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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Name a successful socialist country!

One question that every Socialist will be asked at some point in time is "name one successful Socialist country".  The question will be smugly asked as though the answer "none" is a fait accompli.

Of course, rather than being the nail in the coffin of any pro-Socialist argument, it merely shows the sheer lack of knowledge of the person posing the question. The question displays the ignorant arrogance of the "talk-show" educated right wing.

The answer is a comprehensive list of Socialist successes and a testimony to the malevolent and genocidal policies of capitalism.  Many Socialist countries, whilst economically successful, were overthrown, not because of the failure of Socialism, but because the bastion of freedom and democracy, the United States, ensured that even democratically elected Socialists would fail through one right wing coup after another. Coups which often installed blood-thirsty tyrants, such as Pinochet or Suharto.  At times it wasn't a coup that was sponsored, but an existing tyrant to ensure that Socialism or Communism would not take over, such as the US sponsoring of Pol Pot and his killing fields.

This article is not just constrained to answering the question regarding successful socialist countries.  It also provides a critique of the effectiveness of "Democracy" as implemented by the United States. The reason for this is that the USA had a systematic and deliberate policy of undermining Socialism.  That coupled with the exploitation of Socialism by despots who were anything but Socialist, ensured that Socialism would not operate to the extent that it should have.  Sadly, most people believe the mass media reports regarding the munificence of the United States and the evil of Socialism.  The truth is that both the USA and the USSR were evil and their "Cold War" resulted in the deaths of millions of people, not in the name of Democracy or Socialism, but for the purposes of Power, Hegemony and Capitalism.  Both nations were determined to suppress dissidents, exploit workers, keep wages low and profits high - not for the benefit of their citizens, but the benefit of their leaders and, particularly in the case of the USA, their own corporations.

What is Socialism?

Socialism places responsibility for production in the hands of workers and it ensures that wealth is not accumulated in isolated pockets but is distributed for the benefit of all members of society.  For instance, it may be distributed through public health, education, security.

For Socialism to succeed, it requires that ALL members work for the benefit of ALL.

Socialism is not about creating a welfare state.

Socialism is not about placing power in the hands of the FEW to exploit ALL, which is what Leninism and Stalinism did.  The Soviet Union may have called itself Socialist. However, it was anything but Socialist.  It opposed the true virtues of Marxism.  Lenin, Stalin and the rest of the Soviet exploited the workers uprising to introduce a repressive regime that benefited no citizen, let alone the workers.

What is Capitalism?

Capitalism requires government control over the market - even in a so called "free" market. For instance, if it wasn't for "Free Trade Agreements" and the "General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs", most USA corporations would actually have to compete fairly with smaller traders in weaker economies.  Instead, the US government has ensured that strength and growth of their corporations whilst allowing them to exploit weaker economies and markets.

Essentially, Capitalism is redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

For Capitalism to succeed, it requires that ALL members of society work for the benefit of the FEW.  It places power in the hands of the FEW to exploit ALL.

Note, the rhetoric by the right wing, in which they will accuse left wing parties of being Socialist when a government funds health, education, police, defence and so on. They will accuse the left of creating a welfare state.  Yet, when the government funds big business that is called democracy, free trade - capitalism!

Measuring Success

But first, how do we measure success?  As the United States has established itself as the bastion of democracy and capitalism, it should be used to compare to Socialist states.  The USA certainly has been a strong economy and has dominated the world militarily. In fact, the USA has spent far more on its military and military interventions in other countries, than it has on the welfare of its own people.  Any suggestion of government being responsible for the welfare of its citizens is met with derision and accusations of socialism or communism.  As a measure of success, the USA's GDP certainly exceeded that of any other country, whether capitalist, socialist or other. This wealth was built on a series of violent, international interventions which established US corporations in many countries and ensured that the wealth of those countries was redistributed to the USA. However, compared to Socialist states, USA levels of unemployment were much higher and it lacked any ability to provide health care for its poorest citizens.

Is success having wealth in the hands of the few whilst the majority earn minimum wage?  Is success having the strongest military and no public health system?  Is success having the biggest house and a mortgage that can't be serviced?  Is success measured by "he who has the most toys wins"?  Yet, this is the mentality of the United States.

To achieve this "success", the government has marketed an unattainable dream to the populace whilst exploiting fears that the dream will not be realised if "Socialism" undermines the power of corporations to sell this dream.

Failure(?)

Socialism did not fail.   It was overthrown through aggressive, extremist Capitalism, implemented through genocide and economic blackmail, which destroyed lives, economies, political systems and democracy in many countries. Socialist states in Europe suffered the ignominy of the betrayal of Marxism by those who claimed to represent it, in particular Stalin and his legacy of aggression, suppression and oppression enforced by the Soviet Union.  For instance, the operation of Gulags, human rights abuses targetting loosely defined "enemies of the State", and the invasions of nations, such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia.  None of these actions are compatible with Socialism and they undermined the benefits of Marxism.

The USA's strong capitalistic stance has resulted in it's citizens being responsible for obtaining their own private health care, and without a welfare safety net, many unemployed do not have the means to house or feed themselves.  No economy is perfect. Every nation can be criticised for failures in various areas.  These failures do not mean that the dominant political preference is a failure.  Often it is the politicians who fail, not the politics.

In his book, "How the World Works", Noam Chomsky points out that one of the reasons that Eastern European nations have higher health and educational standards than Latin American nations is because of the differing economic policies in the region.  Chomsky cites US intelligence figures, which indicate that during the 1970s, the Soviet Union injected around $80 billion dollars into Eastern Europe, while between 1982 and 1988 the USA and other western nations extracted around $150 billion from Latin America.

Interventions

The USA is without doubt the world's most powerful nation; but power should not be abused. Since the Second World War, the USA has intervened in the sovereignty of over 70 nations, not for the benefit of those nations, but for the benefit of US corporations.  Capitalism was the religion that defined the extremist, foreign relations policies of the United States.

The USA has claimed these interventions were for democracy, freedom and human rights.  Yet, USA interventions have resulted in democratic elections being corrupted, democratically elected governments overthrown, tyrants with no respect for human rights installed and millions of people massacred as a result.

The western media demonised the Soviet Union yet the USSR never intervened as often or as violently as the USA in the sovereignty of other nations.  Instead of criticising USA foreign policy, the media glorified it.  The USA has constantly portrayed socialism or communism as being incompatible with democracy. Yet, this is not the case.  There have been instances of democratically elected Socialist leaders.  There is nothing in Socialism that prevents democracy.  Further, is democracy the pinnacle of politics? Democracy itself has its failings.  Rule by the majority often means that the minority is left out.  This was recognised by the founding fathers of the United States, who did not found America as a democracy because of this very threat; to avoid the "tyranny of majority".

Politicians should govern for the benefit of the entire nation, not to simply meet the wishes of the majority or the wealthiest.

Is Socialism incompatible with Human Rights?

Not all countries which have been labelled "Socialist" are truly that.  The USSR could hardly have been called "Socialist".  It was not run by the workers and the redistribution of wealth did not benefit its citizens. It was run by despots who were only interested in bolstering their own power and wealth.  This is a perverted form of Capitalism.  Stalin did not conduct pogroms, gulags and violent suppression of free speech in order to protect Soviet citizens or Socialism, but in order to protect himself.  Karl Marx never called for genocide.  Marxism is not Stalinism.

Similarly, brutality in China was not about Communism, but about power.

The brutality and oppression of the USSR was generally confined to its own borders and at times to countries behind the Iron Curtain.  China's brutality was confined to its own borders and on the occasion it extended beyond that, was usually because of its interpretation of what was Chinese territory, for example, Tibet and Taiwan.

Whilst the USA never waged such brutality against its own citizens, it did directly sponsor brutal despots and provided material support, training and supervision of death squads in order to suppress political dissent throughout the globe. The USA's brutality was global with no respect for borders, democracy or human rights; it was all about money and hegemony.


Modern capitalists will demonise Socialism by saying it is undemocratic and that it opposes free speech, however, the examples that they use are not exemplary of socialism.  Free speech, democracy, liberty are compatible with socialism.  Despotism and brutality are not the sole bastion of left-wing tyrants, but have been used by many capitalist nations over the years, most often by the United States, either directly or by material support, resulting in the deaths of millions of people across the globe. Stalin also sponsored massacres of people he did not like.

Noam Chomsky (How the World Works) reports that a journalist who worked for the Guatemalan newspaper La Epoca (which had been forced to close as a result of US pressure) stated, "while the Moscow-imposed government in Prague would degrade and humiliate reformers, the Washington-made government in Guatemala would kill them.  It still does, in a virtual genocide that has taken more than 150,000 victims (in what Amnesty International) calls a 'government program of political murder' ". 

As with any political system "nationalism" is the danger (refer to my blog "Nationalism Rising").  Coupled with Nationalism is fear - fear of different cultural, ethnic or religious groups and this is used to justify violence, racism, jingoism.


