Experiment in Socialism

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Experiment in Socialism

Postby Freakzilla » 19 Apr 2009 20:43

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. The class had insisted that 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 socialism."

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. 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. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided that since they could not make an A, they studied less. The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder people try to succeed the greater their reward but when a government takes all the reward away, no one will try or succeed.

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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Freakzilla » 19 Apr 2009 20:44

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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 19 Apr 2009 22:57

That is prett funny, probably made up but pretty funny none the less.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Lundse » 20 Apr 2009 03:57

Its called the Tragedy of the Commons. And the problem is not only a problem for socialism, but crops up anywhere a shared ressource is not properly controlled. Such as the environment in a (eg. capitalist) society - cutting down forests, polluting lakes, etc. is a shortterm gain (like studying less and still receiving an ok grade), but will eventually lead to catastrophe for future generations (like the whole class failing).

The great thing about the class experiment, even though it probably never occured, is that it showed the class (and us) this failing. The problem is the stuff which is too long-term to be seen before it is too late (Frank had an example with the rat poison Warfarin, anyone recall where?)

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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Phaedrus » 20 Apr 2009 04:29

Really, that's a flawed analogy.

If a classroom with a traditional grading system is supposed to be the analogue for laissez-faire capitalism, why does the "government," i.e., the professor, assign all the grades?

College courses are an experiment in fascism, nothing more or less. This ridiculous story not only wouldn't ever happen(no professor who wanted to keep his job would ever try something like that, and no class would ever want to try it. Plus, only 2 kids of the 150 in the class really know anything about Marxism or socialism, and most of the rest really don't give enough of a shit to know there's a difference between it and capitalism.), the result would be NOTHING like what's depicted. College students will do ANYTHING for a good grade on a test, including pulling all-night study sessions with the smartest econ students on campus. If a system like this were implemented, the ambitious students who want to maintain their GPAs would study their asses off to increase the average no matter what.

I know this because I'm the college student that everyone else considers insane. I don't care about my grades or test scores because they're pretty irrelevant measures of what I learn in classes(not much). I don't even know what kind of grades I'm making in college right now, because I don't think those details matter. And people think I'm the craziest person ever. I think most college students could tell you the exact grade they need on their final to make an A in the course...and they're all so confused when I read unassigned portions of textbooks because they're interesting. This example is so completely untrue of college students and professors, it's like a really bad joke.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Redstar » 20 Apr 2009 05:31

I don't agree.

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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 20 Apr 2009 13:17

I'm with Phaedrus, but I'm in college for fun so I really on't give a shit about my grades.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby chanilover » 20 Apr 2009 15:13

Phaedrus wrote:Really, that's a flawed analogy.

If a classroom with a traditional grading system is supposed to be the analogue for laissez-faire capitalism, why does the "government," i.e., the professor, assign all the grades?

College courses are an experiment in fascism, nothing more or less.


Why is that?
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Phaedrus » 20 Apr 2009 16:04

chanilover wrote:
Phaedrus wrote:Really, that's a flawed analogy.

If a classroom with a traditional grading system is supposed to be the analogue for laissez-faire capitalism, why does the "government," i.e., the professor, assign all the grades?

College courses are an experiment in fascism, nothing more or less.


Why is that?


For the reason I stated: professors are essentially fascist dictators, they can assign grades purely out of whim and get away with it by citing any number of bullshit reasons.

It may be different in the U.K., or even in better or private colleges in the U.S., but my experience with public schools so far has been a ridiculous adherence to bad ideas and teaching methods, and any dissent from that tiny realm of academia is silenced with the lash of low GPAs.

I actually have a theory that college courses aren't designed to impart useful information, but rather to make students submissive and willing to do anything for a small reward offered by an authority figure. I'm pretty disenchanted with the education system in America of late...but I stick with it for shits and giggles. Not like I'll be able to get a job with my B.A. in Philosophy(when and if I get it).
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby SadisticCynic » 20 Apr 2009 16:50

Phaedrus wrote:
chanilover wrote:
Phaedrus wrote:Really, that's a flawed analogy.

If a classroom with a traditional grading system is supposed to be the analogue for laissez-faire capitalism, why does the "government," i.e., the professor, assign all the grades?

College courses are an experiment in fascism, nothing more or less.


Why is that?


For the reason I stated: professors are essentially fascist dictators, they can assign grades purely out of whim and get away with it by citing any number of bullshit reasons.

It may be different in the U.K., or even in better or private colleges in the U.S., but my experience with public schools so far has been a ridiculous adherence to bad ideas and teaching methods, and any dissent from that tiny realm of academia is silenced with the lash of low GPAs.

I actually have a theory that college courses aren't designed to impart useful information, but rather to make students submissive and willing to do anything for a small reward offered by an authority figure. I'm pretty disenchanted with the education system in America of late...but I stick with it for shits and giggles. Not like I'll be able to get a job with my B.A. in Philosophy(when and if I get it).


