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View Diary: What It Means to Be Progressive (54 comments)

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  •  Very well put... (4+ / 0-)

    A friend of mine once asked me the difference between Progressive and Socialist.

    I invite others to expound upon the differences. In my view, the main difference is that Progressives still believe (perhaps naively) that there are 'good capitalists' -- those who make money, but understand that they haven't gotten rich totally on their own and that they have an obligation to society. One looks at the likes of the Buffets, certain Hollywood stars, etc.

    But as I said, I do invite further discussion here. It's not that I'm against socialism per se. I think we have some great socialistic programs that work well for the most part -- NASA, fire departments, police departments, etc.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 04:31:14 PM PDT

    •  Don't forget schools - (1+ / 0-)
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      Definitely socialist.  (I heard a wingnut once describe public schools as an idea straight out of Communist Russia.  Sigh.)

      I'm fine with capitalism as long as it is controlled by the people, who ultimately own this country.  That's why I'm a Democrat instead of a socialist.  It's when the profit motive is considered the highest good in society that things have gotten way out of hand.

    •  in my view (0+ / 0-)

      socialism is like utopia, nice in theory but completely unimplementable. Where as Progressivism is much much more implementable because it mostly is refinement of what we have.

      In the time that I have been given, I am what I am
      Shop Kos Katalogue
      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 08:28:54 PM PDT

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    •  I especially liked this sentence in the diary. (2+ / 0-)
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      Catte Nappe, scott5js
      It means understanding the difference between capitalism that favors owners of capital  and lends unfair advantage, and truly free enterprise which maintains a level playing field for all, open to commerce with fair play at all levels.
      While I believe that certain areas should be socialized - such as schools, health care, roads, fire and police, etc, I do think that other areas, particularly consumer goods, should be privately owned.

      The guy who owns the Piggly Wiggly or corner bodega is a capitalist. Likewise the local refrigerator repairman, gas station owner, gift shop, etc. It used to be that the clothing store, office supply store, shoe store, cafes, etc were also locally owned, but nowadays have been replaced by corporately owned stores.

      For me, it is corporatism, not capitalism itself, that is the problem.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:38:36 AM PDT

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      •  capitalism is corporatism (1+ / 0-)
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        the Piggly Wiggly guy gets up and goes to that store every day. He makes sure the place is ready for business. He hires the best people he can afford, and tries to keep his prices down for his customers.
        That's free enterprise.
        The guy who owns SuperGrocery Megachain doesn't go to a store with his keys in hand every morning. He reads the latest stock projections and pork belly futures, then makes bets based solely on the profit potential for him (and, incidentally, his stockholders if he has any). The job security of his employees and the financial strains of his customers are completely irrelevant to him; there will always be more commodities like them in the future. Vesides, he could just get out of the grocery business tomorrow, and buy a coal plant if the profits are fatter.

        Capitalism is a system where the possession of wealth is the way to accumulate more wealth; corporatism is just a Godzilla Vs Megalodon version of the same thing. Free enterprise is what the American Dream was supposed to be .

        Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

        by kamarvt on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:12:26 AM PDT

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        •  Capitalism is simply an economic system (2+ / 0-)
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          Catte Nappe, kamarvt

          wherein assets and means of production are privately owned. There are various types of capitalism, of which corporatism is one.

          The owner of the Piggly Wiggly does exactly what you say; however, he has also made capital investments such as buying the franchise for that store, as well as the stock and possibly the physical store. Besides paying his employees and having the best price he can afford for his customers, he also tries to make a profit for himself - without which he would soon be out of business.

          Free enterprise is capitalism in which there are few governmental restrictions on business ownership and activities. Like capitalism, this has good and bad extremes. Laissez-faire capitalism is a form of free enterprise. While most everyone would agree that anyone should be able to start their own business if they so desire, few of us would like a system with little or no government regulations, as unfettered free enterprise would entail.

          Both capitalism and free enterprise can be abused by business owners or investors who care only for their own profit at the expense of everyone else.

          To me, the American dream is being able to have a job (whether one owns the business or simply works there) which provides enough for a decent lifestyle. To me, a decent lifestyle is one in which I do not have to worry about necessities, can provide education and other opportunities for my family, and have enough for some reasonable degree of extras, including leisure time.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:50:16 AM PDT

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      •  I agree with you... (0+ / 0-)

        I just prefer to make a distinction. Call it semantics if you like, but to me Capitalism as an -ism is about the Capitalists having their way in society at the expense of those who are non-owners.

        IF Democracy holds capitalists accountable, regulates concentrations of wealth and power, and allows small businesses to operate with little regulation, then we have a healthy balance.

        I prefer the term 'free enterprise' because if I cannot grow any herb I want and trade/sell it freely then we do not live with a system of free enterprise economics. We do, however, have a system that allows Pharmaceutical capitalists to take that same plant, fractionate it, alter it and turn it into 'medicine' that is then marketed to the same patients that want the herb in its natural form.

        That is capitalism aided and enforced by government regulation that falls harder on the individual then on the giant corporation -- and we are saturated with it. It is not free enterprise.

        People are always more valuable than properties.

        by Kannon McAfee on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:34:01 PM PDT

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        •  I agree. The distinction I like to make is between (0+ / 0-)

          capitalism and corporatism.

          Not that I do not recognize the reason for and the need for the idea of incorporation, but in the last 30 to 50 years, it is corporation run amok, especially with the advent of multinational corporations.

          To go back to the example of the local Piggly Wiggly or even shoe repair store (if there were such a thing anymore), it is probably also incorporated so that the owner cannot be sued personally and lose his house and savings if someone slips and falls. Even with larger enterprises, when a lot of money is needed to start a new venture, without incorporation, no one will invest in anything new if each and every stockholder is personally liable for any damages or losses. So corporatization is needed.

          But when corporations get so big that they feel they owe nothing to anyone but the CEO and other high executives, then it has run amok. When they are answerable to no one - not to society or governments or even much to the stockholders, then it is corporatism run amok. This is the problem that needs to be addressed IMO.

          I agree about growing herbs. I find it interesting that it is the religious right that is so adamant about making a plant they believe God created should be eradicated.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 05:26:40 AM PDT

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    •  Good capitalists (1+ / 0-)
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      There are bunches of them in small business. Not the government definition of small business, but the little guys who run a neighborhood cafe, or a print shop, or an auto repair shop. They are close to their customers, and know the system has to work for everybody for it to work for them.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:46:53 AM PDT

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