Capitalism vs. Socialism: Why It Is Healthy To Have A Combination Of Both
People in the United States have demonized the word “socialism” through the Cold War. If you lived as an adult through the 1980’s, you were a witness to the absolute demonization of communism and socialism (which in all honesty is not the same thing) throughout the media as well as entertainment industry. Villains in the movies were always Russian with a heavy Slavic accent, the U.S.S.R. was always doing these clandestine things to undermine the “free world”. The idea of democratic socialism, which is an organization in the United States. According to the actual organization, Democratic Socialists of America, they have the following vision (Democratic Socialists of America, 2015):
We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Goals are the following (Democratic Socialists of America, 2015):
As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. For example, we support reforms that:
- decrease the influence of money in politics
- empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy
- restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.
While capitalism and socialism in their purist forms and by themselves both have drawbacks, it is my opinion that the two together, capitalism with regulation and the focus on the working man and the citizens rather then a privileged few, is the most common sense and productive method to have a productive and healthy society.
According to Marx, a Laissez-Faire society is one of free market with little to no government involvement. The positive side of this, is that individuals can grow on their own merit and become hugely successful. Goods and services compete so that they are excellent, so good that someone with a business that provides shoddy service or goods would not be in business for long. However, the downside to this, is that corruption is likely to run rampant. Workers may be treated unfairly and with no regulations, anyone can do to anyone else what they want to. Environmental factors are totally overlooked, as we see in the petroleum industry and other industries (lumber, fishing and so forth, coal production) the list is endless, if there was no regulation or restriction, do you think that to make the money they would hesitate to ruin the environment? Honestly? Also with no regulation or little, as we have seen the regulations get more and more lax, with a capitalist society, the very rich can come to control what regulations there are in the government. Capitalism would also mean not supporting any other groups of people that may be struggling. It is a dog eat dog world where the very poor and those that may have lost their jobs or have an illness, would have no safety net, it is every man for himself.
We could also get into the fact that schools, roads, prisons and things that we have seen don’t do well privatized due to corruption and greed would be put in the private sector to take care of. There would be no regulation (there is less then ever) on Wall Street and for banks that control money for both the whole country as well as citizens. We have seen where less regulation can bring us with the housing bubble and total collapse of our financial sector in 2008. At that point the Laissez-faire favoring banks had to be bailed out by the government in what some believe was an elaborate theme by the banking industry to swindle money out of the government/tax payers, when they liquidated their companies, the executives had their “golden parachutes”.
The downside of pure socialism is that everything is owned by the government. There is no competition and your lot in life is pretty much where you are going to stay. The climate can be stagnant. Even the most communist state in the world, China is a thriving capitalist society. They are a world power at this point and calling the shots. But the good thing in ideology is that the citizens are all taken care of and worker’s rights are the most important thing and things are fair, due to government involvement and control. In all honesty there is never going to not be corruption in government, I am not an idealist. I believe that Machiavelli had it right. But a system of checks and balances minimizes the control of one person or group of people that is what the founders of our country had in mind when they put the rules into place.
I read so many things that show that individuals have no idea what democratic socialism is. They clump it together with communism and pure socialism and that is just truly not the case. To be honest, it is what this country has had all along, but now with all the lax rules and more pull towards a laissez-faire society, when we try to move more towards what we used to have, now that rules and regulations are so lax, we hear, “SOCIALISM” screamed from the rooftops of the very rich and the corporations and banks, along with their henchman in the Senate and House. Due to the fact that this country is so lax on their rules when it comes to campaign donations and corporate involvement, corruption runs rampant in political sectors, when this is regulation that has been in place, since the beginning of the existence of our country. The founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they saw what we call government now. I know Teddy Roosevelt and a few others would be for certain.
So my views are that we need a little of both to balance out the economy and the life quality of all the citizens of this country.
Democratic Socialists of America. (2015). Young Democratic Socialists of America. Retrieved from http://www.dsausa.org/