A comparison?

20150314_181814

My friend suggested a while ago that I write about communism vs capitalism. I decided to do so today, mainly because I have a cold and can’t be bothered thinking about important things ๐Ÿ™‚ Because if you think this is going to be an objective article you need to close this page immediately, I don’t do that kind of stuff when I feel miserable and sorry for myself! ๐Ÿ™‚

So here goes: I haven’t read anything about communism or capitalism as theories, only as the opinions of people. I also grew up in a communist country until I was almost 11, then spent my teenage years assimilating a different reality and wishing for an even more different one.

I have this theory that ideas are only as good as the people who apply them, not as the people who think them up. I should know, being an idealist. ๐Ÿ™‚ As such, I regard both communism and capitalism as failures, insofar as the ideas go. Because by applying them you ignore huge swathes of humanity and that leads, as it should, to misery.

An example, maybe? Doctors โ€“ this has been done to death, but still it deserves a mention. Communism โ€“ they are people who provide a service, therefore they need to be recompensated in proportion to their needs… come again? They have spent how many years in university, elbow deep in whatever substances people’s bodies manage to scrounge up and you want to pay them how much? The needs of a doctor are, after all, not that much higher than a labourer’s… perhaps a doctor might need to preserve their hearing a bit better so they can auscultate properly. But a bed, a roof over one’s head, food on the table and clothes on one’s back should be enough, huh?

Capitalism โ€“ they are people who are providing a service and need to be recompensated according to their skills, but at the same time we can’t let just anybody use these skills, only those who can afford it, the rest are obviously not really integrated in this society!

Simplistic? You bet! But that is what I saw happening, what I have been told by innumerable people time and time again. I saw my people reach for plant medicine not only because it works, but also because sometimes they didn’t have enough money for a bribe. And the USA leads in the other direction with their user-pays system โ€“ google the results.

If one ignores the natural urge to compete, you get misery. If one ignores the natural urge to belong to a community, you get misery. And it doesn’t only have to do with the material things. The very people the system is supposed to serve are damaged, sometimes almost beyond repair. Meaning, faith, enlightment, love, what you tell your children when they go on a date, how and what you communicate, what you hope and what you despair of, what you rebel against, the battles you choose and the principles you crush under necessity…ah, but it is enough to break hearts and spirits!

They have advantages, both systems, and I am aware of some of them and have weighed the sacrifices one must make to get them. Between the two systems, if there is no other globe I could travel to, I would grit my teeth and choose capitalism. There is a difference, and it is enough that one can breathe deeply and feel some hope. Because between two extremes, one should aim for the middle… and I believe it is easier to have a capitalist system with social welfare than a communist system with freedom.

Advertisements

Competition

DSC05343

I was playing pool with my friend today. Both of us were out of practice (you know, sinking the inadvertently complicated ones, missing the really easy ones) but the length of the game allowed for both bantering… or was that bartering? I did say I will cook lunch if two balls are in… and serious discussions. Part of the serious discussion was the idea of competition.

I am competitive, especially with myself. I have discouraged competition with others in myself ever since I was old enough to figure out that it makes me uncomfortable to lose… and win. That didn’t sound in line with the old theory of evolution so I had to dig a bit deeper.

I don’t like losing, who does? But not liking to win required some thought and, once I grew up a bit, some scenarios. It should have been clear before, but we are mostly blind to ourselves day-to-day, and only figure things out if we take the time to know ourselves. Who has the time? And even if you do have time, how many will actually think about themselves and make scenarios about winning and losing. But I digress…

The results were unsurprising in hindsight ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t like winning if others lose. Can I get any quainter than that? I love winning, providing you win as well. It is linked with fear in a way. If I compete in a win-lose game, then I have to either pay attention to the game or to the person I am competing against. The disconnect from the person is scary, looking at them, analyzing all the ways in which I can win, all the ways in which I can manipulate things in my favour.

It is also linked with my general attitude towards life (see my previous blog, Attitude). Incidentally, the new theory of evolution seems to say to my untrained mind that although the genes may be selfish in their fight to be multiplied, they select for co-operation… that’s almost funny when you think about it.

So rather than my childhood โ€œyes, butโ€ mantra which used to drive my mother to distraction, most of the time I can make a choice and use โ€œandโ€. Rather than a hole left by the losing which can only be filled by the winning, I find it comfortable to have two wins side by side, each not taking anything from the other, even growing on each other. I used to say โ€œI don’t wear perfume but I like strongly scented flowersโ€ Nowadays it’s โ€œI don’t wear perfume, I love strongly scented flowers, I have my favourites for each season and I prefer them in the garden, not in a vaseโ€. Fussy, much? ๐Ÿ™‚

As a result, thinking positive could probably be my middle name. Negative thinking, after all, stems mostly from an impaired ability to look at things from someone else’s point of view, an almost hunching over ourselves and an unhealthy (literally!) shouldering of responsibility and singularity.

So, my friend, I would rather praise you when you sank that difficult one, gasp when you miss the easy one, and generally laugh at our clumsiness, rather than go all out , ignore you and your gentleness and your stubborness and win. Where would be the joy in that?