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Computerized Communism

Communism where Napoleon and Snowball are computers, not pigs
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Communism in Russia and Animal Farm was crippled by the greed and ineffectiveness of the power bearing elites. If we replace these visionary, but altogether too human, leaders with computers, we can avoid the problems of greed as well as establishing more effective government owned corporations.

Computers will be responsible for three key functions. Worker testing and assignment according to abilities, effective and efficient production, distribution of production as needed, and monitoring of the crime control system.

Worker testing and training would begin at birth. Parents would still be responsible for raising the child, but they would be given explicit instructions for what emphases they should place. If birth testing indicated a strong predilection for math, the baby would be confronted with mathematical dilemmas and training throughout its childhood. It would be schooled in a mathematicians school, and would then be placed in a math profession. Parents would regrettably only be allowed one child in order to better focus the training of the child.

Production would similarly be managed. Workers will be assigned according to their training and the needs of society. Workers could easily be shifted across firms, since all would be controlled by the government. Management within firms would be handled primarily by computers, in order to remove any false impressions of inequity. Production goals would be set with the idea that all people should live above adequately and equally. Since computers are running the show, there will be no skimming.

Distribution is one of the best parts of the new system. Imports would be run by computers. Production would be run by computers. All of it would meet carefully calculated production goals for the society. There would be some difficulty in calculating what best to export and import, but the computers would handle these problems. Computer managed trucking and rail systems would ferry the materiel around the nation, making sure each area got it equally. A household will be assigned a certain amount of food, water, and clothes. They will be told the recommended consumption, and surplus will be returned at the end of the period. It will be possible for a household to trade its surplus food allotment for more clothes, for example, but trading into the required amount will not be allowed. People will be required to get at least the minimum sustenance, anything further they can distribute as they please.

Crime control is the place where computer control and modern technology is absolutely essential. People are outfitted with ID badges or implants, and their cars are either computer controlled or carefully governed. A sharp shock will be administered when someone fails to be in a designated area on time. Cars will be unable to operate at faster than the accepted speed, and deviations from the path to work will not be possible. Every person will be assigned a grace period. They will be allotted a certain amount of extra time in a month, and every time they are late, this time decreases. Required time at work will be mandated in this way.

Humans will be responsible for decisions that computers would find difficult to evaluate. A vote would be taken on every foreign relation question. Domestic policy would be a matter of which workers were assigned which jobs, and would be handled by the machines. Humans would be able to decide who to go to war with, and that would be all.

The system would be very like Marx's system, but computers would manage the inherent inability of humans to function for the common good. The society would be all proletariat, with some proletariats working at different jobs. All management would be done by computers, so there would be no bosses, no inequity. Perfect equality, perfect happiness, for everyone.

Slicer, Mar 30 2002

Paranoia - The Game http://en.wikipedia...ole-playing_game%29
Happiness is mandatory, unhappiness is treason - Communists are everywhere - Link updated 01/07/2013 [normzone, Oct 04 2004, last modified Jan 07 2013]

Red Plenty: Industry! Progress! Abundance! Inside the Fifties Soviet Dream https://www.library...g.com/work/10294975
PrairieProgressive: "The U.S.S.R.'s goal was to "overtake and surpass" capitalist economies and produce a horn of plenty. While economic planning seems a dry and boring topic, Spufford totally blurs the line between fiction and history." [LoriZ, Jan 30 2013]

Nineteen Seventy Three Article #342 • written by Alan Bellows http://www.damninte...ty-three/#more-4942
On 12 November 1971, in the presidential palace in the Republic of Chile, President Salvador Allende and a British theorist named Stafford Beer engaged in a highly improbable conversation. Beer was a world-renowned cybernetician and Allende was the newly elected leader of the impoverished republic. [LoriZ, Jan 30 2013]


       Yuck. Sounds a lot closer to perfect unhappiness for everyone. Maybe this would be better if all participants are computers.
bristolz, Mar 30 2002

       //Humans will be responsible for decisions that computers would find difficult to evaluate. A vote would be taken on every foreign relation question// why not go the whole hog!
po, Mar 30 2002

       I believe this could work.
lubbit, Mar 30 2002

       nominate lubbit to clean out the pig pen
po, Mar 30 2002

       Can I volunteer to write the program governing the computer's actions? (Mmmwwahahaha! The Power!! The Power!!!)

