Socialism and communism

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Many people confuse socialism with totalitarianism.

Totalitarianism is a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state. The opposite is a liberal society.

In the past, many socialist countries are also totalitarian but this may not be the case. They are countries in Europe which can be considered as socialist, e.g. Denmark, Sweden and even Germany, but they are quite liberal.

Socialism is an economic system where the government collects higher taxes and provide more public services free to the people, i.e education, health, welfare and pensions. A socialist society is more equal and take better care of the poorer people.

The high income people have to pay higher taxes, but they are still better off than the lower income people.

Communism is a more extreme form of socialism where the government is under the control of the communist party.

It may come as a surprise to many people that a communist system can be quite democratic in electing its leaders. Although the leaders are elected within the communist party (which I suspect represents 10% or more of the population), there is competitive election within the party to elect leaders through the various levels.

In many democratic countries, the election of leaders are, to a large extent, influenced by wealth. The candidates who has more donations from wealthy people are able to spend more money in their campaign and are more likely to be elected. They are then beholden to their donors. This system of “free election” also has its flaw.

In the past decades up to 1990, many socialist countries have poor economic performance. It lead to the collapse of Soviet Union, which was the bastion of communism, in 1990.

However, some communist countries appear to perform well economically after 1990, especially China and Vietnam. China introduced “socialism with market characteristics” in the late 1980s. Their economic performance has been remarkable and are much better than the capitalist countries. Vietnam continues to be a communist country and is also performing well.

There are some socialist countries that are not performing well. In many cases, their poor performance is due to economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries or by corruption within these countries. It is not due to the application of socialist principles in running the country.

I hope that this post explains the difference between:

a) economic management, i.e. socialist and capitalism
b) system of choosing the government, i.e. democratic election or restricted to the communist party.
c) type of government, i.e. totalitarian or liberal.

 

Tan Kin Lian

 

 

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19 Responses to “Socialism and communism”

  • ? Mr Tan:

    So, Mr Tan, which label fits Singapore?

    It looks like a totalitarian, communist an capitalistic country.
    – totalitarian, obviously
    – communist, leaders are chosen by a core party and sent to public for rubber stamping
    – capitalistic, you die your business system.

    Do you agree?

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  • Haigen-D:

    The European Union and its Member States are NOT socialist. They are social democracies. They have “social market economies,” Article 3 section 3 of the Treaty on European Union says it explicitly: “a highly competitive social market economy.” It’s not that hard to understand: a market economy, but when it fails to produce social results, government use of social laws, e.g., universal health care.

    This socialism arose because of the obvious harm unfettered capitalism was seen doing to our society. I just have to repeat something that needs to be said again and again: “Socialism does not work.” Put everything else aside. It simply does not work over the long term. It is disastrous in the long term. Using the term “socialism” to describe things that many Americans think the richest country on Earth should provide to its citizens like guaranteed health care, affordable higher education, decent infrastructure and public transportation, etc. is a mistake.

    Capitalism has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty by providing opportunities for employment, particularly in Africa and Asia, where getting a job is the best deterrent to joining gangs or terrorist organizations. Capitalism has solved/is solving the issue of hunger on every continent, people go hungry less not because they share more, but because advanced technology has allowed for more food to be produced in the first place. Capitalism is the reason why so many diseases have been eradicated, and why access to healthcare, particularly women’s health, is expanding.

    We all know communism is a failed system that was commandeered by despicable despots like Stalin. There have also been countless despicable despots that were communist. What Europe, or US for that matter, have you been traveling in? The problem at home and abroad is unemployment, underemployment, and a large percentage of the population that has been locked out of the economy and told they’re not needed. That’s what led Europe to fascism, genocide, and world war in the past, and what is driving it presently in too many parts of the world. Only when we conceive a global economy that reasonably distributes prosperity to the masses will we quell violence and return to sane political discourse. Most of the political unrest in the world is not about democracy, it’s about jobs that pay a sufficient wage for a family to have food, shelter, clean water, heat, and modern conveniences. If you don’t believe me, read Tim Geithner’s new book, where he says as much. Lack of democracy and lack of jobs, that is what the people in Europe are upset about.

    Sound similar to certain other supposed beacons of freedom? Singapore?

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  • 潘金莲:

    陈金莲这次也说得很好,赞!

    为什么有些民住国家比另一些民主国家好?

    为什么有些社会主义国家比另一些社会主义国家好?

    为什么有些共产国家会比另一些共产国家好?

    说穿了,人民的素质嘛!

    看过政治评论家说,共产制度是最优良的,可惜当今世界没有人民,民族有相配的素质,道德,智慧水平来成功的执行这个制度。

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  • MarBowling:

    SinKapore has NON of the above forms of Coverment mentioned by Tan KL!

    SinKapore has 1SDB: 1 SinKapore Dictatorial BureaucraZy! All the short and Loong roads LEAD to a FamiLEE!

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  • Uncle ah Uncle:

    what political system are those countries that provided the technology, money, management skill, market, legal framework, to these countries to even begin to do well in any sense? Russia? Cuba? North Korea?

