What is the big deal about socialism?
Can someone explain to me why Americans (USA) typically say "socialist" in a negative way. I've been doing some research and many of these "socialist" societies are quite happy AND well provided for. So what is the big deal? Why are so many against the concept and why is it said in a bad way so often?
I am quite puzzled by your findings that indicate that "these "socialist" societies are quite happy AND well provided for".
If the socialists are so happy, why do so many attempt to flee from the socialist state?
Could it be that you have never visited a socialist state where the individuals are imprisoned by the state?
The reason Americans say "socialist" in a negative way is due to the loss of freedoms under a socialist state regime.
The USA is experiencing increased socialist tyranny as the current Administration continues to make policies that restrict the individual and reduces the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
The "big deal" is that my personal freedoms should not be restricted in order to provide something free to others who lack the self-motivation to provide for themselves.
The "big deal" is that socialists shout "fair share", but never work to achieve that "fair share" because their idea of fairness is to take from the achievers to provide freely to the non-achievers.
The "big deal" is that socialism does not provide an environment of incentives to motivate individuals to innovate and advance the society.
The "big deal" is that socialism is based on the theory that "one-size" fits all.
However, for this to be true, then everyone in such a society must do everything for themselves without the incentive to produce something better than their peers. This means no sales, no bartering, and no innovation therefore, no advancement.
Take the Chinese for example - the Chinese society does not possess the ability to advance solely on their own volition due to the lack of social competition that leads to innovation. This is due to everything being owned by the government and nothing belonging to the innovator. This lack of individual recognition leads to lackluster provenance in their productive environment.
The "big deal" is that the USA Capitalist society has operated at a better innovative rate than any other currently existing or previously existing state because the economic principles of the American society generates the best innovative environment for advancement of the opportunistic and energetic individual.
The "big deal" is that socialist society places undue burden upon the individual by removing all individual incentives to advance.
So, I question why you ask the question about the negative connotations concerning "socialist" when the hard workers within a socialist state are distressed by the inequalities of society principles.
Most people who use the term socialism in a negative way have very little (or no) understanding of what socialism actually is. Many equate socialism to the political constructs which rule over nations such as China and formerly the Soviet state. Those constructs are/were characterized by a high level of state control and authority, however, they would more properly fit into the category of Fascism (state authoritarianism).
Socialism, as conceived by Marx, had an end goal of Communism which would have no state authority AT ALL, so Marxism is essentially the complete opposite of the governments that people often call socialist.
Marx cared more about individual liberty than most average American conservatives today do, which makes it pretty ironic that so many American conservatives spend so much time complaining about socialism because of an alleged and imaginary antagonism to individual liberty. They have it completely backwards and just aren't well-enough educated, apparently, to understand. Many conservatives (especially the libertarian leaning) correctly identify the state as a potential oppressor, however, many than turn around and completely ignore the corporation as a potential oppressor. It doesn't make sense. True liberty requires freedom from both.
When you talk about socialist societies doing well, I imagine you are referring to countries like Sweden and Finland. These countries are really the same as us: market economies with a 'socialist' element, they just tend to have a much stronger 'socialist' tendency.
One of Marx's main theses was that Capitalism tends to be exploitative (of people, places, and resources). I find it hard to really disagree with him. These things we incorporate into our societies that people call 'socialism' are corrections to that exploitation. Capitalists who want only to make money don't like not being able to exploit things to their maximum gain and so they call socialism bad names, and invent ridiculous bogeymen to scare children, such as the takers vs. makers nonsense that has evidently frightened tbHistorian out of their pants.
Socialism wants people to do well, just not at the expense of others.
I just have to say this is such an excellent answer!
Capitalism has potential 2 exploit, but it also has the opportunity to do good ex Corporate Social Responsibility. It is what we make of it. Socialisms intentions r good, but it doesn't end up that way because the leaders actually exploit the people
Concept and implementation are always different things. You could argue we aren't much of a functioning democracy as well, that doesn't mean it is a bad idea. Capitalism, however, exploitation=profit. That fatal flaw is built into the design itself.
So what u r saying is that we should get rid of capitalism?
I'd say we should get rid of exploitation. How exactly to do that and what would be left if we did do it are well beyond what I could answer.