"Name one successful Socialist country"

Now, to answer the question "name one successful Socialist country".

The following is a list of a few of the successes of socialism, in no particular order:

China (apart from the unnecessary human rights violations of course).  Certainly Mao Tse Tung is not the poster boy of tolerance and understanding, however, economically China has prospered under Communism and now has one of the strongest economies in the world.

Chile under the democratically elected Marxist, President Allende, had successfully implemented public health schemes and reduced food and housing shortages and increased housing standards.  He nationalised more than 90 industries, including the copper industry, banking and credit, which assisted in redistributing wealth equitably. His land reforms saw previously unused land used for food production, greatly assisting in reducing malnutrition.  These Socialist measures were of course, unacceptable to the United States so the Chilean economy was blatantly sabotaged through USA interference and withholding of aid, manipulation of media through fear campaigns and false propaganda, and influencing the military.  This interference culminated in Allende being murdered in a bloody CIA backed coup on 11 September 1973 in order to install a right-wing, pro-American military dictator in the form of General Pinochet, who then went on to massacre thousands of his own people. Of course, the massacres were for the Chileans own benefit in order to protect them from the evils of Socialism and allow them to enjoy economic rape by American corporations.

Indonesia under President Sukarno had proven Socialist reform to be so successful that their economy was booming, there were greater job prospects, people were better educated than ever before. Sukarno founded the Republic of Indonesia after centuries of Dutch colonial rule and Japanese occupation.  He peacefully united the multitude of cultures and religions. Sukarno had shown that not only was his pro-Socialist policies effective, but that he was not going to kowtow to United States imperialism.  This was unacceptable to the United States, who then backed a bloody coup in 1965 to install the blood-thirsty dictator, President Suharto who then went on to massacre over 1 million of his own country-men - but at least they weren't ruled by a Socialist.  The USA was so involved in the massacres that US embassy officers in Jakarta were handing out lists to the Indonesian Army which detailed the names of left wing suspects, many of whom were members of unions, peasant groups, political parties (such as the PKI - Communist Party of Indonesia) and even student organisations. The USA knowingly provided material support to facilitate the massacres through the supply of military equipment, including jeeps, aircraft, radios, weapons and ammunition.  The USA's pro-democracy, pro-human rights policies strike again.  Suharto went on to invade East Timor after Portugal withdrew and it appeared a Socialist government could come to power if East Timor gained independence.  The invasion and occupation took place with the benefit of financial and military aid from the UK, USA and Australia, resulting in the deaths of approximately one third of the population (more than 200,000 people) - but at least the country wasn't socialist. Margaret Thatcher even lauded Suharto as 'one of our very best and most valuable friends'.

Cuba under Fidel Castro, who introduced universal health care (something which the USA still does not have), literacy programs and nationalised industry to better the lives of his people.  Castro constantly resisted US influence and survived numerous assassination attempts by the CIA, many of which would have been comical had they not actually occurred (including the infamous exploding cigars and deadly flowers). The USA waged chemical and biological warfare against Cuba through the spraying of crops with pesticides and releasing millions of mosquitoes containing dengue fever. The economy of Cuba was undermined through these criminal actions along with US sponsored trade embargoes and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, which resulted in Cuba losing a significant source of aid.

Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, a Marxist group who finally overthrew the US sponsored despotic regime of Somoza and introduced educational, health, agrarian and other industrial reform and signnificantly, they introduced political reform through the installation of democratic processes.  The Sandinistas increased the living standards, improved agriculture, education, health, housing and employment, benefitting all Nicaraguans.  Again the US was not happy about a successful, democratic Socialist economy so they exerted their considerable influence to ensure that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ceased all aid to Nicaragua.  The USA also collaborated with former Nazis operating in Argentina to establish the "Contras" who unleashed a rein of terror and violence against the Sandanistas.  This violence employed similar techniques that the Nazis had used during their reign under Hitler. President Reagan was responsible for the Iran-Contra scandal in which the USA sold weapons illegally through Israel to Iran (an officially declared terrorist nation which western countries were banned from selling weapons to) and then used the profits to fund the Contras savage insurgency activity in Nicaragua, Honduras and other Central and South American countries.  Under Reagan, US government agencies assisted Columbian drug cartels to transport drugs into the United States with the profits being used to fund the Contras brutal attacks on Nicaragua, which included destroying schools, hospitals, crops and massacring civilians.  But that was ok, because the Contras were fighting Marxists who had the temerity to govern with the welfare of their own people as a priority, rather than giving priority to US corporations.

Venezuela
Hugo Chavez was democratically elected as the President of Venezuela in 1998. He was a socialist, initially a proponent of Bolivarianism, later democratic socialism. Chavez inherited an economy racked with corruption and poverty. Through his presidency, Chavez improved the human rights issues in Venezuela and managed to reduce poverty. (http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7513). While there is much to be done to further reduce poverty, the gains made by Chavez wouldn't have happened had it not been him nationalising the oil industry, which helped ensure that money earnt from Venezualan resources was kept in and used for Venezuela. He also spent significant sums on repair government buildings, schools, churches and so on. Millions of people were finally treated in public hospitals, millions of children were vaccinations. Under Chavez, Venezuela's 'human development index' increased significantly.

Vietnam has improved economically since the end of the Vietnam War.  Initially it had problems with its government giving priority to military supremacy in the region for some years which negatively impacted its citizens.  It has since focussed more on production and trade, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Eastern Europe

Eastern European countries including Yugoslavia, Romania and Czechoslovakia suffered at the hands of brutal despots who, like the Soviets abused their own citizens.  Interestingly, there were brief flirtations with Marxism in the politics of these nations.  At those times, their economies improved.  Whilst they focussed on power and genocide, their economies suffered.  The below precis does not seek to glorify the murderous rule of tyrants, it seeks to show that when the tyrants actually focussed on Marxist reform there were significant improvements.  These countries would have benefitted from Socialism - had it actually been implemented properly.

Yugoslavia under Tito saw significant industrial reform which increased productivity and employment.  Tito broke away from the Soviet Union and was subject to various attempts to subvert his leadership and to undermine the Yugoslav economy. For a brief period, Tito even relinquished some of the central control of the population, allowing citizens greater say and rights.  Tito was able to unite the many fractured groups within Yugoslavia.   Tito's government had held the fragile, nationalistic fabric of Yugoslavian society together, but following his death, the country splintered into ancient rivalries, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Romania under Ceau┼čescu saw an increase in industrialisation and production, improvements in housing, education and infrastructure, such as public transport.

Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1968 was run effectively by a Communist government, however, in 1968 the government became increasingly capitalist and so the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries invaded, reverting it back to a communist state.

Kibbutzim - whilst not a nation, the socialist operation of the Israeli kibbutz gives an ideal model for socialism, in which all residents worked for the betterment of each other and society in general.

Social democracies
Many successful modern economies combine a blend of socialism and capitalism through Social Democracy, which has been far more effective than the extreme capitalism of the United States.  These countries include:

Australia
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Denmark
Sweden
Germany
Finland
France
Switzerland
Portugal
Italy

"Which country would you prefer to live in?"

Another question, that will often be asked of any defence of Socialism, or any criticism of the United States, is "which country would you prefer to live in?"   Another smug question, yet this is one which assumes that the answer will be the United States. When asking this question, is the person asking the question imagining life in a white and wealthy neighbourhood, with a good job and health care paid by the employer, or imagining life in a lower class suburb, with high unemployment, high illiteracy, low school attendance and no health cover.

If one imagines the USA pictured in sit-coms and Hollywood, then certainly it all looks rosy.  However, for a significant number of Americans, the reality is vastly different from this idealistic image.  Their reality is not much different to the average citizen in many developing nations.

The answer is that I'd be happy to live in any of the above countries when being run by Socialists, as long as they weren't being attacked  by either their leaders or insurgents.  Sadly many of the insurgents (and some of the despotic leaders) were funded by the United States.

The question that should be asked is "would you live in Nicaragua or Guatemala as they are being subjected to massacre after massacre at the hands of US funded Contras? Would you like to live in Indonesia, as your family is being massacred at the hands of the capitalist, US funded Suharto? Would you like to live in Chile under the capitalist, US funded Pinochet?"  Perhaps another question that could be asked is, "would you like to live in a country that the USA has 'brought democracy' to?"

Perhaps, people don't wish to live in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Indonesia regardless of the political system.  So would you like to live in the USA in a neighbourhood that is not white and wealthy?

Personally, I would not like to live in the United States.  I would chose to live in a Social Democracy because most do not have human rights violations and most provide a better form of wealth redistribution to ensure that the poor have the opportunity for education, health and employment.  The USA economy is a basket case, the politicians are more interested in power than their own poor.  Social Democracies, whilst not necessarily Marxist, have at least embraced the best of Socialism without the perversion of Stalinism or Capitalistic greed.

