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Is Communism efficient in real-world application?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,125 times Debate No: 7183
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I truly believe that if you are to argue about Communism, you should argue about it's real-world applications, since it appears perfect on paper. According to, Communism is "a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people." Doesn't it sound pretty good? Material goods being shared equally by the populace?

In truth, I believe that Communism will not work for several reasons.

First, communism depends on people to thoroughly be fair and share equally, which is not something that can be accomplished on a mass scale. The citizens in a communist country can have no wants, free choices, or ambitions, and no sense of envy or jealousy – traits that are very common in mankind today. In Cuba, there are many restrictions on the freedom of speech, assembly, and movement, which are desired by people throughout the world. All citizens of Cuba have been forced to listen to Fidel Castro's notoriously interminable speeches, some which have lasted up to 4 and a half hours long. Castro declared Cuba a socialist state on April 16, 1961. He hasn't allowed a free election since then, which shows how communist countries can limit their people's rights. The citizens are also all living at the poverty level. Under Castro's leadership, about half of Cuban citizens have to survive on less than one dollar a day. Also, Cuba has a very poor public transport system. Roads are lined with hitchhikers spending hours to accomplish journeys which would have been much simpler with the help of a bus. Another downside of Communist countries is that you can't speak negatively or even think negatively about the government. If you disobey the state, they can take away your living accommodations or reassign your job to be a coal miner or some other hazardous position.

Another interesting point that needs to be made is how can Communistic societies ensure safety to their citizens? They state that their citizens are better off since they don't have to worry about how they are going to make a living. It is just decided for you by the government. In Communism, there are is nothing that binds the government from its citizens. According to Professor R.J. Rummel, "The more power a government has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite, or decree the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives and welfare will be sacrificed. As a government's power is more unrestrained, as its power reaches into all corners of culture and society, the more likely it is to kill its own citizens." I completely agree with this professor because if a government has no restrictions, then a recreation of the story 1984 is in play, where countries can kill their citizens even if their thoughts are remotely treasonous. A very important rule is that no one can be trusted with unlimited power. Communistic countries have complete control over the citizen's thoughts, ideas, movement, and nothing stops them from killing its own people. So how can a country that has no bounds protect its citizens from itself? The answer is nothing.

A communist society's citizens have to work without incentives. This means that there is no profit motive- either in dollars or increased opportunity. There is no incentive to develop, create, innovate, or even excel at anything. If there are no incentives, what will push people to excel- to shoot for good grades or a better life for themselves? The answer is nothing. In Communism, you are controlled from birth. In school, they check you for signs of rebellion – such as if you are very clever or if you have lots of ambition. If this is the case, then they will sabotage your career. They will put you into a dead-end job such as a factory worker when you have the ability to be a financial wizard or a great political analyst. Communism takes away the wants of the people because it is supported by their tax money. Almost all of their money is taken by the government, which in turn gives them no say on how the money is spent. How can someone feel when the government owns everything? They can take everything away just for not liking the way that you are a peasant. It destroys the human spirit and eliminates all incentives to work hard.

Citizens under Communism are also incredibly paranoid. They don't even socialize with their neighbors for fear of them telling an official that they are treasonous. In the Czech Republic, many neighbors would make up fake stories and tell the government that their neighbor was having anti-communism parties in their apartment. This "snitching" was rewarded by the government. People could be given extra money, better jobs, a nicer apartment, or even a car.

Marxist regimes are known to be incredibly violent. They've murdered nearly 110 million people from 1917 to 1987. This means that Marxism has killed more people than all domestic and foreign wars combined during the 20th century – World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

If Communism is such a great system, then why are countries that implement it in such poor shape? In the Soviet Union during the 1920's, a shift towards Marxism-Leninism was in effect after the country became controlled by Josef Stalin (five years after Lenin's death). Marxism made the average person's life worse than before the revolution. Is it not a coincidence that one of the world's greatest famines happened in the Soviet Union from 1921-1923 and from 1932-1933? Twelve million people died from those two time periods combined. What is really shocking, is that in Communist China from 1959-1961, thirty million people died. According to Professor R.J. Rummel, "Overall, in the last century almost 55 million people died in various Marxist famines and associated epidemics – a little over 10 million of them were intentionally starved to death, and the rest died as an unintended result of Marxist collectivization and agricultural policies." With Communism, wealth is never spread equally, and social classes are definitely not eliminated. There are just two classes – the bosses who control everything, and the worker population who just lives to serve their masters. 99 percent of the population is just serving their bloated Communist Party top officials. The leaders have all the luxuries and perks. When looking at Communist Russia, the average citizen was sitting waiting for food handouts by the government, while the top men were living lives of luxury. They had fancy automobiles, beautiful estates, gourmet food, and servants.

