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Current time:0:00Total duration:15:03

Video transcript

thought I would do a video on communism just because I've been talking about it a bunch in the history videos and I haven't given you a good definition of what it means or a good understanding of what it means and to understand communism let me just draw a spectrum here so I'm going to start with capitalism and this is really just going to be an overview people can do a whole PhD thesis on this type of thing capitalism and then I'll get a little bit more and then we could progress to socialism socialism and then we can go to communism and the modern versions of communism are really kind of the brainchild of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin Karl Marx was a German philosopher in the 1800s who in his communist manifesto and other writings kind of created the philosophical underpinnings for communism and Vladimir Lenin who led the Bolshevik Revolution in the soul and it created essentially the Soviet Union he's the first person to make some of Karl Marx's ideas more concrete and really every nation or every country which we view as communist has really followed the pattern of vladimir lenin and we'll talk about that in a second but first let's talk about the philosophical differences between these things and how you would move in Karl Marx himself viewed communism as kind of a progression from capital from capitalism through socialism to communism so what he saw in capitalism and this at least this part of what he saw was right is that you have you have private property private ownership of land that's the main aspect of capitalism and this is what most this is the world that most of us live in today the problem that he saw with capitalism is he thought well look you know when you have private property the people who start accumulating some capital and when we talk about capital we could be talking about land we could talk abou talking about factories we could be talking about any type of natural resources so the people who start getting a little bit of them so let me draw a little diagram here so let's say someone let's say someone has a little bit of capital and that capital could be a factory or it could be land so let me write it capital and let's just say it's land so so let's say someone starts to own a little bit of land and he owns more than everyone else so then you just have a bunch of other people who don't own land but they need a essentially and since this guy owns all the land they got to work on this guy's land they have to work on this guy's land and from Karl Marx's point of view he said look you have all of these laborers who don't have as much capital this guy has this capital and so he can make these laborers work for very a very small wage and so any excess profits that come out from this arrangement the owner of the capital will be able to get it because though these laborers won't be able to get their wages to go up because there's so much there's so much competition for them to work on on this guy's farm or to work on this guy's land he really didn't think too much about well maybe the competition could go the other way maybe you could have a reality where maybe you could have a reality eventually where you have a bunch of people with reasonable amounts of capital and you have a bunch of laborers and the bunch of people would compete for the laborers and maybe the laborers could make their wages go up and they could eventually accumulate their own capital you know they could eventually start their own small businesses so he really didn't think about this reality too much over here he just saw this reality and to his defense and I don't want to get in the habit of defending Karl Marx too much to his defense this kind of what was this this is what was happening in the late 1800s especially you know we have the Industrial Revolution even in the United States you did have kind of you know Mark Twain called it the Gilded Age you have these these industrialists who did accumulate huge amounts of capital they really did have a lot of the leverage relative to the laborers and so what Karl Marx says well look if the guy with all the capital has all the leverage and this whole arrangement makes some profits he's going to be able to keep the profits because he can keep all of these dudes wages low and so what's going to happen is is that the guy with the capital is just going to end up with more capital he's going to end up with more capital and he's going to have even more leverage and he'll be able to keep these people on kind of a basic wage so that they could never acquire capital for themselves so in karl marx this point of view the natural progression would be for these people to start organizing so these people maybe start organizing into unions so they could collectively tell the the the person who owns the land or the factory no we're not going to work or we're going to go on strike unless you increase our wages or unless you give us better working condition so when you start talking about this unionization stuff you're starting to move in the direction of socialism the other element of moving in the direction of socialism is that Karl Marx didn't like this kind of high concentration or and this is socialist in general I should say didn't like this high concentration of wealth that you have this reality of not only did do you have these people who could accumulate all of these wealth and maybe to some degree they were able to accumulate it because they were innovative or they were good managers of land or whatever although you know the Marxist don't give a lot of credit to the the owners of capital not you know they don't really give a lot of credit to saying maybe they did have some skill in managing some type of an operation but the other problem is is that it gets handed over it gets handed over to their offspring so private property you have the situation where it just goes from you know maybe father to son or from parent to a child and so it's not even based on any type of meritocracy it's really just based on this inherited wealth and this is a problem that you know definitely happened in Europe when you go back to the French Revolution you have generation after generation of nobility regardless of how regardless of how incompetent each generation would be they just had so much wealth that they were essentially in control of everything and you had a bunch of people with no wealth having to work for them and you know when you have that type of wealth disparity it does lead to kind of revolutions so another principle of moving in the socialist direction is kind of a redistribution of wealth so let me write it over here so redistribution redistribution so in socialism you can still have private property but there's the government takes a bigger role so you have let me write this larger government larger government and one of the roles of the government is to redistribute wealth and the government also has can starts having control of kind of the major factors of production so maybe the utilities maybe some of the large factories that do major things all of a sudden starts to become in the hands of the government or in the words of Communists in the hands of the people and the redistribution is going on so in theory you don't have huge amounts of wealth in the hands of a few people and then you keep if you kind of take these ideas to their natural conclusion you get to the theoretical communist state and the theoretical communist state is a classless is a classless and maybe even a little bit a classless society and in Karl Marx's point of view and