Does capitalism encourage greed? Does socialism punish merit and efficiency? Or do both philosophies have good and bad aspects?
While both have good and bad aspects, socialism kills motivation and efficiency and can never produce a vibrant economy.
In practice a mix of both seems the best choice.
I see your comments fairly often on forum postings and had the impression you were a conservative. Apparently I was wrong!
On the whole, an economic conservative, socially a liberal. The conservative party in the US left me behind when they decided that the country would be required to follow their religious rules, but at the same time the liberals are so short-sighted economically that I can't agree with them either.
It sounds like you are a libertarian, which has its own share of strengths and challenges as an ideology.
Whilst I'd disagree with the first part of your statement I would agree with the second half.
What aspect of a centrally directed, compulsory system is good enough to incorporate into a nimble, decentralized, free will, price regulated free market system?
Free will? Hardly. Maybe in it's "pure" days. The greed that drives Capitalism, however, quickly aims to take that "free will" away from all but a few.
Capitalism is a machine that perpetuates itself. If left unbridled, it could -- no -- it is spelling disaster.
I started a forum on the topic of Capitalism over a year ago. I'll pull a little from my posts then.
"The same system that is fueled by greed, the strong desire for more: an overwhelming desire to have more of something such as money than is actually needed, is slowly pushing all of the wealth into the upper class. The poor are becoming poorer, the middle class is disappearing. Everyone's ready to blame the individual, but individuals that don't know what the hell to do are a SYMPTOM of a broken society! Everybody wants to put blame ONLY on the individual. No one is saying that to a certain extent, we all aren't responsible for our decisions. BUT the society is just as responsible.
What's being taught in our schools? How are things being advertised? Why do advertisements work? People are sheep! To say that the herders have no fault over the actions of the sheep is preposterous! Corporations understand the mentality of people. That's what they play on to make more money! If the school systems don't teach the kids how to be smart and vigilant, how to be aware, how to be their own person, how to fight for what they want, and then these same children become parents and teachers, and the children under them aren't being taught, how the hell are they supposed to know?"
"You have to understand that even though this may not always apply to small business, big businesses/corporations are the only thing that matter BECAUSE the most people are affected by it. Back to health insurance. People have to pay for insurance, but if they become terminally ill, the companies don't want to pay for it. Forget it if you're already terminally ill; good luck finding any. Health insurance shouldn't even be a business. But at the end of the day, it's about how much money they can make because the people behind the financial decisions couldn't give a rats ass about the people getting the coverage. They majored in finance and business, not social work. They care about MONEY. That's what they think matters. That's what they're taught matters. People are no longer people, they become tools needed to make a dollar. THAT's the problem with being motivated by profits.
Look at the food industry. I mean what the hell? Food is an industry? That is THE most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Food is a basic necessity for every human being to survive. We're under the illusion that we can grow it and sell it to other people because we own it? LoL, we can "own" food? Look at Monsanto. Do you know who they are? They are the company that basically owns the gmo corn industry. Every time you see an ingredient in processed food that's some derivative of corn, or you buy corn that doesn't say non-GMO, it's 80-90% likely it came from Monsanto. (Insert: they also created roundup-resistant soybeans) Do you know what's illegal? It's illegal for you to sue Monsanto even if you become ill by one of their products. This video is from 2013, but this bill has been continued,
You can look at every facet of how our nation works, and see how the greed that easily follows capitalistic thinking has corrupted those things that were maybe once good. Capitalism isn't the whole problem. But the greed that it becomes a vehicle for is. Capitalism with MANY, MANY more checks and balances and A LOT more accountability can work."
As these are posts from previous discussions, of course there's probably some missing context, but you see where I'm going. If I had the time I go through and shorten I would, but I need to head of to sleep.
You have confused a price regulated free market, capitalist(Marxist clap trap term, that) with a system routinely corrupted and twisted by government interventionism. Why have organic and gluten free sections of the grocery store exploded in the past 5 years? Because the customer dictates. Why are automobile manufacturers dropping v8s in favor of v6s with better gas mileage? Customer demand? Why are newspapers fading and internet news surging? Why is cable television on the cusp of collapse? Every market is driven by customer demands, except those protected by or created by government.
