HOME

TheInfoList




In
Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies soci ...
thought, a communist society or the communist system is the type of
society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

society
and
economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environm ...
postulated to emerge from technological advances in the
productive forces Productive forces, productive powers, or forces of production (German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, ...
, representing the ultimate goal of the political ideology of
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communism
. A communist society is characterized by
common ownership Common ownership refers to holding the assets of an organization, enterprise Enterprise (or the archaic spelling Enterprize) may refer to: Business and economics Brands and enterprises * Enterprise GP Holdings Enterprise GP Holdings ...
of the
means of production The means of production is a concept that encompasses the social use and ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest record ...
with free access to the articles of consumption and is classless and stateless, implying the end of the
exploitation of labour Exploitation of labour is a concept defined as, in its broadest sense, one agent taking unfair advantage of another agent. It denotes an unjust based on an asymmetry of power between workers and their employers. When speaking about exploitation, t ...
.''
Critique of the Gotha Program The ''Critique of the Gotha Programme'' (german: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practice ...
'', Karl Marx.
Communism is a specific stage of
socioeconomic development Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
predicated upon a superabundance of material wealth, which is postulated to arise from advances in production technology and corresponding changes in the social
relations of production Relations of production (german: Produktionsverhältnisse, links=no) is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their theory of historical materialism and in '' Das Kapital''. It is first explicitly used in Marx's publi ...
. This would allow for distribution based on need and social relations based on freely-associated individuals. The term communist society should be distinguished from the Western concept of the
communist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state that is administered and governed by a communist party guided by Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism was the Ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Uni ...
, the latter referring to a state ruled by a party which professes a variation of
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
.


Economic aspects

A communist economic system would be characterized by advanced productive technology that enables material abundance, which in turn would enable the free distribution of most or all economic output and the holding of the means of producing this output in common. In this respect communism is differentiated from
socialism Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
, which, out of economic necessity, restricts access to articles of consumption and services based on one's contribution. In further contrast to previous economic systems, communism would be characterized by the holding of natural resources and the means of production in common as opposed to them being privately owned (as in the case of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
) or owned by public or cooperative organizations that similarly restrict their access (as in the case of socialism). In this sense, communism involves the "negation of property" insofar as there would be little economic rationale for exclusive control over production assets in an environment of material abundance. The fully developed communist economic system is postulated to develop from a preceding socialist system. Marx held the view that socialism—a system based on
social ownership Social ownership is the appropriation of the surplus product Surplus product (german: Mehrprodukt, links=no) is an economic concept explicitly theorised by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philos ...
of the means of production—would enable progress toward the development of fully developed communism by further advancing productive technology. Under socialism, with its increasing levels of automation, an increasing proportion of goods would be distributed freely.


Social aspects


Individuality, freedom and creativity

A communist society would free individuals from long working hours by first automating production to an extent that the average length of the working day is reduced and second by eliminating the exploitation inherent in the division between workers and owners. A communist system would thus free individuals from alienation in the sense of having one's life structured around survival (making a wage or salary in a capitalist system), which Marx referred to as a transition from the "realm of necessity" to the "realm of freedom". As a result, a communist society is envisioned as being composed of an intellectually-inclined population with both the time and resources to pursue its hobbies and genuine interests, and to contribute to creative social wealth in this manner. Karl Marx considered "true richness" to be the amount of time one has at his disposal to pursue one's creative passions. Marx's notion of communism is in this way radically individualistic. Marx's concept of the "realm of freedom" goes hand-in-hand with his idea of the ending of the
division of labor Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics) Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. The other operations are addition, subtraction, and mult ...
, which would not be required in a society with highly automated production and limited work roles. In a communist society, economic necessity and relations would cease to determine cultural and social relations. As
scarcity Scarcity as an economic concept "refers to the basic fact of life that there exists only a finite amount of human and nonhuman resources which the best technical knowledge is capable of using to produce only limited maximum amounts of each econo ...
is eliminated,
alienated labor Karl Marx's theory of alienation describes the social alienation Social alienation is "a condition in social relationships reflected by (1) a low degree of integration or common values and (2) a high degree of distance or isolation (3a) betwe ...
would cease and people would be free to pursue their individual goals. Additionally, it is believed that the principle of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" could be fulfilled due to scarcity being non-existent.


