Between capitalism and communism


In this post, I would like to engage in the discussion of the views that position between capitalism and communism.


As we have all learned, capitalism is the form of social organization that emerged centuries ago and have perpetuated. It promotes competition, innovation and freedom of economic gain, while at the same time leads to other critical problems. One major problem would be the inequality of the distribution of wealth and exploitation on the working class. From here, communism emerges as an ideology, with its aims to abolish the capitalism system altogether and set up a new form of organization that has no class difference and economic inequality.


These two systems seem to be two extremes. Absolute equality is manifested in communism and the opposite is manifested in capitalism. Now, we would naturally come to question about if there is anything we could do that compromises. This directs us to the consideration of all those ideas related to welfare state, welfare capitalism, mixed economy and the embedded ideology of social democracy.


I think these related ideas are the “middle way” between capitalism and communism because interestingly, we could see criticisms that are advocating for opposite directions. It is interesting to see that some would say the idea of welfare state is too much like capitalism, while others say this is too close to communism in which everybody is equal economically. Basically, there are ideologies that branched out from the socialist thinking which advocates for gradual reforms on the current capitalist system instead of the radical, revolutionary type like communism. These position between the two opposite forms.


Speaking of the welfare state, one would definitely mention the kind of system that is exemplified by the Nordic models. It is interesting to see how those Nordic countries organize their economy in the welfare systems that suit them. The relatively low property rate and the small gap between the wealth and the poor maybe something that appeal to Marxists.

Other sorts of criticisms against the system of welfare state include reduced incentive to work hard and inefficiency in production. Since the government collect progressive tax to aid the poor substantially, poor people could become lazy and not willing to work hard. People can also get discouraged when large part of their income is taken to serve other people. Generally, welfare state is still essentially a capitalist economy, production can be less effective because of the loosened competitive environment that drives a capitalist society.


Welfare is certainly necessary in a society, and the key thing is how welfare system should be structured according to the society’s needs. The above criticisms stands true, but in Sweden’s case, despite being a so-called welfare state, it remains to be one of the richest country in Europe and is praised for being one of the countries with the highest standard of living in the world. They have arguably structured a welfare system that works for their country. I think each country has its own welfare system that works for it, and the system can be altered. Sweden has change its direction several times from a free market to more socialistic and back to market economy. A lot of things could be done to welfare.


There is also the idea of distributing the means of production more evenly in a society so that it is not concentrated in one or two hands. This could also help. Anyway, this type of “middle way” is something worth discussing when we see the extreme of capitalism and communism.


One Response to “Between capitalism and communism”

  1. akolot Says:

    It’s interesting examine the concepts of equality of both communism and capitalism. In capitalism it appears that each individual is seen as equal – that is in a non consumer/work situation. When it gets to the work place there is a heirarchy in terms of competition and effectiveness. However in communism every worker is considered equal and is encouraged to work together in order to benefit the community.

    The capitalist welfare system can allow for those who are in need to have the opportunity to work and contributed to the efficiency of production. In this way there is potential for the lower/working class to be sustained and for there to a recovery. The tax to aid the poor allows for there to be a substancial amount of money to exist in order to offer aid.

    However, in communism, where there is a much less organized poorer welfare system [if you could go so far as to call it a system, that is] everyone is equally poor. There is no possible way for the goverment to tax everyone who is equally poor. The only form od aid offered is the government provided resources that are available to anyone.

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