Dunno, but where is that "nimble, decentralised, free will, price regulated free market system"?
All we have is a clunking centralised price fixed restricted market with no free will at all.
How so "clunking?" and how so "no free will?" ?
You're right, but it is your own fault that's all you have. Kick out the socialists and you will have the other. I'd say you could look to the US for it, but we've followed your steps too long in a misguided, short sighted effort at altruism that instead only creates slaves.
There has not been an even remotely socialist government in the UK since 1979. There haven't even been enough socialist MPs to have any influence.
Altruism, you jest, but we are now a nation of slaves to capitalism.
@ John Holden:
1. How so "clunking?"
2. How so "no free will?"
3. How so "slaves to capitalism?"
- specifics and examples would be most appreciated!
( If you have already done this in previous posts, never mind... I'll go back and read them.)
We are becoming slaves to the politicians because we want more than we produce, the politicians are more than willing to trade our votes for wants paid for by others, and we are foolish enough to go along with them.
The UK culture is far more socialistic than, for instance, the US.
No, we are becoming slaves to our government because they expect us to work for nothing.
If that's what the product of your labor is worth you should expect nothing in return for it. Including free (or subsidized) food, housing, utilities, health care, phones or anything else.
Simply being alive does not give you the right to anything but that guaranteed by your government. In the US "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". None of the other stuff.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would suit us fine.
Instead we have capitalists who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Which of those do you not have, bearing in mind that success is not a right and that some liberties must be curtailed whenever a group of people are together (your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose).
Liberty and the pursuit of happiness go hand in hand and both are missing for many in the UK.
When patients with terminal cancer are told that they are fit for work then life is not allowed either.
Oh? Outside of jail inmates, who doesn't have liberty? And who cannot pursue happiness? Of course the writers of the constitution could not guarantee eternal life, or even life tomorrow; that much should be self evident.
And who can pursue happiness when they are working overtime for not enough money to even pay their rent with?
Anyone that wants to. I would assume that the rent money constitutes a part of that person's happiness as well.
C'mon Wilderness, you've owned to do some hard and long graft in your life.
If you think a Sunday afternoon is enough liberty to pursue happiness in. . .
I don't believe that sentence about the pursuit dictates a right to any specific amount of time. Not 24 hours per day, not 40 hours per week, not even one hour per month.
Personally, I've always tried to pursue happiness while working. Chat with a friendly co-worker. Whistle. Sing. Whatever makes me happier. If nothing else work gives me money to fill my belly - instant happiness.
I do think you're (intentionally) confusing the pursuit of happiness with being happy, and no one can give that right. No one, that is, but the individual in question.
Capitalists or government approved merchants? Can any business actually operate independently of continue oversight with only the customer to please, rather than please masters in a distant capitol who crave more and more authority? You blame capitalists, others blame government, it is a dance with government and favored businesses calling the tune for everyone else.
Anthem, the largest single medical insurer in the United States, has been given permission by the government to acquire Humana, another health care giant. The centralization of medicine in the United States continues apace. Once it is all in one "place" the government can more easily control the delivery of medical care to 300,000,000 Americans - ONE SIZE FITS ALL! Wonderful leftist solution that.
Very few businesses are actually motivated by the desire to please customers.
Their main goal is pleasing the shareholders.
What is leftist about having a healthy workforce to earn money for the capitalists? It just seems like sound common sense to me.
"pursuit of happiness"
You should have left this out of the conversation. With the ability of the private sector (rich corporations) being able to buy influence and thereby shortcut the representation of all people, they have a distinct and more direct path to happiness for their own ends.
How can one purchase that which is not for sale? Isn't it government selling influence? Which came first the demand or the supply? It is called influence peddling for a reason.
If money, power and toys are what makes you happy. Of course, you still have the right to pursue those things, through accumulation of wealth if necessary. That is guaranteed by the constitution, but remember that the constitution does not guarantee it will happen, that it will be easy or that everyone has the same chance of success.