Socialism in its purest form is egalitarian, fairer and provides the best chance for all citizens to participate in and contribute to their nation, than the selfish, exploitative policies of Capitalism.

--0--

Related articles on RantingPanda.com:

1. Animal Farm - an allegory of greed, power and exploitation


     http://thepandarant.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/animal-farm-allegory-of-greed-power-and.html

2. The fruit of capitalism - rotten to the core

     http://thepandarant.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/the-fruit-of-capitalism-rotten-to-core.html

3. Socialism versus Capitalism

    http://thepandarant.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/socialism-versus-capitalism.html



83 comments:

  1. Some of your arguments are good. It all seems to be built on the foundation of one principle: that nobody wants to achieve more than others. What if I want to work harder than other people and I do want those "things" like a big house, and 15 cars that I dont drive. Why should anyone else decide for me that I can't have that? And where in the world did it become fair that I work hard and make even a similar salary/wage/income that someone that doesnt work as hard. Desire to work is a personal choice. Desire to not work is a personal choice. It's my personal opinion that simply telling everyone that they must enjoy the same pleasures as everyone else leads to corruption. The first murder that I know of is the Biblical story of Cain and Abel....what was the reason for murder? Abel had something that Cain didnt, but Cain wanted. Hasn't stopped yet....And sometimes, there is no sharing.

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    1. Just taking a course on this. You can have all that stuff you want in a marxist society (car ect.); as long as its agreed on (also, distribution is in relation to the current economic condition of the county). You want a big house, and want to work hard! That is great. This person over here wants to stay home and make art. He doesn't care about having a big house.

      Wage is not the same in marxism. You could be payed as much as a 7 eleven worker... if you agree to it. If you think you should make more money then a seven eleven worker as a doctor then lets talk about it, and come to an agreement we both like.

      Now, its when people are not aggreeing on things, and people are forced into conditions they see as unequal, and things are not fair that this is not marxism.

      Also, greed is a condition of capitalism in marxism. A true marxist society cannot be reached into we realize our nature as true good human beings.

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    2. There will always be bad people. Sorry. Human nature is to want to work for the benefit of oneself, not others. You can't change human nature. You can't force others to be good. Exactly why Marxism doesn't work.

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    3. You should reconsider this stance on human nature. The people who are selfish are the ones who are anti-social, they are the exception not the rule.

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    4. No one ever said anything about achieving the same pleasures and there are more rewards for achievement than monetary ones.

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    5. The first reply shows pure ignorance of capitalism and the premise of the point. You mention an agreement on what the doctors skills are worth. That's exactly what capitalism is... if you don't like the price for the service you can go somewhere else... capitalism isn't ABOUT greed... or the rich getting richer... it is about distribution of capital toward the things and skills people WANT. Without it you end up with government telling what shoes you should wear and cars you should drive.

      You example about the person being happy having a small home to do art is missing the huge section of society who would like the big house but don't want to work for it.... you cannot ignore human nature...

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    6. When you have distribution of wealth according to what the people want you have athletes and celebrities making 100x more than people whose job it is to keep people alive and healthy. Commericalism takes precedence over humanity and you have a system where human life has no value. No one trusts the government or each other and everyone is looking out only for self interest. This is the end result in capitalism.

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  2. Level Headed that was a great comment! To the person that hates our country, Please leave! go to one of the other countries that you feel are so wonderful! I just wonder how someone can honestly say that every socialist ruled country has failed do to the US "backed coup" Do you have proof or just going on the word of some socialist like yourself trying to win popularity. The USA is the greatest nation because of capitalism and if you really take your blinders off you will see the people in the socialist countries were not better off during those times. Some things were better but for the most part they lacked. Education, healthcare all left much to be desired, which is why when countries that have socialist healthcare systems their leaders come to the USA to get treatment, because they know here excellence is rewarded so people strive for it. You should really think about moving, if need be I'm sure we can do the socialist thing and gather up some money for your ticket, far be it for anyone to expect you to pay your own way.

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    1. The US is a terrible Nation. It is really unfortunate. Gay people still do not have equal rights, black people live in poverty, hell, is abortion legal there yet???? It is completely unequal. Socialism wants to make things equal....

      I am guessing your white and middle class. Which might explain why you like the US.... I mean.... you probablly hate black people, gay people, and think womyn should live in the kitchen and do all the house work (do you know how to work a dishwasher?)

      Anyways, that might explain your opinion.

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    2. @Anonymous. And like clockwork here comes the defensive socialist commentary. Its all the same with you.

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    3. Excellence is not rewarded, being born into the right caste is.

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    4. If we rewarded excellence, we would care more about education and not spit in the mouths of our teachers

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    5. You're delusional if you think people come here for healthcare. Capitalism is corrupt, that's why it's worked for so long. It attracts the worst to power who then decide how much everyone gets. Capitalism is a scourge on society and people who defend it are ignorant, foolish, children. Little lemmings following each other to exploitation. Just look at the US university system it has be transformed into a massive cash generator for a few corporations/banks by saddling massive debt on young adults. It is economic fascism, you either submit to paying tribute to a few, though they do provide a job that pays just enough unless they don't, or you starve. Capitalism is impeding progress and should be dismantled systematically. Not to mention capitalism has already failed exceptionally twice, first in 1929 and second in 2008; without the intervention of the people, which sounds a little socialist, it would have completely collapsed. Honestly it should be left to blow up internally but too many people who are in charge make way too much money from it. They socialize the losses when it fails and privatize the gains when it is free to exploit. Seriously any supporter of capitalism is either willfully immoral or exceedingly pliable.

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    6. You contradict your own argument against Capitalism by claiming the cause of the "U.S. university system issue" is Fascism. Again, when you refer to the "2 exceptional failures of Capitalism," by claiming the losses were "socialized."

      On the contrary, U.S. Universities, like all Universities, lag the market and offer education in inapplicable subjects. For example, an education in Latin might cost the same as one in Software Engineering, but the software engineer will be better compensated by the market upon graduation. Thus, she will be in a position to pay off her student loans and live at a standard higher than 99% of World Citizens.

      Contrary to your second main argument, the great depression and recent recession were exacerbated by government involvement. In both instances the government should have remained a bystander before during and after each crisis. In both instances the Market would've corrected more efficiently and the corrupt firms would've been forced out of the market.

      Capitalism creates incentive, unlike Socialism or any other "State Run Ideology." For example: an American person with an education in an economic value-adding trade will receive a higher wage; precisely the value of their contribution to the economy as a whole.

      Capitalism conforms to human condition: A person in a capitalist system is rewarded for her hard work, free to own the fruits of her labor, and incentivized to produce what is demanded by her fellow citizens.

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  3. There is a big difference between 'wants' and 'needs'. Sure you can strive to have the big house & 15 cars, but those are 'wants', not 'needs'.

    Karl Marx wrote 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'. Socialism is founded on addressing people's needs and prioritising the good of the community over the selfish ambitions of the individual. There will always be people who achieve more than others because of education, intelligence and ambition. They may be richer, but does that mean that they shouldn't contribute to the betterment of society through contributing to the meeting of needs? If they live in a society, they should contribute to it.

    The uber-capitalism of modern western society exploits selfishness, greed, fear and pride. It sells an unattainable dream to the masses who can't afford it, while the large banks and multi-nationals get rich on the low wages of those working long hours for little reward as they pursue those unattainable dreams. If the dream becomes attainable, it is up-sized to keep people selfishly and greedily desiring more. Fear is used as a marketing tool for those scared of being left behind in the rush for the latest and greatest thing. Pride is used as a marketing tool for those needing to stroke their own fragile egos through hollow status symbols that make them feel they are better than others.

    The Global Financial Crisis was caused by this uber-capitalism as banks rushed to lend more and more money to companies and individuals greedily coveting things they could not afford.

    Greed is a destructive factor in any society and any economy. Feeding greed does not stop crime. Meeting needs does.

    The needs of each of us are relatively the same, but people's wants are different and are dictated by greed and their gullibility to clever marketing.

    Socialism aims to temper that greed and address each person's needs equitably.

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    1. Here is a problem with capatalism.....

      Inheritence of wealth.

      The knights from the feudal age continue to inherent money, they continue to keep their place as the ruling class. Socialism wants to eliminate this. Oh yes, there is evidence for these things he talks about. Socialism wants a free market that aims at the good of society, and not so other individuals can get more then others.

      I mean, imagine if companies made products(under direction of the government) that benefited society.....oppose to (making oreo cookies that make everyone fat????)

      Or imagine if local business could survive and make their own products, and were not beat to death by multinational corporations..... pretty good deal for the local business person.

      Anyways, I'm not trying really hard. Look at the socialist democracies. They are doing pretty well. I mean, I like equality. That is why I like socialism. I think poor people are just as good as rich people. I think people should be equal. I do not believe in equality. This is the main tenant of socialism.

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    2. But who gets to decide what *i* need. You ? I don't think so. Human nature can't exist in a Marxist society.. Which is why "liberals" are always trying to shove statist brainwashing into school children.

