Socialism on Human Nature
Posted by Nicole Berry on May 2, 2010
Socialism can be divided into two main factions: revolutionary socialists and evolutionary socialists. Both of these branches agree that humans are intrinsically sociable and should be left to work cooperatively, and equally, without an overbearing state corrupting them into egotistical individuals. However, the way and extent to which society should be reconfigured to enhance our basic natural state varies between the revolutionaries and evolutionaries.
Evolutionary socialists (e.g. Fabians) believe in ‘the inevitability of gradualism.’ They believe that society is heading towards a complete restructuring as humans are inherently philanthropic and will realise the negativities of capitalism, subsequently wishing to return to their natural state. This process will happen slowly over time with small changes; with each step, society moving closer towards a socialist society comprising of equality, collectivism, and common ownership. People will reject the state and choose to live in self run communes divided into trade groups, working for use not exchange/surplus value, and living without the need for money and competition. Eventually, this will become a widespread phenomenon.
Revolutionaries, in particular Marxists, would argue to the contrary. Although they agree in the inevitability of a socialist society arising, they do not believe the process should be gradual. Because humanity’s corrupt nature, induced by capitalism, is so deeply entrenched in society, society as it is needs to be destroyed and completely reconfigured from scratch. This one massive blow towards the state and capitalism will come from the aggrieved proletariat. To ensure that society is led in the right direction, there will be an interim period in which the proletariat will govern. In this phase they will teach about the benefits of a communist society, and once basic human nature has been restored in all, the state can gradually ‘wither away.’
How does this compare to conservative and liberal views on human nature and role of the state?
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