It's May Day: Let Us Praise Socialism

I like socialism, I really do. I like the idea of living in a society that is inclusive, that believes all of it’s citizens deserve decent lives. Capitalism may be more efficient at distributing wealth, but it has a tendency to distribute wealth very unevenly if left unchecked, witness the current state of the American economy.

I celebrate the notion that all human beings have value (unless proven otherwise, and no, being poor does not constitute proof) and should be celebrated and lived to the fullest extent possible. I think socialism embraces this notion much more powerfully than capitalism does.

I think ultimately we will all be forced to become socialists when human society in general reaches post-scarcity levels and populations stabilize and maybe even decrease significantly. This will probably happen much sooner than we expect, but not nearly soon enough to alleviate a lot of human suffering on the way.

I doubt if I will live to see the triumph of socialism or something like it over capitalism. But I feel certain it will happen eventually, capitalism is at heart too morally odious to survive. European social democracies seem to be the model the rest of the world is following, as they provide better lives for everyone. The American model of worshiping the wealthy and letting the middle class go to hell (and actively shoving the poor there) is in decline and hopefully will fade away, even in America. Countries that have strong middle classes invariably do better than countries that consist of a huge mass of poor, a small, weak middle class and very small, very powerful upper class. That second option is the direction America is headed in unfortunately, but hopefully the examples of better nations will be examined and approved, if only out of desperation.

Social democracy in America seems far away, but perhaps it is not so far away. On May Day, I express my hope to see it sooner rather than later.

You won’t.


Succinct and pithy.

In other words, completely devoid of useful content whatsoever. Keep up the good work!

He will.

Socialism isn’t so bad. I have no problems with the community having to care for the least of us. But I wouldn’t want pure socialism any more than pure capitalism. A mixture of both, with more capitalism in social aspects and more socialism in economic aspects, to me, is the best we can hope for

Until, of course, I become emperor of the world! :smiley:

There are so many definitions of socialism floating about, that it is hard to know what you are supporting.

The good kind, of course.

Capitalism doesn’t distribute wealth; it creates it. Socialism does so poorly.

Counterpoint: Yu-huh. If poor people are valuable, why hasn’t anyone traded money for their time and skills?

Basically, tightly regulated capitalism with no limits on how wealthy you can become, but the basis of fiscal policy will be maintaining a large, affluent middle class (that can, you know, buy things) and universal health care. For the poor and out of luck, a basic ground level safety net for citizens: say, a room to live in that has heat and air conditioning, enough food to keep you healthy, health care basic clothing and basic cable Internet and TV to keep you hooked into the culture. Educational opportunities and job opportunities for them that want something more.

The key differences between this and what we have right now in America: fiscal policy is aimed at helping the wealthy, not the middle class, and there is no ground floor … you can become homeless, have no health insurance and have to depend on job banks to get enough to eat.

And work times will be strictly limited to 40 hours a week. This business of making people’s work their lives is wrong.

Um, no. A farmer growing food creates wealth. A manufacturer making thing creates wealth. Capitalism is how you distribute that wealth – through trade. It allows people with with money to invest in people who are creating wealth, a very good thing, but still, there needs to be crops and products and services.

Of course, you can exchange money with other wealthy people based on the expected outcomes of other people’s attempts to create wealth. That is called “gambling.” And when you gamble, you take great risks. See: 2008.

If the only value of human beings is money, why not just enslave the poor? Or kill them off? And of course, employers do trade money for the time and skills of the poor, just not enough for them to survive. That is why we call them “poor.”

Come now, this is May Day. They’re all good today!

Your so called “counterpoint” is just telling us what the capitalist definition of human value is and then saying that under that definition, the poor have no value. We already knew that.

Lets take this part of your statement.

So you want to give everyone a private room, with utilities, meals, healthcare, internet and TV? They don’t have to do a thing to get it?

This doesn’t sound like socialism to me, but can you perhaps point to which country or countries you think do this? If not, maybe some that come the closest?

Sounds like you want to sing the praises of a mixed economy with a social safety net, and that describes all western democracies. We’re just left arguing about the details, which is where the devil is. Or so I’ve been told.

Wealth is not the only metric there is for a society.

Did you pay you mum for her skills ? Do you pay your friends for their time ?

Actually, as I understand it, the devil is in our science textbooks.

What do you mean fiscal policy is aimed at helping the wealthy? The United States has the most progressive income tax system in the western world. Fiscally, the difference between the US and european social democracies are that the european countries have a VAT, which is a type of consumption tax that is paid for by the middle class.

There is a member of my family who occasionally works more than 40 hours per week to buy extra things for his family. What gives you the expertise to know better than he does how many hours he should be working?

Every citizen and their offsppring, yes.

It does not describe the United States, we have pretty much dismantled what social safety net we had, not that it didn’t suck.

And I wish to praise the socialist aspect of social democracies, the caring about others, the sense of social cohesion, the sense that everybody might have something of value to contribute to their society. I will leave the praising of capitalism for another day.

Eh, I view any capitalism vs. socialism debate as kind of like an argument about whether it’s better to have your kneecap shattered or your kidney removed with no anaesthetic, but I do have to say one thing about this argument.

Don’t you think it’s a little bit strange to be arguing, right now, that the European approach to economics will “triumph”? Surely you’re aware of what’s happened and is still happening in Europe.