Is Socialism really that bad?

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Skydude
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Skydude » September 1st, 2016, 5:19 am

I am not quite experienced enough in political philosophy to add much to this. All I know is that we live on a finite planet and resources are running out at A tremendous rate. There will be alot of challenges in the future we will have to overcome(overpopulation and the continued strain on our environment to name a few), but keeping all this in mind maybe the more privileged people of the world should stop thinking about the riches they have and think about how if things keep going this way will this really be a world worth living in?.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Togo1 » September 1st, 2016, 11:39 am

Nick_A wrote:“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” ― Thomas Jefferson


Jefferson is speaking of freedom as a societal goal. But is it really worth the aggravation if socialism isn't really that bad?
Socialism is neither defined as lack of freedom, nor does it require it. If it's 'big government' that worries you, why not look into forms of socialism that don't involve that?
Nick_A wrote:Equality is the modern progressive societal goal
No, it's not. The goal is to extend freedom, the kind that you presently enjoy, to those who don't presently have it.
Nick_A wrote:To make matters worse, freedom requires the voluntary adoption of the obligations making rights possible.
That's not quite right. As your own quotation put it, it doesn't make sense to talk about rights (or freedoms) on one side and obligations on the other. Your freedom to enjoy your property in peace is my obligation to avoid trying to deprive you of it. My freedom to wear what I want, say what I want, and date whomever I wish is your obligation not to prevent me from doing so.
Nick_A wrote:This raises the obvious question if freedom is worth the aggravation of promoting voluntary obligations as opposed to the joys of arguing over rights and visions of equality.
This is where you lose me. The arguements over visions of equality are the aggravation of promoting voluntary obligations. The reason why people want you to accept their vision of equality is because they want you to accept the voluntary obligations that are required for them to enjoy the freedoms you now possess.
Nick_A wrote:I know much of what I read about here in the U.S. concerns women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, and a whole slew of other rights. I never read about the voluntary obligations of women, gays, minorities and others.
No, but that's the same reason you don't hear about fire departments spraying houses with water unless they happen to be on fire. It's not because unfirery houses are somehow less worthy, it's because their need for water is seen to be less at this time. It's also why most discussion of the abolotion of slavery in the US tends to focus on Black people. Its not that other people can't be enslaved, it's just that they didn't tend to be at that time.

Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of brave woman, gays, minorities and so on, should you suddenly find yourself lacking a freedom that you feel other people have, then the path to getting that sorted out is now well-established.

But having provided quotations on the universality of freedom, and having identified the nonsense that is trying to separate freedoms from obligations, why are you seeking newspaper reports on obligations for woman, gays, etc. specifically? Surely they should have the same obligations as everyone else? That being the point of a free society?
Nick_A wrote:...is incapable of the collective attitude necessary to make freedom possible. As a result free societies will devolve into more rigid forms of secular slavery...
Quite so. The tendency is to get freedom and liberty for oneself, and as few other people as possible, thus keeping the cost in one's own obligations to a minimum. You're objecting to woman, gays, etc. having the same rights and freedoms as you do, precisely because that would be an inconvenient obligation for you.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Wilson » September 1st, 2016, 7:29 pm

Gertie, I agree with your description of the two sides, although "fairness" might not be quite the word to use as a leftist exclusive. The right might say it's fair for each person to get what he deserves, and no more. Let's use redistribution for the left. Of course any rational and halfway compassionate person will want his society to have some of the freedom and some redistribution. Even a hard-core rightist wouldn't want people starving in the streets, and even a hard-core redistributionist wouldn't want there to be no entrepreneurship (which requires the ability to get ahead of his fellows). A few exceptions at each end.

The balance is what the fight is about. My own view is that there are a fair number of people who just don't have the ability to succeed in today's world and will need some help if we're to avoid homelessness on a much larger scale than today. So those who are left behind need assistance - welfare payments, healthcare, housing. But it's not a good idea to make it easier to live off the generosity of society for those who are capable of working but are too lazy. So the assistance should allow safety and nourishment but no frills.

