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What is Socialism?

Updated on September 22, 2022
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Robin Olsen has lived for half a century. No experience is a bad experience unless we learn nothing from it.

All nations have some aspect of socialism in their ideology and the influence appears to be growing not shrinking
All nations have some aspect of socialism in their ideology and the influence appears to be growing not shrinking

This article is a layman's attempt to explain what socialism is. it is not meant to tell anyone what is the 'right' system or the 'wrong' system. The point of this article is to explain, in simple words, what socialism is, what it promotes (directly and indirectly through it's actions and policies) and what one can expect from a fully socialist government. This is a part of a series of articles regarding the different political ideologies that are foisted on us, the general voting public. I write them to help myself and others to help overcome the deliberately confusing political landscape.

So, what is socialism?

In a socialist society, the government owns most if not all of the businesses and property in a given political entity - such as a country or state. The illusion that people are dictated to as far as career choices go is just that, an illusion, people can be whatever they want in a socialist society. The number of employers is of course drastically reduced in a non-free marketplace but people are allowed to be whatever the wish to be.

On the surface, socialism seems to be a very good system for people in general. Universal health care, affordable housing, child care programs, everything important is provided at the expense of the nation (or taxpayer). Crime rates are generally lower, cities are less violent in socialist societies and generally speaking life appears to be far easier for the average citizen. There is even peaceful protest against government policies in socialist countries so they also seem to respect things like free speech and political activism. This seems to be a pretty good way to go eh? Taxation is high but there are price controls and housing provided so why should the actual tax rate bother anyone that much when you do not need money for the basics? But is it the social paradise it appears to be on the surface?

The People's Choice

Which system would you prefer to live under?

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What are the real effects of socialism?

Socialism has some drawbacks that are not always visible on the surface and that could, over the long haul, hamper the overall progress of the country. Socialism is like smoking pot, your problems do not go away, but you care about them less. To clarify, Socialism makes the 'status quo' ok and encourages us, as a people , to not advance ourselves or to not better ourselves.

Consider, if you were poor in a open free market or libertarian society and had to pay the rent you would be motivated to improve your circumstances, and in so doing improve yourself. You would look for a better job, or seek out some form of higher education or skill training in order to correct the issue of being poor.The only things stopping a person is a lack of money or a serious bigotry in the society that prevents a certain individual from being able to compete.

In a socialist country, if you are poor then no worries the government will pay for things for you such as rent, food and medicine. In the end, this makes it OK to be poor and removes the motivation to improve ourselves. This can be detrimental to a nation state's future social development. The socialist system only works well when a massive majority of the people are working and paying into that system. In a socialist state, when things like unemployment start to go up more people are on the rolls and this reduces the amount of actual taxpayers paying into the system. The motivation to improve yourself and get a new job or to be enterprising are greatly reduced as the hardships experienced through a loss of employment are greatly reduced.

The programs offered by socialist states, such as child care, are used to propagate their ideology in the young minds of the nation at the earliest possible stage, otherwise funding would be provided regardless of where that childcare took place.

Do you think that constant petty quarrels are detrimental to progress?

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Why so Quarrelsome?

Another issue with Socialism is the constant need for conflict to maintain the system. I don't mean 'war' specifically but rather internal conflicts, political wrangling, strikes, disputes all seem to occur way more in a socialist society than in a non-socialist society. Unions, a socialist creation and tool, specifically need conflict to exist or they do not exist as they were created to manage the conflict - what are they then without the conflict? Socialism seems to be this way in general.

They maintain the conflict to maintain their own existence as we would not need socialism if we all became respectful of our neighbors, helped each other out on our own and respected our society and were mindful of things like adequate healthcare access for children - right now doing these things in human society seems to require some sort of mandate or law forcing us to. This means we are not ready yet as a society.

Would you consider voting for a socialist candidate?

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Corruption is everywhere in Politics

Socialism has a high probability of corruption as distribution within the society is decided by a very few for the many and those very few can be bought off or, during hard times, will divert more resources to helping themselves and their own families than is allowed under the socialist rule.

In other words, until we treat each other as truly equals (a very long way off) Socialism and socialist states probably will not work. In the end they lean towards corruption, either out of greed or a instinctive desire to look after one's own children at the expense of someone else's children. One has to imagine what the system would look like without corruption to determine if it is viable or not. Corruption rots everything it touches.

Is it a good ideology?

These are the hidden dangers of a socialist society. They sap motivation from the general public, the make the status quo ok when we are a species that seeks satisfaction through our own advancement.

However, with the coming of the fourth industrial revolution we are going to see a massive reduction in the size of the required workforce as A.I. and Robotics eliminate many professions from the landscape. Those jobs will not disappear because of some economic downturn which is temporary. They are gone, permanently. It has already begun. This is going to produce a great many unemployed people and there will be no relevant jobs for them to seek out.

These problems will require certain aspects of socialism to deal with or things will get very ugly indeed. How will our societies react to this? How will we deal with the potential corruption? The political future appears turbulent.

Please rate my Article.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Robin Olsen

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