As a closing statement, I would like to use the following quote: "Communism is like Prohibition, it's a good idea but it won't work." This quote by Will Rogers hits right on target because communism sounds in theory like an excellent system, but in reality will never work.


Thanks for posting this debate. I often here about how communism is great in theory, but bad in practice, so I'm looking forward to exploring that notion.

I would have refuted your definition, but noticed in the comments that that's not the debate you're looking for. So, I'll accept your definition.

"Communism depends on people to thoroughly be fair and share equally"
Actually, communism is the exact OPPOSITE. Capitalism requires fair play, the reliance on free, unregulated markets. One of communism's essential goals is to cure this fairness problem. By taking economic government regulation to the extreme, you are taking economic control out of the hands of the unruly masses and centralizing it, allowing a small group of seemingly competent people (get to that later) to control the economy.
Your Cuba/Castro example doesn't relate at all to your definition of communism. Just because Castro is a tyrant and failed to applied the principles of communism accurately, doesn't mean communism couldn't work in the real world. Also, your elaboration on rights violations doesn't apply. Your definition specifies economic control. Again, just because Castro limits the rights of his citizens in no way means government regulation of the economy would do that as well. There is absolutely NO reason a communist government could not have a bill of rights and even elections for that matter.

"Ensuring Safety"
Again, absolutely NO reason the government would be able to murder its own citizens etc. just because it regulates the economy. It seems you are just taking bad historic examples of how power hungry tyrants have taken control of their country under the GUISE of communism. A communist government doesn't have unbridled power, simply the authority to regulate the economy.

"Work without incentives"
Actually, the incentives of communism and capitalism are the same, just mass-scaled. The government has every incentive to place good bankers at banking jobs and good fire fighters in the firehouse as it would better serve their society. I can be promoted for good performance under a communist government, the only difference is that I would be promoted by the government rather a corporation. This concept rids us of the very selfishness you argue against. Rather than working for myself, I am working for community betterment (which I would also enjoy).

The problem you seem to have is that I would make less money for working harder. This may be true, but the fact that I need more money is merely an indication of the jealously present under capitalism. If everyone has the same things why do I need more money? No one is beating me, and there are no Jones' for me to keep up with. The motivation to work harder is inherent in the jobs themselves. Getting promoted to supervisor is a much easier gig than working on the factory floor etc.

"Paranoia and Violence"
Another example of historicism rather than practicality. You're right. That's a BAD example of a supposedly communist country.

"Why have communist countries failed so far?"
Again, your examples are not of communist countries. Selfish leaders depriving the people of food is not communist. Distributing everything equally is. Under a REAL communist government, those leaders would not have had luxuries, rather, the same benefits as everyone else. The reason 'communist' countries have failed so far is because we haven't had one.

As I said before, communist countries could have elections, civil rights etc. So, people could elect the most economically savvy individuals to regulate the economy (Warren Buffet etc) rather than relying on countless entrepreneurs and somewhat knowledgeable investors to make 'informed' decisions in the marketplace.
You don't need to look farther than what's going on in the US RIGHT NOW.
The reason for our recent recession is that these profit-motivated, unregulated banks and unknowing consumers made BAD financial and economic decisions which lead to the decline of society as a whole. We now have a situation where all of these bad decision makers are remedied at the expense of people who know what the hell they are doing. Rather than have banks practice unsafe and corrupt lending practices, we'd have a centralized yet collaborative, elected, knowledgeable group of people making economic decisions in the light of day.

