The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Communism cannot Work

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,173 times Debate No: 73510
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




This debate will be about whether the theory of Communism as advocated by Karl Marx cannot possibly work.


Okay then.
Debate Round No. 1


Communism: a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs in order to obtain a classless society.

The Class System

Communism's main goal is to end the class system and so that every one is equal. Classes are a way of ordering society in which people are divided into sets based on social or economic status.
I will argue that you cannot have a classless society. To eliminate economic status you have to eliminate wealth equality. The one way to do that is redistribution of wealth. However when you have one set of people redistribiting amd another set of people who's money is being redistributed, a class system is being put in place.
The only other way to abolish economic inequality is to abolish capital altogether which it what Communism seeks to do. It even abolishes voluntary forms of currency and prohibits individuals trading resources amd skills (as that is what Capitalism is). To enforce that Capital is abolished and that each works according to his ability and recieves according to his need and to prohibit property being exchanged and owned privately (because in Communism all property is owned collectively) there needs to be a body of authority. This body of authority, no matter what you call it is a Government and a form of class because these people who are enforcing authority are a different set of people divided by Social status as they can enforce authority on certain individuals but these certain individuals cannot enforce authority back.
Therefore it is contradicting itself and the whole point of Communism (abolishing the class system) is impossible.

No Incentives

People need incentives. It is a fact and a psychological one. I brush my teeth so that they don't get rotten. If not brushing your teeth had no comsequences I would have no incentive and I wouldn't do it. Unless of course I am a bit mad and brush my teeth for fun. If I did that I would still have an indentive- because it makes me happy possibly. I eat food primarily to survive but due to evolution our species has evolved to enjoy the taste of food (some foods probably not though!) so I also eat food because it tastes good- those are my incentives. If I had no incentive I wouldn't eat food. People need incentives. In Communism people have no incentive to work, even accordiing to their ability which is one of the points of Communism. If someone has great ability but not great needs, he will work more than most but recieve less than most. Do you think he is going to work if given the choice? Perhaps voluntarily to help other people but that is not Communism but private charity. What if unvoluntarily? Would the threat of authority give him incentive? But that very same authority is a form of class system and that is nit Communism which brings us back to our first argument.

People aren't equal

Communism is largely based on the fact that everyone is equal. This is simply not the case. Some people are cleverer than others. Some people are stronger than others.
A theory only works if it is grounded in reality. Capitalism is. Capitalism rewards people who work harder and punishes those who do not and recognises that people are not equal.
Communism does the opposite.

No Innovation

This goes back to the fact that there are no incentives. If there are no incentives there is no progress and several problems remain unfixed. Without progress and without problems being fixed the system will collapse. We only survive with unfixed problems because they are being fixed. But with no progress and several unfixed problems the problems affect more people and more people suffer. Because of this people naturally abandon the system and return to Capitalism.
Capitalism rewards innovation and under Capitalism several problems have been fixed and people's lifes in general have been made better. The private sector is always better at providing services to people. For example food- one of the most important things to us. It is run by the private sector and as a result of Capitalism and Freedom everyone has access to food and any food that they like.


Lastly Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff, especially stuff that they earnt. Would you happily give all your property up to the state? I think not.


In regards the the 'people aren't equal' attack, people being equal is actually irrelevant to communism. The fact is that in communism people are economically equal, whether or not they inherently are.

The entire paragraph about the class system forgets that the theory of communism, proposed by Karl Marx, states that the authoritarian variant of it is Socialism and is merely a transitional period between capitalism and communism.[1] Thus, it was not attacking the anarcho-communist society which Karl Marx held as ideal.

The incentive paragraph forgets something vital. In a communist society there is an incentive to be selfless; something that no other society has. In the communist society, only by helping absolutely everyone other than yourself can you hope for yourself to get richer. In other words, only by everyone working as hard as possible for others, will the society itself be a force to be reckoned with in the non-communist world, hence reaping rewards for each member of the communist society if this succeeds.

