ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why I Am a Socialist and Not a Capitalist

Updated on April 5, 2020
TessSchlesinger profile image

Growing up in a political family, Tessa joined her first political party at 14. Her interest in progressive politics & economics continues.

I accidentally became a socialist

Statistically, I shouldn’t be a socialist. After all, some would say I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth – exclusive schooling, servants, mixing with the children of CEOs, the 1% and all that. But there was a time, in my late 40s, after a lifetime of struggle and confusion, that I began to view the world in a different light. By that time, I had lived on three continents, in many countries, had mixed with the aristocracy (once, even went to movies with a princess), spoken to the down and out, and seen life from topside down and bottom side up (in other words - from a state of extreme poverty). And the picture slowly began to penetrate that while life was sweet at the top, the reason most people were at the bottom had more to do with circumstance than with effort.

Life isn't fair

We’ve all asked that question at one point or another in our lives. We’ve also been told that life isn’t fair, and it’s been more or less implied that because it isn’t fair, that is the right and just thing and we just have to live with it.

I want to look at that question a bit more deeply, though.

Life comprises many factors. It’s the tsunami we didn’t anticipate which wiped out our home and some of our family members and many friends. It’s the job which went the way of the dodo when newer technology wiped it out and we were fifty, ailing, and old. It’s the lover who left us because s/he grew bored and it’s the accident that put us in the wheelchair for life. It’s the lucky chance at the casino tables that bought us a house when we thought we would never be able to afford one and it’s the life-saving food that someone donated to us when we were facing starvation. Life is a lucky dip and, sometimes, a momentous glorious sip, depending on who we are, where we are, what we are, when we are, and how we are.

That said, because life isn’t fair, it doesn’t mean that humans, the laws they make, and the social infrastructure they build shouldn’t be fair. Humanity is a social species, and it survived to the present day because they were. To be a social species mean that they look after each other and they operate as a group to achieve things. The species did not survive as ‘individualists.’

It is only modern technology, the high numbers of the population, and the learned skills of many millennia, which have enabled us to live relatively self-interested lives. Does it work? It depends how you look at it. If the vast numbers of human misery, the unending poverty for half the world’s people, the depression and ill-health, etc. are of no consequence to you because you are okay, then you could well believe it works. You might even convince yourself that you have been solely responsible for your ‘achievements,’ and by deduction, therefore, the reason others are not in a position of well-being is entirely of their own making.

And that’s where we differ.

Denmark, Finland, Netherlands (socialist countries) have the happiest people in the world. USA does not enter the top ten.

Socialism is not an absence of democracy. So what is socialism?

Many confuse communism (a system where everybody is told what to do by a central authority) with socialism (a system where people pay taxes to government for tasks that they wish to do collectively.)

Let me give you a few examples of socialism. We could either have stay-at-home mothers, each of whom is responsible for teaching the children, each having to buy all the books necessary, and each spending six or seven hours a day teaching their kids. Or we could get together as a community, agree to pay a small fraction of our income to a central fund (tax), then spend the money building a school and hiring teachers. In terms of manpower and saving man hours, this is a tremendous move forwards. The time of all those mothers is now freed up and they can get on with other tasks/ambitions. All the children get (hopefully) an excellent education as the teachers have specifically trained to teach them what they need to know.

Yet another example of socialism is looking at mutual needs – the need for fast and effective transport would mean roads, rail, and a good public transport service for those who couldn’t afford cars or didn’t want them. In that case, the community would get together, pay a fraction of their earnings to a central authority (tax), and this money would be used to build roads, bridges, public transport, etc. This makes life very much easier for everyone as individuals don’t have to step outside their front doors and start building a road.

Consider communication. It’s vital for everyone to be able to communicate with each other. In more tribal times, it was a matter of walking outside your hut; today it means picking up the phone or sending an email. Seventy five years ago, governments build the infrastructure for today’s phone lines. Communication was cheap because the government built the infrastructure as it was a capital expense paid for out of taxes (contributions by the people) and the running costs were paid for by the people. So having a phone was cheap because no profit was added in and capital expenses didn’t have to be built in. The system worked.

Socialism has also always taken the ills of society into consideration. Tsunamis do come. Illness and accidents do play a part. Everybody’s genetic inheritance doesn’t provide the same ability. And the state of one’s parent’s wealth shouldn’t be responsible for a superior or inferior education. So, to my mind, because life isn’t fair, it doesn’t meant that human beings shouldn’t build a more equitable or more fair system.

Copenhagen, Denmark, where people are happy, well off, have five weeks holiday/vacation per year, and are socialist.