So, while your concern for the implementation of communism is somewhat warranted based on historic examples of what people have called communism, I would argue that true capitalism is serving us much worse than true communism would. You're right; people are selfish and jealous. The remedy is communism. Have intelligent, rational people regulate economic matters. This doesn't sacrifice rights, but betters the community as a whole.

Again, thanks for posting an intriguing topic and I'm looking forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1


Refutation of my definition

My definition is right. Through a Communist system, people of all different professions have to share material goods. If people in the system are not "playing" fairly, then it won't exist. In Capitalism, fair play is not implemented at all - looking at top-dog corporations such as Wal Mart and Microsoft.

Your next counterpoint was that Communism does not have to limit individual freedoms. You also gave no examples of how this could work. Some people say that this could only work if workers are reminded to participate in unions and civic activities. However, looking at my an example of mine stated earlier, real-world Communist countries do not look kindly on people who speak up against their power or organize against them.

Your next counterpoint was that Communist governments don't have unbridled power, only the authority to regulate the economy. What I have to say is that real-world Communist governments DO have unbridled power. By looking at previous examples of countries that have Communism (since that is the only thing we can base real-world Communism on), it is shown that they appear authoritarian. You also state that I was just using the bad historic examples of power hungry tyrants that take control of their country under the guise of Communism. Yes, this is what I was doing because all countries in the past or present that are Communist are very power hungry and have corrupt bastards as leaders.

The next counterpoint that you made against my case, was that Communist governments do have every incentive to place good employees at the jobs that they would be good at. This is true, but is not the case with "real-world communism", which is the debate. In real-world Communism, the government uses better jobs as a bargaining chip to instill fear in their citizens for not rising up against them in an organized manner. A good Communist citizen, one who is a "sponge" of the government's brainwash (that Communism is the best) would be rewarded with the best job. You state that you may be put in a bad job to begin with, but by proving yourself as a good worker, you could move up. This isn't necessarily true because the government has all the say in whether you are actually being a good worker, and may not reward you.

You next stated that Capitalism is the reason for jealousy
In Communism, the prices for everything are about the same in the United States or even higher, despite the average workers having less money than in a Capitalist society. Money is just as important in a Capitalist society than it is in a Communist one - people need to survive.

Your next counterpoint was about my paranoia and violence argument.
My examples of history with Communist countries creating paranoid citizens is very valid. Examples of countries that implement Communism are the only pieces of information about real-world Communism.

Your last counterpoint was about why communist countries have failed so far.
You stated that my examples aren't valid because the countries that I talk about aren't "real" Communist countries - they only say they are. We ARE talking about real-world Communist countries! My examples are of Cuba and China (both Communist).

Your only contention for your case that Communism is good, is that you state that people could still have elections and civil rights. However, in real-world cases this has never happened because countries supress their people and don't let them participate in things that appear democratic (such as elections).

On to strengthening my case.

Some people say that communism is better than capitalism because capitalism fosters greed. Actually, there is a good and bad side to everything. For example, money can be used to help people or subdue others, and guns can be used in self defense or to murder someone. Capitalism is much more efficient than communism. In a capitalistic society, personal efforts have a bearing on what someone does for themselves. Extra hours at a job will earn them more money. With a capitalist system, the efforts people put into their lives are reflected in the quality of their lives. For example, if Joe the scientist earns a doctorate degree and has a good job, he will make good money and have a great life. If he lived in a Communist country, he would make as much money as an uneducated bus driver (no offense to the skilled bus drivers nationwide).


"My definition is right"
OK. If we are accepting your definition of communism at face, I need only defend a government where the state controls the economy. All of those countries you mentioned do have state run economies, but also take unrelated actions to supress and violate the people of their own country. I do not and am not obligated to defend those actions. It is to no fault of communism's that Castro decides to violate civil liberties or that Stalin starved his people.

"Communism limits individual freedom"
My argument for individual freedoms has nothing to do with labor unions. You claimed that communism would violate personal liberty, I have yet to see how that is true. AGAIN, the examples you give are of non-communist countries. All of the rights violations that occured in the countries you mentioned had NOTHING to do with the government regulating the economy. Until you can show me why something like The Bill of Rights and communism couldn't coexist, there is no reason to link a state-run economy with massive rights violations.