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    3. Your answer to the greed of others is to take what they have at the end of a gun barrel? Do you think that is right? They only other way to do it is to prevent them from attaining it to begin with. And who gives a crap what Carl Marx wrote? Yes, we live in a society. We should all contribute to that society but being how much should we contribute? 1% of what we make? 99%? Who decides? According to Marx if you make 99% of the wealth then you should contribute 99% to society. Then why even try to get wealthy? Human nature takes over and society collapses in to chaos. Something Marx never talks about.

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  4. This is a poorly written article with no basis in fact.

    Simply put. socialism is the punishment of success. Capitalism is the celebration of success. Success defined by both the wants and needs of the individual and their willingness to work for it. No one should ever be allowed to say what a person wants or needs. If they work for it, they've earned it and should be able to keep it without being forced to share it. They should make the choice on their own to share anything they've earned.

    To say, "Sure you can strive to have the big house & 15 cars, but those are 'wants', not 'needs'." already shows the taking away of personal freedom. You don't make that decision for others. And ultimately this is what it's all about, having the freedom of choice taken away thanks to socialism.

    Making everyone equally poor.

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    1. There's nothing wrong with celebrating success, but capitalism has 2 fundamental flaws: inheritence of wealth, and owning of revenue generating private property. Consider the guy who inherits his dad's vast wealth, as well as a number of plots his dad used to own. Say he is a pale shadow of his father. He is lazy, dim-witted and terrible at managing his resources... basically he contributes nothing to society. Yet he lives the rest of his life collecting revenues from 'his' plots, just because he was born into a rich family. In a way, he is indirectly responsible for a resourceful guy living nearby him languishing in poverty. So please elaborate on how capitalism is fair and 'rewarding to those who work hard'

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    2. Do you not believe in setting your children up for success? That is what this country is founded upon. John Adams said it best, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." If I work hard and save money by doing without, my children will be able to enjoy their lives a bit more. The life of your offspring is your reward for working hard. Greedy people who spend every penny they get continue the problem.

      Why are you so against businesses? Have you ever worked in government? Government is the most wasteful element of society there is. There is no incentive for anyone to save money because you will get less money in the next budget. There is also little incentive to work herd because you have a guaranteed paycheck. Socialism will only work under threat of physical force. The Marxist mantra makes that quite clear. What would Marx do with a person who refuses to work? They need food, shelter, clothes, etc.

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  5. Panda is ranting against American capitalism, which has resulted in the greatest expansion of overall wealth for all citizens than any country in history. No system is or ever will be perfect, as it is we fallible humans behind the controls, and we do attempt to make corrections and get the greed out of where it does not belong - the same greed which has led to the demise of all previous civilizations, past and present, whether socialist or otherwise. While we are struggling to improve, however, Panda should note that while we are greedy, we donate more to aid the countries of the world (many of which countries openly despise us) than any other nation on the earth, while at the same time serving as the global police force to keep "Hitlers" and that ilk at bay........noteworthy to me that we do that without trying to build an empire. Panda, if you don't like it, please do not live here - go where you are happy. If you think you know a better way - recommend it to your elected representatives; that is how we constitutionalists do it........

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    1. In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.

      A glorious model of equitable wealth distribution. Thank you capitalism.

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    2. You can type that Nathan, from your computer and internet access which a lot of socialist poor countries can only dream of. It's funny how Panda named "succesful" socialist countries - yet they're all third world countries.Nathan, you should travel abroad more and realize how good the USA is compared to the rest of the world. I'm typing this from Scotland.

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  6. Yes, the U.S. does donate more in foreign aid than other countries, however, as a percentage of GDP it is among the lowest in the OECD. http://www.thefactfile.com/2012/01/20/foreign-aid-on-the-cheap-u-s-spending-on-foreign-assistance-among-the-lowest-in-the-oecd/

    Giving of aid is good and much of the economic aid has assisted poorer nations and their people. The military aid ... not so much, often replacing one despot with another, while millions of innocent civilians suffer. Some of the aid provided by the U.S. comes with caveats that essentially exploit the recipient country for the benefit of the U.S. Often these caveats will require changes to that country's internal and foreign affairs to benefit U.S. corporations at the expense of local industry.

    The idea that you prevent the Hitlers of the world arising is an interesting claim, considering that the USA supported Indonesia's President Suharto who massacred over a million of his own people, Pinochet who massacred tens of thousands, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, the U.S. even sponsored Bin Laden and the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan in the 1980's, from which arose Al Qaeda and the Taliban respectively. There is the on-going, blind support of Israel by the U.S. even with hundreds of UN resolutions decrying the human rights abuses of Israel.

    The U.S. is hardly the 'greatest nation' ... most powerful maybe ... but this has come at the expense of many other nations.

    It would be far better for the U.S. to be a social democracy, which allows for the needs of all people to be met, rather than selfish focus of capitalism - which will be its undoing. The GFC exposed just how fragile the U.S. is because of its lust for power and materialism. The U.S. is the most consumerist, materialistic nation in the world, focussed on individual wants instead of communal needs. No wonder the U.S. has so many homeless and working poor who do not have the ability to even pay for basic health services. The U.S. has no decent public health or welfare system and spends more money on military conquest than on its own poor.

    Martin Luther King summed up the materialism and greed of the United States when he said, 'In this America, people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity'.

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  7. Some people are so blind to the truth it beggars belief the capitalist premise that when the rich are prospering the working class will benefit with jobs and increased pay is a fantasy rich capitalists only ever pay as much as they can get away with and employ an absolute minimum of staff


    We are told that if we work hard we will prosper this is a false notion capitalism is all about keeping the rich rich and poor in their place

    Australia is such a great country that we have more people joining the homeless queue everyday due to the lack of affordable housing due to capitalist greed, public housing should be a matter of priority but somehow the poor never get heard because the rich take up all the media with their whinging

    Name a successful socialist nation? A better question would be "name a successful socialist country that the US hasn’t interfered with

    And our public is constantly bombarded with capitalist propaganda by the right wing media it’s no wonder they live in the dark

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    1. If I Lived in Australia, I would still not want to pay for a roof over YOUR head. My friend, you simply don't understand human nature. YOU would get very tired very soon if I moved into to your home and ate out of your kitchen, wore your clothing and used your bathroom. It's exactly the same thing with socialism. Wow. I really can't believe someone actually put a page like this up. Amazing.

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    2. You are actually probablly a hard working person, and I assume you would not enjoy sitting on your ass.... I know I don't. Human nature is a social construct conditioned inside of you. The whole discourse of psychology suggests we can condition good people that love one another! Lets live in a society where people want to help each other and work for good of others.

      I mean, you are an american. You live in a society run by greed. It is hard for you to see how human nature can be any different. I myself am not very greedy. I have dedicated my life to helping others. Human nature can differ. My life experiences shape me.

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  8. I am quite amused at people who cite countries such as China as being "successful" at socialistic concepts. Obviously, these persons have never been anywhere except possibly where the Chinese government would allow them to go on a tourist visa. The vast majority of Chinese citizens live in abject poverty. Yes, abject poverty. Not just close to or just below the poverty level, but so far below it that a bowl of rice feeds four people for two days. Good, their "NEEDS" are met. They didn't starve to death. Your basic needs are (for a person of average height), 1000 calories a day and 1 liter of water. So, when you say "to each his needs", try that for a year. When the year is up, will you continue or return to your "wants"? Pompous naivete asserts that what people "need" is all they should get. Most backers of socialism call me an idiot when I agree with them, then tell them they need to give everything they have away and live like they have nothing, but continue to work. Reality is a harsh thing. Why do you think immigrants from poor nations gather in slums? Because it's FAR better than the life they had at home. The American view of poverty is royal living for many.

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  9. This is just an extreme left wing rant with not a single ounce of fact or reality contained within. It's been some considerable time since I have read such complete drivel.

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  10. Wow. Hard to believe that people think like you. Have you ever read Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin? This was very difficult to read without my blood pressure going through the roof. Speaking of blood, will you kindly read the following and give me your honest opinion?

    Vampire Philosophy

    The Vampire flies in with open wings, befriending those he despises and has no humanly respect for. (He comes from the skies as the benevolent.)

    Belying the true nature that lies within, he is always handsome and well-spoken, possessing magnificent powers to persuade and to charm. (He is one of the beautiful people.)

    The society he creates is kept secret and his lies remain in the dark, for the light of truth burns his skin and will destroy him completely. (His vulnerability is never seen.)

    Keeping the masses ignorant is necessary to keep the status quo and his power intact. His allies are purveyors of exactly the information he wishes to disseminate. (He is among the knowledgeable and influential.)

    He is a self-important elitist who looks down upon the common man as a meal, to be branded, used, manipulated, bled and milked like cattle. (He is the privileged.)