If money, power and toys are not what makes you happy, you have very little choice or say n your life unless you want to live off the grid.
"Things" are not what happiness is all about. Food, shelter, education is about thriving in this country and life in general. If it allows one who has the ability through his wealth to diminish or even take that away from you how is it about anything but greed?
"Of course, you still have the right to pursue those things, through accumulation of wealth if necessary."
When you have a government who responds to wealth over its citizenry it takes into consideration one over the other. There is nothing that says we should all get an equal chance or share of the wealth. But the perversion of their charge has them governing for the few over the many. That is why it is called a representative government and not a purchased government.
Everywhere - the diminution of the individual as sovereign is and continues to be the goal of the left. The great Minuet between over reaching, avaricious, greedy, massive, intrusive government and the bloated businesses who crave the rewards those governments offer destroys real free markets and real individual liberty.
There are no major countries in the world with a socialist government or a socialist agenda.
Your answer, whilst blaming the left, points the finger firmly at the right.
I said nothing of socialist. The centrally directed economy is not a conservative notion, on the contrary, it is a central tenet of leftist economic ideas. The price regulated free market place insists on decentralization as the most effective means for allocating scarcity.
Then why are major corporations influencing governments to sway markets in their direction and favour?
Governments who won't be bought, can't be bought. After all, what is Monsanto going to do invade the UK.
An interesting set of questions. A quote to consider regarding the US Military and socialism is "It’s the purest application of socialism there is,” Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general and former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe, told me. And he was only partly joking." (Those paragons of socialism, the United States military; The Seattle Times; Nicholas Kristof; 06/15/11)
Further he says, "“It’s a really fair system, and a lot of thought has been put into it, and people respond to it really well,” he added. The country can learn from that sense of mission, he said, from that emphasis on long-term strategic thinking."
Does that offer a model for socialism to contrast capitalism? Being a military brat for some 20 years (parent active service) I see the parallels. I wonder if that is why I have a strong entrepreneural spirit while supportive of our military. Easily a Hub could be written on that subject especially with the military brat experience. Consider the U.S. Military as a socialist government existing within a modified capitalist economy.
I'm sorry but the comparison of the military with socialism does not work at all.
To suggest that it does shows a lack of understanding of what socialism is.
Unsure of your meaning since socialism seems so vast from my understanding. However, the article is pretty interesting and intriguing. That perspective is written on extensively.
The thing is that the military can not work without a hierarchy. Hierarchy is anathema to socialism
Much like our country the two push and pull at their core definitions. While capitalism is the exploitation of or creation of an advantage, socialism strives to make up the difference through standardization and equalization of that advantage. Where it goes wrong is when the two go to extremes and come up with wacky schemes to undermine the other.
Both have good and bad aspects, but many in America refuse to accept that. "Socialist pig!" <- An insult in this country.
It's good to take care of those who can't take care of themselves.
Is it also good to take care of those that won't take care of themselves?
That is a moral good, is it the province of politics and economics or of personal moral action?
One would have to explain just how socialism, as traditionally defined , actually maintains a continually self supporting economy . That is , without extremely high or at least much higher taxation .
Possibly true, but does it really matter whether it's called "taxes" or "profits"? Either way the citizens are footing all the countries bills.
And you don't pay taxes in a socialist country? ....... and more of them ,.Please john .!
Why should you pay more tax in a socialist country? No banks to bale out, no wages to supplement, no "welfare" for the unneeded.
Right! Everyone keeps their money under the mattress, all $10 of it.
I don't mean banks don't exist, just that their primary function changes fro making money to holding money.
And bail outs can't happen because the banks are owned by a government with infinite funds, so they can never run out. Right, except it is perpetual bail out, just called a different name.
Er, no. Their are no bankers getting huge bonuses even when the bank loses money by gambling with lenders money.
Er, yes. Failed housing loans, are a great plus because it made people happy, which means the politician keeps his job. So he shoves more money into the government bank making bad loans. It just isn't called a "bailout", but maybe an "expense" and no one really knows what's happening. And ALL money in the bank is "lenders money" as it all comes from the consumer anyway.
