Politics

There is still a camp within the communist/socialist movement that believes they have the best plan for an economic system, a philosophy that, in some form, predates Marx by hundreds of years. Point out all the past failures (never mind the 100% failure rate) and they come right back with the predictable, blind arrogant response of, "it is the best plan and we just need to tweak it here and there for it to work".

The fundamental failure of socialism and communism is centralized decision making. No matter how smart that central group is, their knowledge pales in comparison to the dispersed knowledge of the population. Free the population to make their own decisions within reasonable guidelines, and you create the greatest wealth. You have to be arrogant or intellectually challenged to believe that central decision making produces better results.
 
The fundamental failure of socialism and communism is centralized decision making. No matter how smart that central group is, their knowledge pales in comparison to the dispersed knowledge of the population. Free the population to make their own decisions within reasonable guidelines, and you create the greatest wealth. You have to be arrogant or intellectually challenged to believe that central decision making produces better results.
Animal House comes to mind, even with a touch of fascism thrown in. :)
 
The fundamental failure of socialism and communism is centralized decision making. No matter how smart that central group is, their knowledge pales in comparison to the dispersed knowledge of the population. Free the population to make their own decisions within reasonable guidelines, and you create the greatest wealth. You have to be arrogant or intellectually challenged to believe that central decision making produces better results.
While I agree, I think an argument can be made for greater central decision making when there is a profound educational gap in the population or capital/infrastructure is scarce to the point that resources cannot be fully utilized. Neither of these conditions apply to America.
 
The fundamental failure of socialism and communism is centralized decision making. No matter how smart that central group is, their knowledge pales in comparison to the dispersed knowledge of the population. Free the population to make their own decisions within reasonable guidelines, and you create the greatest wealth. You have to be arrogant or intellectually challenged to believe that central decision making produces better results.

Several economic studies show the value of that dispersed knowledge. Two examples:
1. Guess the number of jelly beans in the jar. The average of all the guesses will be very close to the actual number.
2. Who wants to be a millionaire? In this game show you can ask an expert or poll the audience. The audience is more often correct than the expert.
It is for this reason that it is so difficult to beat the stock market. So many people are trying to beat the market that the competition makes it close to impossible to beat the market. Most of this people trying to beat the market are acting in hunches yet all those hunches together are hard to beat.
 
While I agree, I think an argument can be made for greater central decision making when there is a profound educational gap in the population or capital/infrastructure is scarce to the point that resources cannot be fully utilized. Neither of these conditions apply to America.

I think that the USA, at its founding, is a strong argument to the contrary.
 
Several economic studies show the value of that dispersed knowledge. Two examples:
1. Guess the number of jelly beans in the jar. The average of all the guesses will be very close to the actual number.
2. Who wants to be a millionaire? In this game show you can ask an expert or poll the audience. The audience is more often correct than the expert.
It is for this reason that it is so difficult to beat the stock market. So many people are trying to beat the market that the competition makes it close to impossible to beat the market. Most of this people trying to beat the market are acting in hunches yet all those hunches together are hard to beat.

I agree, it is very difficult to beat the market until you are a qualified investor. At that point, tools become available that greatly improve your chances.
 
I think that the USA, at its founding, is a strong argument to the contrary.
I would say that the USA had quite substantial capital, ample and varied resources, and developed infrastructure to take advantage of those resources.

My counter example would be some of the less developed African nations. Despite having valuable mineral resources, they lack the capital/infrastructure to extract them in a way that broadly benefits the national economy. I think one could also make the argument that some African countries were better off when under the control of a more educated minority government than they are now.
 
I would say that the USA had quite substantial capital, ample and varied resources, and developed infrastructure to take advantage of those resources.

My counter example would be some of the less developed African nations. Despite having valuable mineral resources, they lack the capital/infrastructure to extract them in a way that broadly benefits the national economy. I think one could also make the argument that some African countries were better off when under the control of a more educated minority government than they are now.

It has been proven that the best way to take a country with a lot of resources and make it financially (and spiritually) poor... is to put communism in charge.

Do you honestly think that the United States would have reached its level of all around success had it started out with a Communist or even Socialist government?

I would further argue the biggest challenge facing the African countries you are talking about is rampant and very high level corruption.

In the example of when they were ruled by the minorities, they had Capitalism within those minorities. Certainly not central planning.

Agriculture has to be the best example. Look at how Agriculture performs under Capitalism vs. Communism.
 

