13 November 2012

Building a Communist Utopia

The word "utopia" implies a perfect society which is an oxymoron in itself because a society that stagnates is far from perfect. Like anything living; society needs to grow and adapt. The word communism also strikes fear into uninformed minds but in reality it's the sustainable approach when compared to free market capitalism or what we live in today which is creditism or wage slavery.

Communism means handouts

I was raised in a somewhat right-wing, loosely Christian, upper-middle class home. My German mother is strongly of the opinion that those who work hard should be rewarded and should be allowed to decide who they share with and how much they share. At face value that makes perfect sense especially in South Africa where the tax paid by a small percentage of the population sustains an increasingly dependant majority. That attitude is becoming very popular and understandably so, those who work hard are having to work harder and contribute more and are steadily losing respect from those who are actually benefiting from that hard work.

I liken this to bad parenting, the easier your kids have it the more they turn into little monsters. I think everyone understands this and that contributes to the opinion of; stop giving handouts. So why am i advocating communism (more handouts) when i understand why less handouts are seemingly necessary? Well, if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but then expect you to give him another fish tomorrow. If you're fortunate enough to be in a position to hand out fishing rods, you'll eventually be the one receiving fish without having to ask it. I hope i'm making sense.

Who's the boss then?

Decisions always need to be made especially in a society that's always changing and adapting. Rather than having a psudo-king (president, prime minister, caesar, pope, chosen one, whatever) you democratically decide on the direction to be taken by society. Initially it would make sense to have parliament as the highest echelon in society with relative representation. As long as a party has more than the required percentage of votes to secure a seat then that party is able to represent their supporters.

Political representation of any kind is not ideal because that is what opens doors for corruption. As the population becomes more educated so should the number of seats in parliament increase. A state defined education system is also an opportunity for corrupt influence but that's a discussion for another time. Ultimately the goal is to decentralise the decision making process through democracy until there is no political representation whatsoever. We want a population of problem solvers who can directly influence the course of their society rather than "hope" that their interests will be addressed.

The pros and cons

The obvious advantage to democratic communism is that corruption is greatly reduced and far more people have their needs met. The two major disadvantages that need to mitigated for this to work are: 1. The decision making process can slow to a standstill when so many voices need to be heard. 2. If everyone is allowed to contribute to and vote on complex problems then we'll unavoidably have an uninformed majority overruling the informed minority.

These are both serious show stoppers and are the reasons that communism and democracy as a whole has not been able to work as intended. Fortunately they're both solved with something that would previously have been seen as an impossible task but suddenly it's right here on our doorstep as if a boon from the gods themselves. What i'm talking about is ubiquitous and instant access to information and collaboration. This is of course the Internet. Not yet ubiquitous but already almost the total accumulation of current human knowledge and already the most powerful collaboration platform ever created. The Internet is a fundamental requirement for democratic communism.

What about censorship?

Censorship has become synonymous with communism thanks to China and Russia in their attempts to stem the flow of "western propaganda". It seems to have become a communist staple which makes it incredibly difficult for someone like myself to promote communism. Without absolute transparency one cannot make a completely informed decision and democratic communism relies on informed decision making. In my mind it goes without saying that censorship destroys any chance of real communism. What China has and what Russia once had is not communism as far as i'm concerned because of this reason.

What's wrong with what we've got?

In order for the free market system to work it requires unhindered corporate competition to drive down prices and improve service. In order to ensure that anti-competitive behaviour like price fixing doesn't occur we need government assigned regulators. When you bring regulation into the picture you risk interfering with the natural survival-of-the-fittest corporate ecosystem. It becomes an incredibly delicate balancing act and a huge amount of energy needs to be invested just on keeping the system stable.

That wasted energy comes in the form of the financial industry, the legal industry and politics (essentially the war industry). These three completely unnecessary spheres of society have now become the prime siphon of human effort and creativity. Almost all the wealthiest people in the world today accumulated their wealth via these industries. In a resource based economy every human being alive and the billions more to come can be easily fed, housed and educated, including access to health, transportation, information and democratic contribution. All without the need to enslave oneself on the false belief that wage slavery is required in order to survive.