I-P: Capitalism vrs. commies

Owen Byrne owen@permafrost.net
Wed, 6 Mar 2002 11:39:27 -0400

On Wed, Mar 06, 2002 at 03:02:54PM +0000, Russell Turpin wrote:
> Owen Byrne:
> >I think that the harshest parts of the "red threat" (forced labour, gulags, 
> >propaganda, paraniod tyrannical
> >leaders) that I grew up learning to fear have now been adopted in part or 
> >whole by "capitalist" nations.
> Historically, I can't make sense of this. Do capitalist
> economies today have a lot of coarseness and injustice?
> Of course. But is this an adaption from communism? It
> seems to me it is more just inheritance from old forms
> of capitalism, and that the historic trend in democratic,
> capitalist nations is in the other direction. Forced
> labor? Indentured servitude and slavery were both
> eliminated. Trade unions and labor law blossomed.
> Workplaces became viewed as partly public space where
> minimal standards of safety and non-discrimination were
> mandated. Gulags? Debtor prison was eliminated.
> Propaganda? Yes, of course. But worse than when?
> I'm not saying it is all sweetness and light. It's not.
> But I don't see the process you describe. What was adopted
> from communism, and when was this done? You imply it was
> after you were born (1960). Maybe I'm being dense.

Post Ronald Reagan. I would say that the specific point at which western
democracy began to wither away was the fall of the Berlin wall/Russian 
Empire. Without a credible threat of an alternative system of government,
human rights are just no longer important.

Forced labour - I was referring to the fastest growing and most
attractive labour sector in the US - prison convicts.
Gulags - What's the AIDS rate in US maximum security prisons? Its the
same basic feature - you go in, you die.

"Trade unions and labor law blossomed" - and have now pretty well
withered away.