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As either the transitional stage to communism or legitimate socio-economic ends in its own right.
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#1009224
"From each according to ability, to each according to need."

Personally I think that while that does seem to promote economic equality, it is completely unfair and an idealistic opinion that can never be practiced in far left socialism or communism.

The fact remains that certain jobs require much more knowledge and studying than other jobs. If I went through twelve years of medical school, only to find that I could have used those twelve years earning the exact same salary as a truck driver, I would not go to school. Why bother? What benefits are there, really? I mean sure, we do need doctors, but who would actually be willing to put in the extra years of effort if there was no adequate compensation at the end?

This idea is, in my opinion, a flawed view of human nature. In a working socialist system, this idea would have be be disregarded completely. While the basic premise is good a better practice would be setting a maxinum salary cap on every job, but making sure that each worker is compensated fully for his efforts in the past.

What are your opinions of the quote?
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By C-Kokos
#1009399
There is nothing in this quote that points to egalitarianism. Quite the opposite in fact. People with higher needs will receive more.

Also, there will be no salary system in an advanced communist society as there will also be no money. This quote was meant to describe such a society.

Also, your view of human nature is flawed as in fact, the whole concept of human nature is flawed. There is no fixed human nature.
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By HoniSoit
#1009440
in fact, the whole concept of human nature is flawed. There is no fixed human nature.


I agree that there is no fixed human nature as the concept is constructed out of certaon human tendencies often under certain conditions which are to a more or less degree predictable. I object to such simplistic argument as 'since it is against human nature, therefore something won't work' - for we hardly know from empirical evidence what human natures are - and from the little we think we know empirically or intutively - it often varies from condition to condition.

My interpretation of the notion "from each according to ability, to each according to need" is that it is firstly based on the assumption no one needs to work for survival. Therefore one would be free to choose the kind of work she enjoys (Read: intellectually or emotionally satisfying) to do - while there should be in place a mechanism of sharing of mental and manual works. The latter half of the quote, I think, can be interpreted more loosely - I take it to simply mean there should not be a situation where some are unable or hardly to have their needs met while others have things that go way beyond their needs.
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By Abood
#1009542
Also, there will be no salary system in an advanced communist society as there will also be no money. This quote was meant to describe such a society.
I thought Marx wasn't an idealist?

There is nothing in this quote that points to egalitarianism. Quite the opposite in fact. People with higher needs will receive more.
What if they do less?

I agree with m4nu; people who work more deserve to get more.. If there isn't any money anymore, then they deserve to get more of the share of whatever it is that is being produced. Otherwise, people wouldn't be willing to work hard, if they know they're gonna get what they need.

Plus, what about luxuries? Are luxuries just gonna be destroyed, then forgotten, in a socialist society?

I think that 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds' is a better concept.
By Kon
#1009748
'from each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds'


And you are an anarchist?

If you truly are one you sound like an anarcho-collectivist, a school no one really follows anymore that taught that people should get goods from the collective judging by how much work they do.

I think that would make for a merotocratic society, and I believe it is barely socialistic. From each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs is the best way to govern a collective.
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By Abood
#1009771
I think that would make for a merotocratic society, and I believe it is barely socialistic. From each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs is the best way to govern a collective.
'From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs' would be great if people adopt to it, but you can't just tell people to do something and they'd do it. How would you know those people are doing the best of their 'abilities', therefore deserving their 'needs'?

I'm not against the concept, not at all, it's just that it wouldn't work in today's society. If people start thinking with more socialist, less selfish, minds, then I'm sure it'd work.

Plus, like I said, that concept doesn't mention anything about luxuries. Are we just gonna forget about luxuries? Don't people want luxuries?
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By getfiscal
#1009903
How would you know those people are doing the best of their 'abilities', therefore deserving their 'needs'?
The point isn't trying to maximize exertion and connect it to consumption. It is almost the opposite. The point is that there is a fundamental disconnect between "ability" and needs. The first part addresses how production would be arranged to allow people to explore and develop their capacities connected to production for use. The second part addresses how that production for use will be connected to human needs.

As for "today's society", pay based on productivity is already at the foundation of mainstream economic theory. Wages are often assumed to be tending towards the marginal productivity of labour. Managerial work may be criticized for its excesses but is still typically seen as hyper-productive and therefore worthy of very high pay. Any system that has wages and tries to connect them to productivity is likely to either start or end up with a class of people that ends up with a very high level of power relative to most others. An alternative is to pay people based on their work as related to just how many hours they work at some minimum or adjusted level of effort, without other large adjustments for productivity. That's if you want to retain some sort of wage-like system.
By Manuel
#1009943
I'm not necessarily talking about wages for adequate compensation.

First, I believe in a heavil regulated, but free, market. To control some citizens from earning millions while others barely scrape by a maxinum wage law will be enacted, and the mininum wage will be increased. This brings the income equality closer, and rewards those in the higher up positions by still getting them a bit more money than the lower jobs. I do not imagine a classless society, as history has shown this impossible. A class always emerges. But rather, what I feel a successful socialist system would do is blur the lines between the classess, and keep the classess very near each other. Meaning, the docter gets a classy BMW, but the nurse still gets her hybrid Toyota.