Yes, all the money in the bank is lenders money. I wonder how many lenders really understand what risks the banks take with their money!
Failed housing loans are a classic example of capitalism gone bad.
I don't know about capitalism - it seems more of a case of democracy gone bad. Politicians forcing banks to make bad loans to "share the wealth" with more freebies for everyone. Socialism, in other words, extending into capitalism.
A true capitalist would never have made such loans in the first place, knowing that a large percentage would fail. A socialist, on the other hand, doesn't care - it's all free money anyway.
So, the government relaxed banking regulations. The banks took advantage by lending money to all and sundry without caring if they could pay back
The banks bundled up the loans, some good, some bad and then sold them on. That worked fine as long as the economy was buoyant and most kept up with their repayments.
The economy tanked and all the sub prime mortgages went toxic.
Primary responsibility, the banks.
Secondary responsibility, the government for allowing the banks to do it.
A true capitalist would make such loans knowing that he had protected himself from failure. Show me capitalist who has failed due to the banking crisis.
No, the government did NOT relax regulations - they extended them to force banks to make a higher percentage of their loans to those with poor credit and payment records.
And no, it did not "work fine" - more and more people defaulted on their loans whether they lost their jobs or not. That's what poor credit means, after all, and it is exactly what was going to happen from day one.
And the failed mortgages drove the recession, not the other way around. There is zero doubt that the recession caused many, many more failures, but the failures started the mess. A positive feedback situation, where the bad action cause more of the same bad action.
ONLY responsibility (not just primary) - the politicians that decided that people that could not afford a home should get one anyway. Banks either complied with the new laws or closed their doors.
A socialist, of course, does not care what government will pay as it is unlimited funds from the citizenry, being spent in a better manner than those citizens would do anyway.
And yes, John, there are lots of people that blame the bankers anyway. The banks lobbied hard for the ability to fail. They WANTED to make loans that would cost them money. The ARRANGED, before any failures, to get the bail out. All total nonsense - nothing but ranting against evil bankers - the cause of bank failures and ultimately the worldwide recession was American politicians playing socialist without a care as to the final, total cost.
Promising, and delivering, more to the people than the people produce will always lead to this result - just ask Greece.
"Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population." - World Socialist Movement
A publicly traded corporation has common ownership. In that sense, a corporation is socialist.
Enjoyed your article, it can be a hard subject to grasp sometimes
Widerness, for your reading-
http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/7501/ … recession/
Hope that helps with your education. You'll note not a mention of socialism or even government compulsion.
"In the 1990's under the administration of Franklin Raines, a Clinton Administration appointee, Fannie Mae began to demand that the lending institutions that it dealt with prove that they were not redlining. This meant that the lending institutions would have to fulfill a quota of minority mortgage lending. This in turn meant that the lending agencies would have to lower their standards in terms of such things as down payments and the required incomes."
"Having put the lending agencies into the position of granting subprime mortgages Fannie Mae then had to accept lower standards in the mortgages it purchased. That set the ball rolling. If a bank granted a mortgage to a borrower that was not likely to successfully pay off the mortgage then all the bank had to do was to sell such mortgages to Fannie Mae."
"Because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made a market for subprime mortgages the lenders did not have to worry about of the soundness of the mortgage contract they wrote."
So our government made it possible and required banks to follow suit, at no risk to themselves. Who wouldn't?
"The percentage of new lower-quality subprime mortgages rose from the historical 8% or lower range to approximately 20% from 2004 to 2006, with much higher ratios in some parts of the U.S"
http://www.stat.unc.edu/faculty/cji/fys … crisis.pdf
And the result was a far greater percentage of subprime lending, with mortgages that could not be repaid by the people getting them. Instant default, with the result the housing bubble burst, causing a recession and more defaults. Because a politician(s) decided the poor needed homes of their own.
Hope that helps with your education - it's never wise to accept only the things that satisfy a perceived desire. (I noted that nowhere in your links was there any indication of WHY those loans were being made - just that they were. While the obvious inference was greedy bankers, if you did just a little deeper a different story emerges.)
