We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
During four decades of ideological confrontation, theoreticians and journalists had argued about how a society should move from capitalism to socialism. There was no research on the opposite question—that is, on the transition from socialism to capitalism—apart from a few inconclusive studies, most notably in Poland, concerning the possibility of introducing some elements of the free market into a Communist society. As the philosopher Josep Ramoneda has observed, the whole world—Communists, anti-Communists, and those in between—took it as given that the Soviet Union and its satellites could not “return” to capitalism. So when, during the Velvet Revolution, demonstrators posed exactly this question—How can we go from socialism to capitalism?—there was no ready answer.
As Western intellectuals watched Berlin in November 1989, they reconsidered their long belief that the world was fated to be Communist—but retained their belief in fate.
"Western intellectuals" are idiots. Anyone paying attention could see the writing on the wall.
Communism = virtually no technological progress
Capitalism = rapid progress
It was incredibly obvious that eventually the capitalists would have an unbeatable advantage in technology and wealth. Look at North and South Korea. North Korea is so poor the South doesn't want it back. Without the Chinese around to stop them, South Korea could retake the North over a long weekend despite a much smaller military on paper.
p.s. I like my Samsung monitor I used to read this post and my new plasma TV.
B. Moe ... "Is communism really that much different from feudalism?" you ask. Yes, indeedy it is. The fundamental truism in communism, expressed by Lenin or Marx, whichever, is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Sounds really great, if you don't analyze it. In actual life, it means that the talented folks have to work twice as hard to support themselves and their families and all those lazy fellows lying around in the vineyards being fed grapes and wine. I won't say 'that's not fair' because that's childish. Of course it's not *fair*; life hardly ever is. But what it really is, is stupid on the part of a talented folks, to allow themselves to be put in this invidious position. And in a 'down' economy, it's darned dangerous.
"from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
That was the theory, but in practice it never worked that way, did it? Cuba was probably the most obvious, but the Soviet Union, China, or most all the "communist" governments out there mostly only differed from feudalism in their lexicon.
Ruling elites or nobles, serfs or proles, it all is essentially the same thing.