What is Communism? Q&A with Prof. Howie Baetjer



The core idea, I think, in communism is common
ownership of the means of production. But communism has to do with common ownership
of the means of production. Marx wasn't too clear on what communism was
and how it would work. He was very clear on what it wasn't, and what
it wasn't was private ownership of the means of production and production for a market
and for profit. So communism is common ownership for the means
of production. Production not for profit but for use, as
they say, the ideas that everything ultimately, in mature communism, people would produce
because they wanted to produce for the sake of the collective. All the products would go into a common store
and people would take from it what they needed. So from each according to his ability, to
each according to his need. But I think the core idea in communism is
common ownership of the means of production. Now, that sounds good but, because ownership
means use, control and disposal, how could collective, how could everybody use, control
and dispose of the property they own? Can't really be done. Somebody's gotta make decisions. So, in a system that tries for common ownership
of the means of production, what you generally have is that some elite, some clique, some
group that's able to seize power, gets control of how resources are to be used.

21 thoughts on “What is Communism? Q&A with Prof. Howie Baetjer

  • so, communism is an idea that could only be aimed and implemented at small scale of groups, which are private bodies.

  • Nicely put. Personally I have a deep dislike of communism. Someone brighter than me said "nice idea, wrong species". I think the only time communism could be practical is if there were no scarcity of anything people might want. Perhaps in a high tech future.

  • Yeah so basically u need to find a way to stop that elite clique from having total control (like totalitarian Mao or Stalin)…. but it seems like such a change from capitalism inherently may leave a gigantic political power vacuum. Could there be a transitional phase to transfer the means of production to the collective without having a small clique grab it in the process? Or is human nature contrary to that

  • Communism is a political and economic system in which the state directly owns and manages everything, supposedly in pursuit of a society in which economic classes don't exist and in which everyone is equal and gets all basic necessities met. In this communist "utopia", there would be no profits, no private property, and the workers would share the means of production. Communism is warm and fuzzy in theory, but in practice it's only ended up in totalitarian nightmares, in which the senior party members live in luxury and the rest of the population lives in opression and poverty! Secret police, a total lack of basic freedoms, gulag camps, single party dictatorial rule and destitution are hallmarks of every communist regime in history.

  • Why are anti communists so consumed by the idea that communism brings all people to an all time low level life? The point is to be together, and rise together. Also, with the rise of automation, the whole population would get to own the means of production and let the robots do the labor. The smartest individuals would make the most rational decisions about the fate of a company with the permission of the republican government and the people in general.

    Also, think of communism as the dawn of human civilization. In early times, only the fittest survived and passed on their genes. People competed for resources, women, and shelter. This resembles modern capitalism, where the free market acts as a savanna of companies vying for power and wealth, and the system as a whole is subject to imbalance, occasional depressions and inflations, and so forth. It is a wild nature.

    Communism is when we decide to "civilize" our economy so that we all have equal rights and better life. Now yes, capitalism does promote hard labor and innovation, just like natural selection promotes adaptation. But there comes a time when we become so evolved that we find a way to cut that cycle and discard it entirely.

  • This video is essentially like saying that a system (a worker cooperative as an example) cannot have managers, because the system is equally owned by its people and democratically controlled. Come on, you can do better than that lmao

  • Would the same logic apply to capitalism? The professor indicates that in a communist system, a group that is able to overpower the commune would do so and control the means of production. If we apply the same logic in a capitalist system, would it mean that a corporation or a group of corporations absorb other small businesses, so that they become the sole owners and regulators of the means of production?

  • Both communism and capitalism have the same flaw – greed. A greedy capitalist will exact more from his work force than he ever intends to return to them in monetary compensation – possible economic slavery. A greedy communist will do the same thing only with food, clothing, shelter… – possible slavery.
    Worst case: if you choose to be a communist you flirt with oppressive control freaks with power over every aspect of your life, if you choose capitalism you flirt with manipulative back stabbers with control over your monetary income. Choose your poison.

  • Communism is Slavery! The State owning the means of Production. So what are the means of Production? Capitol & Labor.

