi g at half the price that breaks in 1/10th the time is a bad investment, so no thry dont just go with what is cheapest. Rich people dont invest in cheap resource they invest in what gets them the most utility, which is what prfitability is.

Optimising has vision, for the thing you are optimising for.


@freemo @avlcharlie the problem is that environmental cost are not part of the final price. Instead they are internalised by those with weaker negotiation power.

- miners from poor countries pay with their lives to extract resources that unaccountable mine owners then can sell at competitive prices
- wildlife gets pushed away from investment-grade land

I can go on with Amazonian rainforest, Russian taiga, Australian Coral reefs, African rhinos, l Mediterranean fish, orangutans, polar bears,...

@mapto I think what you're illustrating is NOT that the costs aren't included, but that you personally don't agree with the costs.

You want those people to place higher value on their resources than they do. Their valuation doesn't match your own, and you're insisting that you're right, wanting to impose your personal values on them.

Let's be clear about what you're doing here, including the way it has associations with colonialism.

The people in those poor countries need to be fixed in their valuation of their resources?

@freemo @avlcharlie

@volkris @freemo @avlcharlie I agree with your other comment.

My diagreement is not with the current calculation of the costs. I claim that any explicit calculation by default (due to the complexity of the real world) excludes some implicit aspect that optimisers then readily ignore.

Also, utility is not only contextual, but subjective. To someone a million dollars might be enough to secure a lifetime, to someone else it could be enough to buy a house, to a third person, it might mean buying some nice nice stuff to show off.


Also, utility is not only contextual, but subjective.

Half-true.. the utility of a single transaction is subjective. But you are maximizing for the aggregate utility, that is objective.

To someone a million dollars might be enough to secure a lifetime, to someone else it could be enough to buy a house, to a third person, it might mean buying some nice nice stuff to show off

That statement isnt describing utility.

@volkris @avlcharlie


On a re read i think i see now where you got it all wrong. You are assuming, incorrectly, that money and utility mean the same thing. They dont. Moneybis the resource, not the utility. Utility only exists when money is in motion. Utility is how much you can accomplish with the money, not the money itself.

@volkris @avlcharlie

@freemo @mapto @volkris

Okay so I'm not so self-absorbed that I can't say I guess I was wrong and I misunderstood what capitalism was. This has been relatively enlightening.

My question then is what's the one where greedy people hoard up all of the money and resources, abuse the working class and create a system of poverty?

@avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

That woukd be an oligarchy. And any government can be an oligarchy, including a capitlist country.

@freemo @mapto @volkris

Follow up..
So how do you keep from doing that? Is it always The peasants uprising thing?


@avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

Now that is a complicated question. But usually the main way its accomplished with what we call antitrust laws. When enforced (and the usa has enforced thrm but not as strongly as it should) they effectively make monopolies illegal.

Of course the other key is keeping corruption in check and money out of politics, which isnlikewise a difficult task to do, but critical to a healthy capitalism

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@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris american enforcement of antitrust is something of a joke. its one of the few times the law is extremely broad but because it affects rich government contractors they cut it full of exceptions that don't exist.

@icedquinn @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

I totally agree with you there. I woukd not describe the USA as an ideal capitalism, in part due to lack of enforcement on antitrust laws.

@icedquinn you’re misunderstanding how American antitrust functions, as you can see throughout court filings, legislative proceedings, legal behaviors, and on and on.

The problem with American antitrust is that, in part because it is so broad, it runs up against other legal principles of the US government. The history of US antitrust in one of trying to reconcile paradoxes in the law that make it really unwieldy.

We have a government that on one hand is fundamentally bound to respect private property, but on the other hand, is charged with imposing on that same property.

We don’t need any conspiracies from rich contractors to explain the issues with US antitrust law. The problem is with the US law itself being quite screwy, in its own right.

@avlcharlie @freemo @mapto

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris very interesting discussion. Just thought I'd like to point out that comparisons between Communism and capitalism are tricky because while capitalism is viewed primarily as an economic system (and democracy as a political system that everyone assumes underpins it), Communism is a political, philosophical and economic system.

The problem is that there have been no real life examples of "pure" Communism ever existing, except perhaps

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris very early social Russia under Lenin. All real life examples of Communism have had either authoritarian or totalitarian rule, often dictatorships.

The reason for this is that while Marx did define what Communism should have been, he (perhaps intentionally) never defined how it should have been run. With centralized and planned production, it should have been foreseen that a permanent centralized government should have been established to oversee

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris and manage these functions. However the Communist Manifesto was written in a time of revolution and unhappiness with the current leadership. Telling the proletariat that after the Bolsheviks were disposed of, a new centralized replacement would take over its function would've been just trading one evil for another (human greed and selfishness and all that) and that would not have compelled the people into revolution.

