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View Diary: Socialism — what it isn’t (117 comments)

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  •  The standard of living and lifespan was very poor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    walkshills, Sparhawk

    for all of that 200,000 years except for the past 100 years, that market based economies came about.  Life in China was terrible with no improvements until China started introducing market based economics, similarly for India over the past 20 years.

    The standard and quality of life for the poor and lower income people are highest in the countries with regulated market economies.

    In almost all instances, except for cases of government corruption, the benefits to the wealthy from their wealth creation is a small fraction of the benefits society received from the wealth created.

    The benefits for the world population from Google, Apple, Facebook, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche, Steven Speilburg, George Lucas, etc.. all far exceed the wealth they received.

    The truth is that it is far far easier to become wealthy by benefiting others far more than you receive than it is to become wealthy by making others poorer in a market economy.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 05:43:52 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Once again: (5+ / 0-)

      No one here is proposing that we replace the market economy with something else.

      What I've been proposing is that we move the needle on the continuum modestly (by the standards of history and the rest of the world) more in the direction of western european social democracy, and away from the current situation, which is moving relentlessly in the direction of the world described by Steinbeck:

      There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates — died of malnutrition — because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

      The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

      by mftalbot on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 05:53:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why would we move the needle more in (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, nextstep, DFWmom, Sparhawk

        that direction? Have you been paying attention to Europe lately?

        •  Europe is ahead of the United States... (6+ / 0-)

          in quite a few measures of quality of life.

          The problems they are having are as a result of them acting more like the US.

          The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

          by mftalbot on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 06:53:09 PM PDT

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          •  I do know this... (0+ / 0-)

            I've been reading how England treats people who have the same or similar condition as my daughter, and it SUCKS!!!!

            They seized one child with ME from her parents, accusing her of being depressed, and threw her in a mental hospital where she DIED a month later from her illness, that was clearly NOT a mental health condition.

            Another parent was trying to get homebound education for her child, which my child had to do, and was denied by her school.  

            Doctors are refusing to give these patients referrals to specialists, and are reporting them to CPS, blaming them for their children's illnesses.

            Their health system did a study on this condition, and basically said that adaptive pacing is not a good therapy because it's too expensive.   There is no choice with this illness. Adaptive pacing is like eating and breathing.  The translation of this study is, "It's too expensive to admit you are disabled, and therefore, we have decided that you cannot be disabled."   Their preferred treatment -- cognitive behavior therapy (close your eyes, relax and pretend there is no pain), and graded exercise therapy (just exercise harder -- which can cause a vicious flare that can make you sick for days or even weeks), do almost nothing to improve the patient's condition, and yet the medical system says that patient, even though they have no choice than to do just that.  

            So, in certain ways that really count, Europe is not ahead of the United States.  Their medical system denies the existence of reality.

            I wish they were ahead of us, because I believe in socialized medicine, but when it comes to M.E., Europe is failing miserably.   It is so bad that it is making the headlines.

        •  that's a result of financialization (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          84thProblem

          The banking cartels have pretty much run amok there; but don't worry, it's on its way here soon enough....

          The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

          by ozsea1 on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 07:48:14 PM PDT

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          •  It started here. Not Europe. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            unfangus, wasatch, sfbob, JosephK74

            Wall Street set the dominoes falling all across the globe, and American started the neoliberal wave in the early 70s as well, pushing for financial deregulation on a massive scale.

            IOW, America set the cancer in motion and pushed organizations like the World Bank and the WTO to push austerity and anti-labor practices.

            Yeah, we had help. But the prime movers were on Wall Street.

            •  The banking cartels are global in scope (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              unfangus

              Wall St is just one of their many "enterprises"......

              The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

              by ozsea1 on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:13:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Starting here. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sfbob

                Global in scope. Which is what I said. Wall Street is just a tag to use instead of trying to name all of the banksters, etc.

                But American capitalists started this disaster and push it on others.

                We're the first great power in the modern era to be economic imperialists. Conquering countries wasn't enough for us. We felt (and still feel) the need to force our economic theories on them, much to their detriment.

                We're drug pushers of the worst kind. And the drug is capitalism.

                •  Capitalism as such isn't the problem (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mftalbot, sargoth

                  It is UNREGULATED capitalism which really is to blame...and the philosophy according to which ALL regulation will choke economic growth.

                  There's nothing wrong with having a market economy--nothing at all. However it is a game and games need rules as well as ways of enforcing those rules. A completely unregulated market will eventually destroy itself so, in order for it to function as well as it possibly can for the largest number of people, it needs to be regulated by an entity outside of it, namely government.