Wait a minute! Philosophy teachers don't accept different ideas! :o That's just stupid.

(A teacher of mine who tries to encourage independant thought once told us about the education system: you start off learning small amounts about lots of subjects, you move onto a higher level where you learn more about a smaller number of subjects, then you go into detail in a select few subjects and so on. So you learn more and more about less and less and eventually know a whole lot about nothing at all :P).
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Phaedrus » 20 Apr 2009 17:06

SadisticCynic wrote:Wait a minute! Philosophy teachers don't accept different ideas! :o That's just stupid.


I feel like you're being sarcastic, but you have no idea how many ideas there are that your philosophy professors won't even touch, if you're in an American institution. Anything too far to the Left or too European are considered "literature" and won't be taken seriously, no matter how good or interesting the ideas and arguments are.

(A teacher of mine who tries to encourage independant thought once told us about the education system: you start off learning small amounts about lots of subjects, you move onto a higher level where you learn more about a smaller number of subjects, then you go into detail in a select few subjects and so on. So you learn more and more about less and less and eventually know a whole lot about nothing at all :P).


That's not how I roll. I'm a generalist at heart, which is the real reason I'm a philosophy major: philosophy ultimately reaches into every field. And really, I'm not so interested in knowing a lot about philosophy so much as I'm interested in using philosophy to see how everything fits together in a big moving picture in at least 4 dimensions. I'm not sure where you go to school for that, or what kind of job market exists for that field, or even if that field exists.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby SadisticCynic » 20 Apr 2009 17:55

Phaedrus wrote:
SadisticCynic wrote:Wait a minute! Philosophy teachers don't accept different ideas! :o That's just stupid.


I feel like you're being sarcastic, but you have no idea how many ideas there are that your philosophy professors won't even touch, if you're in an American institution. Anything too far to the Left or too European are considered "literature" and won't be taken seriously, no matter how good or interesting the ideas and arguments are.

(A teacher of mine who tries to encourage independant thought once told us about the education system: you start off learning small amounts about lots of subjects, you move onto a higher level where you learn more about a smaller number of subjects, then you go into detail in a select few subjects and so on. So you learn more and more about less and less and eventually know a whole lot about nothing at all :P).


That's not how I roll. I'm a generalist at heart, which is the real reason I'm a philosophy major: philosophy ultimately reaches into every field. And really, I'm not so interested in knowing a lot about philosophy so much as I'm interested in using philosophy to see how everything fits together in a big moving picture in at least 4 dimensions. I'm not sure where you go to school for that, or what kind of job market exists for that field, or even if that field exists.


I was indeed being sarcastic as I feel it's ridiculous to reject ideas simply because they are in bad taste. Being a generalist simply makes more sense. I've never heard of a field that would take into consideration absolutely everything. Except perhaps philosophy but I tend to feel that philosophy is a very personal thing for me; not necessarily something that you formally study but that you do for yourself in whatever way suits you. It seems sometimes there is a little too much focus on specialist fields. This topic always makes me think of some of the famous scientists/mathematicians or philosophers whose names are seen cropping up almost indiscrimately in different fields, sometimes quite distantly related to each other. Gotta respect anyone who can do that.

P.S The sarcasm was not directed at you. :)
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 20 Apr 2009 18:23

Baraka Bryan wrote:I had an experience with the "fascist dictator" type professor when I was still doing a political science minor.

As most of you know, I'm a conservative and capitalist, and unfortunately for me, political science classes at my university are equatable with Marxist Class.

so whenever we had papers to write, I would present well researched, well argued essays that the Prof and TA didn't agree with. Those papers brought down my grade in the course by a ton.

In the last polisci class I took there, I needed a good mark so i finally gave in and wrote a bullshit essay that agreed with the TA's perspective. It wasn't nearly as well written or researched because my heart wasn't in it, and I got an A.

At that point, I dropped my polisci minor and switched it to Economics instead.


That kinda thing is always shitty to hear.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Phaedrus » 20 Apr 2009 18:50

I agree with AToE, and I sympathize, having been in a very similar situation for most of my college experience thus far.

The worst was this Ethics professor I had who was an unrepentant utilitarian. I would have failed the class regardless, because he had a strict attendance policy, and strict attendance policies are a foe that I will battle unto death. However, the moment of ultimate bullshit came one day when the professor was explaining his argument for utilitarianism. He said, and I quote, "Pain is bad because it hurts." When I raised my hand and pointed out that this isn't an argument at all, and in fact, it makes no sense, because it could be rendered as "Pain is bad because it is pain," the professor waffled a bit, then said that he understood my objection, but could not answer my question in a simple way, then proceeded to act as if his argument was perfectly unflawed, and that to reject it was insanity. And yes, the tests in this class pretty much worked so that you had to agree with that argument to make an A. I'm really bad at writing down answers I don't agree with, especially in philosophy, so I think we all know how this story ends.

