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yaaqov wrote

I think many of us are okay with having a doctor treated better by the community than a janitor.

Can you expand on this? On the face of it, I can't agree with this assertion at all, and I wouldn't have expected most people here to be able to, either.


edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

I'm relatively new to adopting socialist or communist ideas, so maybe I've missed some key tenets. But I thought "no private ownership of the means of production" does not rule out the possibility of compensation based on contribution. Marx believed in personal property, right? Is it automatically bad for someone that saves lives to get more personal property for their work than someone that washes sheets?

Again, I'm not advocating that anyone get more based on what they own (capitalism) or have a larger say in community decisions (authoritarianism) than anyone else. Just more personal property reward for more work or higher skilled work. Even within the same work domain, if everyone working on the farm agrees on a 30 hour work week but then one person wants to work longer because they want to have more apple pies for their own family at harvest, is that bad?

(Edit later: I see the appeal of complete 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' in a communist society. But I think that removes any incentive to master the most critical skills. That kind of freedom to do any job you like instead of having a motive to become a doctor is nice... until society runs out of doctors.)


yaaqov wrote

Thanks for the explanation. The apple pie scenario, especially, seems to make sense, at least in my current thinking. I'll say this, though—isn't it the case that every society has always had doctors/practitioners of medicine? More generally, it seems to be the case that the motivation for becoming an expert in any particular field can be tied to some combination of the societal need for those experts, and personal interest. Under this view, people become doctors primarily so that their communities stay healthy, to put it in other words.


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I understand what you're saying, but I'm wondering if just allowing recognition of society's needs and personal inclinations will create enough. That could be enough doctors or enough anything else: plumbers, engineers, musicians, cleaners, teachers.

As I said before, there may be aspects of the discussion I'm missing or complex ideas around this topic that are widely available and discussed but just unknown to me. But my own first thought is that we can allow supply and demand to work in this regard in a communist society. Supply and demand isn't inherently bad, if everyone in a communist community wants to knit clothing or build homes or create music and nobody wants to create food, there is a problem. Supply and demand in a capitalist context is bad, for a host of reasons that have everything to do with capitalism and as far as I can tell nothing to do with supply and demand.