By Nosmot Gbadamosi
Welcome to Foreign Policy’s Africa Brief.
The highlights this week: Kenya’s William Ruto visits Washington, Burkina Faso’s military leaders extend their rule until 2029, and Ghana’s 1-year-old art prodigy.
Have feedback? Hit reply to let me know your thoughts.

South Africans Head to the Polls
People wait in line to cast their votes in Alexandra township on May 29 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

People wait in line to cast their votes in Alexandra township on May 29 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The May 29 election in South Africa could be historic. For the first time since apartheid ended 30 years ago, polls predict that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) will fall short of the 50 percent needed to govern alone.
Rolling power cuts known as load shedding, record unemployment, crime, and a lack of water are key election issues. Many voters’ grievances center on the ANC’s inability to provide electricity, water, and transportation. But there are broader political issues at play: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s tenure has not reversed the legacy of state corruption that tainted his party under former President Jacob Zuma.
In 2022, a judicial inquiry detailed the widespread looting of state coffers under Zuma and concluded that Ramaphosa should have done more to prevent the graft while he was Zuma’s deputy between 2014 and 2018.
“There was surely enough credible information in the public domain … to at least prompt him to inquire and perhaps act on a number of serious allegations,” the inquiry report stated. Ramaphosa’s own “Farmgate” scandal, involving an alleged heist and undeclared cash found in a sofa, will be the least of the party’s worries.
The joblessness rate hovers at about 32 percent; GDP per capita has dropped from $8,800 in 2012 to $6,190 in 2023, around the same level as in 2005; and 47 percent of South Africans rely on state welfare.
Xenophobia is also rampant. Politicians have blamed African migrants for the country’s economic stagnation and high crime. Herman Mashaba, the leader of the ActionSA party and a former mayor of Johannesburg, suggested in a post on X in December that foreign nationals who run convenience stores use their businesses to run illicit drugs and bring in counterfeit money.
The Patriotic Alliance, founded by Gayton McKenzie—a former convict who served time for armed robbery—has pledged the mass deportation of foreigners living illegally in the country. McKenzie has stated that all of South Africa’s problems stem from foreigners and that he would bring back the death penalty.
Despite being banned from running for office by the Constitutional Court, Zuma could be a significant election spoiler as well as a symbol of the ANC’s failure to tackle corruption, since he remains out of jail. He fronts uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), a new opposition party named after the armed wing of the ANC during the anti-apartheid struggle. MK is expected to take votes away from the ANC in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa’s second-most populous) and possibly even win the largest share of votes there.
Another splinter group eroding the ANC’s votes is the radical left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the country’s third-largest party, formed by expelled leaders of the ANC’s Youth League. The EFF, led by Julius Malema, accuses the ANC of having failed to deliver on its anti-apartheid goals and focuses its messaging on the inequality that persists for Black South Africans around land and jobs.
The party has suggested nationalizing almost all institutions and redistributing land without compensation for white South Africans—who still hold 72 percent of the country’s farmland, although they make up just 7 percent of the population. The EFF’s 2024 manifesto promises to expand social housing in white-owned areas “to promote full integration and social cohesion.” The “ANC has notched more land reform failures than wins, and these failures are hurting it,” Michael Albertus wrote in Foreign Policy.
The largest opposition party, the center-right Democratic Alliance (DA), led by John Steenhuisen, believes that it will achieve its most significant gains this election. The DA has governed the only province not controlled by the ANC, the Western Cape, and its capital of Cape Town since 2009. A recent survey by the Brenthurst Foundation and the SABI Strategy Group found that about one-third of South Africans believed the Western Cape was the best governed province.
But the party is widely perceived as representing the interests of minority white South Africans. The DA’s first Black leader, Mmusi Maimane, was elected in 2015, but he quit just four years later, and with an all-white leadership currently, polls suggest that the party will achieve only 22 percent of overall votes.
Steenhuisen’s critics say he has ignored the overwhelming issue of racial inequality in South Africa. He opposes race quotas in the workplace—introduced by the ANC—and has pledged to create new jobs, end power outages through greater privatization, and make labor unions pay a deposit before they can strike.
The DA has also shown support for Israel—an unpopular position that will likely cost it votes at a time when Pretoria’s vocal pro-Palestinian stance at the International Court of Justice has won South Africa praise from many across the globe.
By contrast, the ANC has pledged to intensify calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel. The ruling party has also pointed to South Africa’s role in the BRICS grouping as encouraging international investment and offering a counterbalance to U.S.-led Western dominance.
Recognizing that it will not win alone, the DA has formed a pact with 10 smaller opposition parties and has not ruled out a coalition with the ANC.
The ANC may lose its overall majority but keep its grip on South African politics. More than 70 parties are on the national and provincial ballots—and 52 on the national ballot—but as Sazi Bongwe wrote in Africa Is a Country, “small parties with big plans abound” yet the “absence of a credible, emancipatory alternative to the ANC has come to signal the black, impoverished majority’s entrapment within the sordid status quo.”
Analysts suggest that the ANC, if it drops below the 50 percent threshold, will likely look to partner with a smaller party on the center-left, such as Rise Mzansi, led by former newspaper editor Songezo Zibi, which has promised better health care and clean water.
If it manages to form a coalition without making many concessions to its major rivals, the ANC could still emerge from this election as a somewhat battle-scarred winner.​
 
