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  1. #401
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    U.S. primary and secondary education is mediocre compared to countries which practice democratic socialism.

    So where is your point?
    When it comes to primary and secondary education, the U.S. is more socialist than most European countries -- even Sweden has a school voucher program. The opposite is true with higher education, and in that the U.S. is superior.

    If you look real hard, then you might spot a trend.

    And the countries you are thinking of don't "practice democratic socialism." Check out my previous post for more details, but in a nutshell: those countries, while more socialist than the U.S. in some respects, are more capitalist in others; even when they are on net more socialist than the U.S., they are still among the most capitalist countries in the world.

    Although such nations may be a little bit more socialist, they are still a far cry from being socialist.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  2. #402
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    avolkiteshvara,

    have you heard of the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom? Basically, its a rough measure of how "capitalist" or "free market" a nations' economy is. Of almost 200 nations included, these are the top 30 most "capitalist" nations:

    1. Hong Kong
    2. Singapore
    3. Australia
    4. Ireland
    5. New Zealand
    6. United States
    7. Canada
    8. Denmark
    9. Switzerland
    10. United Kingdom
    11. Chile
    12. Netherlands
    13. Estonia
    14. Iceland
    15. Luxembourg
    16. Bahrain
    17. Finland
    18. Mauritius
    19. Japan
    20. Belgium
    21. Macau
    22. Barbados
    23. Austria
    24. Cyprus
    25. Germany
    26. Sweden
    27. The Bahamas
    28. Norway
    29. Spain
    30. Lithuania


    Notice that all the "socialist" Scandanavians are in the top thirty!

    This ranking is derived from a nations' "economic freedom score." For context, Hong Kong scores 90.0 and the United Kingdom 79.0, so there is 11 points between 1st and 10th place. This rate declines as we go down the top 30, because Lithuania scores 70.0, a mere 9 points less than the United Kingdom 20 places above. Furthermore, Denmark is only 2 places below the U.S.A., and with a mere 1.1 score difference.

    Moreover, when we break down the "economic freedom score" into its constituent parts, we discover that the "socialist" Scandanavians are more capitalist than the U.S. in many important areas:

    Denmark has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom while having similar property rights enforcement and trade freedom.

    Iceland has greater business freedom, fiscal freedom, and freedom from corruption, while having similar trade freedom and property right enforcement.

    Finland has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, and freedom from corruption while having similar property right enforcement, financial freedom, and trade freedom.

    Sweden has greater business freedom and freedom from corruption, while having similar trade freedom, monetary freedom, property rights enforcement, investment freedom, and financial freedom.

    Norway has greater freedom from corruption while having similar business freedom, trade freedom, and property right enforcement.

    The Scandanavian countries are not really very socialist at all; the U.S. media just likes to focus on those areas that Scandanavian countries are more socialist, and all the while presumes the United States to be an exemplar of "free market capitalism." But the U.S. is less free than many other countries in many very important respects, and it is really not so far from the Scandanavian countries than many of its citizens suppose.
    To be honest, I stopped when I saw "Heritage Foundation".

    USA has an average personal tax of 30%. Sweden &Finland are around 45-50%.

    All residents have access to state funded health care. They also have smaller private industry of health care that still exists.

    Between what you've dug up and my stats, sounds like they're some degree socialist/capitalist.

  3. #403
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I don't believe Scandinavian states can be fairly compared to the rest of the world. They have an extremely small population in comparison to their territory and their resources, it's relatively easy to build a successful economy with those conditions. They can't be compared to the US, or even Germany for the matter.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    I don't believe Scandinavian states can be fairly compared to the rest of the world. They have an extremely small population in comparison to their territory and their resources, it's relatively easy to build a successful economy with those conditions. They can't be compared to the US, or even Germany for the matter.
    Not just small, but homogeneous.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Not just small, but homogeneous.
    Yeah, that's also it, ethnically and culturally homogeneous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Yeah, that's also it, ethnically and culturally homogeneous.
    While Denmark and Norway are over 90% homogeneous, Sweden has a 20% minority ethnic population. That's much more diverse than most European nation-states, and on par with a large multinational state like Russia. Nothing like the United States, but it's no Japan, that's for sure.

  7. #407
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    avolkiteshvara,

    While you might dislike the Heritage Foundation, the very reason you dislike them is probably a good reason to trust their estimation of how "capitalist" a nation is.

