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Thread: Socialism

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    People from hardcore communist backgrounds are always very upset by the slightest hint of socialism, I've noticed in my experience.

    It's an emotional response rather than a logical one.

    I mean it's totally understandable, but I don't think it's logical.
    And do you have any LOGICAL explanation for why socialism is a good idea?
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

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    I think social democracy is an excellent idea and it's exponentially increased the standard of living in the world.

    Just because people believe in social democracies doesn't make them evil Marxist socialists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    I think social democracy is an excellent idea and it's exponentially increased the standard of living in the world.

    Just because people believe in social democracies doesn't make them evil Marxist socialists.
    But can you give any proof of this.. explanation on WHY you think it will increase the standard of living? Because as of right now.. your sounding pretty idealistic and opinionated.. but I'm not seeing the LOGIC.
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

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    I believe all of the social democracies in existence right now are referred to as "first world countries."

    Red Herring already attempted to explain the difference to you. I think you're being ridiculous, no offense.

    I mean if you're upset by this subject, I understand and when I get that upset like that by a topic it's best to walk away from the computer.

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    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    But can you give any proof of this.. explanation on WHY you think it will increase the standard of living? Because as of right now.. your sounding pretty idealistic and opinionated.. but I'm not seeing the LOGIC.
    The people of the United States collectively pay to provide mandatory education for all children. This is pure socialism, and it results in significantly higher standards of living.

    They apply similar principles to interstate highways, fire departments, and police stations. These are all socialist principles in action, and I would much rather have them than give them up.

    This is not idealistic, this is reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    I believe all of the social democracies in existence right now are referred to as "first world countries."

    Red Herring already attempted to explain the difference to you. I think you're being ridiculous, no offense.

    I mean if you're upset by this subject, I understand and when I get that upset like that by a topic it's best to walk away from the computer.
    Thankyou for being so considerate of me =) Unfortunately, your wrong. I'm not upset by it.. I don't see that you've offered up any proof at all on the topic, and I don't beleive Red Herring did either. Maybe you can clarify this for me though? If you can, that would be FANTASTIC! What I have seen.. is you state your political stance in general.. and then pop in with an opinion.... am I wrong here?

    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

  7. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    But can you give any proof of this.. explanation on WHY you think it will increase the standard of living? Because as of right now.. your sounding pretty idealistic and opinionated.. but I'm not seeing the LOGIC.
    Below is the proof, found from a discussion group I'm a part of, the essay along with it's citations seem pretty through. Below is the entire text taken from this discussion forum


    "The Swedish Concept of the Golden Rule: Not Your Everyday Socialism
    Cory Benson

    Every day, Americans go to work and produce one of the largest economies in the world, producing more than other nations per capita. They work and earn, buy and spend, pay taxes, and contribute uniquely to said economy. They enjoy a relatively high standard of living, overall. Despite overwhelming economic strength, poverty and unemployment remain plagues on the system. As reported in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics in 1990, 14% did not earn the minimum $13,359 per year to place them above the poverty line (Sawhill). Even spending $500 billion dollars per year on social programs is not enough.

    Enter Sweden. A modern industrialized nation, Sweden’s system is so unique that studies often do not measure the poverty line. Sweden’s government is a “social democracy,” in which a socialist party controls the elected parliament, or Rickstag. Many social programs are offered to its citizens, whose average income is $32,125 excluding the social services on which Sweden spends around $22,360 per person annually(Olsen). There exists a duality of commercialist capitalism and socialism; while other socialist systems seize control of or regulate the free market, Sweden even allows its government-owned corporations to run independently (Sains). By providing healthcare, education, and basic necessities to its citizens, Sweden’s government provides for the common good. Rudolf Meidner, responsible for the governing economic model in Sweden, called the system “a welfare society within the framework of capitalism.” The Swedish system functions more successfully, and can be applied within a conventional capitalist democracy; moreover, it is the morally preferable role of government and ought to be applied in the United States.

