View Poll Results: Which society is better?

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  • From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

    2 12.50%
  • From each according to his choice to act upon his ability, to each according to his production

    14 87.50%
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Thread: From each and to Each

  1. #1
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    From each and to Each

    I'm asking in the ideal sense of the words. I don't believe either ideal is practical because of human nature. I have a strong preference towards one ideal though. And I know those with the preference towards the other ideal will hold me back and vice versa. So I'm not asking which you think we should try to implement. I'm asking which society would be better off in the long run, in your opinion, between these two philosophies if they were able to be implemented in their ideal states.

    So to better explain each (though I feel I understand it better than I can explain it, I'll attempt to):

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need: This would mean that all people produce at a level that they are able. That in the ideal world, all people are working and taking back from society what they need. If society produces a surplus to make life more luxurious, all people get a fair share in those extras. Because each job is crucial for society to continue and each life is to be valued equally, the work therefore rewarded equally. The school janitor gets as much from society as the brain surgeon.

    The ideal supported by this philosophy is everyone contributing as much as they can to society and everyone is rewarded equally by society, but it does restrict society from valuing the worth of the services or goods received (no premiums or discounts) and it does restrict the individual from producing less than they want to if they should choose to. They lose that freedom

    or

    From each according to his ability and choice to act upon that ability, to each according to his production: You choose to work if you want. You choose what job you take, often times based on your ability, but if you choose to, you can work under your qualifications and therefore receive less too. If you aren't able to work in a job that pays more than $10/hour (or choose to work in that job even if you could be doing more), then you don't get the extra luxuries because the value you add to society simply isn't as much as a doctor (for example) who would get those extras. So in this case, society decides your worth and you also have a choice of your worth. So if you produce in a way that society rewards you with $500k/year, then so be it (assuming no corruption, etc. - speaking in strict ideals)

    The ideal supported by this philosophy is freedom of choice, by society and the individual, but it does restrict the individual by his ability.


    I ask because I truly think people are leaning towards the Marxist ideal if it were truly possible. But I'm not sure. Maybe that's just the way that it feels. PersonallyI would much rather restrict a person by his ability (and therefore societal reward) and give him the freedom to make a (sometimes limited) choice rather than restrict a person's and society's choice to how much each person receives.

    But it all comes down to what you prioritize more.

    Please note!: I am not asking which is more practical. Or which will solve our nation's problems. I'm asking which is the 'better' society if they were both implemented ideally. This is a true hypothetical as neither can be implemented ideally.
    Last edited by fredmertz; 06-14-10 at 01:35 PM.

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Neither would work perfectly, but I normally choose whichever will work within the bounds of nature more readily. The first choice wouldn't work because it discourages productivity overall. Nature states that whatever works best, succeeds.
    "God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse."
    -C G Jung

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Ultimately we are going to have to have some combination of both in order to fix the biggest problems with either choice.

    In the marxist one. People will not be motivated or organized.
    In the other one. People will be taken advantage of.
    In both cases, there is too much opportunity for selfish people to distort the system in their favor either by being a part of a marxist government or by creating a monopoly.

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    Re: From each and to Each

    updated the question with a note to clarify my question:

    Please note!: I am not asking which is more practical. Or which will solve our nation's problems. Or which has the bigger weaknesses. I'm asking which is the 'better' society if they were both implemented ideally. This is a true hypothetical as neither can be implemented ideally.
    Last edited by fredmertz; 06-14-10 at 01:44 PM.

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    updated the question with a note to clarify my question:

    Please note!: I am not asking which is more practical. Or which will solve our nation's problems. Or which has the bigger weaknesses. I'm asking which is the 'better' society if they were both implemented ideally. This is a true hypothetical as neither can be implemented ideally.
    Ah. Sorry, I misunderstood. I think if implemented ideally, than either one would be equally good. The reason I say that is because for an ideal to work, people would be satisfied and happy with their situation (at least happy enough to not begin changing things) and ultimately thats what really matters for society.

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Ah. Sorry, I misunderstood. I think if implemented ideally, than either one would be equally good. The reason I say that is because for an ideal to work, people would be satisfied and happy with their situation (at least happy enough to not begin changing things) and ultimately thats what really matters for society.
    hmmm... that's interesting. That's a constant that I hadn't thought of (that people are satisfied and happy with the situation). So holding that constant, as I requested, I feel like I can get an opinion out of you yet

    So let's say we have two societies: One in which women are treated equally and one in which they are house slaves. In both situations, neither society knows of any other way to act and both accept and deal with their lives to the point that they won't desire to change things, but rather just make the best of it. The point that they accept their lives in both situations doesn't mean that they both are just as good as each other from a standpoint outside of the situations. We would say that people can be happier in one society than the other. Or that one society is more fair. Or that one society promotes your beliefs more strongly than the other. Despite the individuals views within that society.