    However, some communist countries appear to perform well economically after 1990, especially China and Vietnam. China introduced “socialism with market characteristics” in the late 1980s. Their economic performance has been remarkable and are much better than the capitalist countries. Vietnam continues to be a communist country and is also performing well.

    When their countrymen were treated like robots, cheap labour, serf, while a small number became billionaires, these countries are considered doing “well”?

    If it is allowed, do you not think a prison can outbid any commercial business in any labour competition and will “do well” economically for the prison, the warden and the handful of guards ?

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  • LIONS:

    umm,gue$$ ours is neither here nor there.
    If you call it democratic;then,it looks like FAKE DEMOCRACY.
    If you call it communist,it is not;the CENTRAL GOVT doesnt give a damn to the poor peasants.
    Maybe,it seems like CAPITALISM but it is NOT as GOVT CONTROLS MONOPOLI$E much of the business sector?

    Guess,it is an OUT-OF-THE-WORLD kind called PAPI$M where the ELITISTS TAKE THE MONEY FROM THE PEOPLE,CLAIM ALL GLORIES N PUSH BLAMES TO THE PEOPLE WHILE CALLING THEMSELVES MERITOCRATIC?

    PAPI$M’S MEMBER$ ARE CALLED PAPI$T N THEY WOR$HIP *$*.
    THEIR MI$$ION IS WHATS WRONG WITH COLLECTING MORE MONEY.
    THEIR OBJECTIVE IS *$crew till you tak boleh tahan*
    Their goal is *YOU DIE,YOUR BUSINESS*.
    PAPI$M IS THE MOST HYPOCRITIC OF ALL TYPES OF GOVT.
    IT IS FAKE DEMOCRACY AT ITS BE$T.

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  • C’est la vie:

    *****
    SG is deeply entrenched in Papism !!!

    It only works in SG, … cos it’ll be found out and spat out elsewhere !!!

    In SG, … Papism is loved, lauded and voted in, term after term, for five decades !!!
    ***
    *****

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  • oxygen:

    @ Mr. Tan KL

    TO THE BEST OF MY INFORMED OR UNINFORMED KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF, the late Deng Xiao Ping is the first doggy walking around town with two d*cks – one for loyalty to the Communist Party of China and its ideology, the other is for his State Capitalism.

    Vietnam is just copycat.

    Deng visited LEE-jiapore and learnt his first lesson in development economics NOT taught in Chinese universities disrupted in the notorious Cultural Revolution. That is the first and easiest path with the least resistance up the economic trajectory take-off is MASSIVE URBANISATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING – better housing, transportation, access to healthcare creates concentrated demands and consumption for all kinds of goods and services and supply network chain for materials and exports of goods. It is self-sustaining up to a stage of development cycle.

    That was exactly what happened in Singapore, Korea and Taiwan, Hong Kong – the so-called tiger economies now all dying and wounded by turbulent economic changes.

    India can’t copy the same because of political gridlocks and corruption bottlenecks – you can’t bulldoze peasants homes and farmland to build road, railways lines, airports.

    But once that easy first stage development cycle is past, the hard part begins. China is slowing down. Its GDP growth numbers are strongly suspected to be over-inflated. Much of its north east industrial heartland is now ruined derelict wasteland because it can’t keep up with technological change.

    LEE-jiapore is hollowing out of its manufacturing. POFMA as warned by Google undermined our innovation dependent survival chances. PAPpypolitics d*ck is more precious of saving for tomorrow than our failing PAPpynomic d*ck.

    HISTORY TAUGHT US, NO AUTHORITARIAN REGIME PROSPER IN THE LAST CENTURY TILL NOW – PAST TENSE TOLD THE WORLD OF THIS REALITY.

    Tan KL:However, some communist countries appear to perform well economically after 1990, especially China and Vietnam. China introduced “socialism with market characteristics” in the late 1980s. Their economic performance has been remarkable and are much better than the capitalist countries. Vietnam continues to be a communist country and is also performing well.

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  • Dr. Chan:

    PAP pick from elements from all systems that benefits them most.
    You die your business
    No wellfare.
    No free speech. Control media and full censorship with fake news law.
    Peg salary to top 1% of CEO of MNC. But without accountability.
    Maintain zero transparency.
    Control and monopolize economy with GLC, GIC.
    Pass laws, change policies and election rules at will.
    One set of rules of peasants, another set for aristocrats.
    Use cheap, slave labor, depress wages for peasants, highest pay for themselves. List goes on……

    So PAP combined capitalism, monarchy, dynastic rule, authoritarian, communism, dictatorship. (Seriously lacking in socialism- they give out no welfare because this will make peasants lazy)

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  • Godzilla:

    And how would you describe the way you ran NTUC Income tkl? Collecting premiums and making it damned difficult to make even a legitimate claim?

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  • RDB:

    @? Mr Tan: May 13, 2019 at 4:57 am (Quote)

    So, Mr Tan, which label fits Singapore?