    Social welfare is normally accepted as part of the duties of a governing body when engaged in a social contract with its citizens. The idea is a morally sound one: provide for fellow citizens by pitching in together. Jewish- and Christian-based moral systems can hardly ignore this paramount value: from the Jewish tradition of periodically leaving fields unfarmed to provide for the poor, to the Christian ideal of caring for one’s neighbor as one’s self. European-influenced American literature is riddled with heroes who would sacrifice their own well-being to provide for others, such as Robin Hood. As Americans, most would fall into a moral category conducive to the concept of social welfare. So, why is it not practiced in the U.S.?

    The answer lies in the formation of their current economic system by the Rockefellers, Carnegies, and other prominent business leaders at the Jeckyll Island summit in 1910: the Federal Reserve. By establishing a “central bank” with currency based on the “full faith and credit of the United States government,” the U.S. was able to economically survive many of the conditions that led others into socialism. No longer based on the silver or gold reserves held by the government, the stage was set for the economy to emerge as a behemoth among the world community. The American system, designed by millionaires, benefiting the rich, promoting a distinctly growing gap between poverty and wealth, does not reflect American values as a people.

    By contrast, socialist systems seek to incorporate the economy under the wing of the government -- which often can not be trusted – for the purpose of providing social benefits to its citizens. Reason magazine editor Virginia Postrel indicates that the goal of socialism is “a fairer allocation of resources […] and less waste” (Postrel). Markets fail to distribute wealth fairly. Some governments choose to regulate the very supply and demand of their economy. By seizing control and ownership, the government inherently dooms the nation to a certain period of poverty. In this case, Postrel proposes that “hot socialism” is being practiced.

    Hot socialism occurs when the economy is run by a government monopoly, and the state directly owns the means of production; the state may completely direct economic life, nationalize industries, form wage-governing agencies, et cetera. This model has occurred in southeast Asia, Latin America, and eastern Europe; however, not all systems fall victim to corruption, dictatorships, or failure.

    In some cases, a democratic parliament may fall under control of a socialist party, and while ensuring basic democratic freedoms and preserving the private sectors. Postrel’s model provides for an alternate school of thought concerning socialism: “social democracy.” Social democracy is essentially a “redistributive state,” distributing resources en masse to the public by means of taxation. Such systems seek to “rearrange economic outcomes,” and have similar goals to hot socialism. The difference lies in the state of “economic egalitarianism” that occurs in social democracies (Postrel). In the 1940s, this system was applied to an industrialized, economically sound nation: Sweden.

    The publicly funded system is matched by a private system, backing up the socialist set up. The economy is largely influenced by private companies in industry who affect, but not completely control, industries. The Swedish Employee’s Association, or SAF, checks the government-supported unions, seeking more privatization of labor management (Huber). By the influence other parties have in the multi-partisan parliament, more conservative ideals, such as privatization, have taken root within the Swedish system. For example, the 1990s saw a boom in the number of private schools, and the issuing of school vouchers. Private healthcare alternatives sprang up during this time as well, assisted by government sponsorship. Public funding was applied to day cares in some areas (Olsen).

    The model followed in Sweden is referred to the Rehn-Meidner model, named after its concoctors. Under this model, the Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions, or LO, demands equal pay for equal work on a national scale. This is referred to as the “solidaristic wage policy” (Huber). Companies with low productivity but excessive labor would be forced to rationalize, or face imminent economic failure. Highly productive companies, and exporting companies, would be restrained by the wage standard, allowing for international competition to enter. Unlike traditional socialist theory, which implies that a system must be relatively isolated in order to succeed, social democracy facilitates international economics. The model’s Active Labor Market Policy helps to reduce unemployment by utilizing the wage restraint: this lessens the dependence of unemployment on inflation, and vice-versa. Loans are nominally offered at low interest rates from public savings, for example pension funds (Huber). This model allows for the benefit of a free-flowing price variation in a capitalist setting, while ensuring some equality in goods and services received, such as healthcare.

