: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies
I have to question socialism and why so many people ascribe to it. The “Concise Encyclopedia of Economics” describes socialism as a “tragic failure of the twentieth century.” Socialism depends on taking money from one group, giving it to another and controlling one group for the benefit of another. It could only work for so long. For this reason, I need to understand how socialists think. I'm trying to decode them.
To begin, I see socialism and communism used synonymously and that is not correct. From the research that I've done, Karl Marx touched on socialism, but only briefly. One must start from a capitalist society, move into socialism which is a necessary step towards communism. It is not a stopping point nor is it the same thing.
Socialism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds.
Communism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
Okay, fantastic, looks like a great idea, except it's not. If I look simply at socialism, the greater the deed, the better you are treated OR the greater your ability, your deed spreads amongst many. The issue I have with this is, it wouldn't happen by choice but by force. People in general also would not have the choice as to who gets the benefits of their ability.
For example, let's say there are five manual labourers, one of which has a physical disability. He's there because he must have a job to feed his family. Instead of saying he should have a different type of job within the company such as sweeping floors, this person is kept on as a manual labourer. Since the rest can keep up with the work load and he does do some minor work, all of the wages have been adjusted accordingly. The four people who have the ability to do the job to it's fullest have taken a pay cut to support the one who can't out of some weird moral obligation. The choice was never given to them. Instead of moving the one to a more suited position and paying all accordingly, the one gets paid more and does less while the four get paid less and do more.
It all becomes about perspective and only those in control will determine what a “deed” is worth. There will always be problems with that. Someone will always disagree. There has to be a net loss somewhere.
Communism has its own problems, and the biggest one I see is the definition of “needs,” whose are worth more, and it doesn't matter what you do, you'll never get more than the basics of life. There can never be innovation in communism. There is no incentive for innovation; no one needs a smartphone.
Now back to decoding socialists.
From what I understand, they want business owners taxed as much as possible, they want the rich taxed as much as possible and they want various services made available by the government paid for by taxes. Socialists also want everything and everyone (except them) controlled by law and government. Everything should be nationalized or regulated. Am I right so far? Remember, this is my impression.
As long as TAX is the keyword here, there are problems with the socialist ideal and subsequently, the communist ideal.
The rich are mobile. The more a government taxes the rich, the more the rich are inclined to move. This was proven in France when they enacted a 75% tax rate on people who made more than 1 million Euro per year. Many wealthy French registered their residences in kinder “tax havens” such as Belgium or Switzerland. It's causing problems because the French government still doesn't have the revenue it was hoping for. It also happened in Maryland, USA. Between 2007 and 2010, so many taxes were created that people got frustrated and started leaving. So many people left Maryland that it caused a $2 billion decrease in tax revenue. Some articles say people left for other reasons such as weather, and I'm sure that's true, but that wouldn't account for that much of a decrease in tax revenue.
Socialists from what I read, want businesses taxed into non-existence. I don't understand. If they love taxes so much why kill the economy with such a tax burden? They usually pick on corporations. What's wrong with corporations? My husband's business is a corporation. Does that mean it's inherently evil? Probably, simply because he opened it as a corporation. If it were a sole proprietorship, would his business then be benign?
But why is Enbridge Inc. evil? Well, because it's an energy company AND it's an “Inc.” That means incorporated. There is probably a plethora of other reasons but we’ll pick on those some other time. The thing about any business is, it wants to make money or it dies. The easiest way to continue making money is legally. Yes, in the short term, cutting corners, screwing the little guy, and breaking the law would make anyone money but it never lasts. Following law and regulations costs - and is it ever annoying - but in the long run, no one complains and the company continues making money. It then hires more people, pays people, gives bonuses and does lots of other nifty stuff. All good companies do this.
Something else I could say about Enbridge or any good company is, a dollar made by them is not a dollar taken away from somebody else. Just because my husband makes money doesn't mean our neighbour doesn't. (He doesn't work for Enbridge, I'm just saying he makes a good living, Enbridge also makes a couple of bucks, life is good for producers!)
