From each according to his ability;
To each according to his need
A lovely sentiment. Capitalism has proved remarkably good at the the first part: It can extract enormous amounts of labor from the workers. It's not always so good at the second part.
Communism is, at least in principle, good at the second part -- distributing goods and services to those who need them -- but it has so far not proven to be very effective at the first part.

In today's toxic political atmosphere, a little time considering economic systems which were designed specifically to be good for the great mass of people, rather than good for those lucky enough to control a disproportionate fraction of the system's resources, seems likely to be time well spent.

On the other hand it's also worth keeping in mind that good intentions do not always equal good results. The principle of "To each according to his need" did not translate well into the results obtained when the "kulaks", whose only crimes in general were to have been hard working farmers, were expropriated and deported, jailed, or shot, and grain was collected and then not distributed by the government.

In these times, when there's a massive effort being made to build a cult of personality around the leader of the United States (or at least, I think that's what they're doing -- sometimes it's hard to tell), we should work to keep our vision clear when viewing the cults of personality which were built around past rulers.

See also:
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