    In Sweden, medical services are socialized, but compete with private services. Some socialist states reduce or eliminate patients’ rights to choose providers; however, Sweden’s system preserves such rights. For instance, the government does not require general practitioner referrals to see a specialist. The system is sponsored nationally but administrated by counties and localities. Private sectors receive government subsidization. Each citizen enjoys the option of state-sponsored healthcare with a $117 (USD) deductible, and a $168 prescription limit. However, if you don’t shop around, you may end up waiting several months for surgery, for example (Sains). When demand of medical services is high, but supply is low, the salaries of healthcare providers would rise, causing the public healthcare to potentially lose workers to the private, or to raise salaries in tandem. By providing a private system to compete with the public one, socialist healthcare is preserved without collapsing like conventional socialist models. In this model, the universities would be able to charge more for training to train the workers, and then could expand their training, which in turn would produce more workers, stabilizing the shortages that initially caused supply to be low. The system checks and balances itself with more harmony than even the separation of powers in the United States.

    Capitalist competition with a socialist system yields the best of both worlds: fair, relatively low cost services honed by competition to be of high standards. Other provisions of the welfare state include a national pension plan, unemployment insurance, one year paid maternity leave for mothers and one month for fathers, and landlord and renter unions to insure fair housing prices (Sains). Such a system provides Sweden with one of the highest standards of living in the world, along with Canada, Australia, and other Scandinavian states, which frequently outrank even the U.S. in the U.N. Human Development Index (Hallerod). In fact, the Heritage Foundation / Wall Street Journal Index of Economic freedom reports that Scandinavian countries generally enjoy being among the “25 Most Free Economies,” beating out nations like Germany, France, and Austria (Leher). Their proven economic prowess and superior system demonstrate success in the form of these statistics.

    Progressive groups in Sweden act as watchdogs to preserve certain social benefits. Examples of their prosperity include a high standard of living, narrow wage differentials between genders, and the “virtual elimination of poverty” (Olsen). To achieve these benefits for a maximal amount of citizens, the government and private groups carry out several programs. For instance, wage bargaining has been centralized to provide a national standard of labor. The wage solidarity policy was enacted. “Socio-technical” changes were applied to the workplace. Investment funds were set up for wage-earning laborers (Olsen).

    Sweden allows its corporations to be relatively public, owning only 33% of Swedish stock, with public funds accouting for 53% (Sains). The government owns 10% of companies (Sains). Such corporations include Saab, Nokia, Ericsson, and Volvo, all of which are public stocks. By allowing for micromanagement, but providing economic benefits, the government is able to control standards without becoming overbearing. In the 1920s and 30s, welfare states sprang up in northern Europe, benefiting mostly the lower and middle classes, but applying a maximum income tax rate. However, these systems were much less intense than Germany’s, France’s or England’s since the government owned very little. In Sweden, the government owns the utilities and railroads, but allows for almost independent micromanagement. Sweden even joined the EU, but did not adopt the Euro (Leher).

    The only periods of economic recession for Sweden in recent history occurred from 1976 – 1982 and again in the early 1990s when the socialist party did not enjoy a plurality rule. The Social Democrats controlled parliament via this plurality rule and a political alliance with the Left (former Communist) and Green parties since the 1940s. When a right coalition within the Rickstag imposed certain privatization ideals and economic restrictions, the situation suffered. For instance, a government deficit accrued, peaking at 13% of the GDP, which was not eliminated until 1982 when the social democrats came back into power (Olsen). In 1991, within a year of the closing of the major government confederation of employees (SAF), conditions were already progressing downhill again. An economic recession occurred, and the wage differential between blue- and white-collar jobs increased. In 1993, Sweden reached a double-digit unemployment percentage rate, compared to a 2.6% unemployment rate in 1989 (Olsen). State-controlled unemployment insurance and union-linked benefits decreased, with sick, parental, and unemployment leave payouts reduced from 90% to 80% of prior wages. Employers were made responsible for the first 14 sick days, in order to regulate abuse of the system. Housing norms were deregulated, and rent control weakened, causing an increase in rent in cities and a decline in living conditions. Funding for union education and union dues’ tax breaks were cut or reduced, and laws made it easier to fire employees (Olsen). Clearly, the conditions are at their best when socialism compromises with capitalism in the method prescribed by the social democrats.

