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
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”