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Old Jul 07, 2003, 08:05 PM   #1
Mopheo
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What is Democracy, Communism, Socialism and a Republic?

These terms are used often, and I've seen people give them many different meanings. For example, Democracy is used a lot to describe the governments of the western countries. But isn't the Idea of a democracy that everyone votes on the important decisions, not that you elect one person to make the decisions? Is that a republic?

Communism and socialism are also confusing. Does communism require a 1 party "dictatorship"? Or is it simply the equal distribution of wealth? Does it need a strong centralized government, or cannot be a conglomerate of “kibbutzes"?

I'm trying to get a clearer picture of what the meanings of these words are. For that matter, is the meaning of a word what it was intended to mean, or what it is most commonly used to describe?
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Old Jul 07, 2003, 08:14 PM   #2
Ohwell
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Technically:

Republic: Citizens vote for representatives to make descisions.

Democracy: Citizens directly vote on issues.

Socialism: Socialism can be a Republic or even a Democracy, it simply means that the government has more control over industries and will provide greater social services in return for higher taxes.

Communism: State runs all economic activity, people have no say in what they produce or buy. Obviously not democratic. People are supported fully by government in return.

Nearly all western countries are Republics. Several of those would be Socialist Republics. Communism only exists in North Korea, and clearly it's been reduced to a starvation-festival, with no ideals of communism left except for the not democratic part. True democracies are rare, Switzerland is a good example of one.
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Old Jul 07, 2003, 10:10 PM   #3
Kakashi
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Jees, man, go to the library (Socialism is most interesting)
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Old Jul 07, 2003, 10:17 PM   #4
WillJ
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Actually, to correct Ohwell's first two definitions:

republic: a political order in which the main power lies in a group of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them

democracy: government by the entire population, exercised either directly or through elected representatives

Basically, the only two differences between the two are that a republic doesn't necessarily have to have everyone be able to vote, although it can (so you could say that back when non-whites and females couldn't vote, America wasn't a true democracy, and instead was only a republic), and that in a republic, this group of citizens doesn't address the issues directly. Therefore, a representative democracy (such as the one in the U.S.) is a type of republic. The direct democracy in ancient Greece wasn't a real democracy (and was instead only a republic), since not all people could excercise power.

At least, that's how I (and dictionary.com ) interpret it.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 12:32 AM   #5
Sean Lindstrom
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"Socialist" and "communist" describe the economic framework of a country ("pink" and "red"); "republic" and "democracy" describe the form of government ("ballotbox" and "soapbox"). These words pair up to roundly describe a country - e.g. "red soapbox" = "communist democracy" where citizens vote unanimously to burn all their money and turn the banks into co-op bakeries!

Just saying "democracy" isn't enough. So we use "capitalist democracy
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 12:37 AM   #6
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From a technical definition, a true democractic nation doesn't exist, though some governments come very close. If the citizenry voted on every single action the government takes, that would be demoracy.

As for communism, if you want to look at it from a Marxist point of view, it's the perfect communal society where everything is owned by the people. To bad that'll never happen...
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 04:28 AM   #7
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Tho' i lived in all goverments that you mention here, and visited some other country with the same or some completly diferent named goverment, from experience i can tell you it's all the same s---- with the diferent name.It's all about corrupt politicians.


I would like to see some Utopia govermant for a change.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 04:53 AM   #8
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I think they are types of governmental systems.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 06:53 AM   #9
CurtSibling
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They all equate to one simple axiom:

Fleece the poor, and maintaining an elite.

The common pleb suffers, no matter which government is in force.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 08:32 AM   #10
Mopheo
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@ Curt Sibling: Your overlooking one very important thing: Some governments fleece less. In current democracies, the poor isn't that bad off, and can usually get something to eat. There is also a Very large middle class. In monarchies for example, the poor were often starving, and the middle class was much smaller, or near nonexistent (also in communism, were pretty much everyone was poor).

@ chain n' sickle
If you look at these replies, you can see why .
We have like 3 different definitions for both democracy and communism word (I just asked for socialism and as a contrast to communism and republic as a contrast to democracy. There is less variance on the meanings of these words but they provide a benchmark to which you can compare to).

We all have preconceived notions on what a word means, and in a discussion, it can often be very confusing when different people have different notions of what a word means. I'm trying to iron out the definitions of Democracy and Communism for myself (and who ever else in interested). I'm also trying to get people to revaluate what both words mean. For example, some people don't like communists simply because they think that the communist wants a tyrannical one party government, when the communist might really be trying for a "democratic communism". Or the previously mentioned collection of “kibbutz’s".

@ Will
Your last statement seems to be contradictory wouldn’t the “democracy” of ancient Greece actually be considered a direct republic under those definitions. Women and slaves were not allowed to vote.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 08:36 AM   #11
CurtSibling
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mopheo
@ Curt Sibling: Your overlooking one very important thing: Some governments fleece less. In current democracies, the poor isn't that bad off, and can usually get something to eat. There is also a Very large middle class. In monarchies for example, the poor were often starving, and the middle class was much smaller, or near nonexistent (also in communism, were pretty much everyone was poor).
Your point?

I'm making a comment, not an indictment.
You cannot deny what I said was true in itself.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 08:38 AM   #12
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I am of the opinion that it's possible for a Republic to have a Communist economy -- in fact, that's what Marx had in mind. It just hasn't worked out that way in practice.

Socialism and Communism are economic systems where the gov't controls some or all of the means of production. In a Capitalist system, the gov't does not control the means of production.

I'd define the different forms of gov't as existing on a grid, as follows:

Democracy-Capitalist (Libertarian); Democracy-Socialist; Democracy-Communist (Populist)
Republic-Capitalist; Republic-Socialist; Republic-Communist
Dictatorship-Capitalist (Aristocratic); Dictatorship-Socialist; Dictatorship-Communist (Authoritarian)
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 09:44 AM   #13
WillJ
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Quote:
Originally posted by Octavian X
From a technical definition, a true democractic nation doesn't exist, though some governments come very close. If the citizenry voted on every single action the government takes, that would be demoracy.
Er, your technical definition goes against every single dictionary I've ever seen. Ever heard of a representative democracy? Not all democracies have to be direct, ya know. You're living in a true democracy right now.
Quote:
Originally posted by Mopheo
@ Will
Your last statement seems to be contradictory wouldn’t the “democracy” of ancient Greece actually be considered a direct republic under those definitions. Women and slaves were not allowed to vote.
Oh yeah, forgot about that. I've edited it in now.
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Old Jul 08, 2003, 10:01 AM   #14
Alone
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mopheo
Your overlooking one very important thing: Some governments fleece less. In current democracies, the poor isn't that bad off, and can usually get something to eat. There is also a Very large middle class. In monarchies for example, the poor were often starving, and the middle class was much smaller, or near nonexistent (also in communism, were pretty much everyone was poor)...
Hmm...i don't want to argue with you, i also just made a comment (same as Curt) not answer the question, BUT i think goverment model and "to be rich or poor nation" got nothing to do beetwen themselfs! Examples:
1.communist g. = Former Tito's Yugoslavia had a big middle class and people were had higher living standard then Portugal or Greece at that time who were a democratic part of the EU.
2.monarchie= You can't see so many starving people in Norway, just for example (someone from Norge - correct me if i'm wrong ).
3.democracy=Ask some from Romania (just for example...) how rich they are and how big middle class is there. And you can deny that they are true democraty.
Etc, etc..

Curt i agree with you.
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