Politics, law and governance

Marx and Engels maintained that a communist society would have no need for the state as it exists in contemporary capitalist society. The capitalist state mainly exists to enforce hierarchical economic relations, to enforce the exclusive control of property, and to regulate capitalistic economic activities—all of which would be non-applicable to a communist system. Engels noted that in a socialist system the primary function of public institutions will shift from being about the creation of laws and the control of people into a technical role as an administrator of technical production processes, with a decrease in the scope of traditional politics as scientific administration overtakes the role of political decision-making. Communist society is characterized by democratic processes, not merely in the sense of electoral democracy, but in the broader sense of open and collaborative social and workplace environments. Marx never clearly specified whether or not he thought a communist society would be ; other thinkers have speculated that he thought communism would transcend justice and create society without conflicts, thus, without the needs for rules of justice.. First published Tue Aug 26, 2003; substantive revision Mon Jun 14, 2010. Accessed March 4, 2011.


Transitional stages

Marx also wrote that between
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...
and communist society, there would be a transitory period known as the
dictatorship of the proletariat In Marxist philosophy Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's Historical materialism, materialist approach to theory, or works written by Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly ...
. During this preceding phase of societal development, capitalist economic relationships would gradually be abolished and replaced with socialism. Natural resources would become
public property Public property is property that is dedicated to public use. The term may be used either to describe the use to which the property is put, or to describe the character of its ownership (owned collectively by the population of a Sovereign state, sta ...
, while all manufacturing centers and workplaces would become socially owned and
democratically Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to choose their governing legislators. The decisions on who is consi ...
managed. Production would be organized by scientific
assessment Assessment may refer to: Healthcare *Health assessment, identifies needs of the patient and how those needs will be addressed *Nursing assessment, gathering information about a patient's physiological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual st ...
and
planning Planning is the process A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Business and management *Business pro ...
, thus eliminating what Marx called the "anarchy in production". The development of the productive forces would lead to the marginalization of human labor to the highest possible extent, to be gradually replaced by
automated Automation describes a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes. Human intervention is reduced by predetermining decision criteria, subprocess relationships, and related actions — and embodying those predetermi ...
labor.


Open-source and peer production

Many aspects of a communist economy have emerged in recent decades in the form of
open-source software Open-source software (OSS) is computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Co ...
and
hardware Hardware may refer to: Technology Computing and electronics * Computer hardware, physical parts of a computer * Digital electronics, electronics that operate on digital signals * Electronic component, device in an electronic system used to affect e ...
, where source code and thus the means of producing software is held in common and freely accessible to everyone; and to the processes of
peer productionPeer production (also known as mass collaboration) is a way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals. In such communities, the labor of many people is coordinated towards a shared outcome. Overview Pe ...
where collaborative work processes produce freely available software that does not rely on monetary valuation.
Ray Kurzweil Raymond Kurzweil ( ; born February 12, 1948) is an American inventor and futurist. He is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), speech synthesis, text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyb ...

Ray Kurzweil
posits that the goals of communism will be realized by advanced technological developments in the 21st century, where the intersection of low manufacturing costs, material abundance and open-source design philosophies will enable the realization of the maxim "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".


In Soviet ideology

The communist economic system was officially enumerated as the ultimate goal of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Abbreviated in Russian as КПСС or ''KPSS''. was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the One-party state, sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 19 ...
in its party platform. According to the 1986 Programme of the CPSU: In
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
's political theory, a classless society would be a society controlled by the direct producers, organized to produce according to socially managed goals. Such a society, Lenin suggested, would develop habits that would gradually make political representation unnecessary, as the radically democratic nature of the Soviets would lead citizens to come to agree with the representatives' style of management. Only in this environment, Lenin suggested, could the state wither away, ushering in a period of stateless communism. In Soviet ideology, Marx's concepts of the "lower and higher phases of communism" articulated in the ''
Critique of the Gotha Program The ''Critique of the Gotha Programme'' (german: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practice ...
'' were reformulated as the stages of "socialism" and "communism". The Soviet state claimed to have begun the phase of "socialist construction" during the implementation of the first Five-Year Plans during the 1930s, which introduced a centrally planned, nationalized/collectivized economy. The 1962 Program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, published under the leadership of
Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (– 11 September 1971) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and as Premier of the Soviet Unio ...
, claimed that socialism had been firmly established in the USSR, and that the state would now progress to the "full-scale construction of communism", although this may be understood to refer to the "technical foundations" of communism more so than the withering away of the state and the division of labor per se. However, even in the final edition of its program before the party's dissolution, the CPSU did not claim to have fully established communism, instead claiming that the society was undergoing a very slow and gradual process of transition.