Representative democracies in high population areas means poverty for the masses

It’s no accident that the greater the number of people in a country, the more poor he masses are, and the greater they are in numbers. That’s because, in representative democracies, power is vested in the hands of a few. So while, once upon a time, 535 members of congress (USA) might have represented 50 million people fairly, they no longer represent 320 million people fairly. And while 650 people in the House of Commons may once have fairly represented 20 million people, they no longer fairly represent 65 million people. Worse, with the increase in the number of people they individual represent, corruption has arrived. Representatives are far from their local communities and work at a central office which could be ten thousand or one hundred miles away from the people who elected them. So we-the-people cannot check up on what they are doing, and it’s a matter of out-of-sight means out-of-mind.

Some other changes begin to take place. They like the buzz of living like kings (on the people’s money) and they begin to think that they are entitled to it because they are special and more evolved and more talented and work harder, etc. So they deserve more and more pay which comes from higher and higher taxes. Then they begin to make laws which reflect their reality, and the poor people get left behind and socialism becomes a dirty word…

Did you know that the richest countries in the world (per capita) are all very small countries? There’s a reason. Oh, and they’re all socialist. Socialism works because people are helped in their troubles to make better lives.

Taxes and Unions

The world was in a good place in the 60s. It was in a good place because most people were supported by a high degree of socialism. Education was cheaper (often free) and jobs paid better (result of Union activity.) But then the ‘superior’ lot began to say that their profits weren’t good. It wasn’t that profits weren’t good, it was that the people who wanted to make profits wanted much more than they were getting.

Here’s the irony. The Unions became out of control. They wanted more than they were getting as well. They saw what their bosses were earning and they saw no reason not to earn that much either. Well, almost as much. They could see that their boss was earning 40 times what they were earning, so they saw no reason to earn double what they were earning.

You see, human beings have an innate sense of fairness, and when too many people become too unfair over too long a period of time, society begins to disintegrate. That’s what is happening now.

Human beings always used to help each other; the fact that they are now competing with each other is not helpful. Nor is it a recipe for success in the medium to long term.

The Scandinavian countries are highly successful and have the most educated people in the world, plus they have one of the highest per capita wealth rates in the world. They are socialist. Many countries who use social policies succeed very well. The issue isn’t with socialist countries. The issue is with countries that are highly focused on capitalism where each human being is left to struggle for themselves and where the rewards only go to the few who manage to navigate through the perils - with the help of luck, genes, good parenting or mentoring, and crime.

Taxes are mostly abused and misspent.

The issue is not paying tax. The issue is what one gets for the tax one pays. If one gets nothing or very little, then it is not worth paying tax. The benefits of paying tax should be as follows:

  1. Living in a society or community where there are not large differences in status as societies of haves and have-nots become more and more unstable as the gap between rich and poor grow.
  2. An educated citizenry that understands its role in the community and is ever watchful for corruption and the abuse of power.
  3. An adequate, fair, and polite police force.
  4. Laws that make sense, protect the citizenry and are fair for everyone.
  5. A small, highly trained emergency force which substitutes as a core military if and when it is ever needed. This force would be used for disasters – earthquakes, floods, invasion, etc.
  6. Free education for everyone. K12 education includes two years training for any job skill which would enable the scholar to work immediately after leaving school. Only the top 10% would be accepted into university to learn a working skill. If the student wanted to go to university for reasons of edification, they would pay their own way.
  7. Energy (electricity, gas, green, etc) where only running costs are paid for by the citizenry. Capital expenses are for the State.
  8. Bridges, roads, rail, airports, etc. (infrastructure) is always paid for by tax.
  9. Communication – fiber optic cabling, phones, wifi, etc. are necessary services these days. They are not luxury. Capital expenses to be paid by the State. Running costs to be paid by the citizenry. No profit to be made on this by private companies.

10. Medical services are free. This includes drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation, preventative medicine, education and information for patients, plus any tests required. While doctors can be in private practice, the State should always provide a free service to its citizens. After all, if citizens aren’t healthy, how can they produce?

11. Research at universities that will benefit the public good and which will not be for-profit.

12. Various government departments that ensure various laws are being kept.

13. A free legal advice bureau for citizens that cannot afford private representation.

14. Contributions to other countries ONLY when no money is owing anywhere else and when there is a large amount over.

15. Public services like libraries, postal services, swimming pools, gyms, etc.

Defining socialism. Both America and the USSR changed the meaning of the word.

What taxes shouldn't be used for

One of the really interesting things about small, successful countries is that they have no extensive military operation. Nor do they have spies. And they’re doing very, very well. Seen any invasions into Chile, Monaco, or Finland lately? No, I didn’t think so. So here’s what should not be routinely paid for by tax.