    The transfer of life and blood from the provider to the taker is never satisfied, never enough. (His thirst is insatiable.)
    Life and liberty are reserved for his kind, and his kind alone. (He is above us and deserves it.)

    As to his actions: When he bites down hard upon his victim’s neck, he will simply drain the body of all its life and blood, leaving the corpse to rot and decompose in the slums of society, slums that he, himself, reigns over and controls with iron talons. He cares not about the vultures that descend upon the corpse to further violate its current state of misfortune.

    Other times (as he sees fit), he might drain just enough blood to allow for survival, keeping his prey barely alive and bound in chains for when the thirst returns. He counts upon our inherent power to regenerate and replenish ourselves for his benefit and nourishment. Whenever he sees renewed strength in a man, he returns to feed once again - to drain, discourage and destroy what’s left of him.

    And then, too, there are those instances when the bite has the regrettable effect of turning one of us into one of them, creating a seemingly endless life-cycle cursed with the duty of having to suck the blood of fellow men for our own survival, and resulting in the death of all that could have been and should have been if not for the Vampire’s dreadful attack.

    The honest mirror has this to say to the Vampire: “Why should I bother to show you a truthful image of yourself, when your eyes refuse to see and your mind believes things otherwise. Not my reflection, nor your introspection, will aid you in your time of need, for the life and blood of human souls has always been the object of your I’s.”

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  11. Also, sorry to post as anonymous but I have no idea what the other option were and my google account got denied. juanalcalajr@gmail.com is my email address and I do welcome your comments.

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  12. Notice the fact that the list of things that made each country fail always seem to list AND STOPPED AID. That means that each of those countries could not have existed in a socialist state without outside help from other less socialist countries.

    Re: please leave our "terrible" nation and go live in one of those "Great" nations and then tell us how well of you are. I here western Europe looks this time of year, And they look to only be about 5 years ahead of us on the cycle of democracy :) although I would debate we are a little closer to the 7-10 years range (see below)
    \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/

    http://www.promiseofamerica.com/socialism/cycle-democracy-bondage/

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  13. I sir respect your opinion, and agree with a lot of what you say. Keeping thoughts pure is very essential to not create bias. And anybody who is saying about "Freedom of XYZ" is not in socialist model countries is wrong. They enjoy the same privilages, have same liberty, are just a little more responsible and inspite of working hard for their money are ready to may little more taxes to care for poor. YES, and if you say its not human to do that. Think again. If you have worked hard and earned excess for yourself, and you still cant share a little with poor/less capable in earning the way you did (maybe more capable in something else you cant do), then shame on you! Compassion and care and love is/should be in all humans, irrespective of society, country, law of the land or any other boundary.

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  14. This is a great article. And those who say you are blind because they live in America and its great are blind to the suffering that has been handed out to give them their comfortable living. They are also blind to the suffering of less fortunate people around them.

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  15. Anyways, the conclusion of this is that americans are brain washed. They can't see that the majority of the money in their country belongs to a very very small percentage. The rest of the people are all competing for a tiny piece of the whole pie. I mean..... I want access to the whole fucking pie. I love pie. Its really good.

    If you want access to the whole pie (and think you don't even have to compete for it; you just have to work together!) you should support social democracy.

    If the rich didn't have all that money you could spend it on health care! You wouldn't have to pay to be healthy.

    Its more about the re-distribution of all that money the super rich acquire then anything else. Its also about caring for others who are not as well off as you. In canada its aboriginal people. Down there its the black folks you turned into slaves and then forced into ghettos. I mean, how can you learn to obtain things when you grow up in poverty. How is that fair. You have everything, and they have nothing. Lets make it fair, and take money from the super elite, and then things would be better for all.

    Yes this is a left wing rant, but your right wing ideology stinks like oppression. Gay people are awesome, womyn are awesome, and so are black people. Equality is everything. Inequality is sickness.

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    1. Renaissance said “Compassion and care and love is/should be in all humans, irrespective of society, country, law of the land or any other boundary”

      I agree, as these are admirable qualities in some, but you can’t force people to care. This is something learned or nurtured. You can’t foster that by robbing people of their hard earned gains in life. You’ll only make them more bitter and less concerned with helping others, since this would now be the role of Government.

      Seren Gagne said: “Lets make it fair, and take money from the super elite, and then things would be better for all”
      Fair? , Take money?, I can only assume this means legalized, government sponsored robbery. What would be fair is if we all paid our fair “share” of taxes. Fair, meaning a flat percentage of each person’s wealth, income or purchases. Who could argue that this wouldn’t be fair?

      These socialist ideologies are all theoretical, with no true examples of a successful socialist government. While our capitalist based democracy is far from perfect, it has fostered the most successful, prosperous, influential and giving country on the planet. To be honest, it wasn’t the government, capitalism or democracy that fostered this country’s greatness. It was hard earned and defended freedom.

      Any attempt to guarantee everyone’s basic needs through a government belies the Law’s of Nature. We all have wants. Even the rallying call of the socialist is a “want”. They WANT everyone one to share wealth. They WANT us all to be equal in class, status and wealth. The problem with this is that their WANTs infringe on everyone else’s freedom to pursue their wants. If you WANT to share your wealth in America, you are free to do so. Not to discredit other faiths, but Christian based organizations in America have compassionately provided basic needs for millions around the world without government help.

      I ‘ve spent plenty of time in many countries outside the U.S. (both rich and poor). Some Love us and some hate us, but a recurring attitude among all of them is some form of envy in regard to our Freedoms. Even the Dalai Lama, arguably one of the most selfless, socially contentious figures in our day, promotes democracy and freedom as integral to preserving human rights and promoting world peace.

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  16. One word : TRAVEL.
    I noticed a lot of opininators have never been to Europe or left Florida.

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  17. people tend be very brutal in their judgements of marxism. marx did not intend for much of the corruption that inevitably occurs in many (perhaps no all) socialist and communist nations. and despite what wikipedia may tell you, he is not the father of communism. he wrote his ideas in the time of the industrial revolution during which he witnessed child labour, lack of basic human rights, the bourgeoisie taking advantage of the working class etc. If anything we ought to applaud marx for his ideas which were quite revolutionary for his time, he saw a miserable society and sought to create the ideal world - a world based on fairness and equality. obviously however human nature prevents this from being possible. we all want more. hell, i want 15 cars and a big house - and you won't find many people who don't.

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    1. perfect, Now that we all recognize Marx's writing for what they were (rebellious fantasies), can we get back to the reality that all the good things in life (beyond food, clothing and shelter) are only possible through the freedom of entrepreneurs to practice their calling without government interference. Imagine life without Internet cafe's where socialists couldn't gather and pontificate four hours on end on how the world would be a better place if we could just get rid of rich people.

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  18. In answer to the question...the VERY first nation listed was China. Yet China has only become a powerhouse nation because of....wait for it...... C-A-P-I-T-A-L-I-S-M

    IMAGINE THAT !!!

    btw..this article was propaganda for Obama's benefit. The author's know full well there are plenty of ignorant sheeple who would buy it lock stock and barrel.

    Fact: Socialism is rejected once a person becomes financially successful and no longer dependent on government or welfare.

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    1. Name one successful pure free-market economy.

      No, really. Name one that doesn't have layers of government regulation still in place.

      ...

      That's right, there are none. Pure socialism is a myth, just like how pure capitalism is a myth. Idiots like you try to distract from that fact by crying about how bad the other side is while ignoring how you have absolutely nothing to stand on.

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    2. Typical liberal, can't speak without name calling. I won't come into you house and tell you what to do, so stay out of my life. This country was formed as so people could succeed or fail it's your choice. All men/women are created equal. But, trying to force people to live the same life is slavery. Making a statement about pure socialism/capitalism is ignorant, no countries resources are the same, so things will always be different. But, what is always the same is some people work hard to achieve, and others will want what they don't deserve, because its not fair, that someone else has become successful through hard work and determination. Stand up be a man/women, and then you'll understand what all the hype is about. Can't handle it move to Cuba, or another great socialist country.

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  19. What? No mention of Singapore in the list of successful social-capitalist states?

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  20. You mention kibbutzim as an ideal model for socialism. My aunt and her family lived on a kibbutz for many years and worked their butts off for the common good of the kibbutz. They eventually left the kibbutz because there were so many (and growing number of) people who sat around lazily and reaped the benefits of others' hard work. All these people went there idealistic or were brought up there as children brought up in group homes and raised as the perfect socialists, yet they succumbed to human nature. If they didn't have to work, many of them preferred not to. And there was certainly no incentive to work hard.

    And what about creating wealth? I always hear about the redistribution of wealth from socialists, but what about creating wealth? Where is the incentive for anyone to create wealth or create anything if they are going to subsequently be demonized and everything they worked so hard for is simply going to be taken away and given to others?