I would recommend that instead of solely

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris focusing on the Communist Manifesto alone, it would be better to take into consideration the entirety of Marx's works (Das Kapital and the very important but seldom mentioned 1844 Manuscripts) to form an understanding of how he envisioned the political system to function with Communism.

1844 was essentially the un-watered down version of the Manifesto meant for academics and not the Proletariat; it isn't filled with charged revolutionary language or ideas.

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

Remember that Marx never viewed capitalism as evil, but a necessary step in achieving communist utopia.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

No marx was right, capitalism and communism arent systems of governments, they are properties of a government. He didnt address those things because he wasnt creating a government he was defining a principle he felt governments should have.

Not all communist coubtries were totalitarian or dictatorships. Its just the ones that were elected in place by the people were always dismantled by those same people years later when everyone started starving. See bulgaria as an example of that.

@freemo capitalism isn't a property of a government.

It's not only entirely possible for it to exist outside of any government context, but it's bound to exist there, given human nature and interests.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto


Ita a property of governments. The fact that it is also a property of other things doesnt change that fact.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto

@freemo I wouldn't say it's a property of governments any more than having secretaries operate Windows PCs is.

If that's really what you consider a property of governments, then I don't see what the value of emphasizing that property is.

@avlcharlie @mapto it isn't. It's a property of the economy. I guess what @freemo may be alluding to is that government influences whether or not capitalism exists. It will definitely exist in a democratic system but may also exist in a totalitarian/authoritarian system (e.g. China).

@dashrandom but that’s simply not true

Capitalism will exist regardless of government. Government has no say over whether capitalism exists.

Capitalism is such a natural human institution that it has the same status as, say, language.

People will talk to each other regardless of what government thinks about it. Capitalism is such a fundamental element of life that we neither need government permission nor care what government thinks about it.

Humans do capitalism because capitalism is in our incentives. We don’t ask permission from government to do capitalism.

@avlcharlie @mapto @freemo

@volkris @dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto Is is you who are saying things that are simply not true.

Capitalism will exist regardless of government. Government has no say over whether capitalism exists.

Capitalism, being a free market, may not exist if governments pass laws which force the market to be non-free. For example price fixing of goods by definition makes for a non-free market. As long as that is actually enforced, even if enforced poorly, you no longer have a free market, at best you will have a black market, which again by definition is not a free market (free as in freedom).

People will talk to each other regardless of what government thinks about it.

People talking to eachother isnt what makes a market free. Regardless, no, governments can and will stifle communication. Sure some will still happen but to say the government cant influence that is just plain wrong. Just look at North Korea the government very clearly has a large influence on what people say to eachother and how.

Humans do capitalism because capitalism is in our incentives. We donโ€™t ask permission from government to do capitalism.

I do of course agree, that capitalism is more or less the default. We will do it automatically. But only when we can, governments can and do prevent it all the time.

@freemo you talk about governments passing laws, and that’s exactly it: governments are extremely limited in what they can do in reality. Yeah they can pass laws all day long, and they can devote more and more resources into trying to execute those laws, and yet governments cannot in reality perfectly implement law.

A government can outlaw anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop.

How’s that war on drugs going?

And so capitalism will remain no matter what government thinks of it, just like drug use.

Government can try to suppress it if it wants, but capitalism is so natural, so tied into the human experience, it will exist regardless of what a government official signs into law.

And really that emphasizes my point. That a government might choose to oppose and crack down on capitalism just highlights that capitalism exists outside of government. For government to have to oppose it means that it must exist without government in the first place, separate from government.

Just like drug use ๐Ÿ™‚

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto


Yea governments can perfectly execute a law… so what? Their execution doesnt need to be perfect for the market to be nonfree. In fact any degree of influence woukd make a market that is to some extent nonfree.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto

@freemo but that there would indeed be a market proves my point.

You say the market may not exist if if governments pass laws, and yet, there it is.

The rest gets into rabbitholes of what constitutes market freedom. I’d say that markets always react to influences, and government influence is not particularly different from any other.

A market will react to the influences of weather or tech advancement or government dictat or a viral video. No market is free from influence; that’s in fact the value of markets, the ability to respond to those influences.

I’d say the critical freedom is the ability of the participant to choose whether or not to accept a transaction, no matter the source of influences going into the transaction.

But at the end of the day, capitalism exists regardless of governments, requiring neither support nor sanction from government.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto

@volkris @freemo @avlcharlie @mapto That assumes that capitalism is default human behaviour. That simply isn't true. There is already sufficient evidence that this assumption isn't true. Even in times when capitalism can be chosen, sometimes altruism is chosen instead and things are given away for free.

Secondly, I dislike the capitalism vs communism framing when it comes to human economic decisions because that's a false dichotomy.

