Friday, November 21, 2008

Socialism? Yes, Please!

One of the fear memes of the recent Republican campaign was the terrifying aspect of the Socialist bogeyman, lurking like some anarchist bomb thrower ready to blow us all into the gray monotony of a classless society.

I have always suspected that the people who appeal to the “threat of Socialism” are using the word ‘socialism’ the way we sometimes use the word ‘Nazi’—as an indicator of our own state of extreme, frenzied, and emotional disapproval. I don’t think that used in this context the word has any objective denotation at all; it’s just a big “boo word.” It’s like calling someone a S—t Head.

These folks wouldn’t recognize a socialist if one bit ‘em on the ass.

“Some socialists advocate complete nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; while others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Social democrats propose selective nationalization of key national industries in mixed economies combined with tax-funded welfare programs.”

The first sort of socialism, the complete nationalization of production, distribution, and exchange was the path that failed in the Soviet Union, but the socialism of the modern Social Democratic movements has, on balance, been successful.

It’s been successful here in the United States, the two most prominent examples of which are Social Security and Medicare. In addition there is the complex network of social safety net programs, two examples of which are unemployment insurance and legislation governing worker health and safety.

It is not Socialism we have to fear, but the kind of Capitalism that is the mirror image of Soviet socialism-- the unregulated robber baronage that has got us into out present economic difficulties.

More to come.


Art said...

Typo correction..."got us into our present economic difficulties."

Mariana said...

As George Will (of all people) said a couple of weeks ago, we HAVE a socialist society, to fear the word is ridiculous.

x4mr said...


I have been pondering and while unable to present conclusions have reached the conviction that old paradigms have become obsolete. The great edifices of capitalism, socialism, etc., have to be recast in a new century and how such notions now play.

The free market is a farce. There is no such thing. That said, totalitarian command cannot generate economic prosperity.

Somehow, and I am open to suggestions, we must create an economic infrastructure that provides incentive for genuine entrepreneurship seeking to solve the plethora of challenges we face, yet cut to the quick the greedy exploitation running rampant in the system.

The free market works well given the assumptions presented in elementary economics:

1. Perfect information
2. Freedom of choice
3. No barriers to entry

All three assumptions are woefully violated in reality.

We require new thinking. Thankfully, we will soon have a president that can not only listen, but learn. What a concept.