It's also not a good idea to curtail competition in the marketplace. All the wonderful things we have today - electricity, cell phones, television, delicious food - came about because somebody wanted to support his family and get ahead of his neighbors. Greed - in moderation - has been a positive for the human species. We shouldn't try to make everybody equal in wealth; that would diminish motivation and innovation. So a degree of income inequality is, on balance, a good thing. The problem in today's world is that the system is rigged to favor those who already have money; it makes it easy for them to increase their wealth exponentially, and that's not fair. So I think there need to be more controls on the financial markets and the rules for corporations, and the tax system needs to be revamped so that the high income folks pay much more than they are today.

Anyway, that's where I stand.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Nick_A » September 1st, 2016, 8:33 pm

Togo1, Do you accept the standard view of socialism: “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

(in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.” If so, the needs and desires of individualism must be curtailed in favor of service to the state. How can it not be considered a loss of freedom?
No, it's not. The goal is to extend freedom, the kind that you presently enjoy, to those who don't presently have it.
What makes freedom possible and what can a person become free of? If you don’t know, there is no way it can be extended
That's not quite right. As your own quotation put it, it doesn't make sense to talk about rights (or freedoms) on one side and obligations on the other. Your freedom to enjoy your property in peace is my obligation to avoid trying to deprive you of it. My freedom to wear what I want, say what I want, and date whomever I wish is your obligation not to prevent me from doing so.
This sounds good but in reality human nature makes it virtually impossible. The reason is that people don’t want the goals of socialism. They want prestige. The demand for rights without thought of the obligations necessary to sustain them is just an expression of the desire for prestige. The struggle for prestige doesn’t result in equality; it just invites a greater struggle.
This is where you lose me. The arguements over visions of equality are the aggravation of promoting voluntary obligations. The reason why people want you to accept their vision of equality is because they want you to accept the voluntary obligations that are required for them to enjoy the freedoms you now possess.

But having provided quotations on the universality of freedom, and having identified the nonsense that is trying to separate freedoms from obligations, why are you seeking newspaper reports on obligations for woman, gays, etc. specifically? Surely they should have the same obligations as everyone else? That being the point of a free society?


You seem to be concerned with freedoms for selected collectives and I’m concerned with freedom as a societal ideal. These selected collectives are somehow more deserving. But if the point of a free society is equality of obligations, selective rights are an essential contradiction. Equal rights should mean equal rights promoted through universal voluntary obligations.

The problem with sustaining freedom is that it isn’t wanted until oppression becomes so strong that people overthrow it. The obligations for sustaining freedom are only possible with the help of grace.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people”. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

“Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.” ~ Simone Weil
As I see it, socialism isn’t wrong in theory but rather unnatural for human nature where prestige is king. It is only through the essence of religion that people can feel the value of voluntary obligations. Without it society through the struggle for prestige must descend into chaos inviting statist slavery and all the horrors associated with the lack of freedom to become dominant.

At one time parents taught their children: “it isn’t whether you win or lose that matters but how you play the game.” Notice the emphasis on obligations. Now kids are taught “screw how you play the game, just win.” It is the natural descent of the value of obligations essential for sustaining freedom.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by LuckyR » September 4th, 2016, 10:35 pm

Wilson wrote:Gertie, I agree with your description of the two sides, although "fairness" might not be quite the word to use as a leftist exclusive. The right might say it's fair for each person to get what he deserves, and no more. Let's use redistribution for the left. Of course any rational and halfway compassionate person will want his society to have some of the freedom and some redistribution. Even a hard-core rightist wouldn't want people starving in the streets, and even a hard-core redistributionist wouldn't want there to be no entrepreneurship (which requires the ability to get ahead of his fellows). A few exceptions at each end.

The balance is what the fight is about. My own view is that there are a fair number of people who just don't have the ability to succeed in today's world and will need some help if we're to avoid homelessness on a much larger scale than today. So those who are left behind need assistance - welfare payments, healthcare, housing. But it's not a good idea to make it easier to live off the generosity of society for those who are capable of working but are too lazy. So the assistance should allow safety and nourishment but no frills.