But really, I've had the same problem in many of my classes. The worst is when the professor is somewhat sympathetic, but gives you a shitty grade anyway because of University regulations. I actually had an English prof. who told me she agreed with everything I was saying, and that my essay was brilliant, but that she had to fail me because I didn't fulfill the course requirements(something about the format of the essay in question). That's just a terrible situation.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby chanilover » 21 Apr 2009 03:44

That's a valuable life lesson. A lot of people graduate from university and think they know it all, and really struggle when it comes to working life. Not everyone is going to be convinced of your brilliance, and they won't particularly care what you think of anything if you can't follow instructions.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby SwordMaster » 21 Apr 2009 08:24

Baraka Bryan wrote:
chanilover wrote:That's a valuable life lesson. A lot of people graduate from university and think they know it all, and really struggle when it comes to working life. Not everyone is going to be convinced of your brilliance, and they won't particularly care what you think of anything if you can't follow instructions.


most university classes (particularly in an undergrad) simply teach students how to regurgitate "facts" and the prof's POV. this is why most people can get through a university degree relatively easily. I think standards need to be raised and flunk out rates increased to over 50%.


You went to UofT also?

lol. Thats where I went.

Being a big leftwinger I found all of the classes to be easy and enjoyable, but I can see if you lean right, it could be very annoying. What I cant remember is if I went in there with the left leaning views, or if I just came out with them;) :clap:
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby SwordMaster » 21 Apr 2009 08:24

Baraka Bryan wrote:
chanilover wrote:That's a valuable life lesson. A lot of people graduate from university and think they know it all, and really struggle when it comes to working life. Not everyone is going to be convinced of your brilliance, and they won't particularly care what you think of anything if you can't follow instructions.


most university classes (particularly in an undergrad) simply teach students how to regurgitate "facts" and the prof's POV. this is why most people can get through a university degree relatively easily. I think standards need to be raised and flunk out rates increased to over 50%.


You went to UofT also?

lol. Thats where I went.

Being a big leftwinger I found all of the classes to be easy and enjoyable, but I can see if you lean right, it could be very annoying. What I cant remember is if I went in there with the left leaning views, or if I just came out with them;) :clap:
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby SwordMaster » 21 Apr 2009 08:53

true enough. its the same in the states from what I have heard most academics do lean left generally. i have heard of some neo cons trying to protest the amount of lefty academics... doubt they will make any progress its always been that way when a theory is more disriable and the practice is less then realistic, the academics will follow.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Spicelon » 21 Apr 2009 09:08

Phaedrus wrote:Really, that's a flawed analogy.

If a classroom with a traditional grading system is supposed to be the analogue for laissez-faire capitalism, why does the "government," i.e., the professor, assign all the grades?

College courses are an experiment in fascism, nothing more or less. This ridiculous story not only wouldn't ever happen(no professor who wanted to keep his job would ever try something like that, and no class would ever want to try it. Plus, only 2 kids of the 150 in the class really know anything about Marxism or socialism, and most of the rest really don't give enough of a shit to know there's a difference between it and capitalism.), the result would be NOTHING like what's depicted. College students will do ANYTHING for a good grade on a test, including pulling all-night study sessions with the smartest econ students on campus. If a system like this were implemented, the ambitious students who want to maintain their GPAs would study their asses off to increase the average no matter what.

I know this because I'm the college student that everyone else considers insane. I don't care about my grades or test scores because they're pretty irrelevant measures of what I learn in classes(not much). I don't even know what kind of grades I'm making in college right now, because I don't think those details matter. And people think I'm the craziest person ever. I think most college students could tell you the exact grade they need on their final to make an A in the course...and they're all so confused when I read unassigned portions of textbooks because they're interesting. This example is so completely untrue of college students and professors, it's like a really bad joke.


If your approach yields good results, then rock on. If grades ultimately don't concern you, then consider yourself lucky to be able to afford the stiff cost of self-improvement.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Spicelon » 21 Apr 2009 09:31

Interesting thread.

My experience with college courses and professors was always straight forward; then again, I went to an engineering school, so maybe that's what made it different. Anyway, my professors, by and large, were not out to "get" anybody, and really had no secret agendas. This was a situation of competition and attrition. My profs didn't give a crap how much you knew. They cared if you knew more than the guy next to you. THAT was how performance was measured. The freshman year was pretty much designed to weed out about 1/3 of those that started.

