During my college days, I happened to take (by pure chance) both Sociology and Economics (Macro) in the same semester (while working full-time).
What I learned during that semester (tho neither professor came right out and said so) is that the socio-political system (of a nation) is defined by its economic system (and vice versa).
Many of the weekly classes mirrored one another. For example, I would go to my Sociology class one night, where the professor would talk about "Karl Marx, the great social scientist." The next evening, sitting in Economics class, I'd hear all about "Karl Marx, the great economist."
Communism is both a socio-political and an economic system (which precludes private ownership). The same goes for Capitalism (which is founded upon private ownership as one of its central tenets).
It's worth mentioning (as a side note) that professors in both classes were quick to point out that the version of "communism" practiced by countries such China and the old Soviet Union bears little resemblance to the socio-economic (political) system espoused by Marx & Engels. (I got an A in both classes, which was all that mattered to me.)
Here in the States, where the notion of capitalism is so ingrained that it has become part of who we are, we walk around largely unaware that other systems exist. We know only that Communism is bad. But in reality, no system of government is perfect. All have flaws. (Cuz they're all run by flawed, imperfect people.)
But here's my point » how we approach money (capital) speaks *volumes* about who we are, both collectively (as a people) and individually (as a person).
In a capitalistic society (such as the one in which you & I live) it's rare to find someone who does not esteem capital. I mean, even the panhandler prizes your loose change. The lives of those at all levels of the socio-economic ladder seem to revolve - to some degree - around capital. How many people have been murdered for money? Now I said all that to say this.
Into the Wild
Regulars may recall how much I enjoyed reading the book » Into the Wild (by Jon Krakauer). Here's a snippet of what I wrote back in October (on the 5th) 2005.
Been enjoying this new book: Into the Wild (refer to yesterday's entry). Feels like I'm sucking the juice out of every word. Fascinating reading. Read the first chapter twice .. so the book would last longer.