Socialism

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Seraph
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Socialism

#1

Post by Seraph » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:02 pm

In the political world today, a common word we see come up is the word "socialism". This word is often used by many to paint the possible future America under liberals as a hellscape of horror. I thought I'd start a thread to discuss, what is so bad about socialism? Some say that it punishes hard workers and deincentivizes people from working, while others say that it is more in line with Jesus' teachings of helping the poor and less fortunate and solves a lot of the injustices that spring up in a purely lassez faire capitalist system. What do you think?

Note: I am not a Socialist. I only start this to start an interesting dialouge. :)
Last edited by Seraph on Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Socialism

#2

Post by Ivellious » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:20 pm

I would say parts of socialism are very much in line with Jesus's message, particularly (as you say) the messages about aiding the less fortunate and raising them up using your own fortunes. I think that America's current system is built on the rape of the poor by the rich and rewards this practice in the business and political worlds. I don't think that jives with Christianity at all, in my opinion.

Of course, I don't advocate for a total socialist government. It doesn't work. However, when conservatives use "socialism" these days, it's almost always just as a buzz word to freak people out and distract them from the real issues. For instance, I don't think universal health care is socialist in the least, but conservatives claim that it is and I think it's wrong.

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Re: Socialism

#3

Post by Reactionary » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:25 pm

That's a very interesting topic to discuss, one that I've thought about very much. I would say that neither total laissez faire capitalism, nor total socialism are ideal. All systems have their pros and cons, due to humans being sinful (according to the Christian doctrine :ewink: ).

In pure laissez faire capitalism there is a mechanism (A. Smith called it the "Invisible hand", although there have been many interpretations of the term) that regulates and balances the market, and is guided by each and every member of the society working for his/her own interests. I'd personally compare it with natural selection - it eliminates the "unfit" businesses, and enables the "fit" ones to thrive. But what happens when nobody controls such businesses? What if a company is a natural monopolist, for instance when it controls the only or all sources of resources required to produce a certain type of goods? Not to mention that capitalist companies primarily seek profit, and that may not be in the best national interests, especially if they employ cheap workforce from poorer countries, at the expense of the local workforce.

On the other hand, if you let the workers manage a factory (as in workers self-management), they'll want their interests satisfied in the first place. They'll ask for dividends whenever it's possible, while they may ignore the possibility to reinvest in the expansion of a successful business, sacrificing potential profits in the long term for short-term revenue. This may hinder economic growth. Besides, very often they don't have the expertise in economics to run a business.

So regarding socialism... there are many types of it, but unless we're talking about a totalitarian regime, socialism is certainly not Hell on Earth. It enables the people to work without stress - there is no danger of getting fired unless you do something wrong; your health is taken care of by the State, education is free, you get an appropriate apartment once you enter the workforce, you don't have to move often, your opinion matters at your workplace (in self-management), people live longer because of less stress etc. On the other hand, a socialist state is expensive - someone needs to pay for all the "luxury". Also, socialist companies tend to be less efficient and less productive because they often don't want to abandon an unsuccessful business, unwilling to fire people. This may cause an imbalance between supply and demand - you may have cheap clothes (a nearby fabric factory), while at the same time, people wait in queues for toilet paper or coffee. It's a completely different lifestyle.
Ivellious wrote:Of course, I don't advocate for a total socialist government. It doesn't work. However, when conservatives use "socialism" these days, it's almost always just as a buzz word to freak people out and distract them from the real issues.
...yet, people who are freaked out by such buzzwords hardly even know what socialism is.
Ivellious wrote:For instance, I don't think universal health care is socialist in the least, but conservatives claim that it is and I think it's wrong.
Well, we had a discussion about universal health care not long ago, and I see that it's obviously a current topic among Americans. Well, let me tell you - in my country we have universal health care and nobody complains about it or calls it socialist or unfair. In fact, I was surprised when I found out that there are countries that don't have it. I was like, "Wow, you get sick and you pay?!" This is obviously where the differences in mentality become apparent - maybe I was raised this way, but I see health care as a right. We all (the society) contribute (by taxes and employers paying fees) to have our health taken care of. You never know if or when you're going to get sick, and it's much easier to live when you know that you won't end up in the street if you need a surgery. I believe it's a sign of solidarity and progress to collectively secure our health.
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Re: Socialism

#4

Post by Seraph » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:06 pm

All very interesting responses. Interesting that the answers seem to almost be a defense of socialism, or at least of an economy that has some socialistic principles. I completely agree that many cry out that the country is heading in that direction all the while seeming like they don't know what it actually means. I think a lot of people are quick to cry out that the country is becoming socialist whenever a single policy is put in place that has a spirit of giving any wealth to lower classes. However, I agree that pure socialism doesn't work, because in the same way, a lot of the theories put forth by modern economists are in fact valid and the nation has to be realistic in how wealth and work tend to operate.

I also think a lot of people associate it with Communism, which brings up images of Lenin, Mao and Stalinist dictatorships. Again though, one thing doesnt necessarily propel the country down to one extreme of the political spectrum.
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Re: Socialism

#5

Post by Short1 » Tue May 01, 2012 3:53 pm

Why would we give the government all the power to use our money? They will abuse it.

In defense of capitalism, when you remove all the red tape surrounding business, it is much easier (and profitable!) to hire people and pay them well. Business owners HATE hiring people these days because of the government. Business is also getting greener because being green is cheap. But the government shuts good businesses down when they make a profit on it.

Also, it's not like Apple goes overseas and holds a gun to the head of people and forces them to work. They choose to take the job because it is better than their previous situation.