    Sweden’s GNP is 70% of that of the United States (Sawhill), which leads one to wonder how much this model would improve if applied to a nation with such a larger gross national product. By applying a more of a flat tax rate, the U.S. could reduce the average citizen’s taxes while providing for a socialist system. Currently, millionaire are only taxed for a small portion of their earnings; if a flat tax were in place, everyone would be taxed an equal percent of income, and more revenue could be used towards the improving the morale and living conditions of the population as a whole.

    In order to apply such a model to the United States, certain conditions would have to be met. The country would need an existing economy, competitive in the world market and self-substantiating. The country should be industrialized and democratized to ensure certain freedoms. Since the U.S. is a congressional republic and not a parliamentary democracy, it is unlikely that a socialist party could come to power as the majority rule cripples the system into bipartisan resistance to change. The biggest adversary facing social democracy is the political pressure caused by conventional democracy; since our current system is run by interest-group politics, it is vulnerable to the economic pressure of open markets (Postrel). Socialism can not survive international competition alone, but markets call for regulation such as “curbing dynamism,” something American figures from the left (Ralph Nader) and the right (Pat Buchanan) agree (Postrel). More importantly, however, the Swedish model must be capable of coexisting with the capitalist economy.

    Compromises have been famously applied in the U.S., from the bicameral and separation of powers provisions of the constitution to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The boundaries of a successful socialist-democratic compromise are laid out by the downfalls of the Swedish system during the late 70s and early 90s: a compromise must not incorporate the same conservative ideals. The privatizations specifically practiced in Sweden are ideal guidelines for balancing the harmony of the two clashing systems. However, such compromises exist in the U.S. already in the form of local communes.

    From the micro-scaled model of a commune existing socially within and commercially according with the United States, a national model could be extrapolated. The September issue of National Geographic magazine features such a model. The story is on the East Wind commune in Tecumseh, Missouri. Named after a quote by the famous Chinese communist leader Mao, they believe the “east wind will prevail over the west” (Mao). The citizens within are required to work forty hours a week, in any capacity they chose. Some farm, some cook, some do laundry, while others work in the commune’s nut butter plant. By selling nut butter in a capitalist market, they are able to economically support their socialist ideals of providing for its citizens equally. The earnings – around $500,000 per year – go towards public buildings, such as schools. This model, active since 1973, demonstrates hardiness and economic success of the socialist-within-capitalist system.

    While Sweden enjoys many economic and social benefits, its government must impose the relatively large 57% average income tax to its citizens. However, as cited above, the average Swede earns well over double the U.S. poverty line before taking into account the state-sponsored benefits. The tax conditions in Sweden are not crippling to personal economics. True, marginal wage rates and value-added taxes (like sales tax) are among the highest in the world. The capital gains tax and real estate assessments, however, are negligible. Individuals are allowed some control over personal social security taxes and accounts (Lehrer). Overall, the government benefits and large average salary more than make up for the tax rate. Swedes enjoy a higher standard of living, an incomparable lack of poverty conditions, and overall social well-being for its citizens, in exchange for a high tax rate that still leaves its citizens well off. Were more nations able to put aside the avarice of exponentially increasing wealth in favor of a socialist system, the very human condition would improve. If we all prosper because of social welfare, then we have acted according to most moral systems probable to occur within the U.S. With only the implication of social reform left to account for, the conditions in the U.S. are ripe for quickly becoming the next tier in standards of living.

