Parasitism (social offense)

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Social parasitism is a pejorative that is leveled against a group or class which is considered to be detrimental to society. The term comes from the ancient Greek παράσιτος (parásitos), "one who lives at another's expense, person who eats at the table of another," used to label the social offender. [1] (The English language borrowed the word/concept "parasite" as a social label in the 1530s; the later use of "parasite" as a biological metaphor developed from the early 17th century. [2] )

Society Social group involved in persistent social interaction

A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Contents

For example, the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky was charged with social parasitism [3] by the Soviet authorities in a trial in 1964, who found that his series of odd jobs and role as a poet were not a sufficient contribution to society.

Joseph Brodsky Russian-American poet

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Russian and American poet and essayist.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Usage

Depending on point of view, a social parasite may be one of several classes:

Socialists have described members of the upper classes as economic parasites. The Russian lyrics of the socialist anthem "The Internationale" include a reference to parasites. [4]

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

The upper class in modern societies is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the wealthiest members of society, and wield the greatest political power. According to this view, the upper class is generally distinguished by immense wealth which is passed on from generation to generation. Prior to the 20th century, the emphasis was on aristocracy, which emphasized generations of inherited noble status, not just recent wealth.

The Internationale left-wing anthem

"The Internationale" is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second International adopted it as its official anthem. The title arises from the "First International", an alliance of workers which held a congress in 1864. The author of the anthem's lyrics, Eugène Pottier, an anarchist, attended this congress.

The German Nazis viewed "races without homeland" as "parasitic races" or "Untermensch" to be eliminated. These included Romani people (sometimes called Gypsies) and Jews. [5] The habitually "work-shy" ("arbeitsscheu") were imprisoned in concentration camps (see Black triangle (badge)).

Racial policy of Nazi Germany set of policies and laws implemented by Nazi Germany

The racial policy of Nazi Germany was a set of policies and laws implemented in Nazi Germany (1933–45) based on a specific racist doctrine asserting the superiority of the Aryan race, which claimed scientific legitimacy. This was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene by compulsory sterilization and extermination of those who they saw as Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), which culminated in the Holocaust.[citation needed]

<i>Untermensch</i> German word meaning "subhuman"; used by Nazi Germany

Untermensch is a term that became infamous when the Nazis used it to describe non-Aryan "inferior people" often referred to as "the masses from the East", that is Jews, Roma, and Slavs – mainly Poles, Serbs, and later also Russians. The term was also applied to Blacks, Mulattos and Finn-Asian. Jewish people were to be exterminated in the Holocaust, along with the Polish and Romani people, and the physically and mentally disabled. According to the Generalplan Ost, the Slavic population of East-Central Europe was to be reduced in part through mass murder in the Holocaust, with a majority expelled to Asia and used as slave labor in the Reich. These concepts were an important part of the Nazi racial policy.

Romani people ethnic group living mostly in Europe and the Americas

The Romani, colloquially known as Gypsies or Roma, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group, traditionally itinerant, living mostly in Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern Indian subcontinent, from the Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab regions of modern-day India.

According to at least one commentator, it may be the new social paradigm—involving class warfare and exploitation of electoral processes—of myriad and disparate countries around the world. [6] See Oligarchy, Kleptocracy and Elite capture.

Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious, political, or military control. Such states are often controlled by families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.

Kleptocracy is a government with corrupt leaders (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. Typically, this system involves embezzlement of funds at the expense of the wider population.

Elite capture is a form of corruption whereby public resources are biased for the benefit of a few individuals of superior social status in detriment to the welfare of the larger population. Elites are groups of individuals who, because of self-ratifying factors such as social class, asset ownership, religious affiliations, political power, historic discrimination among social groups, political party affiliation, or economic position, have decision-making power in processes of public concern. This specific form of corruption occurs when elites use public funds, originally intended to be invested in services that benefit the larger population, to fund projects that would only benefit them. This differentiates elite capture from embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversion of funds by a public official. Elite capture is related to information asymmetry, inefficient regulation or inefficient allocation of resources because it causes a biased distribution of a public good or a service, resulting a situation wherein certain segments of the population experience reduced access to these public goods. In this context, as long as there is elite capture, the welfare impact will not be Pareto Optimal nor equitable.

Soviet Union

Russian poet Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) was sentenced in 1964 to five years of banishment from Leningrad to Arkhangelsk Oblast for "social parasitism". In 1987 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Josef Brodsky.jpg
Russian poet Joseph Brodsky (1940–1996) was sentenced in 1964 to five years of banishment from Leningrad to Arkhangelsk Oblast for "social parasitism". In 1987 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In the Soviet Union, which declared itself a workers' state, every adult able-bodied person was expected to work until official retirement. Thus unemployment was officially and theoretically eliminated. Those who refused to work, study or serve in another way risked being criminally charged with social parasitism (Russian : тунеядствоtuneyadstvo, тунеядцы [tuneyadets/tuneyadetchi"), [7] in accordance with the socialist principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution." [8]

Unemployment People without work and actively seeking work

Unemployment, or joblessness, is a situation in which able-bodied people who are looking for a job cannot find a job.

