Comments on Communist Arguments
As with past articles in this series, this should not be taken as an refutation of each argument rather it should be read as my comments on each but in this case my thoughts are why they are wrong. Unlike with Anarcho-Capitalists and Black Livers Matters I do not think communists and socialists (for the purpose of this article I will just use communism as a encompassing umbrella term) offer any positive to society and because of that should be actively refuted.
1. We need communism because without it workers will be exploited
I consider the basis of this claim, the Marxist Labor Theory of Value, to be the economic equivalent to the flat earth theory. In essence, this claim asserts that because value is objective and the worker creates x amount of value, say a five dollar widget, that because they were only paid four dollars the capitalist exploited a dollar of surplus value from them (this surplus value is the source of profit).
This account fails because it is premised on a lie, that value is objective. In reality value is subjective and because of this reality surplus value is not possible. Profit does not come from extracting surplus value, but rather it comes from delaying consumption, organizing production and taking risks. Lastly, as in any voluntary exchange, this is not a win-lose exchange, but rather it is a win-win exchange. Both parties value what they give over what they get. In truth, there is exploitation, but this exploitation goes both ways.
2. Super computers can efficiently allot resources, so we don’t need market prices
Super computers face the exact same problems socialist planners in 1900 faced. Even if you could account for all the millions if not billions of goods at the different steps of production, many of which have multiple uses, it would still be impossible to account for the necessary information on the demand side. Every person has different wants, need and desires many of which are unknown until faced with the choice. How will all the needs, wants and desires of an economy be organized? Will each household fill out a survey organizing their needs and then the central planning computer decides who needs and deserves what? In practice this would often come out with nothing more than arbitrary allocation of resources.
3. Communist nations are failing because of embargos
Let us look at two examples where this argument is commonly employed, Venezuela and Cuba. Venezuela currently exports 63 billion dollars’ worth of goods and imports 36.3 billion dollars’ worth of goods. They have at least a billion dollars’ worth of trade with the United States, India, China and Brazil. Their imports and exports are greater now than where they were in 1998 when Hugo Chavez was elected. Cuba is a similar story. They export 74 billion dollars’ worth of goods and import 5.91 billion dollars’ worth of goods. They also engage in at least a billion dollars’ worth of trade with China, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands.
I would also like to point out if this point was true it would be even more evidence for free trade which the communists reject.
4. Communist nations are poor because they start poor
So do current capitalist nations, they all started poor. I would not consider 1800 United States or United Kingdom rich, but they are rich now. Both free market capitalist and socialist nations start poor; this is the original state of nature for humans. The difference is that capitalism is empirically proven to be a superior to any other system in taking people from poverty to wealth.
In an analysis of sixty studies, it was found that “Our results show that a typical reform caused costs in the short run, but had strong positive effects on long-run growth. Reforms focused on external liberalization proved to be more beneficial than other types of reform in both the short and long run. The findings hold even after correction for publication bias and misspecifications present in some primary studies.” In more detail the study found “We find that, on average, in the short run reforms lead to significant costs in terms of output growth (back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest costs of about 0.4 percentage points), while in the long run the effect of reforms on economic performance is positive and substantial (of about 0.3 percentage points).”
5. But X is not True Communism
This is nothing more than a “No true Scotsman” fallacy.
6. First world nations exploit third world nations through trade hence, they are poor
If by exploited you mean to be made richer than I agree.
[W]e find a robust negative correlation between globalization and poverty…. Results suggest that information flows and more liberal trade restrictions are robustly negatively correlated with absolute poverty.”
We find that poverty reduced more in regions that were more strongly exposed to import tariff liberalization.”
The findings show that households at all per capita expenditure levels had experienced gains as a result of the trade liberalization, while the average effect was generally pro-poor and varied significantly across the per capita expenditure spectrum.”
Girls exposed to the garment sector delay marriage and childbirth. This stems from (a) young girls becoming more likely to be enrolled in school after garment jobs (which reward literacy and numeracy) arrive, and (b) older girls becoming more likely to be employed outside the home in garment-proximate villages. The demand for education generated through manufacturing growth appears to have a much larger effect on female educational attainment compared to a large-scale government conditional cash transfer program to encourage female schooling.”
7. There is a difference between private property and personal property
Private property is any property that is privately owned, meaning the government does not own it. Personal property is a sub type of private property that is distinguished by that fact that it is movable. This is nothing more than lefties splitting hairs.
8. Wage Slavery is a thing

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9. There is no voluntary choice if the other choice is death
If this argument is correct, then no choice is free and voluntary because death is an alternative to all choices. Let us take it to its logical extreme. When we drink it is not a voluntary action because if we did not drink we would die of dehydration. Sound ridiculous? That is because it is. This argument fails on the same grounds. You existence does not entitle you to free shit. This is why communism is immoral. It basically says “I’m here, i’m living, give me free shit”.
10. Capitalism is forced upon people
To quote the abstract of a 2011 Springer study “we make use of the change in the Index of Economic Freedom as a measure of market liberalizing reforms, employing data from a panel of 117 countries for the period from 1981–2006. Our results show a strong positive association between reforms towards more free markets with regard to governments’ respect for human rights, controlling for a host of relevant factors, including the possibility of endogeneity…. Our results support those who argue that freer markets generate better economic conditions and higher levels of social harmony and peace, and it seems as if getting there is less problematic than people generally think—in fact, halfhearted measures and backsliding that prolong crises could be more dangerous to human rights”