I agree what would b left is more than anyone could explain because it is hard to define what is "exploitative" business practice is. Some can argue credit is exploiting, but when it helps someone put food on the table for a month. who r we 2 say?
Who are we not to say? It is wrong to profit from someone else's misfortune. I have no problem saying that. However, in this context, exploitation had a specific definition according to Marx that is different from how we commonly use it.
Of course it is wrong to profit from some1's misfortune, but who gets to decide what is ethical and unethical? This is why I used the credit example. Some say credit is unethical and destroying the middle class. Should we rid the world of credit then
I agree, this is an excellent and informed answer.
I think junkseller provided a very comprehensive answer to this, but I would like to add one thing. The socialist (or Communist) fear/hype that is so pervasive in America is mostly, I think, because of the cold war (also the Vietnam war!). Because it ended only a few decades ago, it is still fresh in the minds of many Americans. The "big baddies" were Russia, China, and other Communist countries, and they had been for over 50 years. Unfortunately, Socialism is marred by this association with Communism.
As for the almost paranoid accusations of "*gasp* you're a Communist!!?" that still exist, consult the McCarthy era. Thousands of Americans were accused of being communists, and lost their jobs and credibility if they weren't patriotic enough, or were thought to sympathise with socialists.
But, as you say, the socialist and even Communist theories are wonderful. They promote absolute equality, sharing, and civil rights. What makes Communism "scary" is that it is an extremist political idea, wildly different from what America knows (and loves). Because the fear of the cold war re-erupting (a nuclear war would likely follow), many are afraid of even walking down the socialist path.
Firstly there are no socialist societies, there are socialised societies who in the main give off this air of happiness that many of the mediocre seem to crave so much.
Socialists in general have no idea of what socialism really would be like as there has never been a socialist society. For socialism to really work it would take the whole world to play along.
Most of the socialised world is turning to capitalism as its main economic model and those who operate a socialised society such as the Scandinavian countries have economic difficulties. Over the last 40years the Scandinavian countries have performed pretty poorly resulting in high tax rates and unemployment rates.
The reason that Scandinavian peoples seem to be happier than others is probably more down to the Law of Jante rather than anything socialism brings to them.
Right now, big business has a strong hold on almost everything in the U.S. If a profit can be made, then you can be sure there are businessmen there to charge for it. So, 'socialism' was turned into a bad word to scare the uninformed. For example, socialized medicine is demonized because then the health insurance industry would dissolve and CEOs would lose profits. I'm not saying CEOs and corporations are evil, I'm saying that their goal is profits and that often doesn't match up with general human welfare.
Similarly, the same people have tied patriotism to capitalism. The best way to show terrorists who is boss is to go out and spend spend spend. So, if anyone points out the flaws in capitalism, they're seen as unpatriotic, when I think the opposite is true. Wanting to make this country better is patriotic. Letting it stagnate is not.
So, in answer to your question, the 'socialism' negativity you see is mostly propaganda. I'm sure there are legitimate concerns about it to be addressed, but the people screaming about it being evil should not represent the debate.
Because Communism is the most widely known form of Socialism. Communism hasn't done too well in the past and though the principle of Socialism is one of good intentions, it hasn't ended up that way. What happens is that the individual is asked to sacrifice for the good of the collective, but the ones that are in control don't make those same sacrifices which gives them the power. Therefore people are not equal, and the minority controls the collective.
How can you say such nonsense when we all know how Marxism has evolved and giving modern China more success than you will ever get from the capitalist system in the US?
China only evolved when they started adopting Capitalism. The only part of socialism they have left are the human rights issues.
Socialism is fine . . . until you run out of other peoples' money! Socialism is seen by some as a panacea - in reality, it is a denier of individual freedom and individual initiative; it necessitates the citizens to be reliant on the state. It, in spite of (perhaps) good intentions, is an inherently evil system. Remember, no political/economic system has done more good for more people than capitalism.
"The trouble with capitalism is capitalists. The trouble with socialism IS socialism." William F. Buckley, Jr.
