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Has there been a socialist country that's failed?

Discussion in 'World History' started by Bigfoot3814, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. Bigfoot3814

    Bigfoot3814 Deity

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    For the TL;DR version see last paragraph.

    A few minutes ago I was listening to Mark Levin on WABC. Mark Levin is a really really conservative talk show host (highly critical of Obama, passionately calls him and his policies Socialist, Marxist, will lead to the end of America as we know it, etc.). I'm doing this from memory so the words probably aren't exact.

    He got a call from a guy who was pretty much a talk radio troll. He says "Heeyyyyy Mark I looooooove you Levinskiiiiii I looooove listenin' to you get all mad and start yelling I listen to you allllll the time just you hear you yell all the time man!!!" Mark says "So do you want to get to your point?"

    And the guy says "Yeah I love it when you get mad Mark and I'm gonna say something just to get you even more mad." "Well what is it." "Name ONE SOCIALIST COUNTRY that has failed. ONE."

    There was a very brief pause. Then Mark, very calmly says;

    "Soviet Union"
    "Heh heh you you"
    "East Germany, uh, Belarus..."
    "You see Mark you're just.."
    "Hey, I'm answering your question!"
    "You can't, Levinski, you're.."

    Now he starts getting loud.

    "And I know what you're gonna say too, you're gonna say 'those were communist' WELL WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT STARTS!? I know TYRANNY WHEN I SEE IT!"
    "NORWAY MAN! NORWAY'S..."
    "NORWAY!?!? What are there, 3 people in Norway??! Is Norway feeding the world? Is Norway bringing drugs to the world? What's Norway's contribution to ending hunger in Africa? ZERO!"
    "I LOVE IT MARK YOU'RE YELLING NOW I LOVE IT!!!"
    "GET OUTTA HERE, YOU IDIOT!"

    And he hangs up on him, and goes on...

    "Canada's next too! They're gonna be next, they can't even afford their own military! We [the United States] have to pay for it!"

    There was more but I don't remember. Now I listen to Mark's show all the time but I've never heard him make quite that many claims at one time. Most of the time he speaks in terms of ideology but after something like that I feel the need to take a step back and ask how much of that is really true. The one I'm most curious about is whether there's been a failed socialist country, and since this board is just soaking wet with socialists... ;)

    So if you'd rather not read through my whole story, I put the "claims" in blue, and I want to know how much truth there is to them. Thanks in advance. :goodjob:
     
  2. Kadazzle

    Kadazzle Emperor

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    No political ideology is fail-proof. I can't think of one off the top of my head, but I'm sure there has been a failed socialist country. It also depends on what you consider failing. I know many countries that fail in many aspects of things, like finances and human rights, but haven't really "failed".

    One thing I can say though, is that Canada can afford it's military ;) Canada's financial situation is bad, just like the USA's, but it is better. Canada's banks are doing really well, especially TD Bank. Because of that, some people speculate that Toronto may become the financial capital of the world, as 3 Canadian banks topped the NA's 10 largest (RBC 5th, TD 7th and Scotia Bank 9th). TD recently purchased "Banknorth and Commerce partly because they had both opted out of the sub-prime loan mania".

    The last quote I thought was rather ridiculous though. Many American banks and loan agencies are getting money from Canadian Banks, due to the fact that Canadian banks can afford to loan money. When Manulife needed money, they borrowed $3 billion dollars to shore up its balance sheet.
     
  3. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    Britain became socialist in 1945. Needless to say, they no longer are.

    I would also say that Zimbabwe has definitely failed.
     
  4. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Socialism must come after industrialization, after capitalism. While the pursuit of social equality and justice is admirable, it should be noted the mediocre effect that attempts at fast-forwarding through that stage have had. Perhaps the Soviet Union's NEP and subsequent five-year plans were the most successful at doing this, but that is also a testament to Russia's large pool of natural resources to draw from; Cuba, for instance, has had no such fortune. While the progress made by these nations, adherents of the ideas laid out by Lenin, has been admirable, the shortcoming of not waiting for that capitalist stage is also evident. There is no reason to believe that a capitalist democracy that wished to pursue socialism would be in any way similar to any socialist nation that has ever existed.

    As for the socialist nations that have "failed," it depends on your definition of "failure." Their failure came in being unable to outpace the West in a fantastically expensive arms race, not in being able to provide their citizens with the wealth of benefits they enjoyed; or when they did, it was a result of the former impacting the latter. But I would even then say that the reason for that "failure" is the dramatically different histories between the Eastern Bloc and the West that gave the West a huge head start. For all intents and purposes, Russia was in the 18th century until the 1920s.
     
  5. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Failed in what way?
     
  6. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    Chile failed, but that was due to outside intervention. Ditto with several African nations that tried their hands at Socialism. Several nations, such as Australia and Britain, have briefly flirted with Socialism before plunging back into the dark pit of Capitalism. Other than that, I can't really think of any.

    And this "talk radio troll" sounds frigging awesome. He's great, we should find out who he is and give him his own show.
     
  7. Bigfoot3814

    Bigfoot3814 Deity

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    I had a feeling that one was a bunch of nothing. Well, it is real time talking debate, not like on an internet forum where you can analyze bit-by-bit.
    Hmm... very interesting... so I suppose if no country has ever been really socialist (or at least arrived there in the proper order) it would be tougher to find one that's failed.
    Is this about Russia or E. Germany? Or both of them?
    I don't know. Neither side really provided any definition of failure. I don't know if either of them meant the country gets driven into the ground or just fails at socialism.
    He pretty much gave Mark another chance to put his indomitable spirit on display, if you want to call that awesome. It made for some great radio, that's for sure. If he had his own show it would probably suck though, considering that he didn't have much to say, he was just trying to get a rise out of Mark, as he made very clear. Plus he had an annoying voice, even on the same show as Mark Levin. And Mark Levin's voice is pretty darn annoying.
     