    Does this convince you to have an opinion yet? I don't see how both of my examples in the poll can be viewed as 'just as good as each other'. Which is better/more moral/happier/would you prefer to live in?

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzie View Post
    Neither would work perfectly, but I normally choose whichever will work within the bounds of nature more readily. The first choice wouldn't work because it discourages productivity overall. Nature states that whatever works best, succeeds.
    But each, in their ideals, would promote productivity. Ideally, each person in the first choice would work to maximum productivity as required by society (and therefore also work to invent new goods for the benefit of society). Because in the ideal world, each person would contribute as much as they could. And they would collect back from society only what they need or is their 'fair share' (obviously not practical, but if it were, would it be superior?)

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    hmmm... that's interesting. That's a constant that I hadn't thought of (that people are satisfied and happy with the situation). So holding that constant, as I requested, I feel like I can get an opinion out of you yet

    So let's say we have two societies: One in which women are treated equally and one in which they are house slaves. In both situations, neither society knows of any other way to act and both accept and deal with their lives to the point that they won't desire to change things, but rather just make the best of it. The point that they accept their lives in both situations doesn't mean that they both are just as good as each other from a standpoint outside of the situations. We would say that people can be happier in one society than the other. Or that one society is more fair. Or that one society promotes your beliefs more strongly than the other. Despite the individuals views within that society.

    Does this convince you to have an opinion yet? I don't see how both of my examples in the poll can be viewed as 'just as good as each other'. Which is better/more moral/happier/would you prefer to live in?
    You could just ask me which I would prefer to live in. I was originally trying to look at it from an objective perspective, which means look at the system and taking me out of the equation, so to speak. I think I would be happiest in from each to each society as I think it would afford me and everyone else the most freedom, so long it was voluntary and not enforced by a more powerful authority and human nature is no different from what it is now (which I think it would have to be for either option to work in practice).

    Ultimately, it makes me think of game theory. The best possible outcome comes from everyone making the right choices, even if it is to the detriment of themselves, but people don't do that, so we have to live with something less. This is where politics comes in as we have to start dealing with practical things and what is instead of what is ideal.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 06-14-10 at 02:20 PM.

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    You could just ask me which I would prefer to live in. I was originally trying to look at it from an objective perspective, which means look at the system and taking me out of the equation, so to speak. I think I would be happiest in from each to each society as I think it would afford me and everyone else the most freedom, so long it was voluntary and not enforced by a more powerful authority.
    Yeah, I majored in philosophy. So I don't ask anything direct. My responses are looong.

    Anyway, to clarify the from each according to his ability to each according to his need - is that your answer? Because both have 'from each to each' in them.

    And if so, how does this give you more freedom? By definition, it seems to restrict your freedom to choose to do less than your ability, or to earn more than what the 'average' citizen would earn. I can see the altruistic point that it will be better for the less able. But it is worse for freedoms by definition, no?

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    Re: From each and to Each

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    Yeah, I majored in philosophy. So I don't ask anything direct. My responses are looong.

    Anyway, to clarify the from each according to his ability to each according to his need - is that your answer? Because both have 'from each to each' in them.

    And if so, how does this give you more freedom? By definition, it seems to restrict your freedom to choose to do less than your ability, or to earn more than what the 'average' citizen would earn. I can see the altruistic point that it will be better for the less able. But it is worse for freedoms by definition, no?
    Yes, the marxist one. Yes, it might restrict that freedom, but I think on balance, when everyone is taken into account, we end up having more. However, this is entirely dependant on our prosperity and the resources we have available to us in order to do things. The ability to do things is what defines our freedom (I don't believe in the idea of natural law to be the definer or freedoms, I think freedoms happen where the rubber meets the road in every day life). Ultimately, I think in a society where resources are not evenly distritubed, for the rich person to be able to do more, it gets to a point of diminishing returns where lots of resources have to be brought to bear for a small gain of freedom (eventually the private jet only flies a little faster, even if it is vastly more expensive, for example or the maintenance on a 10% larger swimming pool is more than a 10% gain in cost due to changes in structural supports needed).

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