I would say that the USA had quite substantial capital, ample and varied resources, and developed infrastructure to take advantage of those resources.

My counter example would be some of the less developed African nations. Despite having valuable mineral resources, they lack the capital/infrastructure to extract them in a way that broadly benefits the national economy. I think one could also make the argument that some African countries were better off when under the control of a more educated minority government than they are now.

Many of those transitions away from colonialism were led by those with strong communist ties, ie central control. That combined with corruption, which seems to fit well with communism, was a formula for disaster.

I don’t disagree with your point regarding the average person being better off previously. I was having a beer with one of my closest friends after a hot day of work in Togo. He’s a Burundian refugee, highly intelligent (fluent in seven languages), and extremely honest. I asked him straight up, was the average Zimbabwean better off under Ian Smith or Robert Mugabe? Without hesitation he said Ian Smith, it’s not even close.
 
I agree, it is very difficult to beat the market until you are a qualified investor. At that point, tools become available that greatly improve your chances.
Members of congress tend to do so well in the market that you would think it almost psychic.
 
It has been proven that the best way to take a country with a lot of resources and make it financially (and spiritually) poor... is to put communism in charge.

Do you honestly think that the United States would have reached its level of all around success had it started out with a Communist or even Socialist government?

I would further argue the biggest challenge facing the African countries you are talking about is rampant and very high level corruption.

In the example of when they were ruled by the minorities, they had Capitalism within those minorities. Certainly not central planning.

Agriculture has to be the best example. Look at how Agriculture performs under Capitalism vs. Communism.
Communism was tried by the Puritans for one season out of food insecurity issues. There was a common farm and everyone was to work it and share in it. Gov. Bradford said, the season the practice was discontinued, "It was amazing to see those who, formerly, had complained of physical infirmity such that it would have seemed inhumane to force them to work, now industrious in their own plots." Perhaps not a perfect quote, but absolutely to his point. No one wants to work hard for a bunch of shirking "takers." So nobody ever does under communism. Venezuela isn't the only poster-boy!
 
Speaking of communism and agriculture, during the years when Soviet crop quotas led to overproduction of a certain crop, the rates of alcoholism and the the type of vodka produced changed accordingly. For instance, in years when everyone planted beets, they made beet vodka, while in years when wheat was overproduced, they made wheat vodka.
 
Speaking of communism and agriculture, during the years when Soviet crop quotas led to overproduction of a certain crop, the rates of alcoholism and the the type of vodka produced changed accordingly. For instance, in years when everyone planted beets, they made beet vodka, while in years when wheat was overproduced, they made wheat vodka.

Fkall else fun for them to have...simple...as in the Soviet Union for most of its existence....other option was a gulag or bullet basically....so your point...
 
Fkall else fun for them to have...simple...as in the Soviet Union for most of its existence....other option was a gulag or bullet basically....so your point...
Just a mildly amusing historical footnote about soviet agricultural overproduction. Or at least I find it amusing.
 
I see where @spike.t ’s homegirl Kamala Harris has landed here to give the Commencement speech at the Air Force Academy. I saw Air Force 2 fly over my house yesterday and land at Peterson AF base here. I assumed that was her ride. Anyway, three of the F16 Thunderbirds flew over my house LOW this afternoon. I guess they were headed to Peterson to refuel as they had been practicing earlier for the Academy graduation flyover. It was very cool to see them.
 

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