                  Those economists whose views control the way our market economy currently works are extremely resistant to any form of external regulation at all and will tolerate it only when they believe they have no choice but to accept it.

                  This view is severely deficient in that it results in the extreme concentration of wealth among a small number of the most greedy. Such as situation cannot possibly be healthy for long-term stability or survival.  Also at work here is the assumption that there is no civil society as such and no social contract and that each individual is or should be effectively on his or her own. Should any misfortune take place well, too bad. Once again, this is not a recipe for long-term stability.

                  Both portions of the above create a situation wherein there exist a relatively small number of extremely wealthy individuals, hellbent on protecting their wealth at all costs and an increasingly large number of impoverished and very angry people. We last faced such a situation in the US at the outset of the Great Depression. The reason FDR was so successful in carrying out his program is that he understood that the alternative to redistributing wealth while maintaining a market economy was a revolution, the ultimate results of which would be far beyond anyone's ability to control.

                  •  The problem is capitalism itself. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ozsea1

                    Its very structure creates economic apartheid, unless seriously checked by democracy.

                    Which means it's a stupid and irrational vehicle to have in place. It requires endless checks. Smarter to find a vehicle that doesn't need those checks in the first place, one with social justice baked into the pie.

                    Also, because of its structure, it redistributes power and wealth to the top of the pyramid. And who controls governments? Those at the top of those pyramids. So, in theory, one could at least make a weak case for having a regulated capitalist system, but in practice, this is impossible. Because the people who own government are capitalists and their interests are to keep those democratic checks at a minimum -- if they allow them at all.

                    We had one very brief time when we got some of those checks, and it happened after a major disaster (the Great Depression) and because of that disaster. The further we got away from it, the more traction capitalists got for undoing those checks. In short, we don't get to keep those checks for long, and we only get them after a massive disruption.

                    Rinse and repeat.

                    We can do better. It's the wrong system from the getgo.

        •  Europe has been moving in the opposite direction. (0+ / 0-)

          Don't be disingenuous.

      •  more tears (0+ / 0-)

        upon reading this quote. what a sick and repulsive people we have not revolted against.

      •  I am. Capitalism needs to die. (7+ / 0-)

        It's an immoral, unethical and unsustainable system based upon theft.

        And "markets" are really just euphemism for the mechanics of economic apartheid.

        No one should have to live in poverty. No one. We are born once, live once, live a very short life, and it's unethical and immoral to allow a system that slots people into classes and dooms them accordingly, based primarily on the birth lottery.

        The only way to achieve social justice is to create an economic system that starts with equality as its base, creates on starting line for everyone, as the norm. Ours sacrifices billions of people to make a few million very rich. To let people born on third hit their triples or more.

        That's obscene.

    •  Pure nonsense. (8+ / 0-)

      Capitalism creates economic apartheid. That is its natural tendency. It functions as one big hoover, extracting wealth from workers, consumers and the earth and concentrating it at the top.

      Businesses are top down enterprises, authoritarian, anti-democratic. Capitalism just takes that and multiplies it across the globe, exports it, exports that apartheid.

      Capitalism destroys ecosystem after ecosystem as well, because it must grow or die, and it can't survive without more and more and more consumption.

      Already, the richest 20% of the world consume 85% of all resources. So your fantasy about the supposed uplift for the masses is just that. Pure fantasy. Three billion people live on less than $2.00 a day and one billion starve.

      That's capitalism in a nutshell.

    •  All countries have regulated market economies (0+ / 0-)

      except perhaps Cuba, so i'm not sure whether you statement holds.
      Contrary to your statement, Life in China and India had improved before the market reforms. Life expectancy for example in China had grown from something like the 40s to late 60s by 1979. It's a common narrative that these countries had no growth until the wonders of the market come to solve everything, but this is patent false. Just check out this chart of growth in China:
      Chart

      I think you're missing the point. No one disputes that some corporations have been beneficial on the whole. It is a question of whether the monetary benefits that accrue are commensurate with the value creation. For example
      Pfizer: receives subsidised R&D credits and well as extensive support through NHI etc as well as tax breaks, educated scientists, roads etc from society. Then Pfizer demands that for coming up with a drug due to the above, it must receive billions over and above the actual cost to the company to come up with said drug. On top of that and in total disregard to what a "free market" would dictate, insists that the government enforce monopolies aka patents.

      The problem is that most wealth generated is nothing more than economic "rents" i.e. unearned income

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