It's also not a good idea to curtail competition in the marketplace. All the wonderful things we have today - electricity, cell phones, television, delicious food - came about because somebody wanted to support his family and get ahead of his neighbors. Greed - in moderation - has been a positive for the human species. We shouldn't try to make everybody equal in wealth; that would diminish motivation and innovation. So a degree of income inequality is, on balance, a good thing. The problem in today's world is that the system is rigged to favor those who already have money; it makes it easy for them to increase their wealth exponentially, and that's not fair. So I think there need to be more controls on the financial markets and the rules for corporations, and the tax system needs to be revamped so that the high income folks pay much more than they are today.

Anyway, that's where I stand.
I agree that this is all a balancing act. In the past, democracies had enough public education such that the power elite were kept in check by their small numbers relative to those with little to no inherent power. ie it was a very powerful but small numerical group with few votes against a huge ocean of the powerless who had many votes. It was a system of checks and balances.

In the current era, the rabble is distracted by so many "information" sources due to the Net, coupled with a general dumbing down of the public such that the power elite can command numerous votes, the vast majority of whom are duped into voting against their own interest, thus the power imbalance as the source of the current plutocracy.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Togo1 » September 5th, 2016, 7:30 pm

Nick_A wrote:Togo1, Do you accept the standard view of socialism: “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

(in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.” If so, the needs and desires of individualism must be curtailed in favor of service to the state. How can it not be considered a loss of freedom?
Not sure where you're getting 'service to the state' from, based on a definition that doesn't mention either service or state... You're claiming that a community regulating a factory (which fits the definition you gave) must somehow involve a loss of personal freedom. Can you pinpoint for me where the loss occurs in that example?

Moreover, Nick_A, do you acception the standard view of capitalism: "a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth should be owned and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations."

If so, the needs and desires of individualism must be curtailed in favour of those of the providers of capital. How can it not be considered a loss of freedom?

Nick_A wrote:
No, it's not. The goal is to extend freedom, the kind that you presently enjoy, to those who don't presently have it.
What makes freedom possible and what can a person become free of?
Well, in the example you gave of rights for woman, gays and minorities, it would involve the freedom to act as any other member of society without being descriminated against. And they would be free of persecutiion/descrimination.
Nick_A wrote:
That's not quite right. As your own quotation put it, it doesn't make sense to talk about rights (or freedoms) on one side and obligations on the other. Your freedom to enjoy your property in peace is my obligation to avoid trying to deprive you of it. My freedom to wear what I want, say what I want, and date whomever I wish is your obligation not to prevent me from doing so.
This sounds good but in reality human nature makes it virtually impossible. The reason is that people don’t want the goals of socialism.
I feel like you've change the subject here, from a very specific point about rights being freedoms, to a very vague point about why you feel socialism is unworkable. I'm happy to add that to the discussion, but it in no ways answers the point being made, that the quotations you provided argue against the case you appear to be making. You were saying that discussions of humans rights don't also including specific obligations for those groups, which your quotation labels as a nonsense.
Nick_A wrote:They want prestige. The demand for rights without thought of the obligations necessary to sustain them is just an expression of the desire for prestige. The struggle for prestige doesn’t result in equality; it just invites a greater struggle.
OK, so some interesting points here. First of all you're claiming that those arguing about rights don't consider the obligations needed to achieve them. I don't see why you would make such a claim. Again, according to your own quotations, their demand for rights to recognised is a demand that an obligation be recognised, in this case a obligation for equal treatment. By my understanding people who advocate such are very much aware that they are setting up an obligation for, to take an example, you, to treat woman equally with men. That's why they're talking about rights to you, the person who would need to take on that olbigation.

Secondly, you're talking about rights for woman as if that would include some large sacrifice on the part of others that ultimately makes it somehow a big ask. But I don't see that it is in any way a big ask, and certainly it isn't merely about prestige. Have you tried giving such people what they ask for, but withholding the prestige that you feel is the problem, and seeing what happens?

