What is needed by righties for a tolerable communist state?
Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-10-08
Ask a member of "Teh Left" what would make a capitalist system tolerable, and you’ll get a list of things that would probably include phrases like "safety net".
What would members of "Teh Right" say would be the minimum necessary "tweaks" to make a communist system tolerable, i.e. a life that wouldn’t make them miserable directly or indirectly? Putting it another way, what are the things without which life wouldn’t be worth living, or you’d rather die?
I could make a few guesses, but the point of this post is to discover opinions of any readers.
I’d hope that self-identifying "lefties" wouldn’t comment on this thread until self-identifying "righties" have given indications of what they’d need.
I’ll spell out the details of the hypothetical regime (although most righties will probably think such a thought experiment could never be realized in the real world):
- The regime:
- Benevolent (not merely benign)
- Very well informed
- Very competent
- Not corrupt (rules governing access to resources apply to everyone, including dictator and administrators)
- The basic philosophy is "from each according to ability to each according to need"
- Essentially, no private property
- The world:
- Resources available to the state are the same as per capita resources in the real world, averaged across the entire planet.
- Technological capabilities mirror today’s real world.
- Skeleton for treatment of individuals:
- Essentials are provided in a modest way (shelter, food, clothes, education, transport to and from sites of labor)
- The state provides communal services like libraries, basic sporting facilities, etc.
- Your occupation and place of work are determined by the state
- You have some discretion to use resources of your choosing, similar to "pocket money" (let’s say enough to buy a book or CD every week or two – although lets assume libraries have a good selection of those!).
- You have basic internet capabilities (similar to that offered free to everybody by google)
If any righties respond…
- Note I haven’t stated whether the "dictators" are simple dictators or there is at least a quasi-democratic selection process… if some selection process is important to you, then mention it in your response.
- Indicate whether you self-identify as a social and/or economic libertarian or conservative.
- Remember, this is a thought experiment, you cannot make major changes to the basic system, I’d like to know the "tweaks" (equivalent in size to "safety nets" that lefties would want in a capitalist system) that would be required to make it tolerable.
What do I think would be some of the things righties might nominate?
- Procedural fairness (ability to appeal decisions, including ability to indicate individual preferences for work and place-of-living, and ability to have input into policy directions similar to privileges to senate inquiries)
- Basic freedom-of-speech provisions
- A private life including no intrusive residential surveillance, and "what goes on in the bedroom is no business of the state"-type rules.
- Ability to indicate preferences for food types (although, with limited resources, everything would probably be vegetarian).
- Ability to use the "pocket money" resources in a quasi-capitalist manner.
- If sicker people have access to more health resources, smarter people have access to more educational resources