Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.
X
Aside

Unit 1.7 – Communism Debate

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 9 minutes


The following are a series of comments which relate to arguments for and against Communism: a socialist form of government in which resources and wealth are distributed evenly among the populace according to need.

 

          The only way for society to function is through a natural process of supply and demand. Arbitrary allocations of resources and manpower of indefinable value are not only inefficient, but also reckless.

 

II         The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. The freeman and the slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf… the oppressor and the oppressed, in constant opposition to one another; a conflict that each time ended either in a revolutionary reconstitution of the entire society or the common ruin of the conflicting classes.

 

III        The bourgeoisie has stripped the halo from every profession which was once honoured and admired with reverent awe. It has turned the doctor, the lawyer, the priest, the poet and the scientist into its paid wage-slaves.

 

IV        “We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there’d be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there’s always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don’t have and want to appropriate. In this world there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.”

 

        If people receive only according to their need, where is the incentive to work hard or do unpleasant jobs? Who will collect the garbage, and who will suffer through medical school?

 

VI        Take away the paycheques of the lawyer, the doctor and the accountant. Let them work not for the love of money, but for the love of their work. Soon they will all answer the question ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ with the blinkered innocence of a child who holds no concept of wealth or poverty.

 

VII      A true socialist society is one where everybody is equal, although some may be more equal than others.

 

VIII     “It’s the right idea, but for the wrong species”


 

1.         How many of the above comments could be said to be speaking in favour of communism?

  • A         1
  • B         2
  • C         3
  • D         4

 

2.         The point that  doctors, lawyers, priests etc.. are ‘paid wage slaves’ (Comment III) is:

  • A         Explicitly supported by Comment VI
  • B         Contradicted by comment VII
  • C         Explicitly supporting Capitalism
  • D         Not necessarily restricted to either side of the Communism debate

 

3.         Which statement, if true, would present the strongest challenge to Comment II?

  • A         Castes and classes emerge naturally throughout the development of human society
  • B         Egalitarian societies are as likely as hierarchical ones to be dismantled by revolution
  • C         In Roman times, slaves could earn their freedom and attain all the rights of a freeman
  • D         In the absence of an oppressive ruling class a minority will emerge to take control

 

4.         Which of the following best sums up the relationship between comments V and VI?

  • A         Comment VI directly contradicts comment V
  • B         Comment V offers a point of view while comment VI is a neutral statement
  • C         Both consider poverty as a potential motivation for work
  • D         Both acknowledge that an incentive is required to work unpleasant jobs

         

5.         Which of the following could be described as a matter of fact rather than a matter of opinion?

  • A         People are instinctively more competitive than cooperative
  • B         Communism would be a viable system of government if it could function independently of a dictatorship.
  • C         Egalitarian societies that shared work and common property existed long before ‘communism’.
  • D         The crimes by communist governments of the past century are unforgivable

 

 

Question 6 relates to the comment below.

 

“Fifteen years I’ve been working this job. Never promoted, never given a pay rise, and I never asked for one. Who am I to say I’m more crucial to the organisation than the next man? Unfortunately this means that when prices go up, my family struggles. When they are down, we save for inevitable setbacks. But there’s only so much we can take. It would be nice not to have to worry about money, but that ship sailed a long time ago.  I’m constantly unnerved by this new breed of youthful politicians that has begun to emerge. They seem to think we are all living in the past and can’t wait to crack their knuckles and start moving and shaking..”

 

6.         Which of the following appears to be least influential in shaping the speakers view?

The speaker’s:

  • A         sense of responsibility towards his family
  • B         fear of change
  • C         lust for power and wealth
  • D         belief in equality

 

 

  • Answers:
    Q1:C
    The three are II, III and VI

    Q2: A
    ‘Paid wage slaves’ suggests that they are slaves to the money they earn. The previous sentence in the comment can help us understand the expression in context. Professions which were once honored and revered are now valued based solely on the wages they provide. Comment VI suggests removing these wages, and that once that happens people will view the professions the way they used to, before money.

    Q3:B
    Comment III is suggesting that hierarchical societies collapse more often than not, and this is why we should choose communism. Answer B directly refutes the central point of Comment III’s argument. The other three dance around the point somewhat.

    Q4:A
    VI directly contradicts comment V. It doesn’t acknowledge that some horrible jobs require motivation – often a monetary one, suggesting that people, as children, will aspire to fill these roles. V also suggests that people ‘struggle’ through med school – rather than doing it for the love of it – which is what VI advocates.

    Q5:C
    A&B would seem like facts, but they are highly opinionated. C is the only real fact there. ‘unforgivable’ is an emotional, opinionated response too. Egalitarian means one in which everybody is treated equally.

    Q6:C
    Belief in equality: “Who am I to say I’m more crucial to the organisation than the next man? ”
    Fear of change: “I’m constantly unnerved by this new breed of youthful politicians that has begun to emerge. They seem to think we are all living in the past and can’t wait to crack their knuckles and start moving and shaking.”
    Family: “Unfortunately this means that when prices go up, my family struggles. When they are down, we save for inevitable setbacks. But there’s only so much we can take.”
    Lust for power and wealth stands out as the smallest motivator for this character.

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    May 19, 2012

Leave a comment  

name*

email*

website

Submit comment