By the same arguement you could also be led to claim that asking a robber to stop stealing from people is putting an obligation on that robber, which the robber doesn't want to fulfil, and certainly we don't usually consider how the robber's life would be effected by him no longer stealing. Yet that doesn't make our asking for the right to property, and the freedom to enjoy it, somehow a battle for prestige.
This is where you lose me. The arguements over visions of equality are the aggravation of promoting voluntary obligations. The reason why people want you to accept their vision of equality is because they want you to accept the voluntary obligations that are required for them to enjoy the freedoms you now possess.

But having provided quotations on the universality of freedom, and having identified the nonsense that is trying to separate freedoms from obligations, why are you seeking newspaper reports on obligations for woman, gays, etc. specifically? Surely they should have the same obligations as everyone else? That being the point of a free society?


You seem to be concerned with freedoms for selected collectives and I’m concerned with freedom as a societal ideal.[/quote]

I don't agree. I'm arguing that freedoms present in society should be for all it's members, and not just a privilidged subset. That sounds like a societal ideal for me. You're the one arguing that a particular selected collective (womans, gays, etc.) should not enjoy the same freedoms as other people without specific matching obligations. I'm still trying to work out why.

Nick_A wrote: These selected collectives are somehow more deserving.
Only in the sense that we should focus our fire-fighting capabilities on houses that are actually on fire. Woman, gays, and the other groups you picked out suffer from a lack of the freedoms that others enjoy, and this needs to be rectified. Similarly, houses that are burning need to be sprayed with water. We don't spray all houses with water when there's a fire, just the ones that are burning. And we're all better off as a result.
Nick_A wrote:But if the point of a free society is equality of obligations,
But it isn't. You've gone from society needs to provide equal rights and their matching obligations to the idea that all obligations should be equal, but that's nonsense. You don't have the hospital ridden sick serving in the army, nor do you have the unqualified working in hospitals. Obligations have to be fulfilled by those with the ability to fulfil them - that's the societal ideal.
Nick_A wrote:Equal rights should mean equal rights promoted through universal voluntary obligations.
Ok, so that's equal pay for woman, equal pay for gays, ethnic minoriites, etc. It's also equal chance for promotion, responsibility, and so on, as well as a rejection of any suggestion that achievement should be measured solely on the basis of the template of a white male. That's a pretty good start. You think woman are asking for something different?

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Ranvier » March 2nd, 2017, 11:18 pm

I think that people are confused by different terms, without their fault, due to intentional misconceptions of given political system propaganda. What the professor did not mention is that he was describing communism as a political system and Socialist Democracy.

Political systems discussed so far: Democracy vs Communism
Economic Systems discussed: Capitalism vs Socialism

The only form of pure Capitalism was before 1930's that ended with emergence of Labor Unions in America in response to early 20th century Industrialization.
Politics and economy are inevitably tied together from the point of view of individual in Democracy-Capitalism and society in Communism-Socialism.

After 1930's there was nowhere in the world a pure free market Capitalism but some form of Socialist-Democracy in the Western world that culminated in the cold war from 1950's American fear of Communism.

If we value individual rights and freedom, then we lean towards Democracy, where the electorate chooses the representatives for State and Federal gov.
Republican: Most freedom but necessity of self reliance with small Federal government and increased legislative rights to states within the Union
Democratic: Less individual freedoms and increased taxation in electing the Government to manage social programs. Individual rights given to the State and majority of power transferred to the Federal government.

If we value equal rights and income equality (everyone is equally poor like in Venezuela), then Communism is a way to go, where the Political Party chooses the political leaders from their ranks (often a bloody endeavor). All the decisions are made by the government and everything is a common good, where essentially everyone works for the government (people's government) and nothing can be owned by individuals. This historically has proven to be a very BAD IDEA and I don't put too much stock in the YouTube interview. Not to say that there are no fundamental problems with Capitalism or Socialist-Democracy.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by JMTelevideos » March 9th, 2017, 2:00 am

Socialism by means of government action is a bad thing because 1) government, economically speaking is analogous to friction in physics 2) Government wants more government 3) the best quality is attained by free competition.
However, it is possible to have socialism without a government i.e. libertarian socialism. This form of socialism, I believe, might work provided that its members are virtuous and can communicate effectively with one another. I believe that this is the type of socialism advocated by some religious people (also, by Sartre).