The issue regarding innovation is also not true. It is, however, true that the need to be innovative is less self-centred and less prevalent in a communist society than a capitalist one. Nonetheless, why is innovation necessary for a society to work? In the end, sticking to old fashioned methods is not going to happen if the communist society pays attention to the rest of the world doing the innovation for it. North Korea has often copied computer tech and weapons tech in order to excel itself as a threat in this world, despite having invented none of it itself.

The closing statement was quite narrow-minded. The question should be worded "would you happily give up all your property in exchange for a guaranteed level of wealth below which you could never fall?" and some people, especially the victims of capitalism, certainly would.


Debate Round No. 2


'In regards to the 'people aren't equal' attack, people being equal is actually irrelevant to communism.'
What I was saying is that Communism's ideas do not reward hard working individuals but instead reward everyone the same no matter how much they put in. Communism doesn't recognise natural inequality. Private property is natural inequality.
Then you try to refute my argument about the class system. You say that Communism goes through an authoritarian stage which is true. But what about after that stage when authority is abolished? Who will then regulate to ensure everyone is equal?

An incentive to be selfless is what private charity is. You say no other society has that. Every society has that. But there is no incentive to be forced to live your whole life entirely for the sake of others and for the sake of the state.
Innovation is neccesary because without that peoples' problems remain unfixed. This means that people loose faith in the system which is useless and achieving nothing. Therefore the system is abandoned. All the advancements of mankind have come from free individuals not a centrally planned system.

I don't think people would give up everything they own in exhange for recieving according to their need and not being allowed to earn more to live above their need. In Communism people only get what they need. They cannot work for more because they are already forced to work to ghe maximum of their ability. There would be no authors, painters, actors, televisions, telephones and so on. Their would be no creativity and nothing worth living for. No imcentive. People would just be forced to live the same basic lives without ever being aloud to earn more.

Further Arguments

Communism forgets that people are not ants. Ants are simple minded creatures that live in a Collectivist manner. However people are more comolex and our nature requires freedom and innovation, individualism and private property. All things that Communism takes away. Communism rejects human nature and any system that rejects that is destined to fail. The evidence is there- look what happened to the USSR. Communism ruined the USSR. Its economy collapsed, everyone lived in poverty, no one had any freedom. 100 million people have been killed in the last century because of Communism
Communism also makes the production of wealth impossible becausenjt destroys property rights. There is no prosperity. People just live miserably in poverty. This is why Communism and Central Planning is a failure. The only reasonable criticism of the free market is the rise of monopolies yet central planning requires one big monopoly controlling everything. The exact thing Marx wanted to stop, he created.
Furthermore Communism is indifferent towards the environment. After the Communist regime of the USSR, the aral sea has shrunk to about 10% its original size. This is also the effect of Communism.
But Communism really doesn't work simo,y because people like to own stuff.

Sources -


Pro states that if there's no-one to regulate Communism, it can't work. Since anarcho-communism has never once been attempted, Pro has no right to claim this. The only forms of Communism that were ever attempted were corrupt, dictatorships that pretended to be serving Socialist outlooks while really only serving the needs of their leaders. There hasn't ever been a genuine communist state and thus Pro has no right to attack this.

Pro then states that charity is an incentive to be selfless. The only thing charity is is an opportunity to be selfless beyond the call of duty. Instead, a communist society, where everyone is sharing everything they own with everyone else, this society is the only society where you literally have to want to help others in order to help yourself. You motive may seem selfish since you benefit from it but there is no possible way to benefit oneself in communism without first benefiting others on a large scale.

Following this, Pro attacks the idea of everyone getting what they need as opposed to some wealthy people getting far more than they need and a majority of poor people suffering beneath them as is rampant in all capitalist societies.

The justification Pro uses for this is... Oh, there isn't any!

I find it amusing that Pro raises USSR as an example of Marxist communism when Stalinism was as far from Marxist communism as it gets.[1] In Round 1 Pro specifies that we are only debating the Marxist form of Communism.

