A little something to stir things up (in Debates)

Fishead April 13 2013 11:25 PM EDT

You all may not have noticed, but i don't like to get into debates here on CB. I only debate with good friends when I am drunk. But, I thought I would share this email I got and see what happens.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars -something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Can you think of a reason for not sharing this? Neither could I.......Thank you.

Zenai [Cult of the Valaraukar] April 13 2013 11:40 PM EDT

Agreed however there can be caveat instated that would make it work.

If you do not work towards the prosperity of all you will be cast out.

I cannot think of a better motivation for people. You want to have your comfort that is fine but if you are lazy get the hell out.

For something of this magnitude to work there must be hard rules and unfortunately in our type of society most will revolt.

This revolves around a basic principle and the answer to a very long standing philosophical question:

Q: What makes the world go around?
A: A Modicum of Need and a Lion's Share of Want.

People will do the bare minimum to get the things they need, but will go to absolute extremes to get the things they want. Until this changes ideas of the masses working together for more than their own personal benefit is a failure before it begins.

Just my two cents on the subject :-)

Demigod April 13 2013 11:43 PM EDT

You know he's not really a socialist, right? That's just hyperbole that gets tossed around by political opponents. And of course the story of the class is a fable. So I guess the real topic you're posing for debate is "can true socialism be successful?"

Zenai [Cult of the Valaraukar] April 14 2013 12:14 AM EDT

well the point does stand. In very few circumstances do people work together for the benefit of all. Even then they are still benefiting themselves in some way, shape, form or fashion. Furthermore it doesn't happen for prolonged periods of time or any longer than absolutely necessary. After that it's a meh, and some ppl will call it quits long before that.

IPoop April 14 2013 5:44 PM EDT

nice read

The other way of looking at it was the reward was not worth the effort - if instead of grades had he said i will give you 1 million each if you can keep a B maintained would that of worked better?

They were never going to get a grade A over the whole class (or very doubtful) but a decent average should of been possible so it comes down to lack of desire and they obviously didnt care about the grades/outcome

Sickone April 16 2013 2:53 AM EDT

Take this from a person who actually grew up in a "socialist" communist regime - what's described there is a fictional worst case scenario for the TRANSITION period, which is not the same thing as a stable late post-transition situation.
Also, if you'd like to call Obama a socialist, then what the heck would you call actual socialists ?

In an actual real-life class, a different thing would much more likely happen.
The first test MIGHT be a "D" average, since the lazy would have gone full lazy from the start, and the mediocre ones not put in much of an effort either. Then the people who actually care about their grades and generally get good ones would either start heckling or tutoring (or heckling for tutoring) the other worst students to get a move on. The good grade kids would push and shove the bad grade kids to such a degree that the overall grades would quickly get to a "C" then "B", and if the situation persists long enough for the initial roughness to smooth over and get the students involved with each-other enough for a mutual support system, they might all actually even get an "A" eventually (depending on just how brain-dead some students in the group are and on the limits to the better student's patience might be), the aggregate group walking away with a lot more knowledge than they would otherwise have walked away with.

Also, to address your hints about wealth in that flawed parable. scientific studies show that quality work is generally NOT achieved through greater financial motivation - money generally only improves performance in the vast majority of people up to the point where a rather comfortable living style can be achieved (i.e. no financial troubles), and after that, additional monetary rewards have little (or even the opposite) effect. VERY FEW people do excellent work when a load of cash is shaken in front of their nose if they already have it rather good, instead most people do better work when they find the work itself its own reward and they don't have to worry about their financial safety.

So, yeah, there's at the very least two sides to every story, and usually more than three.

Sickone April 16 2013 3:02 AM EDT

And in case you were wondering, that is what we school kids ACTUALLY DID (with no adult direction as to do it) way back in the "communist days" - we helped each-other with homework, we quizzed each-other for the more difficult sections in the class load when we knew we had a test coming, and so on and so forth. And let me tell you, we had some pretty dense colleagues, but they still managed to get decent grades in most classes fair and square.

QBRanger April 16 2013 2:42 PM EDT

I agree,

Obama is not a socialist. He is a socialist Democrat.

He believes the stupid populace needs to be protected from the big bad corporations by excessive regulations and progressive taxation.

He believes that people are too stupid to make their own choices and needs big government to show them the way.

This European model of government is failing and is causing significant problems in the US right now. But that is just my 2 cents.

Sickone April 16 2013 5:34 PM EDT

He believes that people are too stupid to make their own choices and needs big government to show them the way.

Even if he would believe that (which he may or may not, I do not personally know), can you honestly say that's not how things actually stand for that particular issue ?

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] April 16 2013 7:39 PM EDT

The example is, I'm going to wildly speculate, a classroom full of kids 90% most of whom don't want to be there (unless this "local college" is one famed for producing world-leading economists, in which case 80% are fulfilling requirements and 20% are living the dream).

How come the following are never considered:

-people who do things just because (personal pride, joy, obligation, duty, etc.)
-people who do something extraordinary because they are extraordinarily gifted
-a society in which self-aggrandizement isn't the highest value

There was really no one in that class who knew enough about economics, without really studying, to pull the average up at all? And no one who just wanted to learn economics in spite of the fact that their knowledge would (in the short term and solely as a by-product) help someone else? And no one leader enough to organize the body politic into achievement, so as to avoid that big horrifying F on an otherwise unbesmirched transcript? Really not enough students who had to fulfill that requirement at a C or higher?

I am suspicious.

(Also, I find it interesting that the privileged who get all "Hell yeah!" about the moral of this story never quite catch the implication that they will only do anything even moderately ambitious if they are promised a certain amount of looking down on the lowly. If the lowly are going to benefit, then they'll turn into lazy, bottom-feeding, laggardly bastards.)

AdminNightStrike April 18 2013 1:25 PM EDT

Take this from a person who actually grew up in a "socialist" communist regime


Demigod April 18 2013 9:08 PM EDT

Pretty sure this is the answer.

Sickone April 19 2013 2:43 AM EDT

The only one in that series of revolutions that violently overthrew the government, complete with kangaroo court and summary execution by firing squad of the (former) head of state.
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