  1. The development of weapons.
  2. Research for weapons.
  3. Intelligence services.
  4. Luxury cars, planes, trains, yachts.
  5. Large salaries.
  6. Bribes to other countries.
  7. Anything that is related to the glory of the country, rather than the well being of the people.
  8. Big displays and celebrations which cost millions. They are unnecessary. One doesn’t have to ‘remember’ every anniversary of some deed that was done. Nobody needs monuments.
  9. The purchasing of land and buildings when many are unused. All unused buildings should first be sold before new ones are purchased.

10. No grants to business. If the business needs grants, it doesn’t have sufficient customers to warrant it as a business.

Here's how the rich got rich during the last 30 or 40 years - Meet the new Robber Barons

There was a time, some 30 or 40 years ago, when the price of a product was related to its production and business costs. Then an economist pointed out that the value of something had nothing to do with its price (water was cheap in those days), and that people would be willing to pay more for something that they valued more. Thus a new dictum was born in the world of business. “You can charge what you like so long as you can get away with it.”

However it wasn’t quite that simple. The business world had to convince people that the product was, indeed valuable. So advertising, public relations, spin, and commercial propaganda increased at an alarming rate. Most people are subjected to an advertisement every ten minutes in America – either on radio or TV. Even if they are reading a book or a magazine, or surfing the web, advertising is plentiful. Again, the bottom line is that if products were truly wanted, they wouldn’t need to be advertised.

While some would say that advertising is a public service that informs people of what is available, this is not quite true. Advertising is the information repeated so many times that people believe it, whether it is true or not, and whether it is desired or not. A more responsible system of advising people of available products could just be put on the web and people could read what it is and purchase it. It is the constant repetition that is synonymous with brainwashing.

So here’s what the rich did to get rich. They…

  1. Charged more than the product was worth and a lot more than it cost to produce.
  2. Convinced people through commercial propaganda to buy it.
  3. Underpaid staff to such an extent that the bottom half of humanity became very poor and the top .0001% eventually owned more than half of the world’s wealth.

So that’s how the rich got rich. I don’t find it particularly admirable. In fact, I find those methods somewhat unethical, and, therefore, I have no problem with redistributing what they earned through a high tax rate for them.

In other words, it's much the same system as the Robber Barons used to get so rich at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

A speech that tells you just how hard you worked to get where you are!

Finland; Kids get the best education in the world, and it's all free!


Have you ever lived and worked in a socialist country in Europe?

See results

The essence of socialism

Socialism is not about making everybody equal or about taking away people’s freedom to chose or voice an opinion. Socialism is about creating an economic system that works for everybody and is true to the innate human requirement for fairness.

Capitalism has failed hopelessly. The more intense the practice of capitalism, the greater the divide between rich and poor, and the more distressed people are. While the success of a handful might be a boast of the success of capitalism, it is an idle boast, because humanity does not consist of a few million individuals. It consists of 7.5 billion people, and if the relative well being of all of them is not being catered to by an economic system, then that system is not successful. Any system which only caters to the DNA gifted and the offspring of the rich who could educate them well is not a system for the people.

© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger


Submit a Comment
  • Matty2014 profile image


    6 years ago

    I think there are nothing wrong for being a capitalist, socialist, or communist, ideology can/ should be changed when it does not fit the sociality. I think it is all about people, how the powerful people use the terminology shape how people view the ideology.

  • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

    Tessa Schlesinger 

    6 years ago

    @Angela, you are quite right. Nobody changes their mind when having discussions on the web. And that is why I respected the fact that you noticed the calibre of the writing without downing it because you didn't agree with the contents. Thank you. :)

  • Angela Blair profile image

    Angela Blair 

    6 years ago from Central Texas

    f_hruz -- In this country we all have a right to our own opinion and I stated mine. The purpose of my comment was to compliment the author of the Hub on her work -- not to begin a dialog on anyone's personal beliefs/choices. I've found it a rare thing to change anyone's opinion on the matter through discussions on the internet. Best/Sis

  • f_hruz profile image


    6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for explaining how you developed your critical views over the course of your life. I am quite impressed how many voices are being heard lately in the US with a clearly Marxist sound to them, calling for more social democracy and a much broader participation of people in the economic processes of the work place to bring an end to the manipulative and inhuman aspects of capitalism as practiced in the US.

    @ Angela - Please tell us , why do you keep supporting capitalism?

    I find the lecture videos of Prof. Richard D. Wolff very informative on this subject ...

  • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

    Tessa Schlesinger 

    6 years ago

    Angela, kind of your to say so. Thank you. :)

  • Angela Blair profile image

    Angela Blair 

    6 years ago from Central Texas

    Hello Tess -- we've not met before now but just read this Hub and wanted to comment. Although we do not agree -- I'm on the capitalist side of things -- just wanted you to know that I found this Hub outstanding. It is well written and you made your case for socialism very well. Good work! Best/Sis


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)