  8. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    They have attempted Socialism, and some have done quite well at it, but they are still a world apart from what Socialism could, and should, be. Given the nature of our economic situation, we may know sooner rather than later.

    The further east of the River Elbe you go, the more true it gets. East Germany, however, has its own unique history that set it permanently behind West Germany from the start, namely, getting to be responsible for both East AND West Germany's reparations to the Soviet Union after the War was over.
     
  9. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    That's not conservative, that's lunatic.

    The UK voted social-democrat in '45, the people being well aware of Churchill's social policies; Mugabe's ZANU movement may have started out socialist, but gradually just developed into another dictatorship, running the country into the ground.
     
  10. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Didn't 'Abd al-Nasir's socialist policies more or less fail in Egypt?
     
  11. Bigfoot3814

    Bigfoot3814 Deity

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    OK then. Thanks for the informative responses. :)
    You do know this is part of the fun right? :p
     
  12. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    If by "put his indomitable spirit on display" you mean "sound like an ignorant jack-off" you're right. He pretty much revealed he had no clue what Socialism was, and was simply pissing in the wind, like most political talk-show hosts. East Germany and the Soviet Union were not eve close to Socialist. Hell, even the states I referred to as Socialist were more Social Democratic, to use the current terminology, but they were a damn sight closer than the Warsaw Pact nations.

    They were pretty half-hearted, ill thought out, and suffered outside interference from day one. But yeah, they failed fairly miserably, like much of what Nasser did.
     
  13. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Wait, doesn't the USSR count as a failure? Or am I missing something here?
     
  14. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    In what way is Britain now less socialist than it was in 1945?

    If the conversation reported in the OP is how politics is conducted in America, this explains a lot.
     
  15. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    The USSR had socialist elements, and called itself socialist, but it wasn't socialist.
     
  16. dosed150

    dosed150 Emperor

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    privitisation of trains, steel, phones, gas, water, electricity etc
     
  17. cool3a2

    cool3a2 Deity

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    As always when it is about socialism on an english forum I got confused about the phrase socialism itself. The reason is, that you use that word in a different way then we do in Germany. Some say Germany for example is socialistic. Well, that may be true, but that depends on the meaning of the word in english. In Germany for example we call a state like ours a social democracy or a social market economy (that depends on the context I'd say). A socialist country for a German would be the GDR, USSR, Cuba, North Corea etc. I'd say you should really give a clear definition for socialism in the first post. I think you english speaking guys should invent a new word for a socialsm like in Germany nowadays in general. This word has been used for propaganda several times (Obama etc.) and a lot of people seem to buy it... That's dangerous.
    To make it possible that everyone knows what I mean I'll use the word socialism in this post like we do in Germany. So, a social democracy (I'll use this word because it's shorter then the other I mentioned above) is capitalism. It's just that the state is interfering into the market / economy to avoid it is getting out of controll. The state does that by laws and rules. For example he forbids cartels and monopols in most cases and gives money to unemployed etc. But it is still capitalism as there is private property of production goods like machines, the ground on which fabs stand on and so on. For short: there are enterprises. What you guys seem to understand by saying capitalism is free enterprise economy. But that would mean that the state wouldn't interfer into the market at all and that would lead to anarchy. Not even in the USA this is the case! This type of economy is only another utopy. A socialistic state on the other side is a state with planned economy and thus is marxistic. Well, there may be forms of socialisms where this is taken a bit more liberal. Private property of production goods may be allowed on very low levels. Hungary tried it that way. However, almost all things were still property of the state and Hungarys modell didn't work either. All these states have failed or are about to fail (Cuba, North Corea... China is an exception so far because they aren't so strict under economic points of view and thus get a lot of money from foreign enterprises; I see two options for China: either they evolute into a social democracy or the day will come when their system will fail as well). So, in that sense there may have been social democratic states that may have failed, but not because they had a social market economy. Economy could have been a reason for failing, but not because of it's type. You could say that the Republic of Weimar failed because of economic reasons for example. There were definately econimic reasons for its failure that allowed Hitler to get to power, but those economic reasons were rather wrong economic decisions then a not working system in general.
     
  18. Millman

    Millman Mark the Magnificent

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    How do you define what's social? Isn't much of the stuff you know man-made? I'm not going deep into choose the government but there usually is a new one around the corner when those who are suppose to uphold the law violate it?

    An idea like a country can't fail but a leader/citizen/person can.
     
  19. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

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    Jamestown.

    The men who first occupied Jamestown had a socialist structure developed. Everyone farms their crops and places them in a central granary from which anyone and everyone took their meals from.

    When it was implimented, men started to not work, simply because they didn't have to work to get a meal (they just had to wait for others to farm their crops, and then they would take their share).

    When the colony started to fail, John Smith arrived, and he basically said, "What the hell is this? Whose idea what this?" And he impliments the rule 'You eat what you grow'.

    Its not a country, but its an example.
     
  20. Bigfoot3814

    Bigfoot3814 Deity

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    :yup: These guys thrive on it.
    Oh please, don't take Mark Levin's show to be an example of political conduct. It's entertainment dressed up in bonnie blue flags. I mean, did you look at the clip I posted?
    Yeah I mentioned this story once in the "Ask a Red" thread in OT. Cheezy said it wasn't really socialism though, it was really "collectivism".
     

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