    Social welfare is a value paramount to most Americans, as it conforms to and is pronounced by most moral systems. By providing for the common good, a system could provide a bountiful standard of living, ensure social freedoms, and improve morale. Sweden’s economy operates as an amalgam of socialism, capitalism, and democracy called “social democracy,” where a parliamentary system allows for socialists to operate a publicly funded system in tandem with a free market. This system is effective and unique from the brand of socialism seen historically in Latin America, southeast Asia, and eastern Europe, and should not be compared to those systems. This model can be applied to the American system, within a modernized nation, providing the ideal economic model for overall citizen welfare. In fact, it already exists on a smaller scale in communes within the U.S. Sweden’s standard of living has historically been higher than America’s. The Swedes prosper as a direct result of their economic benefits enjoyed as a result of their social democracy. Therefore, this system functions more successfully, can be applied within a conventional capitalist democracy, and ought to be applied as it conforms to the moral beliefs shared by the majority of American citizens. When the U.S. of A. is ready to mature as a nation, the government will provide for fellow man unselfishly, in the tradition of the Golden Rule. Only then can a people truly prosper at the peak of a prosperous economy, when truly flexing the goodwill-granting muscle of this great Republic.




    Works Cited

    Aspalter, Christian. Importance of Christian and Social Democratic Movements in Welfare Politics. Hunnington, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2001.

    Hallerod, Bjorn. “Standard of Living in Sweden 1992.” Umea University Department of Sociology Press, 1992.

    Huber, Evelyn and Stephens, John. “Internationalization and the Social Democratic Model: Crisis and Future Projects.” Comparative Political Studies. June 1998: 353.

    Hurd, Madeline. Public Spheres, Public Mores, and Democracy: Hamburg and Stockholm. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

    Lehrer, Eli. “Scandanavia’s Surprising Turn From Socialism.” The American Enterprise. Dec 2003: 42-43.

    McGuire, Stryker. “Melting Pot: America v. Sweden? This time Europe must get it right.” Newsweek International. 3 May 2004: 29.

    Olsen, Gregg. “The Twilight of the Swedish Model?” Canadian Dimension. Dec/Jan 1994 : 40.

    Postrel, Virginia. “After Socialism.” Reason. Nov 1999: 33.

    Sains, Ariane. “Swedish Socialism Reviewed.” Europe. Oct. 1998: 46.

    Sawhill, Isabel. “Poverty in the United States.” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2002.

    “Sweden Politics: Swedes Still Resisting a Swing to the Right.” Economist Intelligence Unit. 21 June 2002: 1."


    and here's another article from the scientific american.

    Can you stop now?, you're arguing from purely an emotional perspective, we get it, you don't like authoritarianism, neither do I, but that doesn't mean every socialist or any hint of socialism is this evil bottom of the rung thing, so please, at-least for the sake of accuracy, can you stop?. I know it's an emotional topic for you, and I respect that you are trying to find some sort of proof that it perhaps can work or maybe something you can use to validate your anger, but yes, I agree with the above poster, perhaps you should just walk away from the computer, if the topic makes you this upset. But the 'proof' that you look for is above, I would also look at most european countries, in terms of health-care compared to the US , as they are social democracies, as examples of working models, where we, here in the states cannot seem to get basic health-care for the nations people down properly, But that's just my opinion.

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    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    The people of the United States collectively pay to provide mandatory education for all children. This is pure socialism, and it results in significantly higher standards of living.

    They apply similar principles to interstate highways, fire departments, and police stations. These are all socialist principles in action, and I would much rather have them than give them up.

    This is not idealistic, this is reality.
    Public education is actually a huge FAIL. Have you seen comparisons on public education and private?
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    Thankyou for being so considerate of me =) Unfortunately, your wrong. I'm not upset by it.. I don't see that you've offered up any proof at all on the topic, and I don't beleive Red Herring did either. Maybe you can clarify this for me though? If you can, that would be FANTASTIC! What I have seen.. is you state your political stance in general.. and then pop in with an opinion.... am I wrong here?

    I think the success of humanity in general in the Western 1st world is self-evident. I'm not sure what you want me to prove, that people in social democracies, on the whole, are faring better than people in other countries? Because they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Oh? Perhaps it was already inevitable once the government stepped in and banned child labor. Or maybe public roads were the tipping point...
    lol

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    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    Public education is actually a huge FAIL.
    No. It is actually a hallmark of a highly successful, democratic society

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_...school_systems

    The vast majority of citizens in these successful nations are educated through the public school systems.

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