    It looks like a totalitarian, communist an capitalistic country.
    – totalitarian, obviously
    – communist, leaders are chosen by a core party and sent to public for rubber stamping
    – capitalistic, you die your business system.

    Do you agree?
    =============

    Again, since you have your opinion, why do you ask Mr. Tan? Just post to let other know cannot is it? You can’T JUST GIVE YOUR OWN OPINION IS IT? Must make Mr. Tan look silly is prime to you and others too is it. Do maintain decorum in a public place as it is your way of questioning him that makes you look arrogant. Got it?

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    Singapore? Well, we say we are democratic. That’s because, basically, whatever the pitfalls of “people’s choice”, it’s still better than a “Kim Jong Un doing things like murdering his own brother and uncle (and who else?!), only to stay in power. But then, we also seem to scheme, so that via seemingly democratic means, we also in the end assert the sort of powers of a Kim Jong Un. The difference seems only in the process. Here it takes longer, and we have patience, compared to Kim. We don’t swipe poison across faces, but take a lengthier process, such as, as LKY said, “look, our persons are everywhere, and we will make LBJ crawl and beg for mercy (Devan Nair)”. So, we seem to be dubious as to what we really want. Totalitarianism is dangerous, so must be checked. Yet (due to LKY’s character streak?), we mustn’t let go. So we scheme to take back. And now, even LKY’s own son and grandson seem to feel they need to flee the powers a Kim wields in Singapore! Now, this is insiders’ knowledge of things!

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  • ToadsGotDegrees:

    None of the above is built on a solid rock and evidently, will be struck down or ravished in the storms of life.
    Of the above, the most honest is the capitalist because they are clearly wolves(the leaders) in broad daylight you are happy to sell/trade your souls to.

    The others are wolves in sheep’s clothing (still playing up to and at the mercy of the capitalist)

    All are ultimately totalitarian, under the rule of a strongman.

    You bark up the wrong tree, you die!

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  • Great Asia:
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  • Haigen-D:

    oxygen: TO THE BEST OF MY INFORMED OR UNINFORMED KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF, the late Deng Xiao Ping is the first doggy walking around town with two d*cks – one for loyalty to the Communist Party of China and its ideology, the other is for his State Capitalism.
    Vietnam is just copycat.

    @ oxygen

    Bro, though short but very poignant & insightful. Just whet my appetite for this issue!

    The Vietnamese people fought a bloody generation-long war of national independence, against Japanese, French, and Americans, and they’ve taken an independent stance against China for some time. Again, neither the post-Mao China nor the post-Ho Vietnam could now no longer be viewed through the Marxist-Leninist ideological prism, as both China and Vietnam are well now on a pragmatic path of market socialism.

    Like Singapore, China and Vietnam are likely to become quasi democracies where the ruler will be a single political party with a nominal opposition that lives under its sufference, where the people are constantly reminded of the prosperity that they have attained and the perils of unrestricted freewheeling Western style democracy will bring to their livelihood. Their authoritarian structures ensured rapid single point clearances, coercive powers to cow down opposition from farmers whose land was forcibly acquired or to relocate people, easy credit, wide open welcome for foreign investors (who loved the orderliness that Communism guaranteed) and severe censorship of news to keep the populace fed with only propaganda.

    East Asian nations have long tradition of living under authoritarian rule but under poverty and arbitrary exercise of power by the rulers. As long as the rulers of China and Vietnam, Singapore included, do not engage in violent suppression of and carefully manage dissent and continue to deliver economic prosperity, they should have no problems in retaining the loyalty of their people.

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  • Bapak:

    Simply put Singaoore is a police state, period.

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  • Bad Boy:

    Dont worry about China but just be caution .

    We have pakistan terrorists targeting PRC ( Sg chinese tourists remember to show yourself publicly incase tio for nothing ), mark for death ???

    China have at least 200 millions of people suffering from baldness or hair losses and not subjected to man, woman alot oso. Its estimated their hair loss occurred 20 years earlier than expected. Thats good biz for the hair doctor or wigs. Yun nam or 101 probably another big bs. Although good news is theres a survey that bald people less prone to cancer ?

    China close to 80% of kids and teenagers wearing spectacles. Thats good biz for specs shop or lasik surgery.

    China aplenty kids and youngsters addicted to mobile phones and mobile games. Although this trend also affecting sg.

    China chinese or maybe all chinese are more prone to heart attacks and strokes. They got the highest figure in stroke patients and death from stroke.

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  • Bad Boy:

    Lastly PRC maybe alot have impotent issue.

    Else scam like below link would amass that amount.

    https://news.sina.cn/sh/2019-04-09/detail-ihvhiewr4485852.d.html?oid=5_ghao&vt=4
    95后自编房中术教材诈骗 还要成21世纪最伟大公司

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  • Bad Boy:

    As elsewhere, China also plague with diabetic issues.

    https://m.sohu.com/a/314066096_349476/?pvid=000115_3w_a&sec=wd
    警惕!每两个成年人就有一个糖尿病前期,会是你吗?

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