Redistribution of wealth and complete equality of wealth are two different things, only the former of which is feasible in our society.
By Kon
#1009961
Plus, like I said, that concept doesn't mention anything about luxuries. Are we just gonna forget about luxuries? Don't people want luxuries?


What do luxuries have to do with anything?

Luxuries that require money are created for us, everyone understands that a hot tub is nice, but they don't run out and buy one. People do not need luxuries, the greatest luxury of them all would be the control of the economy by the workers.

Reading your posts lately, you don't seem to be much of a socialist.
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By HoniSoit
#1009983
I do not imagine a classless society, as history has shown this impossible. A class always emerges.


This is a curious comment - history has shown a lot of things impossible in the past under different circumstances - it doesn't really mean much. A classless society is certainly possible, although people would debate the exact form it would take, through the common ownership of the means of production. The key tho as libertarian socialists is to oppose any form of concentration of private power - and that includes a red bureaucracy in the form of state soclaism (which I think was what you were alluding to).
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By Abood
#1010524
What do luxuries have to do with anything?

Luxuries that require money are created for us, everyone understands that a hot tub is nice, but they don't run out and buy one.
What I was saying is: Will there be luxuries, or will people only have what they need in a socialist society?

People do not need luxuries, the greatest luxury of them all would be the control of the economy by the workers.
People don't need them, but they want them. CD's are a luxury, mp3 players are a luxury, computers are a luxury, TV are a luxury ... don't you have all those?

Reading your posts lately, you don't seem to be much of a socialist.
So a socialist cannot be wanting luxuries? :?: As long as everyone has the same luxuries, or the same amount of luxuries, I don't see any problem with having them. What's wrong is when people have luxuries, while others are starving to death.

And, as I have already said, I think that the concept of 'each according to his abilities to each according to his needs' is great, but I don't think we can just jump into it.. people can't go from being in a capitalist society into being in a socialist society without any transition. When you live by the rule of'you get what you work for' and then suddenly the rule changes to 'you get what you need', it'd be a disaster if there weren't any rules. For example, there needs to be a set minimum amount of work.
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By Theodore
#1010528
For example, there needs to be a set minimum amount of work.


And the award for the most unlibertarian position goes to... ABOOD! *applause*

Ahem.

We should strive to build up a fully automated economy that needs only minimal efforts by humans to keep functioning. Then we should distribute what is produced according to individual preferences.

The last thing we need is the reintroduction of corvee labour.
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By Abood
#1010542
And the award for the most unlibertarian position goes to... ABOOD! *applause*
As long as the workers agree to it, it would be libertarian... :hmm: It's not like I'm advocating a vanguard that goes and punishes everyone who lacks work.

Ok, this is a really.. confusing topic. I'm not so good in economics, so, bleh.. I dunno.. I need to read into socialist economics and whatever.
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By getfiscal
#1010545
As long as the workers agree to it, it would be libertarian...
So what wouldn't fit under this definition?
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By HoniSoit
#1010553
Abood wrote:What I was saying is: Will there be luxuries, or will people only have what they need in a socialist society?


This is a good question I think. It won't be easy for us to imagine what will exactly happen in many aspects of life in a socialist society - for it will be the choice of people in that society. But I think we can be relatively confident that there will be luxuries and it will be widely available to all. Bear in mind that in a capitalist society, goods are produced and sold for private porfit - meaning people are paying a lot more than it is needed in order to consume them. Also as I tried to explain in another thread, that many of the so-called luxuries aren't what we really need or even want were it not for the consumerism motivated by the logic of capitalism - instead attention will be shifted from this consumerism to things like intellectually and emotionally satisfying works. Ultimately, we are not what we consume but what we do.
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By Abood
#1010623
So what wouldn't fit under this definition?
Economically, as long as the workers agree on something, it's ok. I really don't see anything wrong with setting minimum work load, as long as it's not imposed by someone who wants profit, and therefore will push the workers to their limits. If the workers decide on something, then they'd decide on something possible, because they're the ones who are gonna do it, and therefore would feel the pain. It's not like someone is gonna hold a whip to their backs, telling them to work, while he just watches them suffer.

However, socially, I believe that the best solution is social liberalism, because no one has the right to vote for a ban on something (eg. homosexuality), because it wouldn't affect anyone else, and therefore it's none of their business (except the ones involved, obviously).
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By getfiscal
#1010647
Most social issues involve some type of production, however, and that production is connected to objects. Even if you had social control over objects but not subjects, as in anarchy, you would have questions that do not resolve neatly into rights. For example, it is nice to say that the war on drugs is wrong and would not exist in anarchy. However, would not the production and distribution of drugs be regulated by the community? Could not the community decide not to produce it? In such a situation it would seem that a person has a theoretical "right" to use drugs if they wish, but no independent property available to realize this goal. If so, there needs to be some combination of right with the capacity to exercise it, decisions of which certainly do affect other people.