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by LuckyR » March 24th, 2017, 12:51 pm

JMTelevideos wrote:Socialism by means of government action is a bad thing because 1) government, economically speaking is analogous to friction in physics 2) Government wants more government 3) the best quality is attained by free competition.
However, it is possible to have socialism without a government i.e. libertarian socialism. This form of socialism, I believe, might work provided that its members are virtuous and can communicate effectively with one another. I believe that this is the type of socialism advocated by some religious people (also, by Sartre).
Your red phrase is a too common knee jerk response in political discussions. Not that it isn't true, rather that it is way too incomplete. The two unspoken corollaries are that: 1) the private sector (like government) seeks to maximize profits by any means (just as much of government seeks to maximize power though growth) and 2) both of the above observations are more based in Human Nature than in a false government/private sector dichotomy.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Fan of Science » July 3rd, 2017, 11:14 am

I largely agree with the opening post. If socialism worked, then the USSR and its socialist allies would not have collapsed. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism, unless one wants to ignore a lot of history.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by LuckyR » July 4th, 2017, 2:04 am

Fan of Science wrote:I largely agree with the opening post. If socialism worked, then the USSR and its socialist allies would not have collapsed. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism, unless one wants to ignore a lot of history.
Socialism can work, it just happens to be unworkable (due to Human Nature).
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Greta » July 4th, 2017, 4:27 am

Gertie wrote:I kinda go back to basics. So for groups of people to live together in societies you need co-operation, organisation and rules, the larger the society the more institutionalised it inevitably becomes. In western democracies there's a very broad consensus around capitalism, combined with taxation to provide some state services and some welfare/redistribution. Our politics is largely concerned with balancing the often competing Goods of Freedom and Fairness within this overall framework. The tension between the Group's overall well-being vs the Individual's right to pursue personal goals if you like. Go too far in either direction and people will start feeling uncomfortable, a sense of injustice.

There are various political analyses and theories, and a variety of manifestations of how this plays out in practice from the very local to the global level, but essentially Lefties tend to be more drawn to policies promoting Fairness, and Righties towards Freedom. Both are strong natural human impulses, and our individual attitudes will be shaped by our experiences and culture.

I'm more drawn to Fairness, so I naturally look more favourably on the analyses and solutions offered by the Left. I'm easily convinced by them :). Others on the Right do the same :P . But obviously they're wrong :D
Well said.

However, the right do not advocate freedom as regards what people do with their own bodies, and they are constantly seeking tighter controls to that end.

The right do not advocate freedom of speech and action when it comes to warfare, patriotism, the flag and their other sacred cows. The extreme right are at least as PC as the extreme left. It's centrists and moderates who advocate the most freedom.

The right do not advocate freedom from poverty, rather poverty is one of their leveraging tools in balancing the econoy, eg. without a 5% pool of unemployed inflation soars. Meanwhile, the left cannot provide freedom from poverty because they won't have the funds (nor the support of power players). Capitalism thrives on, I suppose, "optimal" levels of inequality (Goldilocks Zone?). In today's global economic climate many nations can benefit from ultra huge players who are capable of undertaking ever more ambitious projects, eg. Elon Musk, Richard Branson and others in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

I used to be angry about injustice but now I feel closer to the George Carlin attitude - just enjoy the show while we can. Unless we are "force of nature" type personalities, the chances of us making much difference to the world is minuscule. I would struggle to have much influence in my local street, let alone the nation or world. So I just watch. Things seem clearer that way because I feel a little less resistance in accepting the reality of things that I'd rather not be true.

Whatever, I like to think of everything bad about reality as "teething troubles", issues that eventually some life form somewhere will conceivably outgrow (even if we Earthlings don't make it). Hope springs eternal :)

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Burning ghost » July 5th, 2017, 4:03 am

If socialism worked we'd be paying taxes ... wait a minute???

It helps if you stop looking at the extreme ends of the spectrum and acknowledge the parts that are not only part of society, but hold it together.