Socialism is a direct contradiction to the founding principles of our nation. All forms of collectivism and stateist ideals are the potential gateway to tyrannical govt's. History is filled with examples of gov't abusing people first with soft tyranny and then often later with more severe imposition on the liberty of people. The more a society becomes dependent upon gov't, the less productive a society becomes. More importantly, the easier it is to abuse it's people. The problem is that socialist are naive enough to believe that you can provide individual liberty to the masses by top down central planning without doing this at the expense of another's liberty. Of course this has never actually worked anywhere in the world. Liberty can never be achieved in such a way. Because no gov't anywhere in the world is altruistic. Gov't is a necessary evil. And as such it should be limited. Which is why our constitution was designed in exactly such a way.
In terms of people being quite happy. People are typically content with what they know when they don't know any better. At least until things spin out of control. The Europeans are a classic example of this recently. Many where quite happy with the gov't providing them with a nanny state. At least until their budgets spun out of control and the world would no longer loan many EU nations money at reasonable interest rates. So their only alternative was austerity. They had to learn are very basic economic principle the hard way....There is no such thing as a free lunch. When people learn that they can vote themselves benefits by taking from the other guy...you eventually run short of "other guys". Because the "other guy" also becomes institutionalized and wants everything for free as well. And soon you have a very unproductive society. Europe on the whole over the last several decades, with the exception of the Germans has become incredibly unproductive where double digit unemployment is not a sign of crisis, but the norm. The Germans where smart in the mid 2000's to implement major welfare reforms to reverse the tide of this dependency. And today, after all the complaining about cutting benefits, they are the major economic power in the region which is a net exporter.
“I would rather be exposed to the
inconveniences attending too much liberty
than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
Thomas Jefferson 1791
Right on the money! "History is filled with examples of gov't abusing people first with soft tyranny and then often later with more severe imposition on the liberty of people." Precisely and it can happen here . . .
The US is a perfect example of predatory capitalism where mega corporations, the military and clandestine intelligence services run the country in the interest of a few - and you live off the BS you got to the question: What was JFK and 9/11 about?
"To start earning BIG COMMISSIONS with this system, you just use your CB ID ... and we give you your own personal affiliate link to make a huge income!" Franto, from your income system page. You sound like quite the capitalist. lol
Predatory capitalism...LOL providing a product or service to a customer base in return for compensation is not Predatory in any sense. What is Predatory is when the govt intervenes in a market and distorts outcomes to socially engineer results.
One only needs to read today's headlines about Kim Jong Un sentencing his uncle to death. One of the charges was that he "halfheartedly" clapped when Kim received a title. Good old socialism! lol
I have lived in Socialist countries in which hospital situations were archaic, overly inundated with wait lists, and nursing staff without compassion for terminally ill patients who tell their patients to shut up when they are begging for pain medications. I have witnessed this, by God. Never again do I want to experience this and it frustrates me to no end that the current administration wants to lean toward this type of sub-standard health care. WE have the best health care system (still) and why would we want to lose such standards? I understand the need to rid insurance plans of "pre-existing" conditions, but for the Americans to sell out, losing their freedom of choice and privacy to this government is ludicrous. I shake my head when Americans just sit back and trust this administration. The unspoken plan is to create a third-world country in which only the 1% (big government) has complete control and we the people become the serfs of fuedalism. Be wary my fellow Americans ... you are slowly losing your rights right beneath your very noses each time an idiot like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid opens their mouth. To them, you are a bunch of dumb arse cattle, grazing on half-promises, and being led straight to the pens of the slaughterhouse. Be careful of what you wish for ...
What a silly scare talk about socialized health care!
Most countries in Europe, as well as Canada have far more reasonable, high quality health services than what Americans are paying for, if they can even afford it!
And yet the US has the highest survival rate in the treatment of almost every major illness. Cancer..Heart Disease...HIV etc
Is that like being the best at building prisons? Maybe we are really good at because we have so much of it due to overall poor health and healthcare (e.g. 33% obesity). Compare to Japan. A third per capita spending, 3x as many doc visits, 3.9% obes.
We spend more because we can. We have more access. We don't wait on a list for surgery for months and sometimes years. It's a perk of being the richest nation in the world. When you ration care...it is less costly because you're not providing it
junkseller, that has nothing to do with r_hruz's argument, which is subsidized medicine. If prevention was his point he wouldn't have an argument because he is Canadian and would fall into the obese group.
My point was also about subsidized healthcare. Many countries with sub. systems are more satisfied and spend less than we do. Access and care for major disease is only one variable to consider, and for many, not the most important.
