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GULAG - a good idea or a bad idea?

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Soviet cogitations: 5437
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Sep 2009, 00:56
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 18 Mar 2010, 20:24
I've been thinking about the GULAG system recently, or rather, about things like convict labour. I read an article about prison overcrowding in the UK the other day, and about how people are getting themselves arrested because they prefer prison over the outside (failures of capitalism in praxis, ftw). Then I remembered how Stalin built a canal with convict labour, and I thought that it sounded like a brilliant idea.

Dunno, maybe I'm being naive about it, but I often hear people I know complain about the way that convicted criminals don't do anything useful other than eat taxpayer's money.
Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 18 Mar 2010, 20:41
A work camp has multiple benefits over prisons:work helps convicts to rehabilitate,and the whole society benefits from their work.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 19 Mar 2010, 01:27
Never have been a fan of forced labour. Reminds me of chattel slavery and that was inefficent and replaced by the wage worker.
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 19 Mar 2010, 01:42
The problem with most labor camps is that they are operated punitively rather than in an attempt to instill a labor value and more importantly personal value in convicts. I've never seen the value in working men half to death especially not when you're trying to stress the value of labor to them.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 19 Mar 2010, 10:32
The idea of GULAG's is good in principal. There are jails where prisoners will do jobs like sewing or carpentry for a small wage. The money they get can be used to buy small luxuries (like confectionary) which aren't normally available to them. I don't think that's a bad idea. However, I don't agree with using prison labour for construction work. It was discontinued in the Soviet Union mainly because the work quality was very poor compared to a properly trained and employed construction crew. I imagine this would be the same anywhere else.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 19 Mar 2010, 10:49
Agreed. I've always been a fan of the idea of putting them in charge of producing their own food. Directly benefitting themselves and fostering cooperation. This provides for all kinds of jobs like farming, ranching, and all of the production of turning that into food. And the inevitable surplus they produce can be sold locally with the proceeds being equally distributed, more or less.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 19 Mar 2010, 12:35
Use them for unskilled labor.

In general, it's dubious whether a modern socialist state could have work camps because the whole world would hate us. But letting prisoners work is a good idea - it would be like capitalism without having to spend money on wages.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 19 Mar 2010, 15:39
Belomorkanal was built solely by GULAG prisoners(but 100 000 or more of them died...why?)
Most of them were released and let free,or had their terms shortened.
(They should have come back) respected and proud of themselves because of this giant endeavor.
And shoveling earth is a perfect way for stress and trauma relief(i know that 'cause that's what i do in the summer
)
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2009, 20:08
Resident Artist
Post 19 Mar 2010, 19:33
I'm a fan of penal colonies where prisoners are sent to a tropical island where they will perform agricultural work during their sentence and this would cut the cost of production, as variable costs (wages) go down. This will be beneficial to society if these people were removed from the society and placed in area of discipline. This should be their debt to society as they have transgressed the laws of the state and deserve to punished for it.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 23 Mar 2010, 04:35
I think programs that make convicts clean up roads and things of that nature are worthwhile. Does that constitute as forced labor?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 23 Mar 2010, 04:47
If the alternative is punishments and increased jail time the way it is in the US, yes.
Z
Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 23 Mar 2010, 14:25
Quote:
I'm a fan of penal colonies where prisoners are sent to a tropical island where they will perform agricultural work during their sentence and this would cut the cost of production, as variable costs (wages) go down


I'm sure there are many tropical islands just waiting for penal colonies...
Soviet cogitations: 10006
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 23 Mar 2010, 16:37
I'd rather use them as holiday homes for party cadres.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 23 Mar 2010, 19:46
Boobs,Booze,Debauchery,Drugs,Paradise,Party,Palms,Peasants,Rock,Workers.

Everything in tropical Working-class healing facility - "Comrade Anna Karenina"
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Soviet cogitations: 1782
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2009, 20:08
Resident Artist
Post 23 Mar 2010, 23:41
Loz wrote:
I'm sure there are many tropical islands just waiting for penal colonies...