    Tax rates can be very misleading. For one, the U.S. government is currently spending far more than it taxes, and making up the difference with debt. I suspect that neither Sweden or Finland have such an enormous deficit (proportional to their budgets). What that means is higher tax rates in the U.S. are being deferred to a future time. Unless you take that into account, then you are getting an unrealistic picture of government involvement in the economy, because while taxpayers may not be paying until later, the resources are being used right now.

    I come from the U.K., I have been technically "covered" by the National Health Service since I was born, but that doesn't mean that I have access to "state funded healthcare." I might have got some treatment or I might not, and even should I actually get it, I may have to wait a real long time. Recently, my brother hurt his back and was unable to work; of course, he is "covered" by the NHS but was told that he would be denied treatment for months. Despite paying into the public health "insurance," he was now going to have to pay again to get private treatment (in fact, other family members had to help him out), because he couldn't afford to go so many months without working.

    [EDIT: Of course, politicians do not suffer the indignity of the U.K.'s public health or school systems, but use private alternatives.]

    This is what happens in the U.K., and in other nations which have a public healthcare provider, because doctors, hospitals, drugs, etc. are not free: resources are scarce and must be rationed. But rather than allowing patients to decide among different trade offs, bureaucrats, influenced by all kinds of other political incentives, decide on their behalf. This removes the accountability of the system to its customers. Although the U.S. healthcare industry has its problems, I would never wish anything like the NHS on anyone.

    Finally, yes there are differences of degree with socialist and capitalist. My point was that the "socialist Scandanavians" are still overwhelmingly capitalist compared to most of the world, and more capitalist than the U.S. in many important areas. (They may even be better able to support inefficient public healthcare better because places like Denmark have more business, monetary, and financial freedom.)
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  8. #408
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    I don't believe Scandinavian states can be fairly compared to the rest of the world. They have an extremely small population in comparison to their territory and their resources, it's relatively easy to build a successful economy with those conditions. They can't be compared to the US, or even Germany for the matter.
    Huh?

    The point of a comparison is to reveal both the similarities and the differences between what is being compared. If we "can't" compare things that are different, then can we only compare things that are the same? What would be the point of that?

    I suppose you meant to say that it does not follow that what works in the Scandanavian states will work in the U.S., because there are some important differences. While I agree with you in principle, there is far more in common than different between the two. The laws of economics do not change for different peoples, (despite what some more imaginative social scientists seem to think).
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  9. #409
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    avolkiteshvara,

    While you might dislike the Heritage Foundation, the very reason you dislike them is probably a good reason to trust their estimation of how "capitalist" a nation is.
    I'm not so sure I'd agree with this. I find corporations to be anti-capitalist by their very nature, and the Heritage Foundation would vehemently disagree. So while I'd find trust-busting regulations to be very pro-capitalist, they'd see it as needless government interference.

    Tax rates can be very misleading. For one, the U.S. government is currently spending far more than it taxes, and making up the difference with debt. I suspect that neither Sweden or Finland have such an enormous deficit (proportional to their budgets). What that means is higher tax rates in the U.S. are being deferred to a future time. Unless you take that into account, then you are getting an unrealistic picture of government involvement in the economy, because while taxpayers may not be paying until later, the resources are being used right now.
    Of course, you could leave tax rates where they are, and stop spending metric ass-tons of cash on foreign adventuring, not to mention whack $760 billion in estate taxes for a year.

    Devil's always in the details. Clinton's changes raised the 31% bracket threshold from $49,000 to $62,000 (in 1998 dollars) - effectively cutting taxes for people within this group. This represents a good portion of Americans - just above the median income level. Even with this cut, we still had a surplus.

    You don't have to pay down the debt by raising taxes on the middle and upper middle classes. Therefore, you don't have to pay down the debt by raising taxes on the majority of Americans (since raising taxes on people with lower incomes would be pointless).

    I come from the U.K., I have been technically "covered" by the National Health Service since I was born, but that doesn't mean that I have access to "state funded healthcare." I might have got some treatment or I might not, and even should I actually get it, I may have to wait a real long time. Recently, my brother hurt his back and was unable to work; of course, he is "covered" by the NHS but was told that he would be denied treatment for months. Despite paying into the public health "insurance," he was now going to have to pay again to get private treatment (in fact, other family members had to help him out), because he couldn't afford to go so many months without working.
    If everything happened as you stated, that's very unfortunate. The thing is, as you mentioned, the only way to get around this sort of thing in any system is to pay cash out of hand. Even in the US, insurance companies will deny claims for pain treatment if they determine that a person can get by with painkillers.

