24 April 2009

RAW: Socialism versus Capitalism

Some nutter on a website left a comment that 7 of 10 Americans prefer socialism to capitalism.

First, I doubt those polled could even give the proper definition of either (the definitions are below in case you were wondering.) Second, if they really knew the definitions I doubt they would chose one over the other. When you get down to it, neither in their true form is palpable.

There is much hype on talk radio about how we are marching towards socialism. However, the reality is that the United States is already part of the way there. I would also argue that the United States will never be 100 percent socialist, just like the United States will never be 100 percent capitalist. Why you may ask? Because of what it is that makes the United States unique. We value freedom. We also look out for one another.

You see, the United States is neither a capitalist nor a socialist country. Even the European countries are not socialist by definition, they just pay more taxes and have larger social programs. The United States has a combination of socialist tendencies (defense, health care, education, social security) and capitalist tendencies (incentives to produce, ability to own shares of companies, own property, invest your money). Government also regulates the capitalist system.

We have a prime example of when capitalism is allowed to run amuck with the real estate bubble and the subsequent fall out which is why capitalism cannot be allowed to run unchecked. On the other hand, without a capitalistic system creating goods and services that the government can tax we cannot provide for the socialist programs which we can agree, to one degree or another, is needed for those destitute and downtrodden. Yes, when government grows too much and people start seeing everything as a right we tip the scales towards socialism. However, socialism may work on a micro level (Amish farmers come to mind – but even they sell goods for money), it does not work by itself on a macro level. Even countries like China are using capitalism – they have no choice but to embrace certain aspects of it.

The key to everything in life is finding moderation (the foods we eat, the debt we take on, activities we are involved in, etc.). The key for the United States is finding the balance between socialism and capitalism. I hope that President Obama and his fellow democrats in Congress understand that economic freedom is good for the economy and the American people just has I hope Rush Limbaugh and the republicans understand the need to keep businesses in check (everyone is human afterall).

socialism–noun (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialism)
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

capitalism–noun (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/capitalism)
An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. In such a system, individuals and firms have the right to own and use wealth to earn income and to sell and purchase labor for wages with little or no government control. The function of regulating the economy is then achieved mainly through the operation of market forces where prices and profit dictate where and how resources are used and allocated.

1 comment:

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