As diplomatic relations between Cuba and the
United States improve, we wanted to look at the political philosophy behind the long embargoed
nation. Cuba is one of the last communist dictatorships left in the world, and since
extreme anti-communist sentiments in the mid 20th century, the philosophy has been a regular
fixture in political discussions. So we wanted to know, what exactly is communism? Well, there are a number of overlapping philosophies
and socioeconomic systems that can be described as communist in nature. But in the most basic
sense, communism is when all manufacturing, or “means of production” are equally owned
by all the members of a state. The intended result is to eliminate the capitalist-inspired
class system where one class does all the work and the other gets all the money. Although similar ideas have existed both naturally
and intentionally since the dawn of time, the most common form of communism comes from
the work of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in what is today known
as “Marxism”. In particular, Marxism is focused on the exploitation of the worker.
It’s based on the idea that any profit generated by the worker but instead goes to the business
owner, is a form of inequality and should be abolished. In recent history, several countries including
the USSR, China, Vietnam and Cuba have attempted to institute their own versions of communism.
However all can be said to be predominantly socialist, and not communist. The biggest
difference between the two is that socialism says that all workers should get an equal
share in profit and property, while communism says that there shouldn’t be money or ownership
in general, and everyone should get as much as they need, and work as much as they can.
Unfortunately, attempts to achieve this political philosophy have led to lower standards of
living, government corruption, and in the case of the USSR, total collapse and failure. A number of reasons have been put forth as
to why communism hasn’t worked out historically. But the strongest criticism of the philosophy
is that communism removes the incentive for people to work harder than they absolutely
have to. It also leads to resentment of those who work less hard but receive the same. In
general, communism is described as being great in theory, while disastrous in practice. The
state of the world seems to agree with that assessment. If you’d like to learn more about political
theory, make sure you check out these videos about Libertarianism, and Anarchy. Make sure
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