Socialism: A Primer -
Socialism is an umbrella term for everything from anarchism to democratic socialism to communism. It is the movement away from corporate ownership in the economy towards more community and social control.
For the vast majority of human history, humans lived a communal life that was conducive to sound mental health. Much of the mental health issues in capitalist society derive from its violation of our caring, communal nature that developed during this period of hunting-gathering life.
As hunter gatherers, we owned the land, which generated wealth, in common. With the advent of civilization and its class distinctions however, the vast majority of people were dispossessed from control of the land.
In class society, the vast majority of people became slaves or serfs subject to exploitation and control by the land owning classes. Wealth disparity developed and accelerated tremendously with the advent of capitalism.
European capitalism was only able to develop by dispossessing its own peasants and the people of Latin America, Asia and Africa.
From its birth, therefore, capitalism's freedom is only available to a privileged few. Their freedom and wealth depended on others being subject to war, slavery, and exploitation.
Different types of socialist governments developed not as a matter of cerebral choice but rather as responses to very different historical situations in different countries.
The negative aspects of communism derived from it having been developed in countries subject to brutal, Western imperialist control. Communists became dictatorial in order to defend against Western imperialist attacks.
The positive aspects of democratic socialism derives from it having been developed in the imperialist countries of Western Europe. Capitalists in those rich countries allowed democratic socialism in order to prevent communist revolution. Each type of socialism thus developed in response to specific historical situations in different locations.
We know now that capitalism is destroying our physical habitat. Socialists of all types can unite in order to prevent that from happening and to transition to a more sane society.
Really I see a lot of opinion in that statement seen as Russia doesn't allow homosexuality doesn't allow wealthy doesn't allow the right to think or say as you please you have no freedom of speech Anarchy does not work in any country is a complete bastard of nature and doesn't hold any aesthetic pleasing or intelligence of personal rights,. Now let's talk about socialism it does not allow you to become wealthy you are to share all your belongings with everybody you are not allowed to dream of a better future just dream of a future where everyone's equal so if the quality is on the lower board or standard that is where everyone is going to lie let's look at Venezuela let's look at Guatemala Sweden has an 80 to 90% tax rate so the government is in control you've given a dictator complete control of what you can say earn or obtain United States has been a capitalist country for 244 years it is been a working capitalist country everybody from everywhere else wants to come here because of the freedoms because it works our founding fathers did not want socialism because of the corrupt nature it imposes upon its people that is Extreme evident throughout history and throughout the countries amongst the world
As hunter/gatherers, which mode of subsistence represents 99% of our history as a species, for the most part there was no concept that the land could be "owned", at all. To suggest that is evidence of the strength of the ideological control imposed by capitalism.
Behavioral Economics teaches that people have many different and competing motives operating when making economic decisions.
Yes, making money and what it can garner us is a motive. The word capitalism is often used to suggest that this one motive rules over all else. This would be the extremist view of capitalism and bears no resemblance to reality.
People have many mixed motives when deciding what is important in life. A major generic one is security. Seeking security brought about Social Security for old age. The motive to feel secure drives the Medicare For All debate.
Another major generic motive is the time to enjoy yourself. People really want to do things other than work. So the 40 hour work week was legislated and vacation time and holidays are set aside. This became the sort of social engineering within economics that most people overlook.
I would start calling a realistic behavioral economic system 'Socialized Capitalism'. A mixed economy more accurately reflects the motives of all the citizens that make up an economy. But it would have to be democratically driven to ensure everyone's interests are represented.
Name calling is inevitable, I suppose, when the few who know of employee-owned companies are silent.
Unregulated capitalism selects for sociopathy, so corruption and name calling are inevitable.
Try a search on employee ownership.
Call me, if you must, a collective capitalist.
I cannot accept this statement: "The negative aspects of communism derived from it having been developed in countries subject to brutal, Western imperialist control. Communists became dictatorial in order to defend against Western imperialist attacks."
Russia was not under Western Imperialist Control during the 1917 revolution. They were in the war and backed out to have their own civil war. Authoritarianism develops for many reasons but it is heavily dependent on personality, in this case Lenin. There are also logistical problems. Russia, the largest country on the planet, then and now, had poor communication and good transportation only in a small region. It also needs to be remembered that statistical decision theory, things like hypothesis testing (at least the popular Neyman/Pearson version), were not invented until the 1930s. To plan a country's economy---in order to ensure a livelihood for everyone---was way beyond the computing powers and theories available in 1920. Note, for example, that the most famous critique of communism, Hayek's, The Road to Serfdom, complains about the problems arising from poor planning. The basic argument (from Hayek) was that capitalism's unplanned distribution policies is a far better than communistic planned distribution. But, importantly, Hayek and the other early critics were very careful to say that, of course, the economy must be defined so that all individuals and classes must have adequate food, shelter, access to health services, etc.