@volkris @freemo @avlcharlie @mapto furthermore, pointing to the drug market analogy as evidence of capitalism being default human behaviour is a terrible example because the drug market in that example exists within a context of a capitalist system. Maybe you should be asking "How do illicit drug markets look under communist economy? Do they exist at all and how are transactions conducted?"

I find the assumption/opinion that capitalism is default human behaviour flimsy at best.


The market for prescription medications (or anything healthcare) related is never a free market, and never can be. Not fully. It doesnt have a balanced supply-demand curve. Demand is infinite since people will always give everything they own to live even one more day suffer free. So I'd argue markets around healthcare products are one of few areas where we cant apply free market mentality.

@volkris @avlcharlie @mapto

@freemo it's not factually true that people will always give everything they own to live even one more day suffer free.

I know plenty of counter examples personally, and they show up everywhere from politicians engaging in rhetoric about people choosing to forego prescription refills through public policy complaints about folks taking risks with regard to mask mandates.

So no, in reality we see that people DO make exactly those choices in very capitalistic ways.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto


Not every single person follows that paradigm. But the overwhelming majority would.

As for taking risks about masks or drugs. that is still them paying to extend their lives, they just happen to be morons and are doing things they think will extend their life that wont.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto

@dashrandom assume? No. I’m emphatic about it!

Yes, capitalism is default human behavior, and we can see that evidenced around us every single day.

Heck, at the moment you’re investing time typing your message. You’re spending resources on that project in hopes of some return on your investment in time, typing into some device that you invested into in the past, all with trade involved, all looking for increased value to come out in the end.

You’ve invested your capital in hopes of future gain.

That’s capitalism for you, the default human behavior.

Did you ask permission to write your comment? Were you forced to make it? Unlikely. And yet, even such force would be overriding the capitalistic default.

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto

@volkris@qoto.org @dashrandom@kopiti.am @freemo@qoto.org @avlcharlie@mastodon.social @mapto@qoto.org
I think most people aren't thinking of getting a return on investment when they write social media posts.

@hyolo right! Capitalism is so fundamental to the human condition that we engage in it even when we don’t think, explicitly, that this is capitalism we’re doing.

We naturally invest resources for later payoff and make trades based on our interests even when we’re not laying out spreadsheets to calculate cost/benefit analyses.


The free market wont exist. The fact that some limited non-free market would exist is rather irrelevant, the point is still that governments determine whether free market exists or not and can trivially ensure that the market is not free and has pretty good control in preventing the free aspect of the market.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto

@freemo if you go with the definition that a free market must be devoid of influence then there cannot be any market, ever, regardless of government since all markets function in the context of influence.

If you go with your definition, then markets cannot ever exist regardless of government.

It’s a useless definition.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto


if you go with the definition that a free market must be devoid of influence

No, in fat i specifically made it clear this is NOT what a free-market is. A free market is a market in which healthy supply-demand pressures dominate. That is similar but not the same as saying devoid of influence. In order to have a free market you must

1) have laws that prevent monopolies from controlling the market and manipulating prices contrary to supply demand

2) Ensure all parties have equal access and representation on the market (aka no slavery)

3) Minimal regulations beyond ensuring the above from the government.

4) no price fixing

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto


Communism, like capitalism, is often abused as a word. On its own it has nothing to do with marx. It simply means any system where the means and distribution of production are controlled by the government, and socialism is where onky the means of production is owned.

Marx just had a very specific view of a system of government which he felt included communism with other supporting principles to make it work. Its more appropriate to call his system marxism

@avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris I beg to differ. Marxism is a philosophy (with his species-being and alienation concepts), Communism is an ideology that the workers are exploited by those who control the means of production, and thus the only way to stop being exploited is to seize the means of production.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

How is a philosophy and an ideology even different. No clue how your arguing that marxism is not a more specific form of communism.

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris my response was to your statement that Communism has nothing to do with Marx. Marx was the founder of Communism, it kind of implies it when he wrote the Communist Manifesto. Saying communism has nothing to do with Marx is like saying Higgs has nothing to do with the Higgs-Boson. Marxism is a way of thinking, Communism is a way of looking at the world and living life. You can be Marxist, but not Communist. You however, cannot be Communist but not Marxist.

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris

Communism was first enacted by the Jews in ancient israel thousands of years before marx was even a sperm.

@freemo @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris I tried a quick Google search to confirm what you've said but I've been unable to find any articles about Jewish Communism in ancient Israel. Wikipedia seems to indicate that Israel and it's surrounding area has always been a monarchy which would imply the non-existence of Communism. Could you provide me some articles or books to read up about this?

@dashrandom @avlcharlie @mapto @volkris How would a monarchy imply the nonexistance of communism? It does not.

I just looked at wikipedia, here is a quote:

Biblical scholars have argued that the mode of production seen in early Hebrew society was a communitarian domestic one that was akin to primitive communism.[26][27]

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