Refusal of work is behavior in which a person refuses regular employment.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

In 1961, 130,000 people were identified as leading the "anti-social, parasitic way of life" in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. [9] Charges of parasitism were frequently applied to dissidents and refuseniks, many of whom were intellectuals. Since their writings were considered against the regime, the state prevented them from obtaining employment. To avoid trials for parasitism, many of them took unskilled (but not especially time-consuming) jobs (street sweepers, firekeepers, etc.), which allowed them to continue their other pursuits. [10]

Belarus

Policies introduced in 2015, which observers noted as being reminiscent of Soviet-era initiatives, included a tax for those who were considered "social parasites". [11] Defined as people working under 183 days in a year, and excluding home-makers and subsistence farmers, the deployment of the so-called parasite tax has been suspended after protests in several major urban centers. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Belarus country in Eastern Europe

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Marxism–Leninism political ideology

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Parasitism organism that lives on or in a host organism and causes harm to it

In evolutionary biology, parasitism is a relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or in another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life. The entomologist E. O. Wilson has characterised parasites as "predators that eat prey in units of less than one". Parasites include protozoans such as the agents of malaria, sleeping sickness, and amoebic dysentery; animals such as hookworms, lice, mosquitoes, and vampire bats; fungi such as honey fungus and the agents of ringworm; and plants such as mistletoe, dodder, and the broomrapes. There are six major parasitic strategies of exploitation of animal hosts, namely parasitic castration, directly transmitted parasitism, trophically transmitted parasitism, vector-transmitted parasitism, parasitoidism, and micropredation.

Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic one of fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union (USSR); founding member of the United Nations Organization in 1945; now Belarus

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Host (biology) Organism that harbours another organism

In biology and medicine, a host is an organism that harbours a parasitic, a mutualistic, or a commensalist guest (symbiont), the guest typically being provided with nourishment and shelter. Examples include animals playing host to parasitic worms, cells harbouring pathogenic (disease-causing) viruses, a bean plant hosting mutualistic (helpful) nitrogen-fixing bacteria. More specifically in botany, a host plant supplies food resources to micropredators, which have an evolutionarily stable relationship with their hosts similar to ectoparasitism. The host range is the collection of hosts that an organism can use as a partner.

Hammer and sickle Communist symbol

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Brood parasite

Brood parasites are organisms that rely on others to raise their young. The strategy appears among birds, insects and some fish. The brood parasite manipulates a host, either of the same or of another species, to raise its young as if it were its own, using brood mimicry, for example by having eggs that resemble the host's.

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A parasite is an organism that has sustained contact with another organism to the detriment of the host organism.

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In Trotskyist political theory, deformed workers' states are states where the capitalist class has been overthrown, the economy is largely state owned and planned, but there is no internal democracy or workers' control of industry. In a deformed workers' state, the working class has never held political power like it did in Russia shortly after the Russian Revolution. These states are considered deformed because their political and economic structures have been imposed from the top, and because revolutionary working class organizations are crushed. Like a degenerated workers' state, a deformed workers' state cannot be said to be a state that is transitioning to socialism.

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References

  1. Robert Maltby (January 1999). The Language of Plautus's Parasites. Classical Receptions in Drama and Poetry in English from c.1970 to the Present. The Open University.
  2. Harper, Douglas. "parasite". Online Etymology Dictionary . Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  3. Remnick, David (December 20, 2010). "Gulag Lite". The New Yorker . Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  4. For example, the Russian text reads: Only we, the workers of the all-world Great army of labor, Have the right to own the land, But parasites never!
  5. nazism.net, Nazi Ideological Theory. See Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. 1 chapter 9 for prominent examples of the use of the word.
  6. Evans, Jon (April 1, 2018). "Parasitism and the fight for the wrong century". TechCrunch . Retrieved April 2, 2018 via Yahoo Finance.
  7. Questions of criminal responsibility for the parasitic way of life (Russian), by B.G. Pavlov, Jurisprudence, Leningrad University
  8. Gregory, Paul R.; Stuart, Robert C. (2003). Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century. South-Western College Pub. p. 118. ISBN   0-618-26181-8. Under socialism, each individual would be expected to contribute according to capability, and rewards would be distributed in proportion to that contribution.
  9. Yevgenii Zhirnov, Внушить полезный страх (To inflict helpful fear), (Russian), Kommersant, 2011-04-25(retrieved December 26, 2001)
  10. "Злоупотребления законодательством о труде", a document of the Moscow Helsinki Group.
  11. Erickson, Amanda (2017-03-10). "Belarus wanted to tax its unemployed 'parasites.' Then the protests started". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  12. "Belarus suspends 'social parasite' tax". BBC News. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-09-15.