    I worked in a university biology lab for several years that was partially funded by the US government (NIH). The decisions we made in the lab as to which direction we were going to go in and where we focused our energy depended on the answer to one question. "What research will most likely allow us to write a paper for a major journal that we can list on our NIH grant forms for NEXT YEAR?" I can tell you it was frustrating and disheartening to have to abandon or postpone a promising lead because we were worried about losing our grant money. And to think of all the progress that might have been made if we were more focused on real results than on snatching a piece of the redistributed pie.

    Most people, even the most ardent capitalists, agree that no one should be starving to death, homeless, or dropping like flies from preventable or curable illnesses. But there has never been any such thing as simply having “everyone's needs met.” In all the countries you listed, there are people living in poverty and high economic inequality. And government is not effective for redistributing wealth. I see people with EBT cards at the grocery store, or people with medicaid at the hospitals, and people living in section 8 housing. I've seen all these people with the latest and greatest Apple phones, new designer shoes and clothes, gold jewelry and they spend who knows how much on cigarettes and whatever else. OK, I don't know everyone's story. I know some of them are truly down and out, but it's too widespread to ignore. They are having more than just their needs met at my expense. They can go out to eat at Mc D's every day. My family never goes out to eat.

    So why do I and my husband work so hard? We pay tens of thousands in Federal taxes so other people can eat at Mc D's while government workers pass some red tape around. (Then someone tells me recently someone offered him his EBT card for $50 he can get $100 of groceries). Then thousands of dollars in state taxes, thousands in property taxes, sales taxes, gas tax this and that tax. Then even after we're told we're stingy greedy self-centered capitalists, we give over 10% of what's left over to charity organizations that actually use most of the money to actually help people in need. We live in a modest 100 year old unupdated home (1500 sqr ft I think). We have one car; a 2001 minivan we bought used a few years ago. We take one one week vacation a year (it was either that or go out to eat once in a while). We are able to contribute to a 401K, but then that's it. We have nothing left over to save for something nice or for a rainy day (on rainy days we borrow against our 401K). Hey, we could give up our vacation I guess. Or I guess we could give up the internet so I couldn't write silly rants on silly blogs.

    If I sound resentful it's because I am. How much longer will it be before we decide to stop being producers and become takers? The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

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  21. Yeah you do sound resentful. Yeah it is natural for people to resent those about them who get something for nothing (kinda like the uber rich who are born into it are resented by the poor) Jesus gave us a harder example to try and live up to in the story of the workers in the vineyard. Some worked but a half day and got a full days pay! Of course human nature (and monkey too as a lab showed if one monkey got a better "wage" a grape instead of a lame dried out biscuit, he was PO'd) A spiritual person tries to live beyond that resentment and be happy with what we have even if it is modest)
    However a life well lived with all its hardships, has it's own rewards and I'm am sure you know what I mean (peace of mind and a feeling of usefulness) I fall kinda between the cracks insofar as personal experience, I worked many jobs from age 11 on. (shoveled coal in our building for a dollar a week) I settled on human service in mental health field and did 4 years at the dept of social services. I gotta tell you from my heart that while sure there were a few cheaters, most people had such issues that they would never make it in the workforce. Funny thing happened: I broke my spine in an auto accident and tried to work 7 10 more years but one last straw accident at work, caused me to become disabled. I never earned over 30K even with a degree and was never really able to save for that "rainy" day.
    The upshot is,I live a reasonable life,have housing and am able to go away now and again for a weekend albeit usually close to home. I pay my bills and was even fortunate to meet a good women and became married.
    Without the new deal and so called socialist programs, I'd be at the mercy of..who knows?
    Hey even the Hebrews of old were mandated to provide 10% of their crops and "drops" to the poor so yes, there is biblical teaching on this "State" issue.
    So I see a mix of free market and socialism as the key to a decent Nation

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    1. You don't understand the scripture you quoted. The parable about the workers in the field is illustrate God's grace not to provide narrative on avoiding the greed of capitalism. How can you then compare the tithe (the first fruits of what we earn given back God) and taxation in a socialism state? Are Christians supposed to help the poor? Absolutely! However, the government is not a good vehicle for that help because it is corruptible and then uses it's power and control to take away our freedom and liberty.

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  22. Ranting Panda, I'm curious if, despite your talk about being pro-people, you'll expose yourself as actually being a club-wielding pro-slavery monster.

    First, I'm a classical liberal, individualist a la Bastiat and Thomas Jefferson, fan of Ron Paul. As such, I consider myself pragmatic, open-minded and tolerant, and will readily admit that you make many valid points, and I will agree that Socialism often (though not always) hasn't had a fair chance to succeed because of US warmongering and intervention. I find it as abhorent as you do.

    I also would welcome socialism or even communism right here in the US. I think even Thomas Jefferson would. After all, the Founder's vision was a very minimal Federal government that had no authority but to ensure simple, universal human rights and provide a common defense for a union of autonomous states. There's nothing in the constitution to prevent you and your like minded socialists from gaining a majority in, say, Nevada, and turning it into a socialist state. And, in fact, I'd actually prefer such a scenario because then free-market libertarians like myself could congregate in, say, Connecticut, and have our own ideal society. If a socialist happened to live in Connecticut, or a libertarian in Nevada, they could simply relocate to a state where the populace shared their views. Thus we would learn to tolerate one another and live and let live. I think the reason why the US is such a mess is because we don't respect that constitutional arrangement and, instead, most people are so convinced that their way is right, they feel they have the moral right, or duty even, to pass their laws/mandates at a national level and use lethal force to coerce every person to live the way they want; saving them from themselves. We're stuck with 2 political parties that are more alike than different, and they are constantly locked in battle over who gets to wield the national club and beat the others to a pulp.

    But, here's where I find socialists always turn into tyrants.... "Freedom of movement", the ability to leave any government, is a fundamental universal human right, according to the UN. In fact, it _IS_ the single defining factor in 'freedom'. If a men is in a prison cell, what determines if he is a free man or a prisoner is if he can leave. If a worker is slaving away at a sweat shop in Cambodia, what determines if he is slave labor is if he is their willingly, or if he is allowed to leave.

    Now, whenever I tell socialists or communists that I sympathize with their plight and wish their views would be more tolerated and that they could have a socialist system at the state-level, they always insist that it must be done at the national level, or else the "intelligent, successful" people will leave the socialist state and move to the capitalist state, leaving behind only ignorant, lazy people. This shows deep down they are insecure and lacking conviction because they think that if they got a socialist system, people would be so miserable they'd all want to leave. Ironically, I often end up being more pro-Socialist than they and insist that many productive and intelligent people will prefer to live, thrive even, in a socialist state. But I am always unable to convince socialists that socialism is valid, and they always seem to feel the need to force people into socialism against their will. Which explains why, as far as I can tell, most socialist systems, within a decade or so, feel the need to close the borders and kill anyone who tries to escape.

    So, ranting panda, here's my question to you... If you're American, would you be willing to join libertarians in pushing for a return to the Founder's vision as drafted in US constition so that you could have your socialist utopia, with the only condition that you have to let people leave who don't like the system and that you likewise have to tolerate us libertarians the same way?

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    1. I almost believed all of this until it was stated that a person who believe in socialism referred to the rich as "intelligent and successful", and the poor as "ignorant and lazy". That's capitalism thought, through and through.

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  23. In this way, the US could be a peaceful, pluralistic place where everyone gets to live in a society where they thrive. We could have Republican States, Democratic States, Libertarian States, Socialist/Communist States, Anarchist States, all living peacefully side by side, tolerating and respecting the others.

    BTW, what REALLY detracts from your message is when you throw out claims that are pure fabrication. You make many valid points, but such blatant lies makes many readers question EVERYTHING you say. For example, the left is constantly bashing Switzerland (a country where I've lived for 12 years) because it is the closest adherent to the libertarian values of the US Constitution. A very weak federal government that makes no attempt to redistribute wealth. Heck, residents can even negotiate flat taxes with their Canton (state) where they don't have to disclose their income or assets, and secrecy laws ensure nobody can ever reveal your financial standing. They do NOT have any capital gains tax, so the Warren Buffets of Switzerland pay ZERO income taxes. They do not have universal health care (it's private insurance, like in the US). Until very recently with the meltdown in Europe, they kept the gold standard and did not allow their Fed to print money. Trade unions are weaker than in the rest of Europe. The Cantons (States) are autonomous and compete vigourously to provide the best government services at the best price. And the government at all levels collects a smaller % of the country's gdp than the US. The reason you probably THINK they're social democracy is simply because the Swiss system, which so heartily embraces libertarian values, works SO well, that the Swiss have completely eliminated poverty (on average <2% unemployment with a free-market-mandated $40k minimum wage), no Swiss is hungry or homeless, everyone has all the top-notch education they want and excellent medical care. They live long, and consistently are rated as the country with the most content citizens, and, they're only country where every one of their major cities is listed in the top 10 in "Mercer's Quality of Living Survey" (not one US city is). They are happy and peaceful people. So, you just decided to claim them as being on your side, when in fact, they are the exact opposite in every possible way. I'm also laughing at how you applaud China's impressive economy, but don't acknowledge that their economy was a disaster when the government controlled the means of production (ie was socialist), and has only been thriving since China completely abandoned socialist economic models in favor of free-wheeling capitalism. Yes, I do a lot of business in China. And while the government is very much communist when it comes to political matters, they are purely laissez-faire on economic matters.