    [EDIT: Of course, politicians do not suffer the indignity of the U.K.'s public health or school systems, but use private alternatives.]
    That's what happens in private healthcare - wealthy people get better care than everyone else. That's not just a British issue.

    This is what happens in the U.K., and in other nations which have a public healthcare provider, because doctors, hospitals, drugs, etc. are not free: resources are scarce and must be rationed. But rather than allowing patients to decide among different trade offs, bureaucrats, influenced by all kinds of other political incentives, decide on their behalf. This removes the accountability of the system to its customers. Although the U.S. healthcare industry has its problems, I would never wish anything like the NHS on anyone.
    This happens with every sort of healthcare system. Like you said, resources are scarce. The UK determines their rationing by clinical need. The US determines its rationing by profitability. I'd rather the rationing be done by something that actually has to do with healthcare.

    Finally, yes there are differences of degree with socialist and capitalist. My point was that the "socialist Scandanavians" are still overwhelmingly capitalist compared to most of the world, and more capitalist than the U.S. in many important areas. (They may even be better able to support inefficient public healthcare better because places like Denmark have more business, monetary, and financial freedom.)
    Where's the proof that public healthcare is inefficient? How do you define efficiency in the first place? Once again, I find it amusing that many of those "freedoms" listed come specifically from government intervention (such as labor freedom, lack of corruption, defense of property rights, etc)

  10. #410
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    avolkiteshvara,

    While you might dislike the Heritage Foundation, the very reason you dislike them is probably a good reason to trust their estimation of how "capitalist" a nation is.

    Tax rates can be very misleading. For one, the U.S. government is currently spending far more than it taxes, and making up the difference with debt. I suspect that neither Sweden or Finland have such an enormous deficit (proportional to their budgets). What that means is higher tax rates in the U.S. are being deferred to a future time. Unless you take that into account, then you are getting an unrealistic picture of government involvement in the economy, because while taxpayers may not be paying until later, the resources are being used right now.

    I come from the U.K., I have been technically "covered" by the National Health Service since I was born, but that doesn't mean that I have access to "state funded healthcare." I might have got some treatment or I might not, and even should I actually get it, I may have to wait a real long time. Recently, my brother hurt his back and was unable to work; of course, he is "covered" by the NHS but was told that he would be denied treatment for months. Despite paying into the public health "insurance," he was now going to have to pay again to get private treatment (in fact, other family members had to help him out), because he couldn't afford to go so many months without working.

    [EDIT: Of course, politicians do not suffer the indignity of the U.K.'s public health or school systems, but use private alternatives.]

    This is what happens in the U.K., and in other nations which have a public healthcare provider, because doctors, hospitals, drugs, etc. are not free: resources are scarce and must be rationed. But rather than allowing patients to decide among different trade offs, bureaucrats, influenced by all kinds of other political incentives, decide on their behalf. This removes the accountability of the system to its customers. Although the U.S. healthcare industry has its problems, I would never wish anything like the NHS on anyone.

    Finally, yes there are differences of degree with socialist and capitalist. My point was that the "socialist Scandanavians" are still overwhelmingly capitalist compared to most of the world, and more capitalist than the U.S. in many important areas. (They may even be better able to support inefficient public healthcare better because places like Denmark have more business, monetary, and financial freedom.)
    Reason, I think you are the first guy on the Pro-private health care side to make a coherent argument and do it without coming off like a paranoid militia member.

    If you are talking about the Obama stimulus that was put into place to avoid the financial catastrophe handed down by the Bush Admin, then I agree that we have gone into debt and are spending more than we take in. However a contractionary move by our central bank when inflation starts to rise can offset that spending.

    Is the U.S. deferring taxes to future generations, maybe. We'd have compare debt levels per capita and amount of gov revenue taken in, really crunch the numbres. The whole point was that Mango was trying to make the argument that you are either 100% socialist or 100% capitalist. I was just poking holes in that moronic argument.


    No health care system is perfect. But I think its a questions of what is best for the country as a whole.

    Its not uncommon in the U.S. for someone to go totally bankrupt because their insurance company denies a procedure or they simply have no insurance at all. Perhaps by subsidizing more Medical students and medical schools, we can get enough doctors out there so no one has to wait excessive periods. I don't think we're trying to copy the NHS. We're just trying to pick out the pieces that actually work.

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