View Full Version : Who thinks some form of socialism would be good?
03-30-2001, 03:40 AM
Obviously I am running the risk of getting hurled into GD, but I really want to survey people's attitudes rather than debating the merits of the philosophy.
Socialism in one form or another has attracted and/or influenced multitudes of people at least since the French Revolution. Even with the fall of the Soviet bloc, I don't think Socialist philosophy or politics are over yet. In fact, I think as the years go by and people forget the Cold War, there may be a resurgence, just as "anarchism" is currently in vogue among many young folks today. (I may take a poll like this once every ten years.)
So, are you a soc-symp?
(I'm not going to define socialism -- I'd like every poster to define it for themselves, and then say whether or not they would support implementing some form of it.)
03-30-2001, 04:11 AM
The Netherlands is currently (and has been for the last 12 years) run by a coalition of Socialists, "Liberal" Conservatives, and Liberals. The resulting policy is definately a socialist one, albeit mostly in the areas of social security and employment politics. I think my country is best described as a capitalist economy with a socialist safety net under it. And it works fine, in practise.
FTR, I'm not a socialist myself. My vote's for the Liberal party in the coalition, which is somewhat left-of-the-middle here. On an American political scale, it probably puts me WAY left of the Democrats.
03-30-2001, 04:18 AM
I'm Canadian. We're all socialists.
Except for Alberta.
The parts of Canadian socialism I value most have more to do with everyday life than the big political picture. Can't speak for all of the US, but I did live two years on Long Island, and got the impoverished student's view of the system.
Caveat: This is NOT an overall trashing of Long Island. I have very fond memories of living there and it was overall a positive experience. These are just some points germaine to the OP where there I wish things had been different.
I lived in Stony Brook. If I wanted to take my toddler son to a decent playground, I either had to drive to Port Jefferson (6 miles IIRC) or to some school that had an amazing playscape (even featured on Sesame Street). That playscape was about 10 miles away. If I didn't have my beat up Impala, I'm not sure what we would've done.
If I wanted to take my family swimming, we had to drive about 10 miles to the swimming pool. I believe it cost at least 10 dollars for us to swim. Again, on a student's budget, that was pretty steep. (Yes, there was a pool at SUNY, but they didn't allow toddlers in it.)
If I wanted to go skating, well I'm not even sure where I would've gone. The only rink I actually knew of was at Rockefeller Centre (sorry, Center), but I'm sure there was something on LI somewhere. If my son had been old enough to play hockey, I hesitate to think how expensive it would've been.
We were lucky in Stony Brook, because there was a fairly decent public library, but from what I understand from people outside the villages that paid for it, you weren't always lucky enough to have access to one.
So, what parts about the socialist system in Canada do I value the most? The fact that in the suburb where I live it's a 3-minute walk to a very nice playground (and there are a lot of them around the city), it's a short drive to a variety of swimming pools, we have arenas all over the place, and children's sports are affordable. Seems to me having places for children to play and develop are a reasonable thing to ask a society to pay for.
No, it's not perfect here, but in these ways, it's pretty good. Until Mike Harris manages to take it all away, that is.
03-30-2001, 08:22 AM
I think that some forms of socialism are definitely good. Current American thought is otherwise, unfortunately, primarily because the egregious misconception that good government is one that keeps taxes low.
There are certainly services that can be provided better through governmental action, but the current myth (repeated endlessly) is that the government can do no good. Part of this is due to the nature of our system -- when we try to set up a governmental program, it's hobbled from the start due to the compromises inherent in the system (and the anti-government ideologues are tireless in throwing up roadblocks). Then, when it doesn't work (because people have been fighting it every step of the way), the people who have been opposing it take that as an example. Even when it does work, the anti-government forces claim it doesn't.
There would have to be a complete change in the social climate for any sort of socialism to take root in the U.S. The problem is that the true ideologues are against "big government" or anything that might help the general good at their expense.
03-30-2001, 08:48 AM
Alberta is also socialistic, people just get pissed because we're a bunch of socialists with lots of money.
tclouie - what kind of resurgence are you looking for? All you'd have to do is come to Canada, visit Sweden, the Netherlands, or many other countries to see socialism in action. Hell, look around the U.S. and you'll see that even that government practices some aspects of socialism.
You say "socialism" like it's a bad word.
03-30-2001, 09:06 AM
Count me in on this one. I'd definitely like to see something along the lines of the Scandinavian or Canadian system brought about here, although I feel if it's brought about from below rather than from above (i.e. people fight for it instead of waiting for the gov't to do something) then we could push things further.
03-30-2001, 11:54 AM
Canada may or may not have nicer playgrounds and libraries than Long Island. And Sweden may or may not be a more pleasant place to live than Texas. Still, to call either Canada or Sweden a "socialist" state requires a mighty elastic definition of "socialism." In most of the alleged socialist Paradises, medicine is the ONLY socialized industry. Sometimes the railroads, too. That's about it.
Socialism means control of all major industries by "the people" (in practical terms, that means the government). Well, are Volvo and Saab owned by the Swedish government? Nope! They're strictly private enterprises. Is Seagram's a government-run corporation? Of course not! It's a privately owned, private run, for-profit corporation.
What many call "socialist" nations are really capitalist nations with high taxes and massive welfare programs. Very few socialists ANYWHERE in the world favor nationalizing any more major businesses. At best, they want to expand their favorite welfare programs- and to do that, they NEED thriving capitalists as cash cows! If the Swedish government ever nationalized Volvo, or Ottawa tried to take over Seagram's, they'd be killing the goose that lays their golden eggs, and they know it.
03-30-2001, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by Feynn
You say "socialism" like it's a bad word.
I definitely don't think socialism is a bad word, but I live in a climate and a country where many people do. The word itself is never even mentioned in U.S. media or politics; aspects of the US system that were inspired by socialism are referred to by another name, like "liberalism." Or "economic fairness." Or "community empowerment." Anything but the dreaded, taboo S-word!
I started this thread in part because I noticed many posters on the SDMB tend to express conservative or libertarian or neoliberal political views; and I wanted to know if I was the only one sympathetic to socialism.
So far, I count five socialist comrades, not counting the guy who votes for the Liberal Party of the Netherlands.
So I guess I'll just go off and drown myself, and push our kind that much closer to extinction. :(
03-30-2001, 12:50 PM
We HAVE socialism in the USA-just take a look around. The state I live in (Massachusetts) is heavily socialist. One such socialist enterprise is the Boston Housing Authority-it is run by a bunch of corrupt politicians, for their and their friend's benefit. It provides lousy living conditions for its tenants, and high paying/no-show jobs to its workers, and enormous taxes to those of us who pay the bills. I used to believe in socialism-till I grew up and saw how my tax dollars are squandered by such operations. That's the main problem with socialism-"public" ownership means sinecures for politicians and their friends. These people forget whatever responsibilities they ever had, and just milk the system.
03-30-2001, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by egkelly
That's the main problem with socialism-"public" ownership means sinecures for politicians and their friends. These people forget whatever responsibilities they ever had, and just milk the system.
Hmmm... former Texas oilman backpedals on pollution restrictions, refuses to stop price gouging by Texas oil companies, and backs legislation supporting his pals in the oil, gas, and energy industries.
Hey! George "Dubya" Bush is a Socialist! :)
03-30-2001, 04:56 PM
Real socialism won't need a cash economy, astorian.
rjung - hell, forget Dubya. If socialism is all about getting the cushy political job and scratching your friends' backs, we should all be reading the collected works of Boss Tweed.
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