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  24. I'm commenting with no desire to be sarcastic or judgmental of any preference in ideology. I don't know much about socialism and wanted to read more which is how I came upon this blog. I tend to think that anything that completely demonizes one side as the super evil, always at fault bad guy and the other as blankety white, is not completely accurate. Marxism, capitalism, even religions (several of them) "could" be great, "if" everyone did what they were supposed to do. That's where the problem lies. There will always be those who do not want to play by the rules or subject themselves to the current ideological plan in their country or time and it seems to me that if the ideology is great it should be able to remain stable despite those who do not go with the flow. There are good things and bad to every country I think. Some have more bad than good at different times and that is a pity. I read a comment about middle class white people. That's not how to achieve peace and prosperity. We should all be real about things, definately, but demonizing white people who are doing well is only distracting from the real problems we face. Btw, I'm not white. I'm a hispanic american. I will say this. Justice and equality are not the same. I've heard everyone calling for equality of so many things and it seems they think it'll lead to justice. Not so. Equal means same and when two things that are not the same are treated as such, then one or more do not get the help they need and that is not justice. Simple example, you give three people $5. One of them is dirt poor, the other is not poor but not rich and the other is filthy rich. Obviously it was ridiculous to give that last one any money at all, and the first might've been given more than a crummy $5. Please don't confuse equality with justice because they are not the same thing.

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  25. Thanks for the article. I enjoyed it, as it was very well written and it does adress a very relevant issue: the ignorance of many would be politically minded individuals that fail to support their arguments with the necessary information. Unfortunately this feed has devolved into the same sort of vile divisive pissing match that you're criticizing. I wish the article would have been better sourced so that your argument would be less susceptible to some of the rational skepticism expressed by the readers. However, I wish that instead of deriding you for making an unsubstantiated argument that they would attempt to do some research of their own and provide a real counter argument. Lack of citation does indicate dishonesty. Provide some contrary evidence, or show that there is no confirmation of this person's claims before you call her/him a liar. If you don't desire to do that research, or haven't the time or requisite knowledge, kindly ask for a source that might affirm his claims. If you came to disagree simply because of a predisposition than you're proving nothing but what the writer has set out to prove (I think, anyway): that the public is largely misinformed by a self serving corporate mechanism whose media/marketing campaigns effectively shape public opinion through the sale of unobtainable ideals. That's not to say that I completely agree with this writer. I think that examples of socialist successes should be limited to those that succeed in accomplishing something close to the socialist ideal. This would, of course, exclude China, though they are certainly an economic powerhouse.

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  26. Nathan, RE: "Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%... Thank you capitalism."

    You need to be specific WHICH type of “capitalism” you're referring to. It should say “Thank you CRONY capitalism.” You must understand that 'free-market capitalism' and 'crony capitalism' are not the same. They are the opposite. Free market capitalism is just that--free. All transactions are voluntary. Crony capitalism is where the government gets involved and favors one company over another, using coercion to force people into transactions. Crony capitalism is actually nearly the same as socialism. Either way, the government is using coercion to redestribute resources. The ONLY difference is that in 'crony capitalism' the one on the receiving end is a privately owned corporation, whereas with socialism it's a publcly owned entity.

    Milton Friedman once reviewed the thousands of monopolies and concluded that only two actually got that on their own without government privilege, the only recent example being DeBeers, and neither one having a measurable impact on equality.

    Today we see a perfect example of how this happens in the case of Amazon. The constitution treats all the US states as sovereign entities that can impose any taxes they want on their own residents, but not on foreigners. Nebraska cannot, for example, say “We're broke, so we impose an income tax on Wyoming residents”, nor can California impose a sales tax on Washington companies. The US Supreme Court made the rules clear in the Quill v ND case. But a lot of Californians are upset and want California to be able to subject all companies to California tax, whether they have any presence in California or not. Amazon and California had been in battle for years over collection of sales tax, and Amazon had given up it's presence in California to avoid collection. Amazon always pointed out that there are 11,000 different local sales tax jurisdictions in the US and that it would be a crushing burden to force a business to comply with all of them. However California kept pushing and eventually got the "Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement” before Congress, which is designed to force every business in the country that sells product across state lines to comply with all sales tax agreements. Well guess what company has secretly hired lobbyists to PROMOTE that bill and help it get passed Congress? You guessed it. Amazon. They know that no independent family run business will be able to comply with monthly tax filing to 11,000 jurisdictions. Only a behemoth like Amazon has the manpower and IT infrastructure to comply with that law. So all the independents will be forced to sell their wares through Amazon and let Amazon handle the tax remittances. And Amazon will be taking a 10% cut, of course. This means Amazon will get bigger and bigger, grabbing an even larger market share. And all the little guys will be crushed and forced to hand over most of their profits to Amazon. Even more wealth will be concentrated in the top 1%, and the rest get poorer. But this is NOT free-market capitalism. This is what happens when you give government officials the power to redistribute resources. The politically well-connected, like Amazon, get on the winning side of the transfer. It doesn't matter whether it's crony capitalism, like we have in the US, or socialism, like they have in North Korea. The politically well connected live in the lap of luxury, and the masses get screwed.

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    1. Here's the reason why pure-market competition is impossible: Mathematical models as well as natural observations, show us that cooperation is a more productive strategy compared to competition.
      Thus, and as we often find in real life, rather then competing in making the best possible product for the customer - what the oversimplistic early tiers of economic theory might suggest the players would do - the companies collude and present the customer, essentially, with a unified front with no real alternative to one another.

      If there's an anti-collusion, or anti-monopoly watchdog, the businesses would attempt to corrupt and overtake it, especially if these are as weak as they are in the US - the world's primary economy of importance.
      Which is how Friedman arrived at his conclusion. It's not so much that monopolies grow only thanks to government favouritism, but rather, any business entity big enough to exert influence over the governing bodies will do so for the sake of securing their position, and eroding the position of their competitors.

      Add to that other distorting factors such as marketing, which very obviously is an effort to win the consumer over with factors other than the actual qualities of the product. The fact that bigger companies use their increased leverage to distort the market to the maximum of their ability to favour themselves, etc..

      Squeezing out of the smaller companies by the larger ones is a day-to-day occurrance. The simplistic belief in naturally occurring market competition is negated by the layers of complex interactions we encounter in real-life world.

      And yet the driving factors behind these interactions are the basest of human emotions, such as greed and desire for domination. In my opinion these are best kept in check by the society, for the benefit of its members and long-term sustainability of said society.


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    2. You responded with a broad, sweeping statement without providing any substantiation. You claim "pure-market competition is impossible". Well in Hong Kong a staunch libertarian, John James Cowperthwaite, took over finance and refused to collect economic statistics to block the government from being able to regulate or act. Then the British gave their blessing to try a pure-market system where the government doesn't interfere (ie "positive non-intervention").

      So, according to your "logic", it must have been a dismal failure, right?

      The fact is it went from a poor fishing village with a per capita income of $180, to being the most successful center of international commerce in the world--all in one generation. Hong Kong harbor became #1 in terms of cargo, their stock market and currency became #6 and #9 in the world, which, if adjusted for their small size, put them squarely in first place. The standard of living rose dramatically. Poverty went down. Billions of people flooded there.

      So, reconcile, please, historical facts with your claim that such a postive non-interventionist policy could not possibly work? Lest you think they're an exception, you can find many sources that measure how much involvement government has in the economy, like the economic freedom report. Then put together a chart that ranks all the countries by their level of government interference on the one axis, and some measure of quality of life on the other, like life expectency, literacy rate, income, etc. You will see it's not a bell curve where the benefits drop off as countries become "too libertarian". Rather, it's a straight line that continues right up until the top. Of the 4 countries with the highest life expectency, 3 of them are also in the top 4 as having the least amount of government intervention in the economy. Household wealth, income, literacy, etc., all straight line, indicating the less the government is involved, people live longer, happier and more prosperous.

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  27. "Cuba under Fidel Castro, who introduced universal health care (something which the USA still does not have), literacy programs and nationalised industry to better the lives of his people. "

    I escaped Cuba to come to US. Only the US has an embargo with Cuba. Cuba can trade with any other country. Castro's enemies have "disappeared" under mysterious circumstances. Opposition were lined up and shot at the beginning. There is no freedom of speech or religion there. The police can check your refrigerator to make sure you don't have more food than someone else. In Cuba everyone in my town was poor. The education was all about Castro's version of history. The health care did not have the technology or cleanliness as the US.