Regarding the Ant analogy, Communism forgets that humans are not robots and actually deserve to be respected no matter how far the 'food chain' they may end up by natural selection. Humans should look out for each other and respect one another if they ever hope to receive any help and respect when they get old and weary or ill.

Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by FreedomBeforeEquality 3 years ago
@Pro - This was a false statement. "All the advancements of mankind have come from free individuals not a centrally planned system."

@Con - "There hasn't ever been a genuine communist state and thus Pro has no right to attack this." Easy cop-out. Every time a communist system fails because a human decided to do human things ... you'll say it wasn't a true communist state ... because one guy (or several guys) were not on board with the idea. You're never going to get everyone on board with any one idea, communism included. If it can't work even with some of the people not on board, then it is surely doomed to fail in an real world scenario. There is always going to be someone feeling disenfranchised. So because it'll never 'truly' exist, that's a reason to say we can't speak badly of it?
Posted by FreedomBeforeEquality 3 years ago

The difference there is those gov't workers have the choice to work there or not. If the entire country is run by one giant monopoly ... you have no choice.
Posted by Theunkown 3 years ago
Hiring people is like renting land. Enslaving people is like owning land. State labour is not necessarily slavery and often times is not. Do you consider the police, teachers, doctors of government firms to be slaves?
Posted by Heraclitus 3 years ago
Private labour isn't slavery! If people work voluntarily that is voluntaryism. State labour- now that is often slavery (unless people don't want to but even if some did all would be forced).
Posted by Theunkown 3 years ago
George, it's feudalism-capitalism-socialism-communism

Britain (and the Scandinavian nations) would be described as a social democracy (which is not really socialism).
Although it has market regulations, there is no abolition of private ownership of the means of production (except for the abolition of private labour aka slavery)
Posted by George_Lenton 3 years ago
Considering Marxism, and his theory about the evolution of states - with the final being communism, Marx failed to consider the possibility that a state could be content with Capitalism. With the current example of communism, we can see that none fit the Marxist cycle of "Industrialisation - Capitalism - Socialism - Communism" (I think that's correct), and instead all jump straight from industrialisation to communism, bypassing capitalism and socialism.

As can be seen, the states that have first entered Capitalism after Industrialisation have remained so, as the majority of it populates are content with it. However, many communist countries, most remarkably China and Russia have very slowly trickled towards socialism rather than remain communist - and even then, they were never Marxist. We've experienced Leninist-Marxism(?), Stalinism and then a series of other communist ideologies implemented by their respective leaders, but never true Marxism.

Marx's theory is flawed in that he was certain that a capitalist country would become socialist, and then on, however this has not been the case. We can see in some areas, such as Britain, that policies have become increasingly socialist (but not quite as such that we can define them socialist, simply slightly left-wing capitalism), but the state is in no situation that calls for or requires communism.

Good luck to both sides of the argument though.
Posted by CommunistDog 3 years ago
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FreedomBeforeEquality 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro stuck mostly to reasons concerning 'how' communism cannot work vs. whether it 'should' or not. Pro did bait con into that with a few statements though. Con's only argument about 'how' was in the form of a rebuttal where he claims it's never truly been achieved because every aspect of it hasn't been tried in unison, therefore there is no argument against it. There are plenty of aspects of it that have been proven not to work, however, in isolated trials or in conjunction with some of the other aspects ... and Pro touched on many of them. Those are valid enough trials to take into account towards something you basically claim now as theoretical. Pro stated how it cant work given human dimension. I didn't see a rebuttal to that either. Just more theory.
Vote Placed by Philocat 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro won this debate based on his argument that communism requires a central authority to enforce redistribution, yet this contradicts the anarchist aspect of communism. He also explained how communism is incompatible with human nature. Finally, Pro did not actually give good arguments as to how communism *can* work. S&G goes to Con, since Pro made spelling errors.