The US propaganda machine has been anti-socialist for a long time. It is ridiculous to be against a political idea so utterly and resolutely whilst taking on certain principles of it and dressing it up as your own. Nonsense, and particularly political in its nonsense.

Understand one thing VERY CLEARLY. It does not serve the US to have Socialist countries. If the US has to compete with Socialist countries it cannot own them. There is an obvious issue of the government owning too much, but there are some things that I believe the government should own and should run to a degree. The balance has to be looked at carefully.

I am from the UK so for me the idea of paying for healthcare seems pretty ridiculous. The thought of going to hospital and being left to die because I don't have enough money seems disgusting to me. The anti-socialist simply wants you to either earn enough money to look after yourself or die in the gutter. Those with money simply cannot comprehend being in a position where they cannot work or have to work long, long hours for a terrible wage and live in stress and fear of not being able to feed their families/friends.

Socialism is a guard for people falling on bad times, not merely an excuse to be lazy. Of course people will, and do, abuse the system. Abuse by a few does not mean we should punish those in real need. The capitialist agenda can just as easily end up in a terrible regime as a socialist agenda can. I would say the biggest difference is if the government turns corrupt under a socialist regime then the people can target them. If capitialism turns corrupt then the corruption lies outside of the government so overthrowing the government would not solve the problem directly. The people who drive capitialism have it in their interest to subdue the common people not because they fear them but because they just want to keep the economy flowing in their favour. For the socialist government they have to fear the people because they can be found and held to account.

It could be argued that capitalistic corruption is less likely? I don't know? I would class it as much more dangerous than socialist corruption though simply because the figures are more hidden from public view.
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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Fan of Science » July 5th, 2017, 10:51 am

Socialism does not work. It's a complete and utter failure, which brings about mass poverty, and typically oppressive regimes as well. People here are not distinguishing socialism from capitalism, however. Capitalism has never been just free-markets. That's a myth of history and an ideological claim, not one supported by actual history. Currency, for example, has to be established by some political agency, and without currency, free-markets cannot exist. In socialism, resources are attempted to be assigned without the use of any price mechanism, and, over the long run, this is impossible to do efficiently. It is not socialism if a government exists to tax people, to provide such things as a central bank, regulatory agencies, property rights, and socialized insurance programs. There is a huge difference between a government running a social insurance program, especially because it can do so more efficiently than a private market, due to such things as adverse selection, and socialism.

As far as concerns over the environment, the socialist countries had the worst environments, and in China, there are a lot of people dying due to air pollution. Why? Because a clean environment is a luxury good, meaning that the demand for a clean environment rises with an increase in income. Since capitalist countries are wealthier than socialist countries, they actually have a cleaner environmental record than socialist countries.

Socialism simply does not work. Neither does the anarcho-capitalist idea that government is completely unnecessary and free-markets will simply magically solve all economic problems. These views are not based on actual economics, but on political ideologies that cherry pick the economics they will accept. The anarcho-capitalists and the socialists are kissing cousins of each other --- both refuse to accept the findings of economics that undermine their ideological claims, which is, by the way, most of economics.

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Re: Is Socialism really that bad?

Post by Burning ghost » July 5th, 2017, 3:37 pm

Fan of Science -

Do you pay taxes? If the answer is "yes" you are feeding part of a socialist ideal. That is my point. Social Care is of use, but like any thing taken to the extreme -ism things start to crack and fall apart. You are viewing socialism as anti-capitalistic rather than as a requirement of larger societies where some people require a helping hand in times of need. I am not defending state ownership of all production and natural interests. I am merely stating that ideals like Marxism point out potentional problems where socialism is just a softer and more noramalised response to these potential problems, it does nothing to offer a new way forward, but merely applies a temporary solution to a recurring problem of economic inequality.

Humanity has come a long way. We can hope and believe we can keep up the good work and find better, albeit temporary, solutions in the coming future.

The world is stumbling along and when things get worse eventually things will change (maybe many will die and maybe not).

Skydude put it very simply above. When things are too stretched the strain is felt and eventually we have to ease the tension or wait for the inevitable social 'snap' called revolution.
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