And really, no matter what kind of program you're enrolled in, it's all a game. If you're a young idealist who won't kiss the prof's ass, then I guess the decision's been made, right? That's not the professor's fault. It's all about results, and not what you know. The idea is to fulfill the program requirements and get the piece of paper. Some prof's make it difficult, some don't - either you'll do it or you won't. If you don't like the system, then you better figure out another way to get where you want to go. Or go another direction.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby chanilover » 21 Apr 2009 09:50

Baraka Bryan wrote:
chanilover wrote:That's a valuable life lesson. A lot of people graduate from university and think they know it all, and really struggle when it comes to working life. Not everyone is going to be convinced of your brilliance, and they won't particularly care what you think of anything if you can't follow instructions.


most university classes (particularly in an undergrad) simply teach students how to regurgitate "facts" and the prof's POV. this is why most people can get through a university degree relatively easily. I think standards need to be raised and flunk out rates increased to over 50%.


I think having your wings clipped in university by the professors is a good thing, it gives you a sense of balance and stops you disappearing too far up your own arsehole. When I graduated and started work my dad gave me a long lecture about how low down I was going to be in the foodchain in work and not to expect anyone to be impressed by a snotty kid straight out of uni. He was right, I joined a graduate trainee programme and some of the brats on the programme were ghastly. They thought they ought to be running the place just because they had a degree in some useless shit or other, you could actually see them antagonising the people assigned to train them with their puffed up attitudes. It all came from thinking theh knew better than anyone else in uni. Anyway, I left that place (legal department for an investment bank BOO!), now I'm still at the bottom of the rung at a law firm. But one day I will be in charge! :Adolf:
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Freakzilla » 21 Apr 2009 11:55

God help us all! :P
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby GamePlayer » 21 Apr 2009 14:15

There's enough middle management in the world already trashing people with intelligence and vision. Last thing we need is a post-secondary education system with more of that. My country is in desperate need of a generation willing to take risk and a system that provides scope for their talents, not stifles them.
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Freakzilla » 21 Apr 2009 14:36

Baraka Bryan wrote:...the problem is, most profs are just professional students who never had their wings clipped and whose heads are so far up their own asses that they can't believe it possible that they're ever wrong and so any dissenting (albeit well-argued) positions on an issue are shot down with the only real weapon these idiots have: low grades.


Harumph!

[excluding faculty members here, of course. :wink: ]
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Re: Experiment in Socialism

Postby Phaedrus » 21 Apr 2009 15:57

Baraka Bryan wrote:
chanilover wrote:That's a valuable life lesson. A lot of people graduate from university and think they know it all, and really struggle when it comes to working life. Not everyone is going to be convinced of your brilliance, and they won't particularly care what you think of anything if you can't follow instructions.


most university classes (particularly in an undergrad) simply teach students how to regurgitate "facts" and the prof's POV. this is why most people can get through a university degree relatively easily. I think standards need to be raised and flunk out rates increased to over 50%.


This.

Chanilover, I would agree with you, except that I don't think of college as something that prepares people for a career. I think of it as an educational institution first, with career-preparation as a secondary effect. And while it's great for career preparation that there are shitty assholes teaching classes(since there will be shitty assholes in charge at work), it's terrible for actually educating students. And an education system that prepares people to work but not to think is a complete failure that turns people into machines.

Spicelon wrote:If your approach yields good results, then rock on. If grades ultimately don't concern you, then consider yourself lucky to be able to afford the stiff cost of self-improvement.


Ha, I don't consider it self-improvement. It's just the only way I know how to get by. I'm interested in education, which is why I'm still in college, but sometimes, I'll walk into a class the first day and realize that it's going to be a waste of my time. There are so many classes that are required for some reason, but don't really involve any intelligence to get through. If you show up and do the redundant assignments, you pass, otherwise, you probably don't. I have no interest in or patience for such classes. I usually drop them or fail them.

Baraka Bryan wrote:for sure, and some classes in university really did broaden my view of the world, which until then was quite narrow. the problem is, most profs are just professional students who never had their wings clipped and whose heads are so far up their own asses that they can't believe it possible that they're ever wrong and so any dissenting (albeit well-argued) positions on an issue are shot down with the only real weapon these idiots have: low grades.


This, mostly. In my case, I've found that some classes will inspire me to learn more about a subject, which in turn broadens my views. I don't usually learn much of interest from the classes themselves, but rather from moments of inspiration that come from class material, or from examining the system.

GamePlayer wrote:There's enough middle management in the world already trashing people with intelligence and vision. Last thing we need is a post-secondary education system with more of that. My country is in desperate need of a generation willing to take risk and a system that provides scope for their talents, not stifles them.


I couldn't agree with you more. I look at most college students, even seniors about to graduate, and I just can't figure out exactly how the education system has sharpened their skills. It usually turns them into machines that can suck up to people, memorize facts, and write really bad papers when required. They know a lot of facts about a given field, but that's about it. I'm not sure when this happened to the education system, but the entire thing is in need of a serious overhaul.
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