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PhD Comics & Communism

2007-09-25 20:01:39.537578+00 by ebradway 6 comments

Today's Piled Higher & Deeper is worth a look - especially the bit about:

Reality: A student-run lesson on the inevitable failures of communism

My friend who ran a similar snack co-op at the game company I worked for in Chattanooga noticed that he consistently experienced unpaid-for losses at night when only the boss was around.

[ related topics: Games Chattanooga Comics Fashion ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-25 22:44:34.796118+00 by: Dan Lyke

Giggle. Yeah, I've been meaning to write something about my political evolution, but part of it was finding too few libertarians who were willing to hold up their end of unenforced trade.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-26 13:22:46.9649+00 by: other_todd

The snack drawer at the MIT I/S hacker office (formerly Team Athena) has been running for years and years, but the reason it works is because someone polices it - the gent in question is willing to go out and do supply runs, dun people for unpaid money, etc etc.

This is where I get my Wikipedia theory, which is that projects like that work as long as someone good and competent is willing to donate their time to be the cop/bookkeeper/editor/what-have-you. As soon as they get disgusted with the thankless job, or move on to something that will actually be a more profitable use of that time, the whole thing collapses.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-26 13:40:22.599311+00 by: ebradway

And that, other_todd, is the "inevitable failure of communism".

I like to think about the horse in Animal Farm: "I will work harder" was his mantra until he died. Then the pigs sold him to a glue factory.

Personally, I try to watch for similar pitfalls in capitalism. Just because something is profitable doesn't mean it's really worthwhile - and definitely not working yourself to death over.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-26 13:48:18.598036+00 by: Dan Lyke

On that note: Privatizing Profits, Socializing Risk: Hypocrisy and Housing.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 13:01:20.961825+00 by: other_todd

I suppose, but it never occurred to me to think of the snack drawer as a form of communism, because I don't know that there was an explicit expectation that everyone contribute. That is, I don't think someone set it up and said, "OK, look, we all are going to be handed a certain set of responsibilities and we each have to do our assigned bit." They're both more like cases of, "If we build it they will come (and help)," which in my opinion seldom works.

I'm not saying communism isn't destined to fail (I tend to agree with you, for various reasons, some more cynical than others). Just quibbling over definitions.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-27 16:55:08.536087+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, I think of the snack drawer as free market capitalism without enforcement. There's no redistribution of wealth unless someone decides to steal, in which case it becomes de-facto communism.