I don't want to live in a handout society where my life and choices are dictated for me. Capitalism offers freedom and prosperity through business. Wealth is generated through competition. What's wrong with a business providing goods and services and generating wealth that gets loaned out by banks so others can use it for their projects?

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Re: Socialism

#6

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Tue May 01, 2012 5:20 pm

Reactionary wrote:This may cause an imbalance between supply and demand - you may have cheap clothes (a nearby fabric factory), while at the same time, people wait in queues for toilet paper or coffee.
When I was in Cuba I experienced this first hand. The stores catering to tourists were well stocked with all manner of merchandise, and Cubans were not allowed to enter. The stores for Cubans were bleak, with empty shelves and had a delapidated look. Of course, Cuba is an extreme example of Socialism. I liked Cuba because beer was $1 a bottle. A nice Catholic country.

Norway, a Socialist state, keeps placing first - year after year - among all the world's nations in the UN's Quality of Life Index. I don't like Norway because beer is $5 a bottle. Stupid Lutheran country.

...but seriously, the world is turning towards the Left! Populist movents have erupted all over the Middle East (including Israel), the ''Occupy Wall Street'' movement is going through a rebirth, France seems poised to elect a Socialist government within a couple of weeks, Americans are discussing the merits of universal health care...
Short1 wrote: What's wrong with a business providing goods and services and generating wealth that gets loaned out by banks so others can use it for their projects?
Nothing wrong with this. Well managed Socialist countries (Norway, Sweden and others) also operate like this.

I'm not a fan of Socialism - that is, rule for the common good - but the evidence is that it can work, and work admirably.

FL
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If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.

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Re: Socialism

#7

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sun May 06, 2012 2:54 pm

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote: France seems poised to elect a Socialist government within a couple of weeks...
Well, it is official. France has elected a Socialist government headed by Francois Hollande. President Nicholas Sarkozy, a friend of Israel, will be replaced with a French version of Barak Obama.

Too bad.

FL

Edit: actually, France does things like the USA: the President is elected, then the Legislature is elected. So only the President is Socialist for now. With a little luck, the Legislature (to be elected soon) will not be Socialist. Don't hold your breath.)
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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Re: Socialism

#8

Post by B. W. » Sun May 06, 2012 4:36 pm

Anyone know off hand how the income tax system works in Nothing wrong in Norway, Sweden and England, France, etc..?

Is it a progressive system where only 47 percent of the people and the wealthy pay all the income taxes and the others do not? Or does everyone pay income taxes?
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Re: Socialism

#9

Post by Ivellious » Sun May 06, 2012 4:43 pm

In much of Europe, income tax is "scaled." That is, depending on where that income comes from and how much you make, you pay varying rates of income tax. I'm fairly certain that everyone pays income tax in Norway and Sweden, it's just that the wealthy pay a larger percentage than the middle and lower classes.

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Re: Socialism

#10

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Sun May 06, 2012 4:54 pm

Ivellious is right. Well-managed Socialism does have this going for it: the rich pay income tax according to their gains.

Warren Buffet would be happy.

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Re: Socialism

#11

Post by B. W. » Sun May 06, 2012 9:51 pm

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote:Ivellious is right. Well-managed Socialism does have this going for it: the rich pay income tax according to their gains.

Warren Buffet would be happy.

FL
Here in the USA, that is not how it is set up here. We have about 53 percent, or there abouts, who pay no income tax at all. The rest pay the rest. It sounds like the tax rates in the countries I mentioned, everyone pays. That is a big difference. The USA Tax system is designed to secure a large voting block from those who don’t pay taxes under the disguise of social justice - and nothing else. Very bad tax system. So the socialism we see here in the USA is more neo-Marxist class warfare cr+p, just to keep one set people in power...

Those across the pond, seem like you don't have the same tax system and that alone should be considered in this discussion

What percent of taxes do the other countries pay?

Does your Govt spend it well?
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Re: Socialism

#12

Post by Ivellious » Mon May 07, 2012 12:11 am

BW, are you for or against the US tax system? I'm not sure if it's accurate to say that 53% of Americans simply don't pay income tax (unless you include children or something), but regardless, I'd say the larger issue with our system is the ludicrous idea that the rich and corporations should receive tax cuts and lowered income tax rates because they have the cash to bribe politicians. All that the system does now is reduce the amount of money that the super-wealthy have to pay and then push that burden onto everyone else, namely the ones who would actually be affected by tax rate increases.

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Re: Socialism

#13

Post by Reactionary » Mon May 07, 2012 2:51 am

B. W. wrote:What percent of taxes do the other countries pay?
Everything's written here... in English:
http://www.porezna-uprava.hr/en/porezi/ ... INCOME_TAX_

From 1 March 2012:

12% for annual tax base <26,400 HRK
25% for annual tax base >26,400 HRK; <105,600 HRK
40% for annual tax base >105,600 HRK

1 USD equals about 5,71 HRK.

Note that if your tax base is, for example, 50,000 HRK, you don't pay a 25% rate on the entire base, but rather:
12% rate for the first 26,400 HRK, and
25% rate for the remaining (50,000-26,400)= 23,600 HRK.

Do I succeed in explaining this? :D
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

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Re: Socialism

#14

Post by Ivellious » Mon May 07, 2012 3:26 pm

Brilliant explanation, Reactionary. That seems clear to me, at least.

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Re: Socialism

#15

Post by Dallas » Wed May 09, 2012 7:09 am

Deep down, I am for Socialism. Everything about it in my mind makes since. I don't like democracy because it grants too many rights for people who do nothing and make more money than the working class. That's just an opinion though.
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