    Communism is anti-freedom and anti-life. Socialism may sound good in a text book or from Karl Marx, but in Latin America it has failed time and time again. A shame you lack the perspective to see anything. Perhaps you may change your mind when you grow up. For now, you just parrot Castro's excuses (blame America, Cuba is success, etc.)

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  28. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

    HERP IS DERP

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  29. There seems to be a lack of respect on both sides. So respectfully, does anyone here have any actual experience of Britain's NHS healthcare system?

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  30. Socialism is great in theory to some small degree, but it seems to be lacking in many respects. When does a person in socialism decide they do not want to work hard because it does not provide a benefit, and see others slacking and getting the same benefit. What happens then?

    I would like to know the source of ideas and "facts" the writer has, they are very inaccurate.

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  31. The "majority" of people in the U.S., do not work at minimum wage. I believe the number is at %5. Also, while some people are materialistic, your comment on a "who has the most toys wins" mentality, is an ignorant assumption. The U.S., has a very diverse range of people.

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  32. GOSH, if China and all it's BILLIONS living in poverty is doing so great why don't YOU go live there?

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    1. Hi Nan,

      Thanks for the comment. Interestingly, the USA has a higher rate of poverty than China, with 15.1% living below the poverty line, compared to 13.4% in China.

      http://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/population_below_poverty_line.html

      http://www.indexmundi.com/china/population_below_poverty_line.html

      This is even after China raised the poverty line from where it was in 2009, which placed a further 128M people below the poverty line.

      In terms of child poverty, the United States ranks 34th out of 35 OECD countries, only beating Romania.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/04/15/map-how-35-countries-compare-on-child-poverty-the-u-s-is-ranked-34th/

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  33. RantingPanda,

    This was an incredible article! You said everything I have been thinking in a much better way than I have been able to.

    It is clear that many commentors didn't read your post and kept their preconceived notions about socialism while they argued against it.

    Socialism, in fact, does reward success and hardwork. It actually rewards these things more than capitalism does. In socialism you own your labor. You earn what you contribute to society. If you want to earn enough to buy mansions and nice cars you go out and earn them based on your hardwork and efforts.

    In capitalism you go out work hard and earn someone else that house and car. If one day you are able to exploit enough people then you can have those things too, but you did so at the expense of other people.

    I look forward to reading more of your writing.

    Al

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    1. In Socialism you get what everyone else gets. You can't have nice cars and houses unless everyone else can. You don't get rewarded for work in socialism. Everyone gets equal amounts no matter what work they actually do. Socialism distributes equally no matter your contribution to society: Capitalism distributes based on your contribution to society. For instance, a man working at a fast food joint flipping burgers would not make nearly as much as an engineer designing products in a company. That engineer will make more because he has a bigger impact on society than the man making someone's meal. Just like the article above, name a successful socialist country. You can't, right? Because it has never worked once in the history of earth. Human nature prevents it from happening. Now the US version of Capitalism is far from perfect, but socialism would work no better. Socialism only works until you run out of other people's money to redistribute. What happens when all the rich people leave to a country where they can make better money? Socialism imo is just not a good system.

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    2. Actually capitalism relies on other people's money. Most wealth creation manuals talk about building wealth using other people's money. Socialism doesn't distribute wealth equally at all, but instead on people's needs. Hence the basic tenet being, 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'.

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  34. Love it ,thank you for posting

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  35. Society starts with the family. What family teaches their children to stay at home all of their lives being completely provided for without having to contribute? None I hope and each person is to grow and learn and be productive whenever possible. Those who can work should and if they have trouble finding an appropriate job or training there are plenty of opportunities to get both of those either by working towards or finding grants and scholarships. Many people want to help and in fact do help through various outlets and have the freedom to do so without being forced into contributing. While social programs are currently necessary, and started out well they ended up way off course. For instance the welfare system has very little accountability to how the money will be spent by the recipient. If we give from the heart we don’t care how the money is spent but when forced to give through taxes people, rightly and fairly so, want to know the money is being spent on necessary provisions and not unhealthy things like cigarettes or worse. The point is people want to help others more than what is portrayed anywhere but do not like being told when, where, who and how much to contribute. Think of all of your friends, family & acquaintances would you say they are giving people and want to help others? Ask yourself this when you buy a Christmas or birthday gift for someone do you want to be told when, where, how to spend your money or do you want to give the gift from your heart as you see fit?

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  36. Wow... My brain hurts from all this...
    What's obvious (to me at least) is that no single ideology--and the system that results from it--is perfect. We need to keep experimenting with it as we, the US, have over the last 238+ years. I think this means we need to keep open, progressive minds while at the same time recognizing the freedoms that each one of us has. And all of this must be done respectfully. Our system's not perfect, in fact its far from it, but it's the best one going as far as I can see..

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  37. Really great work! Very informative! I would have liked to see some more links and references, but overall, I enjoyed reading this!

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  38. Here's a good question. Name a successful capitalist country. The US is only 20 to 30 years from collapse and break up so don't name us. The truth is no human system lasts forever. All countries, societies, and economic systems collapse eventually.

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    1. Switzerland. The government has existed for 600 years, has gone the past 200 years without war. Life expectancy is among the highest in the world. Crime rates are non-existent. Poverty has been eradicated--every person there has a home and food, unemployment is <1%, the janitor at McDonald's makes around $40k/year with health care and a month's paid vacation/year and full pension, those with disabilities are always taken care of (note: this was without any government welfare program at either the federal or state level). The average Swiss household has $700,000 in net wealth (highest in the world). And they accomplished it being as close to pure, free-market capitalism as they could get.... Now no country is perfect, but I'll hold up that to the finest example of socialism anywhere. And if that's not successful, please define what is.

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  39. Typical leftist rant. Time after time the example sited a wonderful socialist government succeeding, but alas, the damned old USA either withheld aid or had the world bank do the same......IF IT WAS SO SUCCESSFUL, WHY DID THEY NEED AID??

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  40. that was pretty funny

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  41. This blog is so laughable it hurts. Written by some obvious America-hating Australian who blames America for all of the ills of the world. China still has human rights violations to this day, it didn't end with Mao. Since America in indebted to China I can't see how this would be the fault of "evil America" either. Hugo Chavez was also responsible for human rights violations, shutting down free press, dissent, etc. How is that the fault of the US?

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  42. Funny, all throughout this charade article we keep hearing... funded by capitalism, funded by capitalism... funded by capitalism. The ONE capitalist country in the world that has become by far the wealthiest --- is under attack for interfering in socialist regimes???? These socialist countries (Chile, Venezuala, etc) have economies that are absolutely minuscule compared to the US. And they are listed as a success? These example countries in South America are so full of corruption, they are in constant flux. The US didn't cause that instability. Their crappy government did. I'm sure the over-50% population of dumpster living trash dwellers living in huts made of tin and mud would really agree with your assessment of their successful economy. I've been to those countries. The violence, corruption, and poverty is so incredibly widespread it is an absolute ignorant farce you are selling people with this article.

    The poorest of our country are richer than over 75% of these nations. I'm not advocating that somehow the poverty of our nation in the inner cities is somehow something to scoff at (it's still a travesty). But this article is so clueless as to the real condition of those countries.

    Go see them for yourself. Find out what kind of safety, justice, and security you will have as you walk their streets. Do it for yourself, please, those who read this nonsense article. Form an opinion based on your research, not some imbecile selling you on why Chilian socialism is better than US capitalism.

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  43. I dismiss any article that compares Russian intervention to US intervention. Try WW1 and WW2? Where was Russia then? Or how bout the numerous countries Russia invaded to overthrow, while the US invades to sustain against tyrrany.

    Whatever.

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  44. Social Democracy is not socialism. There are no socialist countries in Europe except for Portugal, which has one of the worst economies in Europe, next to Spain.

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    1. If you want to go with semantics. there are no Democracies in North America either. The United States is actually a Representative Republic. In other words, yes, there are Socialist countries in Europe.

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  45. The orginal post here was written by someone with no education in economics let alone Socialism or Capitalism. This is a glaring display of ignorance.
    Brad Allen

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    1. Thats putting it mildly. Within the first paragraph it is clear that the author has a vendetta against the "right wing". They then describe capitalism as a form of governance distributing money, which is ironic because thats exactly what a socialist government is. When anyone can buy the law they can exploit the people, capitalism has very little to do with it.

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    2. Agreed. None of this is intelligent. I like the part where they say Socialism did not fail, it was overthrown by a stronger system. If a system gets "overthrown" by a stronger system,the one that lost is the Failure because it was weaker, and trying to list countries as successful socialist states where the people routinely try to get out of that country(China, Cuba, Venezuela)because of the oppression that follows socialism. Socialism without capitalism is Communism. Capitalism without Socialism is Fascism.

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  46. I didn't notice if he directly pointed it out because it was a lot to read, but I don't think he ever specifically mentioned that Bernie Sanders is going for a DEMOCRATIC-socialist country. That is also the form of government used in the last part of that list of countries and frankly, I'd love to live in every single one.

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