Shit. Did I write that out aloud?
mcscotland, Mar 30 2002

       yes and I have saved it for posterity! ha.
po, Mar 30 2002

       Yeah, its not much of a life for the participants as written, but I envision a massive media entertainment project. Computer gaming will keep the proletariats passive and contented. And if programmers become the media icons of the society, what better role models than workaholic programmers on overdrive?
Slicer, Mar 30 2002

       George Orwell's "Server Farm"
waugsqueke, Mar 30 2002

       This would be "compunism"
bristolz, Mar 31 2002

       If you can build technology capable of running such an all-encompassing totalitarian system, I doubt that anyone still needs to work.
jutta, Mar 31 2002

       Why not let computer run everything? Just let human to be entirely lost in their own desires through visual realities or recreational mind control. That sounds more interesting than computized communism.
bing, Mar 31 2002

       Any form of communism is a great idea in theory. One of the main problems not mentioned however is that how would you get someone to work? If they can gain nothing out of it there is no incentive to work. They would get whatever they need from the community. That is the main problem in my opinion.
pogoman59, Mar 31 2002

       Arthur C. Clarke wrote of a society that used a computer to periodically choose a new president. The first criteria for selection was that the candidate must never have shown any desire to be in politics before. Sir Arthur is probably the smartest man alive.
Maestro, Mar 31 2002

       Already baked in Microsoft's Proletariat Workstation 2002.
spartanica, Mar 31 2002

       Some years ago, when I was studying Computer Science at university, a lecturer who had previously shown all the classic signs of high intelligence (baldness, socks with sandals, glasses) informed the class that the reason communism failed in the USSR was that the computers they used to formulate the Five Year Plans were not powerful enough. While I question the veracity of his statement, it is relevant. I doubt very much that there exists powerful enough technology and enough honest programmers to make this work.   

       In other words, what jutta and mcscotland said.
calum, Mar 31 2002

       I like the idea of dispassionate algorithms (which don't owe any favors would be nice) doing the labor matchmaking. I absolutely suck at it. The lack of such a system is probably the cruelest (to me) part of capitalism. I don't know how early an age you want to start "grooming" people for work assignments, though. The regime's interest will be in grooming kids for regimental security work. Probability of a shy person getting into an honest line of work would still be probably no higer than under the market's tyrranny.
LoriZ, Mar 31 2002

       Is every citizen supplied with five spare clones of themselves? Seriously, though, the ideals of communism would be best implimented not by making every business owned centrally by the same entity, but rather mandating that each business be a worker owned co-op. At that point, the central government would not need to concern itself with worker punctuality, or even worker skill evaluation, which is, quite possibly, the worst idea ever. Or at least, the second worst, after the one child per couple thing, which would lead to a halving of your civilization's population every generation. Anyway, humans arn't born with Transformer-like tech-spec blurbs with ratings like "mathematics: 10; firepower: 3" to tell you which babies should be earmarked for which professions. Furthermore, even if you could ignore the "nurture" aspect and figure out what a person should do based only on their DNA or something, that would lead to a desperately unhappy populace, humans need the process of discovery to figure out what they want to do, and they also need the freedom to make changes.
JakePatterson, Mar 31 2002

       People have a great incentive to work. They get zapped by their ID badge if they don't, and they seeking to emulate their role models, the overworking computer geeks who direct their entertainment. And the 1 parent per child is 1 parent per child at one time. Once the child is sent to a work farm, the couple can raise another.
Slicer, Mar 31 2002

       While communism flamed out during the latter half of the last century, the ideas of John Nash were percolating and so this year we have more widespread awareness of the idea that got him a Nobel Prize--that market forces are best left to the individual. Having a computer somehow run everything served as a recurring theme in several of the original Star Trek T.V. shows. I don't know where this idea comes from, but it keeps coming back. Maybe it's always from the guy who secretly wants to be the one who programs the master computer.
entremanure, Apr 01 2002

       I'm already in over my head a bit, but surely it's not accurate to condense Nash's ideas to "market forces are best left to the individual?" That sounds more like a summary of earlier economic theorists (Smith?). I thought Nash's ideas were more along the lines of "market forces work best for all or nearly all individuals when individuals act not solely in their own interest but in their interest considering the likely actions of other individuals" or something like that.   

       Anyway, there will be no more communists after we paint everything green.
beauxeault, Apr 01 2002

       Yes but do you want the green party running the country?
RobertKidney, Apr 01 2002

       makes sense
subkat, Jan 14 2003

       Sounds like a game I recently learned of - Paranoia. The Computer runs all, happiness is mandatory, unhappiness is treason, treason is punishable by death. Be happy.......see link
normzone, Nov 25 2003


       Governments are just window-dressing for the major multinational corporations that actually run the world. They, in turn, are already run by computers.
whlanteigne, Jan 07 2013

       You mean it was less simplistic and naive in the past?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 07 2013

       If you travel widely enough, [whlanteigne], you may discover one day that all the people who feature in other people's paranoid world-views - and that includes business people, politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, media-folk, preachers, bond-dealers, arms-traders, NGO-ers - all of them - have more-or-less paranoid anxieties about the power that *other* people have over *their* lives. Not all to the same extent, but everyone at least a little bit. No-one "runs" the world. Things happen mostly by mistake. This means that everyone, including you, has at least a little share of the responsibility for making things better. It's no good just waiting for the revolution. Good luck out there.
pertinax, Jan 30 2013

       LoriZ, I've seen that article about Stafford Beer before. It's one of my all time favourites, I think.
DrBob, Jan 31 2013


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