  • oh! look how communism gets corrupted and turns into capitalism… This means communism is impractical…

    Fine. I'll agree with these capitalist apologists – state controlled capitalism sucks – Good thing that's not communism (or socialism).

  • What is Communism? Holodomor (10 million -20 million dead) is Communism, Mao's Great Leap Forward ( 45 million – 60 million dead) is Communism, Venezuela is communism, and Cuba is Communism, and what do they all have in common? They all failed at the cost of innocent lives.

  • It is forced equality in the pursuit of what is perceived to be just outcomes, even at the cost of subpar results for everyone. It is the attempt to apply a political morality to economics at the barrel of a gun to force compliance.It is the worse system for a society to use to determine the priorities for the nation.

  • The main achievement of Hitler, and that changed Europe politically, was to have reconciled the working masses with the fatherland. They are known by anyone, opponents and sympathizers, those achievements of the Third Reich that are politically correct to name as being: have taken the people out of economic stagnation, have given work to six million unemployed, hundreds of social laws as paid vacations for the workers, health insurance, the popular car, roads, revitalize the industry of the Reich (the most modern and efficient continent to this day), unite the nation, form a new army, housing facilities, popularization of the theater (locating it near workplaces so that workers can assist), popularization of cinema, traveling libraries. Bringing the luxuries of technology to everyone, when they were only accessible to a few: the television and radio of the town could be produced in large quantities, the village refrigerator, the town's sewing machine, the village motorcycle, the village disk, etc, etc. At that time Germany was the country with more publishers of books, newspapers, newspapers and magazines in the world, the third Reich was the country that more informative and cultural options offered their people around the world. But the main thing was that Hitler and his National Socialist doctrine, integrated the workers to the nation, society to the nation, nation-social. International Marxism had succeeded in driving away, everywhere, the working class of the nation. The red worker was against his homeland, since he saw in it (or make him see) how the materialization of people full of wealth, his representative, saw the nation as the representation of the oligarchy and the rich and middle class . Capitalism, on the other hand, shows that rich and middle class that they are the nation and that the worker is the cheap labor of their companies, companies that can only regulate themselves. But Hitler joined the workers. He united them without the need for class struggle, and without the need to abolish private property. Unlike the unrealizable farce of communism where only the proletariat is the worker, for National Socialism the concept of worker embraces all the members of a society and not only the proletariat. The capital to fight for National Socialism is financial capital and usurer; while the Communist attempts against industrial capital, against the simple owner of the factory, against the poor owner of a trade, in the National Socialist system these are considered workers, and are considered part of the national family together with the proletariat; respecting the hierarchical place that each one has in society, yes, but granting him the corresponding benefits. Ennobling the task of the man of the field, of the smooth and plain worker of the factory, but without making him fight against his brother entrepreneur, but making the latter give him the necessary conditions of dignity and honor, and both fight against the true corrupt capital and usurer who corrodes peoples, international financial capital. So National Socialism triumphed and bothered the two political arms of Judaism, that is, capitalism and communism, cousins, enemies to the rostrum, but when the popes burned they allied themselves shamelessly. And this financial capital and international usurer, created these two political arms, which tries to confuse with right and left, with the eternal servile partycracy, offering the people to choose between these two sides of the same coin. In the time of Hitler, the communists tore off the epaulettes of the officers. The country was the bourgeoisie. Marxism was the antipatria. Hitler, thanks to his revolutionary program of social justice and the considerable improvements he brought to the life of the workers, returned to the National idea millions of proletarians, and particularly to six million German communists who seemed to be lost forever to the national cause , that they were even the saboteurs of the country and could have become their gravediggers. The real victory – lasting victory, universal in scope – that Hitler obtained on Marxism was that: the reconciliation of nationalism and socialism, from which comes the name of national-socialism, the most beautiful name that any party has ever carried. To the love for the homeland, normal, but that, by itself, meant little, he would unite the universal spirit of socialism, completing it, not only with words but also and fundamentally with facts, with social justice and respect for workers. Nationalism was too small, before Hitler, the exclusive property of the bourgeoisie and the middle classes. On the contrary, socialism was almost exclusive domain of the working class. With both, Hitler made a wonderful synthesis. Instead of the "class struggle", National Socialism proposed "class collaboration".

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