For the first time in my life, I am finding the political climate in this country riveting, partially because of the absurdity of everything going on, partially because I actually have time to follow it, and partially because things are obviously in flux. If any time is ripe for a third party, it’s now.
So, I have some thoughts, and I have a disclaimer here. I do not claim to know everything about politics. In fact, I realize I know too little about politics, economics, and the like. This is why I rarely talk about the issues and prefer to listen. Furthermore, any ideas I put out are thoughts, not beliefs set in stone. How can I form a belief about something I don’t know enough about? That being said, I am finding the dialogue about socialism intriguing. I watched Bill Maher the other night for a good two hours, and I love that he pointed out that many people are wary of a socialist society, yet they don’t even know what socialism is. People also complain about the fact that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Put simply, money begets money. In order to make more money, you need to invest. In order to invest, you have to have disposable income. Most (and increasingly fewer) of our people have disposable income, therefore they can’t capitalize their money. We do live in a capitalist society, do we not? (note: I just looked up “money begets money” and came upon the term wealth condensation, which describes what I just stated).
So, I looked up socialism this morning, and it got me thinking about lots of things:
I don’t know that there is any definition definitive enough to argue about. According to Wikipedia, there are currently approximately 17 different versions of socialism (Marxist socialism, Scientific socialism, Democratic socialism, Libertarian socialism, Mutualism, Market socialism, State socialism, Utopian socialism, Communism, Social anarchism, Syndicalism, Social democracy, Revolutionary socialism, Green socialism, Guild socialism, 21st century socialism, Agrarian socialism).
The one overarching definition they list is: ‘Socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources‘. So, what I am seeing is a concern over the management of the means of production and the allocation of resources (ie. the distribution of wealth). Whether it’s best for the public or the state to manage it seems to be highly up to debate amongst the different theories. What seems to be common is the belief that capitalism is inherently destructive to the main principles mentioned previously (means of production and allocation of resources).
Next, the term “socialist” in regards to Obama did not come out of thin air. There is the Social Democrat concept,’… which defines socialism as a set of values rather than a specific type of social and economic organisation. It includes unconditional support for parliamentary democracy, gradual and reformist attempts to establish socialism, and support for socially progressive causes. Social democrats are not opposed to the market or private property; instead they try to ameliorate the effects of capitalism through a welfare state, which relies on the market as the fundamental coordinating entity in the economy and a degree of public ownership/public provision of public goods in an economy otherwise dominated by private enterprise.’ There is also the Democratic Socialism, and I don’t see the difference, but the connection between Democrats and Socialism certainly did not come out of left field.
More thoughts on distribution of wealth forthcoming……