Well maybe American politicians would be happy to lend money to people who couldn't afford it. They must be even more short sighted than British politicians!
I don't know - the UK seems even further down the destructive socialist road than the US is. We're catching up, though!
But the truth this time was that pretending we can give everyone everything, without cost, was not only doomed to failure but a failure that was catastrophic over much of the world. If I thought we'd learned anything I'd be happier, but we haven't. Not even clear of the fallout and we decide that everyone can have health insurance at no cost to the rest of the population. I predict failures of clinics, hospitals and the fall of pharmaceutical companies all over the country. As the US produces the bulk of new drugs, the rest of the world will suffer alongside of us.
"The UK seems even further down the destructive socialist road. . ."
I'll be charitable and say that you have absolutely no idea of the political situation in the UK!
Who provides healthcare at no cost to the rest of the population?
I get my ideas on UK political scene from you and other Brits. I figure it's a better indication than the news. If nothing else, everybody seems angry all the time as freebies are cut so you won't follow Greece.
I said before that the UK can do that - y'all seem to like supporting others...
Freebies to the bankers aren't being stopped.
There are no freebies for the working man, they are all paid for.
Yes they are (paid for) - by taxing someone else. I get that. That it is so common is my biggest beef with socialism.
World Socialist Movement:
The WSM takes the position that capitalism is a regressive, backwards system given modern civilizations' current level of technological and economic development, and regardless of how progressive capitalism becomes, it cannot meet the needs of the majority of the population and solve its inherent structural issues. The WSM as an organisation does not participate in labor union activity, social activism or "progressive" movements although individual members may and are permitted to do
so, so long as they remain within the context of economic/social rather than political activism. The WSM perceives such activity (such as support for organized labor unions) to be within the scope of the current capitalist system, and therefore insufficient for bringing about fundamental change in the structure of society because the demands of such activities are to reform capitalism. The WSM is differentiated from the majority of socialist parties that have become defined by their strategy and immediate demands, and in the case of Social democratic parties, preoccupied with gaining and maintaining political office, adopting capitalist perspectives in the process."
The WSM defines socialism in its classical formulation as a "system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the community". Socialism is characterized as a stateless, propertyless, post-monetary economy based on calculation in kind, a free association of producers (workplace democracy) and free access to goods and services produced solely for use and not for exchange."
Capitalism "cannot meet the needs of the majority of the population…"
If a couple has sex and produce a baby, the rest of the population are NOT responsible for that baby's survival because the rest of the population did NOTHING to bring that baby into the world!!!
In my mind, its not fair to say just because SOME individuals have needs, OTHER individuals have to to fulfill those needs!!!!
Where is the justice in this thinking------->????????
Just because someone runs out of money in old age does not mean OTHER individuals have to help him. No. His family should help him. His family.
What is wrong with people reaping the effects of their own causes?
Feelings of great ambition and hope, kindled by sense of urgency, inspire people to get up and go to work.
It is human nature to sit back and let life ebb and flow with as little effort as possible.
We cannot enable the uninspired and unworried to sit around.
Socialism enables humans to sink to the level of slugs.
Socialism distributes wealth "by and in the interest of the community."
And the community is more important than the individual.
Is group-think more real than individual thought?
Do all minds think alike?
Are humans like the fish swimming in schools moving every which way by some mysterious unison of inner impulse?
If you say, Yes…
I beg to differ.
Humans are not slugs
and they are not fish.
What is a human?
A human has a brain to use for survival along with muscles and senses. A human wants to use these powers to live, to work, to prosper. He wants to do it himself. He wants the glory of his own efforts and the failures of his own experiments. He wants the successes of lessons he has learned through his own SELF EFFORT.
The challenges of life are naturally satisfied through freedom of market. Capitalism benefits every individual who participates in this naturally occurring network of buying and selling goods and services.
But, without proper boundaries, capitalism can instigate blind ambition and greed in the unscrupulous. Checks on human nature are in place: Monopoly laws. We must follow them. Furthermore: No bail outs, No bonuses, No backroom deals!
What is the good of law?