This extends also to issues like mobility, minimum work, etc. Unless the community facilitates the exercise of rights in some way, and continuously reinforces them, then they will disintegrate and leave a person isolated and probably unable to survive. A wholly negative view of freedom is unable to build this sort of community because it will always collapse into the idea that the only way to protect the individual then is to fragment property into rights. And as soon as you build up individual property rights in production you very quickly divide up things spatially as well, and community control over objects disappears. At that point then it doesn't matter much whether workers theoretically control things because their behaviour will start to respond to this fragmentation out of a very obvious strategy of negotiation and defence.
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By NewEra
#1010929
My interpretation of the quote:

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

I am a realist so I don't like to think in terms of abstract. Many of these propositions that I will state are backed by economics (I'm a business major so this is forced to occur for me, haha) and social sciences. Also, I like to try to place my theories in a framework that is similar to a currency (money) system. You can consider the society using the modern day currencies if you wanted to, or a point-based system. I am also forced to summarize my beliefs into an extremely basic level, so you may not find every solution. However, I will try my best. Here we go!



From each according to his abilities: From every man in the given society there is required a certain amount of work according to his abilities. People who have no arms in this case will obviously not be expected to work the same way as any others. These people would get compensation of a sort in terms of work. People who are naturally brilliant will be expected to work more. Simple. However, out of the notion of freedom, the talented person doesn't necessarily have to work hard either. We don't want an authoritarian regime that forces the citizens to work. That would be ...umm.... mean. :)



To each according to his needs: Every individual gets his needs. This is quite simple to define for me, but I can see where all the contest flares up. For me, needs is defined as the natural and genuine need of humans to exist in a society. It would consist of the obvious everyday things that people desire and need for survival (which consist mostly of inferior goods but also some normal goods). That person with asthma will get his treatment and the person with the broken legs will get a wheelchair. Medical care will be covered for all, along with education, shelter, food, etc. Therefore, the entire argument of luxuries is negated because nobody requires luxuries to continue living.

However, this does not mean that luxuries will not exist. People want luxuries. Maybe not everybody, but definately people. How do you get these luxuries (or marginal benefits of living in addition to the simple "needs" of survival?) in a communist society? This is also simple. We take the most major trait of Socialism ("from each according to his abilities, to each according to his work") and mix it to the "from each according to his abilities, for each according to his needs" principle of Communism. Anybody who sincerily worked beyond his abilities (like the naturally brilliant person in my ealier example) will get, as he deserves, the marginal benefits for his additional labor. He can then get the luxuries that he wants. The person with the broken arm is also free to work beyond his abilities and reap the same rewards. These people who work more than what is demanded of them by society will also help the population as a whole, since their additional wealth will decrease their needs for the inferior goods (which will most likely be replaced by the luxuries. ex. traveling by air instead of bus.). Due to the giffen effect, these surplus of inferior goods caused by reduction in demand will be allocated to others in society, thereby moderately retaining efficiency.

Surgeons will make more than a truck driver in a communist society because medical degrees are a lot rarer and harder to earn. Because it is harder to earn, it is beyond the demands of the abilities of any normal person. Naturally, the surgeon will be able to get more beyond his needs.


The question now is, what about those that still won't work? What about those people in society that are simply satisfied with their "needs" to survive? Society, after all, will be forced to provide for them even if they don't work. Correct in a sense. Society must always provide the needs by any common man the opportunity to succeed. Employment oppotunities, medical care, etc., must always be provided so that men will be able to work. Equality of opportunity is the most important thing in socialism, which capitalism lacks (whether one finds work or not is based quite a bit on luck, especially if you're a worker). However, I doubt that there will be a lack of complaint by workers if the entire needs package is offered to a non-working man. Legislation will be provided to suit this problem without doubt. Employment can be forced through law to people unemployed for over a certain amount of time period to ensure that cyclical unemployment won't be permanent. From employment, the entire needs package will be provided, even if he doesn't perform to his full abilities.

The next corresponding question is, how is the law enforced if there is a dissolution of the state? Well, I'm tired of typing now and don't think that any are even reading up to this point. So ya, hope my analysis is acceptable. :eek:
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By Abood
#1011440
Great stuff, NewEra. The part of 'from each according to his abilities' is exactly what I meant, except in a more detailed, more educated way. ;)

Simple. However, out of the notion of freedom, the talented person doesn't necessarily have to work hard either. We don't want an authoritarian regime that forces the citizens to work. That would be ...umm.... mean.
I think some think that I want workers to work hard, to achieve as much as they can, but that's not what I meant. By 'minumum load of work', I meant something enough to produce the needs. - Just to make things clear.

The first part of 'to each according to his needs' is also what I support. The part about luxury is good too, even though I didn't think about it in that way.

Anyway, good analysis, and yeh, I did read it all. :p

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