Skip to comments.When US tried Communism [ History of Jamestown: 1607 to 1611 ]
Posted on 10/31/2008 7:15:01 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March
I write this especially for our Maoist brothers. While the US is commonly vilified as the bastion of capitalism, it is little known that the US too has tried communism. It was only when communism failed that property rights and capitalism took hold.
Let us go back into history and see what lessons America learned from its relatively short dalliance with Maoism much before the great leader' himself was born.
The year was 1607. The first 104 settlers had arrived from Europe in Jamestown in the Virginia Tidewater region of the US in May. They found soil which was fertile beyond what they had seen in the lands which they had left. Fruits were abundant. Wild game such as deer and turkey were everywhere. There was no shortage of fish and other seafood. And yet within six months 66 of the original Jamestown, Virginia settlers had died. Only 38 survived.
Another 500 settlers were again sent to settle in Virginia in 1609 and within six months 440 of these too died by starvation and disease. This was called starving time' and one eyewitness described it in English of those times, So great was our famine, that a Savage we slew and buried, the poorer sorte took him up againe and eat him; and so did divers one another boyled and stewed with roots and herbs.'
How could this be? How could there be such death and starvation amidst so much plenty of meat, fruits, and fish. The fault as the witness said lay not in the barrenness and defect of the Countrie' but in the want of providence, industry and government'.
What caused this lack of industrie'? Were the Virginian settlers lazy and indolent? It could not be. People who were sent there were the chosen ones the very best of men.
The problem was that all the men who were sent were bonded labourers. They had no stake in what they produced. They were bound by contract to put all they produced into a common pool to be used to support their colony as a whole. This was communism in its purest form. Everyone was supposed to work according to ability and take according to need.
As so frequently happens with present day government policies, the results were the opposite of what was intended. Since hard work was not personally beneficial for the settlers they responded by stopping work.
Phillip A. Bruce, a late 19th century US historian, wrote of the Jamestown immigrants, The settlers did not have even a modified interest in the soil . Everything produced by them went into the store, in which they had no proprietorship. The result as Bruce wrote would be what anyone who has any knowledge of human nature would expect, men, even the most energetic, refused to work.
This is what happened in Mao's China and in Soviet Russia on a grand scale. In America a few hundred deaths stopped the communist experiment, in China and Russia, millions had to die before these nations abandoned the principles of Marx, Lenin, and Mao.
Jamestown changed course just two years later in 1611 with arrival of the high marshall' Sir Thomas Dale from the UK. He understood the problem, freed the settlers by abrogating communal ownership. Each man received three acres of land and, other than a lump sum tax of 2 ½ barrels of corn, did not have to contribute anything to the common pool. The colony immediately began to prosper. It prospered because each individual directly benefited by his labour and knew that he would also bear the full consequences of any reduction in output. Private ownership and capitalism worked.
Communism doesn't work because it destroys the reward and work nexus. Communism doesn't work because the absence of property rights heralds the end of all incentive to produce. Communism doesn't work because humans do no wish to sacrifice themselves to the common good.
I do not know or care about the political philosophy of the Maoists. I would, though, like to know what their economic policies are going to be. Do they want to take back Nepal to what America experimented with almost 400 years ago? Nepal lags behind the US in economic development, but is it to be put back by four centuries?.
Ping. Exactly the same history that Rush mentions regarding the pilgrims.
Those of us reared and educated in Virginia know this story well.
Yep, it was my first view of communism in VA grammer school.
KGB agent tells how amazed he is that soviet plans to demoralize all of America has worked so well. (This was in 1985!)
Thank you for the link, FRiend.
“Those of us reared and educated in Virginia know this story well”.
...it’s these stories that Gov Kaine stifiled last year during the 400th anniv. Didn’t want to let the great unwashed know the negatives since he’s “hoping” we’ll all know soon enough. (I live in Richmond)
The trademarks: Amana, Whirlpool and Oneida are successful industries begun by these communes. they survive while the communes did not!
Right, there were gentlemen as well. Most of them were among the laziest, kind of like:
Black Woman on NBC6 Orlando-Under Obama “I won’t have to work to pay for Gas! Or my Mortgage!”
I’ve talked to many VA school kids who are no longer taught much about Jamestown. And there are many fascinating aspects of Jamestown which would get kids interested in history.
They used to teach Jamestown’s early history in California schools. This is partly why I’m annoyed with schools today. Somewhere along the line, they stopped teaching it and I’m forever explaining it to leftist academics.
“Communism doesn’t work because humans do no wish to sacrifice themselves to the common good.”
But let’s keep in mind that humans WILL sacrifice themselves for an ideal (freedom) and for their friends. Witness the 30 soldiers at the Atlanta USO last Sunday who were on their way (or on the way back) to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Plymouth Colony almost starved themselves to death following this route. Things didn’t change until they got a clue and allowed people to establish property rights to their farmlands and products of their labor.
The greatest failure of communism lay in the truth of when “need” is greater than “ability”. No fallout plan.
Apparently 100 million dead and hundreds of millions more enslaved is not enough to deter the diehard socialists and communists in the US from trying it again.
Considering that I am a person that believes in Capitalism and Conservatism I post this question:
Is there a difference between Communism and Barterism? What I mean is IF Obama is elected I am sure (and very afraid) that Socialism, Marxism, Communism, whatever you want to call it, will become a reality. Thus, for the real world solution to this coming crisis will the Barter system be the equivalency to Communism? Is there a difference between ‘from each according to his ability to each according to his need’ and ‘I will do —THIS— for you if you do —THIS— for me?
Most of my skills are Computer Technician related. I am sure that Obama will eliminate my business. I am willing to do what I can for others that have what I will need. Is Communism/Socialism/Marxism where I do nothing to gain what I need from those that have? Or is it truly ‘from each according to his ability...’
No offense, but you must be a more recent public school product.
None taken but, I graduated High School 28 years ago.
The Barter system seems the best thing to me but I don’t see ‘profit’ in it. I see a balanced society. I am getting what I need and you are getting what you need. Granted I never had college courses in Economics but that’s how I see it. Am I wrong? My younger brother is the one that was the Economics Major and was a Financial Planner for a while.
Wow - That is a MUST SEE video!
Yep - check out what happened in Plymouth Plantation during the first 7 years! Disaster!!
As for profit, profit allows growth. Without profit, things stay status quo, you never get 'ahead'.
Ah ha! and that is my point. The Barter system is not a ‘profit” generating system as I see it. It is a Status Quo way of doing things. But in the coming economic disaster if Obama wins I personally will be more interested in surviving than growing. There will still be the ‘I own my property’ and the sentiment of “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” mentality. If I do more for others I get more. Is the Barter system really different from capitalism?
About a thousand years ago, I went to the Hill Demonstration School in Cleveland, Mississippi. It was sort of a redneck version of Sidwell. In the fourth grade we were exposed to an experiment where everyone’s grades were averaged, and everyone in the class got the average grade. My recollection is that the class was coed and twenty-four or twenty-five students, so we were all well interconnected and mutually supportive of each other. The first averaged grade was a middle range “B” to my recollection. The grades rapidly deteriorated to failing, at which point the teacher called off the experiment and explained that we had been experimenting with a form of communism in which the class high achievers had been deprived of their incentive and even the low achievers (of which there were very few)were not inspired to their normal level of achievement, and the overall result was a failing effort.
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