You can just clear the inhabitants by covertly dumping them on the American coast and move the prisoners to the new island where they will perform labour. They could make my rum, light up my cigar and make me some breakfast with antidotes of course because some will try to take you out. Ah, I'll be livin' the tropical prisoner governors lifestyle...
Soviet cogitations: 31
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 23 Mar 2010, 23:25
Pioneer
Post 23 Mar 2010, 23:49
Quote:
A work camp has multiple benefits over prisons:work helps convicts to rehabilitate,and the whole society benefits from their work.

This argument isn't true. The Gulags indeed produced some value ($3'500'000'000). But the costs where higher. The camps never produced any profit. You could indeed say they produced raw material. But you can't say the society had any benefit of it.
Learn, Learn, Learn - Vladimir Lenin
Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 24 Mar 2010, 00:00
You're playing Tropico 3 i presume?
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Soviet cogitations: 3765
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Nov 2009, 07:13
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 26 Mar 2010, 05:48
I support the concept of the GULAG, I just wish that their was a way that the prisoners could learn to take pride in the work that they provide, instead of feeling like it is forced labor (even though it is).
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Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 26 Mar 2010, 10:00
Quote:
This argument isn't true. The Gulags indeed produced some value ($3'500'000'000). But the costs where higher. The camps never produced any profit. You could indeed say they produced raw material. But you can't say the society had any benefit of it.


Bullshit.
Where did you get this value?
Costs of GULAG labor were significantly lower than costs of "regular" labor,the facilities were minimal and it was unpaid,forced labor there(they sometimes did get some money for cigarettes or soap but that's more less that)
Soviet cogitations: 31
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 23 Mar 2010, 23:25
Pioneer
Post 31 Mar 2010, 00:07
Quote:
Where did you get this value?

I read the dutch wikipedia. It says that because the labour done in the gulags wasn't free labour, it's by definition less productive than free labour. That would be the main reason why the labour would after all don't produce any profit. And secondly (because of the system of Frenkel) the prisoners already knew if they would die, so they didn't worked that hard anymore.

I translated the section with Google Translate:
Quote:
Economy of the Gulag

The use of forced labor in remote areas was intended to `s economic" surpluses "to provide, under the Marxist sense of 'value' to the unfree workers by only the most necessary to spend (considerably below the normal wage workers) to take this product to produce a significant economic value. Forced labor was supposed to be more mobile deployable than hired labor because the forced laborers in large numbers quickly from one project to another could be moved. Forced labor was also assumed as a mobile resource economic surpluses without loss of labor, as was the case with regular hired labor. Strict management and supervision, as was thought and hoped, would make forced labor as productive as free labor. [4]

Another important reason for the gulag was, as expressed in an internal document Gulag, "the industrial exploitation and colonization of distant areas of the state", in places where ordinary workers would not live and work because of the remoteness, lack of normal facilities and the harsh climate.

The Gulag camps were initially determined not economically profitable. Only mid-twenties by Naftali Frenkel, a prisoner at the Solovetski islands which rose to from below Solovetski camp commander, found a way to a prison camp into an apparently profitable economic factor. This he achieved by giving food to the prisoners according to the amount of work they had done. This system is then by Stalin and Kaganovich in all camps throughout the Soviet Union made what then led to millions of unfortunates under the toughest conditions (hunger, cold, poor housing, clothing and footwear) terribly hard work which many died. The system of Frenkel was very simple. First, all the perks and frills stop put. The workers (prisoners) were divided into 3 groups according to their physical abilities: those who could do heavy work, those who could do light work and the disabled. Each group received other kinds of work and set standards to which should be fulfilled (otherwise the ration was halved). Under the workload they were fed with fairly large differences in diet: the lowest group was approximately half the maximum. In practice this system sorted very quickly in those prisoners who would survive and who would perish. This process was accelerated by the often very high work standards were created especially for city people who never had done hard work and felling trees, rocks, sculpture, lugging and dragging it, etc. [5]

In fact, the forced labor system of the Gulag never yielded profits. Prison Labor is always much less productive than free labor - a lesson the Soviets after the death of Stalin understood.
Learn, Learn, Learn - Vladimir Lenin
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