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Posted by Roman Bilan

One Comment

  1. socialistsorcerer July 22, 2016 at 2:45 am

    1. Marx never denied the role of these things playing a role in value. In fact, Marx considered abstract labor as one of the primary things influencing value. Abstract labor is the pool of available labor. How this labor is allocated determines on the system. So in Capitalism, this is the market. This is one factor that determines exchange value. You bring up organizing production as if it refutes Marx, but you are in fact agreeing with him. This is one of those things that can be debunked by just saying “Read Marx.” Because it is absolutely apparent that you haven’t, else you would actually know what he advocated. With the extraction of surplus value, this is what allows for businesses to stay afloat. Wages will never equal profit, if they did, businesses would fail. So the workers always have to produce more than what they are paid for. What determines profit is due to many things, mostly the exchange value, which is determined by abstract labor and other things which can affect how labor is allocated, including things like the weather, supply and demand, the happiness of the laborers, etc. As for the 3rd paragraph, seeing as the only other option is starve to death, it’s kind of absurd to say this, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

    2. I don’t advocate for centrally planned economies, and most Communists, and even Marxists don’t advocate for this either. In fact, I have yet to read anything in Marx’s writings dealing with central panning. Either way, as with any system, you learn from the mistakes of the past. This is what Capitalism did. But to act like Communists all support centrally planned economies is absolutely absurd, as there was an entire Left Communist movement that opposed this system of central panning.

    3. Venezuela and Cuba are not communist. They are not stateless, classless societies. But both of these countries are poor because of corruption and party bureaucracy, which is absolutely a problem with more authoritarian forms of Socialism and Marxism, however, not all Socialists, and even Marxists support this type of system. All of the prominent Marxists at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution denounced Lenin’s centralized structure. The most authoritarian was Karl Kautsky, and even he thought Lenin was too authoritarian.

    4. Well for one, these countries have had very different material conditions than Socialist countries, but both of those countries used largely protectionist policies, which you yourself oppose. However, with the USSR, in less than a decade, they went from the most backwards nation in Europe to an industrial superpower that was able to compete with the United States. This is an absolutely amazing economic achievement, especially considering how much longer the US and European countries industrialized.. The main reason it collapsed was due to the political crisis in the 90s more than anything else. Not really economic collapse. But as of now, the majority of Russians preferred life in the USSR because right now, things are kind of shitty. It’s why Gorbachev is the 2nd least popular Russian leader (Behind Yeltsin.) And just 60 studies? Sorry if I’m going to be a little skeptical of this, especially considering the fact that the US and UK used protectionist policies and the fact that Keynesian economics is the most accepted school of economics.

    5. The No True Scotsman Fallacy is a very specific fallacy. It only applies if something has an abstract definition, like a Scotsman. Communism is a classless, stateless, moneyless society. No modern society has fit this definition. This is not a No True Scotsman Fallacy due to there being a set definition for this society.

    6.Yes, foreign governments do come in and build roads and whatnot. BUT, these are used to put these governments in debt and thus give the developed government control over these countries. It is a form of Neo Colonialism. So yeah, free trade allows for some development, but what it doesn’t allow for is freedom.

    7. No, private property is something used to extract profit. Private property is things like factories, farms, raw materials, etc. Personal property is something used for leisure. Private property ceases to be private property when it is not used to extract property, which is where we get collective property. Words have more than 1 definition.

    8. The wage system works in a similar way to how free range chickens do. Give enough freedom in order to perpetuate the system. It is an illusion so to speak. However, let’s take this further. In Capitalism, it is said you sell your labor. However, this doesn’t really fit reality. You are selling your labor power. Labor power is your ability to work. It is evident that this is what determines your wage as it is based on labor intensity and how important this work is to society, which your ability to work determines how much of this you can do. Furthermore, on days off you are paid. However, your labor power is not a separate entity from you. You are selling yourself, which makes you legal property of somebody.

    9.To start off, Communists do not advocate for people just getting free shit. It was even written in the Soviet Constitution “In the USSR work is a duty and a matter of honor for every able-bodied citizen, in accordance with the principle: “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.” The saying is, after all “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” In other words, work according to your ability and take according to need. You still have to work in Socialism and Communism. That’s why Marx advocated for labor vouchers as an incentive for people to work. They are awarded based on contribution. To get back to the first point though, this is a false comparison. Humans can work without the extraction of surplus value, but they cannot survive without water. The exploitation can be ended, the need for water cannot. This is a false comparison.

    10. This doesn’t refute the claim it is forced upon people. Capitalism was spread either through Imperialism and conquest, or because of revolutions. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the use of force depending on the circumstances, mind you. But was Capitalism forced? Yeah. And if we’re going to play dueling studies, here’s two studies that found societal hierarchies lead to alienation from each other and increases stress levels. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep18634 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/014067369193068K

    In closing, your comments on Communism either fail to understand basic concepts within Communism, or are just flat out wrong.

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