Results are what matter. People are always happy with something they percieve to be free until they have to actually use it. Then they get what they pay for.
Or, people are fully aware of what they pay, use their healthcare system all of the time, report their satisfaction, and you just choose to ignore it. But, I'm sure you know their minds better then they do themselves.
I know that not many are leaving the US to fly overseas to get care. But they come here all the time. I guess there are people who would be foolish enough to be more satisfied with system in which you are more likely to die of every major illness.
Actually what is foolish is thinking that a system in which you are more likely to die from more common minor illnesses is better. Check out amenable mortality statistics.
Check out the methodology of determining mortality. It is not universal. Many nations eliminate the most vulnerable people from their metrics, such as infant mortality. They simply don't count huge number of them. That tends to help their stats.
My wife is from a country with subsidized medicine and she said that the healthcare is atrocious. It is sub-standard and takes forever to be seen, so you still need insurance because it is faster and better to see private doctors.
The UK has the NHS, the greatest health care system in the world......................... when it works.
My wife lived there as well. Mainly in Spain. Getting an appt for just about anything was a nightmare. That's why Europeans with money still buy private care.
There's good and bad in every system. Comparing the best of one system against the worst of another is not an honest assessment.
People vote with their feet. And there is no other nation on earth that more people flee to for top medical care.
Like I said, best of one system. Even so, we are not the top destination for medical care. Thailand is with Singapore, Mexico, and India all in the top 5 (and growing). Take off the American flag you have wrapped around your eyes.
Mexico...LOL. Take off your blinders. Nobody with cancer in the US will go to Mexico. They go to Memorial Sloane Kettering, MD Anderson, Moffitt Cancer Institute. Our big problem is Mexicans crossing the border to have babies in US hospitals.
Yes, that's terrific. America exceeds at top-tier care for the wealthy. Congratulations. Not much point continuing this since you are evidently incapable of examining any metric other than that.
junkseller, u r moving the proverbial goal post. this was a conversation about the US medical, u said we failed @ overall health. when we squashed that u moved 2 overall satisfaction, then to poor people healthcare. We get it, u hate the US. letsmove
LW said nothing about overall healthcare. He has only mentioned top tier care. I have simply tried to point out other variables, amongst many. Cherry-picking good and ignoring bad (and vice versa) is not an analysis. It is bias.
The point has to be made about basic social services have to be provided by any civilized society to the population at large before spending enormous amounts on a war machine and not deprive ordinary people to maintain a predatory capitalist system!
Net results are overall healthcare. And gov't spending money on basic social services is precisely what makes them more expensive and less available to the lower income. Gov't provided social services destroys price discovery and increases cost.
Oh man, just because you make your living selling over priced private health insurance products which soak all the suckers who want to continue financing an exploitative system, we are not falling for your capitalist BS much longer!
I don't sell insurance or any other financial product for that matter. I get paid for my time and performance. And your personal attacks only display your lack of knowledge of economics.
"Survival rates in Canada, Japan, Australia and Cuba were all comparable to or higher than U.S. survival rates on all types of cancer that the Lancet study examined, except for prostate cancer. " - FactCheck.org
And this is done with a greater heterogeneous population, which has a greater impact on outcomes than in other nations with less diverse backrounds.
The US is the fortress of multi & transnational corporations trying to maximize their profits with the help of the US government at the expense of ordinary working people ... so the official, main stream media / propaganda machine is just covering up that a better social, economic and political system, call it social democratic or socialist, maybe a lot better for the large majority of the population ... and they keep fooling the ones who have been brainwashed enough to think there can't be anything better than the kind of predatory capitalism practiced in the US of A today ... so they will keep on sending their kids to fight in wars around the world instead of having well paid jobs at home in healthcare, education or science and research, etc.
Most societies have socialist features including the United States (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid).
Junkseller is quite right that Sweden, Finland and certain other countries that have more socialist qualities and do better than the U.S. in various lifestyle rankings. But they also have plenty of their own capitalist qualities as well.
The truth is that most healthy and successful countries adopt ideas that make sense and benefit everyone rather than rigidly follow an ideology to a destructive extreme.
Communism is an example of a rigid ideology, which is why it fails. China is proving it by adopting capitalist ideas.
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