That critique is no longer true. I have students who do market analysis for Krogers and predict very accurately the demand for grapes or cheerios. Tools, data and computing power are now very effective. So the original criticisms mentioned above are no longer valid. Why then have things not changed for the better?
The economy has gotten worse for the impoverished and middle classes because the laws have changed to favor the rich. The legal structure was changed to improve the lot of the poor by Roosevelt in the 30s. Things continued to improve in many ways through the 60s. But then the rich got organized.
The initial big legal changes occurred during the Reagan era where, under the influence of Ayn Rand and others, greed was apotheosized and became the US god of choice. The lowering of the high end tax rates and the firing of the air traffic controllers were two primary events. The legal structure was then revised---consistent with the famous article from Lewis Power in 1971, the Powell Manifesto---and the attempt to rewrite the legal structure to favor the rich has been very successful. The Koch brothers, among many others, consciously invest in the program and ALEC, The Heritage Foundation, and all the rest of the neo-liberal think tanks.
So I see the situation rather differently than you. Of course I agree with the basic critique of Capitalism and, as suggested by the note above, I could go on all day about it.
I find your drawn conclusion that capitalism is the down fall of our society to be mightily fallacious. i would adamantly and vehemently argue that it is religion, specifically xSTAINity. the perverse odious vile disconnect of xSTAINity with the division, heirarchy, separation, and utter lack of human unity. with xSTAINity and its perversions of human life you arrive at papal bulls and blood quantum, and genocide of (here in the americas) over 500 million humans in a period over 500 years. (that's not to mention the wildlife that was mercilessly also genocided - over 10 million bison bison destroyed down to under 300 known animals in under 10 years.
humans mixed with xSTAINity is the problem.
It is called communism. History perfectly showed where the implementation leads: terror of the proletariat, communist concentration camps, poverty and absence of technological and social development. Social engineering, the creation of a new, socialist person, simple doesn't work. This is an uneducated, dangerous and very naive, childish idea.
"a communal life that was conducive to sound mental health". This is an interesting claim. I'd be interested in any pointers to research.
Are you familiar with the notion - in economics - of "tragedy of the commons"?
Capitalism's "freedoms" is a strange term. Capitalism is available to everyone. Actually ... wait a second... not everyone. It's available to those who choose to work and, probably more importantly, take risks.
I think the aspirations of socialism are noble. When you speak of the negative aspects of communism (or socialism perhaps) I retreat to a common refrain: "Power corrupts". I think much of the issues we face is based on this simple notion. Power corrupts people of all political faiths ... from trump to xi jinping. Heck - we see it in the Catholic church.
Power corrupted in Venezuela (Chavez, Maduro) in Bolivia (Evo), 1940's Germany, Italy, etc. One could write a book.
I agree some of what was said. What was left out is the fact that human nature and selfishness are part of our simian heritage. We are literally savage monkeys who have not risen above many of our base instincts. This is due to many factors. The truth being that as a society, as a culture, we are so very primitive (primate driven), such children that it will take many generations before we are even close to a mature just society. We don't even have very good fundamentals in place to begin such an experiment. Just as America was once the hope of the world, we have now degraded down to savage warring tribes ready to kill each other just to get more of the 'pie' each feels entitled to. We need to wander longer in the wilderness to cleanse ourselves of the current poison. Do we survive this? Maybe. From the current perspective it looks grim and as if we are entering yet another dark age. The only thing that will guide us out is truth.
To see socialism as a monolithic bloc is to project one's own monolithic attitude unto varied historical situations. It is the same shallow, close-minded attitude, impervious to reality, that religious fanatics exhibit. See the comment directly below for a good example of this...
A concise but correct overview of the intrinsic nature of capitalism and imperialism. I would like to add the structural dimension that organised religions, popular superstition, and reactionary philosophical thoughts have in the perpetuation of capitalism with the result that many become alienated from what is possible to realise and remain addicted to the illusions that capitalism keeps promising.
Capitalism does not care whether humans are happy or not. It requires entrepreneurs permanently motivated by profit, managers to organise production and sales of its products to billions of consumers who are led to believe that to have matters much more than to be caring human being. May I invite you to have a look at and share these 2 links:
Most of what you said is your opinion. Some of what you said is wrong, such as Communists became dictatorial in order to defend against Western imperialist attacks. Perhaps you are unaware The Reds fought the Whites in the early days after the Russian Revolution. Neither Reds or Whites were Western factions.