"Power hungry commies"
AGAIN, I can't defend the actions of ruthless dictators. BUT, the way you framed the debate and defined your own topic (as I explain above), makes me only have to defend the way communism (as you define it) would function in the real world. A state-run economy would not lead to massive rights violations. You have not proved this is the case, or even argued that it is. As I explained in my last round, communist governments could even have elections to determine who the people would like to regulate the economy. You don't refute any of this.

"The government has all the say in whether you are actually being a good worker, and may not reward you."

This is no different under capitalism. The only difference is that a private corporate boss has total control over you instead of a public government boss. The government collects taxes under communism. Therefore, those greedy bastards you mention, have every incentive to make the economy work efficiently. If the government stuck bad people in important jobs, the economy that they control would suffer, and they along with it. AGAIN, these are all just assumptions you have broad-brushed over the entire concept of communism from some bad historical examples.

You misunderstand my arg. Yes, both systems use money. But, capitalism breeds competition and envy. The goal of communism is to promote equality. Not just in a humanitarian sense, as the US does, but in an economic sense as well.

"Examples of countries that implement Communism are the only pieces of information about real-world Communism."

This seems to be the staple of your debate. But, its not accurate. As I stated before, the examples you cite are not consistent with your definition of communism. Also, as rational people, we can debate the way things would work in the real-world without historical examples of something somewhat similar that is incorrectly labeled as communism.

"Communism good"

Under communism, people would have access to all the same rights as someone under capitalism. You haven't refuted this, only cited times where allegedly communist leaders have committed rights violations. Communism would foster equality rather than greed. You only need to look at the world around you to realize the need for regulation. Faulty lending practices, taking out bad mortgages, shipping jobs overseas; none of this would happen under communist regulation. The entirety of our current financial calamity occurred because the free market can no longer be fully relied upon.

People are still rewarded for hard work under communism. Rather than providing people with immediate financial rewards for hard work, their community is rewarded (which they are also able to enjoy). Also, you don't refute that incentives for promotion are inherent in the jobs themselves (my supervisor/factory worker example).

The benefit under communism is that Joe the scientist doesn't have to pay $300,000 to attain that doctorate. He can go to school on the government dime and provide us with a bounty of scientific knowledge that he may have otherwise been unable to afford. Perhaps the bus driver is uneducated, but doesn't he, as a human being and member of our society, deserve enough to live comfortably? Everyday, we as Americans see millions of our own go hungry and homeless and our answer to them is 'you don't contribute to society, so why should we feed you'. Communism provides something our modern age desperately needs, a sense of selflessness.
Debate Round No. 2


JackTorrance forfeited this round.


Im sorry to see my opponent did not have a chance to rebut. Extend all of my arguments.

Now, more than ever, it appears we have the need for regulation. The common misconception that Jo Stalin is the premier communist leader is wrong. A state regulated economy doesnt have to lead to human rights violations on a mass scale or even a dictatorial government, just a government monitored and controlled economy. Personally, I dont have enough faith in OUR government to do that effectively, but thats not to say that a real world government couldnt implement a communist economy.

Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by socialpinko 6 years ago
Your definition of communism is completely wrong. communism is a classless, propertyless, and stateless society. According to Marxist theory, the self-proclaimed communist states like the USSR and China are in a transitionary form from capitalism to socialism with the end stage being communism. The end stage has never been reached so it is really impossible to discuss real world applications of communism.
Posted by JackTorrance 8 years ago
It is true that countries that implement Communism are often authoritarian. Look at Cuba under Fidel Castro's leadership.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
Your definition is inherently biased because of the words "often authoritarian".
Posted by JackTorrance 8 years ago
I would not let them oppose the definition of communism, but they can argue for it on a small scale. Do you mean to say that you can argue that it is somewhat effective in real-world applications?

A good counterpoint to mine would be to talk about how China is somewhat Communist and somewhat Capitalist, and how their economy is doing pretty good right now.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
It is not THAT easy.

Con, Would you allow your opponent to argue for communism on a small scale? Also, would you allow them to oppose your definition of communism?
Posted by resolutionsmasher 8 years ago
Christ Dude!!! Do you think anybody is going to argue that one!?
Too easy! You Win!!
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