If the socialists had their way, both of these companies would be taxed so much that producing anything would be pointless. They wouldn't be able to take their profits and re-invest them into research and development or their employees OR themselves in the form of education. Say they want to purchase new safety equipment, they couldn't because their money went to taxes. No one works for free and private companies don't like working for the government. If too much money goes to the government, private capitalist companies of any kind would start closing down. Then where would all this beloved tax money come from? Where would all the “rich people” be that socialists like to complain about so much (and tax) if not for these large companies to help make them rich? Why would anyone start up a company that could grow into a large company, that make normal people into rich people?
Socialists also want the “rich” taxed and the definition for rich changes all the time. If we became as socialist as these advocates wanted, what's the incentive to make money? It would only be stolen. The product of one's mind is taken away in the form of taxes. When I see protesters make up signs that say “you can still be rich, just not that rich” why would one even bother, should the socialists win the argument? What right does someone else have to tell me what the limit of my bank account is, either in my business or personal account? How does this thought become okay? Is it because they are too lazy, or lacking, to make that money themselves without stealing it? Would they feel the same way if I said someone on welfare or employment insurance is only permitted their necessities, and a smart phone is not a necessity. They are permitted food, rent, utilities, clothing only. They'd scream from the bleachers and protest with fancy drawn up signs! Somehow I'd be wrong even though welfare is government money paid for by taxes.
So if you bring this out to its logical conclusion, socialism and communism have a shelf life. This type of government - if enacted to it's utmost potential - will fail. Once everything is nationalized, everything is regulated, everyone works in some fashion for the government or “for the greater good,” (according to ability, according to need) the country will be broke. For socialism to work at all, there must always be some form of capitalism from which to take. Socialism failed, and anyone who reads history and does any research whatsoever would know this. Communism failed. The guys who created it couldn't make this ideal work so why does anyone think they can make it work today?
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
Vladimir Lenin was the first person to try enacting socialism but soon realized the intrinsic difficulties of an economic system without profit incentives or competition. He thought the market would become less complex without these ideas in place, and that people would work for the greater good, not in rational self-interest. It fell apart quickly and a mixed economy was put back in place within four years. Soon after, various other leaders tried to save socialism and communism but things got worse in Russia. It ended in total economic disaster in the 1980's. There you have it. A history lesson in 30 seconds or less or your money back!
So let's try it again, only here! Sounds like a fantastic idea. Personally, I'd rather not but it seems people are insane. We all know what Einstein said about insanity.
Occupy Wall Street was an interesting attempt to force socialism upon us. People who didn't seem to work
and who had too much time on their hands moved into parks in a whole lot of cities, destroyed them, assaulted one another and made a general pain of themselves. They made up signs and protested about income inequality and wanted to reduce the influence of corporations on us as a whole (while texting on their iPhones.) They made demands of business and the government, and eventually lost interest and left. These demands however were to debilitate the evil “one percenter” and force the government into action against them. It is the “one percenter” that pays the “occupiers” bills so I'm not sure what they were hoping for. If they won, they'd see how much tax is now lost to them for their welfare cheques and other entitlement programs that they love so much.
People in Quebec want free education, paid for by tax dollars - which are paid for by people who work, and companies and stuff.
People don't want pipelines built, which will create jobs, and more taxes and more taxpayers and a better economy.
I could go on but I think you get my point.
So, in my efforts to decode the socialist mindset, I have completely failed. I still don't understand them. It wouldn't take much thought to figure most of this out. It wouldn't take much research to figure out socialism and communism have both failed as an economic system in our not too distant past. I have to ask, with so much out there to read and research, and with so many of these people calling themselves educated, why don't they know this? Could it be because they have degrees in gender studies and liberal arts instead of political sciences and macro-economics?
I'm a Canadian classical liberal (individual freedoms are important) who photographs stuff. I also happen to have few opinions about a few things. Read my stuff, you'll see what else there is to me.