To protect others from the follies of the ignorant, the evil, the stupid and the egocentric.
In short, the unscrupulous.
unprincipled, unethical, immoral, conscienceless, shameless, reprobate, exploitative, corrupt, dishonest, dishonorable, deceitful, devious, underhanded, unsavory, disreputable, evil, wicked, villainous, Machiavellian; crooked, shady, hinky; dastardly." Thesaurus
Freedom within boundaries is workable. Without boundaries, freedom is lost.
Freedom and boundaries are two sides of the same coin.
We must not toss out the coin, thinking it is rusting away, in favor of an empty piggy bank.
We can't help you, John, if you do not like to work.
Choosing one's own work is liberty.
A percolating economy depends on the many who like working and enjoy the results and achievements of their work.
And INDIVIDUALS who are free to choose and who are naturally rewarded are "the many."
Politicians do need to keep this in mind.
If you ask me.. which no one...
Oh but I do enjoy work. When I don't then I appreciate my work being rewarded well. When I have to do work that does not reward me in either way then I'm being exploited.
Exploited...by your own choice. You would rather be exploited than go hungry and thus choose to be exploited. No guns to the head, no whips or chains - just a choice to do even though you think it's unfair and exploitation.
Not unsympathetic - been there myself - but that's the bottom line. Your choice.
"Exploited...by your own choice."
Exploited by a government for sale and those who would profit from it.
Now this I would agree with. Taxation, beyond that needed to maintain the country, is exploitation and the only choice is to immigrate. Taking what I have in order to buy votes from people wanting a free ride is exploitation, whether legal or not.
...wouldn't it be funny if we are all actually in agreement?
It is us against those who could care a fig about us: those politicians we elected thinking they WOULD care! (about us) HA!
I no longer vote for those that I think will do the right thing - there are none. Now I vote for who I think will do the least amount of damage to the country. Nearing the end of my "three score and ten", I just want a country for my grandchildren.
And taking advantage of the citizenry through greedy, criminally weak politicians is what has compromised the sovereignty of the country. Taxation is another issue entirely.
Negative - it has gotten to the point that taxation itself is more about greed than anything else. Individuals wanting what they cannot afford, paid for through taxes on others, and politicians wanting the votes of those individuals, also paid for through taxes on others.
Taxation, instead of being the minimum needed to operate the country (with a little added to aid the unfortunate), has become an endless trough for freebies, graft, fraud and votes. It's called greed.
Absolutely not. The perception that the government is greedy based on their own needs is ludicrous. Through the military industrial complexes influence of supporting warmongering candidates is just a small part of the ends big business will go to make a profit. These and other influences "buy" and promote their agenda to make a buck on the backs of the taxpayer. Without a greedy influence there would be no need for a greedy candidate. The candidates have only proven how willing they are to stoop to the low road to line their pockets. If anything, we are the ones at fault for the greed that runs rampant in our elected officials.
Ditto, greed doesn't mean millions and millions of dollars - just the desire to get as much as possible with as little effort as possible. You can also add in all those other evil churchy ideas like envy and sloth.
The federal budget is now 20% of GDP, according to the Federal Reserve, which is consistent with the average over the last 40 years.
In fact, it's even lower now than it was during the Reagan years.
On the contrary increased taxes are the result of failed responsibility with the legislation and trade agreements to provide a balance between who pays taxes based on their income. The very rich pay incredibly less taxes than they did when the countries economy boomed in the fifties and sixties. The reduction and trade agreements to rob America of jobs has resulted in the difference of having to be made up somewhere. The rich have relied on the increase of the population increases to create more of a tax base. Unfortunately the job depletion cannot make up that difference, You still hang onto that old tired line of less taxes taken from the rich will result in more jobs for the masses. It never worked and never will.
Just as a point of reference, the top tax rate is current 39.6% From 1932 through 1986, it ranged from 50% to 91%.
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts … ?Docid=543
I was referring to this as under Eisenhower (a republican) we saw the highest rates being collected. Ever since a reduction in this rate, it has resulted in an increase of the money going to the top. Funny how this is ignored to a fault.
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