this is a little harder to imagine a stateless society stateless society so in capitalism you definitely had classes you had the the kind of the the class that owns the capital and then you had the labor class and you have all of these divisions and they're different from each other he didn't really imagine a world that maybe a laborer could a laborer could get out of this they could get their own capital - maybe they could start their own business so he just saw this kind of this tension would eventually lead to socialism and eventually a classless society where you know you have a central well he didn't even go too much into the details but you have kind of equal everyone in society has ownership over everything in society somehow figures out where things should be allocated in all of the rest and and it's all stateless so and that's even harder to think about in a concrete fashion so that's Karl Marx's view of things but it never really became concrete until Vladimir Lenin shows up and so the current version of communism that we the current thing that most of us view is communism is sometimes viewed as a Marxist Marxist Leninist state Leninist these are sometimes used in interchangeably Marxism is kind of the pure utopian we're eventually going to get to a world where everyone is equal everyone is you know doing exactly what they want there's an abundance of everything I guess to some degree it's you know kind of describing what happens in Star Trek where everyone can go to a replicator and get what they want and if you want to paint part of the day you can part paint part of the day and you're not just a painter you can also do whatever you want so it's this very utopian thing let me write that down so Marxism pure Marxism is kind of a utopian society and just in case you don't know what utopian means it's kind of a perfect society where you don't have classes everyone is equal everyone is leading these kind of rich diverse fulfilling lives and it's also you know utopian is also kind of viewed as unrealistic it's kind of you know if you're viewed in the the more negative light is like hey you know I don't know how we'll ever be able to get there who knows I don't want to be negative about it maybe we will one day get to a utopian society but Leninist is kind of the more practical element of communism because obviously after the Bolshevik Revolution 1917 in the Russian Empire the Soviet Union gets created they have to actually run a government they have to actually run a state based on these ideas of communism and in a an Alanis philosophy and this is where it starts to become in in tension with the ideas of democracy in a letter this philosophy you need this kind of a party system so you need this and he calls this the Vanguard Party so you know the Vanguard is kind of the thing that's leading the one that's leading the March so this Vanguard party that kind of creates this constant state of revolution and its whole job is to guide Society is to kind of almost uh you know be the parent of society and take it from capitalism through socialism to this ideal state of communism and it's one of those things where the ideal state of communism was never it's kind of hard to know when you get there and so what happens in a Lenin estate is this this Vanguard party which is usually called the Communist Party is in a constant state of revolution kind of saying hey we're shepherding the people to some future state without a real clear clear definition of what that future state is and so this when you when you talk about Marxist Leninist besides talking about what's happening in the economic sphere it's also kind of talking about this this party system but this party system where you really just have one dominant party that it will hopefully act in the interest of the people so one one dominant communist party that acts and the interest of the people and obviously the the the negative here is that you know how do you know that they actually are acting in the interest of people how do you know that they actually are competent what means are there to do anything if they are misallocating things if it is corrupt if you only have a one-party system and just to make it clear you know so the the the largest existing communist state is the People's Republic of China and although it is you know it's controlled by the Communist Party in economic terms it's really not that communist anymore and so it can be confusing and so what I want to do is draw a little bit of a spectrum on the vertical axis over here I want to put Democratic Democratic and up here output authoritarian authoritarian or totalitarian let me put two talib well it out put authoritarianism allure and totalitarian is more an extreme form of authoritarian where the government controls everything and and you have a few people controlling everything it's very non democratic but authoritarian is kind of along that along those directions and then in this spectrum we have the capitalism socialism and communism so the United States I would put I would put the United States someplace over here I would put the United States over here it has some small elements of socialism you do have labor unions they don't control everything you also have people who working outside of labor unions it does have some elements of redistribution there there are inheritance taxes there are I mean it's not an extreme form of redistribution you can still inherit private property you still have kind of safety nets for people you have Medicare Medicaid you have welfare so there's some elements of socialism but also has a very strong capitalist history private property deep market so I'd stick the United States over there I would put the USSR not current Russia but the the Soviet Union when it existed I would put the Soviet Union right about I would put the Soviet Union right about there so this was the you I would put the US s are right over there I would put the current state of Russia actually I would put the current state of Russia someplace over here because they actually have fewer safety nets and they kind of have a more their economy can kind of go crazier and they actually have a bigger disparity in wealth in a place like the United States so this is this is this is this is current Russia and probably the most interesting one here is the People's Republic of China the current People's Republic of China which is you know at least on the surface a communist state but in some ways it's more capitalist than the United States and that they don't have strong wealth redistribution they don't have a kind of strong safety nets for people so you could put some elements of China and and over here closer to the left and they are more less democratic than either the US or even current Russia although some people would call current Russia well I won't go too much into it but current China you could throw it here a little bit so it could be even a little bit more capitalist in the United States definitely they don't even have good labor laws that yeah all the rest but in other ways you do have state ownership of a lot and you do have state control of a lot so in some ways they're kind of spanning this whole range so this right over here is China and even though it is called a communist state in some ways it's more capitalist than what countries that are very proud of their capitalism but in a lot of other ways especially with the government ownership and the government control of things and this one dominant party so it's kind of Leninist with less of the Marxist going on so in that way it is more in the communist direction so hopefully that clarifies what can sometimes be a confusing topic