In Plato’s writings that reached its full expression in his famous dialogue, The Republic, he argued that attainment of a just and orderly society lies on the establishment of a society wherein the reigning regime or leader is a philosopher king or queen who possesses the necessary wisdom of philosophy, ethics and politics. In Plato’s republic or just and ordered some of the main features are the abolition of private property or the holding of all goods to belong in public. These extended to the sharing of wives and husbands, establishments and almost anything in the city.
Summing up Plato’s ideas in The Republic, a just and ordered society can only be attained by the reign of the philosopher king or queen and the abolition of anything that is private (Cooper, 1997). For about 2000 years after Plato wrote these ideas, almost the same framework or way of thinking had rose in to fame and managed to take the world by storm. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published what is known as The Communist Manifesto, which is considered as one of the most influential political text of all time.
In the said literature, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had tried to explain how our modern society can manage to attain a society that is just and orderly. Reading the said manifesto, we can conclude that one of the most central ideas for the attainment of this ideal society that we are talking about is this – the abolition of private property. For the two thinkers, they believed that the most important foundation of any capitalist society that is the dominant idea on the world is the concept of private ownership.
In the text, they had tried to build an argument that says that capitalism is evil. With arguments like alienation and exploitation, they almost declared that capitalism is the cause of all the evil that is happening in the world (Marx et al 1888/1967). However, as they argued, this evil (capitalism) has been always rooted on another evil which is also one of the central concepts in Plato’s discussion on The Republic – private property. In this respect, we are together with Plato, Marx and Engels on the belief that a perfect society can only be attained through the abolition of private property.
Adopting the arguments in both The Republic and The Communist Manifesto on the evil of accumulation of private property, we are going to solely base the attainment of a just and order society by the virtue of the abolition of such characteristic in the society. Discussing whether our modern arrangement can afford a framework wherein private properties were abolished, we are going to answer if the world can attain true justice and order in the future. For more than 200 years, the framework and system of capitalism had managed to encroach in every part of our lives.
Ranging from the mainstream politics of liberalism to our food in our refrigerators up to our system of education, the world had been dependent and managed to exist on capitalist grounds. The ideas of capitalism have been engraved on every human psyche that made us always think in terms of currencies, money and other capitalist traditions. The question is very simple and it is this, “Is it possible shift to a society wherein accumulation of private properties was abolished just like the socialist community of Marx or Plato’s republic.
The answer is very simple. Yes. The history had taught us that a shift from a feudal or capitalist society (i. e. the case of China, Russia, Cuba, and North Korea) to a communist country (socialist in the future) is possible. Reviewing the history, these countries had managed to shift to a society that is communal in nature using the revolutions of the masses, the workers or the farmers. However, the answer is not as simple as it seems to be.
Though the answer is straight yes, we must remember that the price to pay for this kind of shift is hefty and huge. We must remember that these countries managed to attain communal revolutions through the death of hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives. In the case of China, much of their cultural and historical artifacts were destroyed and sacrificed for these kinds of shift and revolution. The communal revolution had been so bloody and costly that it connotes negativity for many people (Gascoigne, 2010).
Now, we must ask ourselves if we are willing to pay the price for this kind of revolution. Are we ready to let go the benefits, the beauty and the luxury of a capitalist society for the pursuit of the idea of a just and stable society? Are we ready to give up our properties and let the central government to decide on what we have to do or what will be our job? Are we ready to boycott anything that is a product of the capitalist system? Are we ready to go ‘underground’ and grab weapons and arms to fight the reigning capitalist class?
All of these questions must be answered first before we can be able to decide if we are ready to pursue the just and orderly society that a communal society (that abolishes private property) promises. Lastly, it is important to note for each one of us that the basis of our discussion for the criteria of our just and order society are only the writings of thinkers such as Plato, Engels and Marx. We are never sure if their ideas can really work on the real world.
Reviewing the history with the nations and countries that follow them, we can conclude that the communal government that abolished private property is not as perfect as what is seems to be (though we can also argue that they were wrong in understanding and following these thinkers). However, the question will remain simple, The question is simply, “Are we ready to sacrifice our current societal arrangement for the pursuit of an idea that are not still sure. ” This is a very important question. This is an addition to the difficulty of the shift or revolution itself.
These questions should be answered before we have to do anything. It is very difficult that in the end, as we pursue these ideas, we will found ourselves in the end frustrated because of the mistakes, errors and inaccuracy that made us sacrificed what we already had. The point in this discussion is simple. Assuming that the thinkers in the name of Plato, Engels and Marx were true (which is difficult to prove), the question whether we can create a just and orderly society remain complicated. It is no longer a simple Yes or No.
The capitalist system and framework had been so wide and huge that it became difficult to kill it. Even if we managed to kill it, there is also a possibility that we can also be killed in the process due to our heavy dependence on it. It can be said that the last ten generations had been bred by the capitalist system making it difficult for any one of us to counter it. However, the possibility of shifting to a society that Marx and Plato had thought is still possible. Yet, the question will remain, “Are we ready to do what is necessary to achieve such system? ”