Fictional portrayals

'' The Culture'' novels by Iain M Banks are centered on a communist
post-scarcity economy Post-scarcity is a theoretical economic situation in which most goods can be produced in great abundance with minimal human labor needed, so that they become available to all very cheaply or even freely. Post-scarcity does not mean that scarc ...
where technology is advanced to such a degree that all production is automated, and there is no use for money or property (aside from personal possessions with sentimental value). Humans in the Culture are free to pursue their own interests in an open and socially-permissive society. The society has been described by some commentators as "communist-bloc" or "
anarcho-communist Anarcho-communism, also known as anarchist communism, is a political philosophy and anarchist school of thought which advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labour, social hierarchies and private property (while retaining resp ...
". Banks' close friend and fellow science fiction writer Ken MacLeod has said that The Culture can be seen as a realization of Marx's communism, but adds that "however friendly he was to the radical left, Iain had little interest in relating the long-range possibility of utopia to radical politics in the here and now. As he saw it, what mattered was to keep the utopian possibility open by continuing technological progress, especially space development, and in the meantime to support whatever policies and politics in the real world were rational and humane." The economy and society of the
United Federation of Planets The United Federation of Planets (UFP), in the fictional universe of ''Star Trek ''Star Trek'' is an American science fiction media franchise originating from the 1960s television program, television series ''Star Trek: The Original Serie ...
in the ''
Star Trek ''Star Trek'' is an American science fiction media franchise created by Gene Roddenberry, which began with the Star Trek: The Original Series, eponymous 1960s series and quickly became a worldwide Popular culture, pop-culture Cultural influ ...

Star Trek
'' franchise has been described as a communist society where material scarcity has been eliminated due to the wide availability of replicator technology that enables free distribution of output, where there is no need for money.


See also

*
Anarcho-communism Anarcho-communism, also known as anarchist communism, is a political philosophy and Anarchist schools of thought, anarchist school of thought which advocates the abolition of the State (polity), state, capitalism, wage labour, social hierarchies a ...

Anarcho-communism
*
Common ownership Common ownership refers to holding the assets of an organization, enterprise Enterprise (or the archaic spelling Enterprize) may refer to: Business and economics Brands and enterprises * Enterprise GP Holdings Enterprise GP Holdings ...
*
Commons-based peer production Commons-based peer production (CBPP) is a term coined by Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler. It describes a model of socio-economic production in which large numbers of people work cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-opera ...
*
Digital commons (economics) The digital commons are a form of commons involving the distribution and communal ownership of Information technology, informational resources and technology. Resources are typically designed to be used by the community by which they are created. E ...
* Lower-stage communism *
Marxism Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies soci ...
*
Open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source model is a decentralized softwa ...
*
Post-scarcity economy Post-scarcity is a theoretical economic situation in which most goods can be produced in great abundance with minimal human labor needed, so that they become available to all very cheaply or even freely. Post-scarcity does not mean that scarc ...
*
Socialization (economics) Social ownership is the appropriation of the surplus product Surplus product (german: Mehrprodukt, links=no) is an economic concept explicitly theorised by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philos ...
*
Technological determinism Technological determinism is a reductionist theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated w ...


References

{{reflist, 30em


Further reading

* Ollman, Bertell
"Marx's Vision of Communism"
''Dialectical Marxism'', New York University. * Rigi, Jakob
"Peer to Peer Production as the Alternative to Capitalism: A New Communist Horizon"
''Journal of Peer Production''. Communism Marxist theory Socialism Society