I have long found Communism fascinating (after reading the “Manifesto of The Communist Party” in volume 50 of the Great Books of the Western World series but could never really get past Part 1 of “Capital” and had to rely on secondary sources…sigh… such weakness), not all the cruelties that seem to be part of that system, but Marx’s philosophical foundation of communism. According to the Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (which is not really very good compared to say The Oxford Companion to Philosophy but alas! I have the Routledge in my library but not the Oxford):
“Communism is the belief that society should be organized without private property, all productive property being held communally, publicly or in common. A communist system is one based on a community of goods. It is generally presented as a positive alternative to competition, a system that is thought to divide people: communism is expected to draw people together and to create a community. In most cases, the arguments for communism advocate replacing competition with cooperaton either for its own sake or to promote a goal such as equality, or to free specific groups of people to serve a higher ideal such as the state or God.”
Isn’t this a wonderful idea? In fact, if we look at it, what is currently happening in the world inspired by open source software and blogs and communities such as MySpace is exactly what communism is about and see how far they have gone and how they have beaten capitalists (read for example, Microsoft) so convincingly?
The sad thing is communism is too great a political system for human beings because human beings are still, no matter how you want to argue it, base and vulgar, selfish and ignorant. In fact, communism as Marx has conceived it, is a system for an advanced society. But somehow, it appealed to a society that is far from being advanced but dominated by selfish people controlling the mass of poor peasants and exploited workers who are willing to give it a shot since there is nothing to lose anyways. However, as Eric Arthur Blair (a.k.a. George Orwell) said beautifully, “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”. Until all animals are really equal, communism will not work as a political system.