My man, motherfuggin' Bernie Sanders, has finally made it acceptable to say "I'm A Socialist" without us having to burn people at the stake. That's got me fired up to.... Educate you on why the extreme form of Socialism is just as bad as the extreme form of Capitalism and promote a more centrist view.
(Man, really Dave? More of this “Avoid polarized extremes” BS? You're in the process of writing this and even you're getting tired of reading your "right down the middle" bullshit. America is MF'in Capitalist till we die, get over it loser.)
Alright, good point, alternate version of myself I talk to internally because we're lonely and our ideas are too nuts to share without filtering first. I told you not to take control of the fingers while I’m typing though, and now everyone know’s we’re crazy. I’m definitely gonna explain why both economic system are toxic in their purest forms and you're gonna sit there and soak it all in. Can I get back to preaching into the void now?
Before we can get started, the very first thing I need to clarify is that “Socialism” and “Communism” aren’t interchangeable terms.
Communism is a political ideology aimed at creating a society completely free of classes and money based on *common* ownership of the means of production. The key difference this has from Socialism is that instead of things being publicly owned via government controls, everything just straight up belongs to everyone and anyone can take anything they want at any time. This utopian society where everyone is legally justified to straight up steal your shit right in front of you was the stated goal Russia used to justify their form of Socialism, but there's never once been an actual Communist country ever in the history of the planet. Not even for a second while everybody was really drunk and not paying attention.
Socialism is a massive umbrella term that applies to a very large number of different economic systems and principles. The only real common thread in all forms of Socialism is that the means of production are publicly owned. That means the output of those means of production also belongs to the public by default. The idea is that the people should be given ownership over the fruits of their labor. This can be accomplished a lot of different ways, and I’m totally not going to attempt to list all of them. While I'm clearing up misconceptions, I wanna make it clear that Socialism isn’t in direct opposition to the existence of a market economy or profit motive at its core the way people commonly assume.
So anyway, muh dude Bernie Sanders has a point: Capitalism is failing America hard.
The biggest problem that pretty much anyone can see is that capital holds too much power in our society and it's essentially allowed a small group of ultra-rich corporations-given-human-form like the Koch brothers to buy up huge chunks of our state and federal legislative bodies. That isn't the only issue though even if It’s most certainly the one that’s fucking us the hardest. There’s a couple other things that aren’t so great about a pure, completely unrestricted and unregulated free market.
There's lots of reasons we need to shut down the right's laissez-faire wet dream. The pure chaos of a free market often leaves the needs of our most vulnerable unmet during inevitable unexpected downturns. Another visible problem is that free market Capitalism has turned the American healthcare system into a total nightmare that incentivizes price gouging while making its profits off denying people coverage.
(Yo, other Dave, are we sure that's how the American healthcare system works? I dunno it doesn’t sound right. Double check it for me.)
The result of our society’s focus getting placed on individual welfare instead of the greater good is that there’s a pervasive “Every man for himself.” sort of attitude. A lot of people are focused on competing instead of cooperating, and those folks have a tendency to forget that their fellow Americans are teammates, not rivals. It all boils down to a Gordon Gekko "Greed is good" mentality driving our nation, and that mentality is socially toxic in the long run. That in turn leads to the wealthy doing everything they can to fight against having to pay their portion of the tab for the society that’s given them everything they have. You can hear it in the way they word their arguments in the MSM dialogue.
Taxes aimed at taking superfluous cash from the top of the social hierarchy that sits stagnant in ultramassive bank accounts helping nobody and then investing it in a social safety net for the people stuck on the bottom are a form “class warfare” in their eyes. You hear the rich say they earned the money through hard work, that makes it theirs to do with as they please. What they fail to realize is that even if they worked hard, hard work isn't really what made them rich. We *all* work hard; the hardest workers I know are also some the poorest people I've ever met. When I lived in my car, homeless and unemployed, I busted my ass twice as hard as to survive as I ever have a 9-to-5 and got half the reward for it. It's objective fact that the poorer you are, the more expensive life is.
Rich people need to understand that a magic elixir made from pure luck mixed with other people’s blood, sweat, and tears is more responsible for their success than anything else. Those taxes are the price of admission into the society that gives them their comparatively comfortable lives safe from the bitter hardships of poverty.
The problem with a lot of these "job creators" is how they view the concept of employment. They don’t see employment as a person agreeing to do work that the employers can’t/won’t do themselves while they collect the revenue from it. One-percenters don’t talk about the issue of labor as a mutually beneficial arrangement that’s necessary for both parties to survive. They see themselves “job creators” and talk like employment is a luxury they're providing people. Corporatists phrase the issue like their employees should be thankful they get to do all the dirty work while someone else collects the checks. These "job creators" act like the labor that keeps them in business should be thankful they're even getting scraps. There’s a better way for our culture to live. Everybody does better when everybody does better.
These major corporations like Amazon that're essentially forcing people into serfdom don't understand that people will only put up with so much bullshit. Eventually, they'll form their own systems to circumvent the oligopolies if they aren't having their basic needs met. (Yes, healthcare IS a basic need)
You also may not realize this, casual reader of my fine Facepage/website publication, but companies are actually withholding all their best products and intentionally keeping their full supply off the market. That have to do it; they don’t have a choice in the matter. If corporations push out their most cutting edge products before the current line has lived its full life-cycle, their products end up in competition with each other. They also can’t just drop their full supply onto the market because a lot of something’s value comes from scarcity. You know those lines that form outside of Best Buy weeks in advance filled with people willing to straight prison shank their own mother for the chance to own the latest model of iPhone or the next generation of Xbox on launch day? That's not an accident. Apple and Microsoft could easily make sure their distributors are physically incapable of selling out. The problem is, if they didn’t intentionally create shortages like the way they do, nobody would be willing to pay those outrageous launch day prices. Basic economic principles make it so a corporation will devalue its products and cut into profits by giving every last bit of the best and brightest they have to offer. They’d be committing financial suicide if they refused to bottleneck themselves like this. However, out the the two systems, Capitalism is the one less likely to encounter shortages and most likely to innovate paradoxically.
Don't get me wrong, I'm most definitely not a Socialist by any means; capitalism has a lot going for it. The biggest advantage to the economics system (in my opinion) is that because a product’s value is agreed upon privately between buyer and seller rather than being mandated by the state, each transaction can be custom-fitted to the unique circumstances of each situation. That fluidity to the value of goods and services based situational factors makes it so people can always reach a mutually beneficial arrangement efficiently, and a products true "value" is always represented by the final agreement.
Remember when I mentioned how corporations bottleneck themselves? The flipside of that coin is they’re beholden to consumers far more than distributors in a socialist country are. In a truly socialist economy people have nowhere else to turn when given an inferior product by the institution. In a free market driven by private enterprises, a company always has to be on guard against competitors coming along and stealing their business with a better product. That forces capitalist industry leaders to innovate if they wanna stay ahead of their competition and always be ready to meet the demands that their competitors aren’t meeting.
Remember those lines outside of Best Buy for the iPhones I mentioned earlier? How many people do you think made it to the sales desk, got told the new iPhone was sold out, and then said, “Fuck it, I still need a new phone either way. What do you guys got from Samsung?” I guarantee there’s tons of people who got over their Apple fetish this way.
Multiple private entities working to meet public demand means there’s fewer times of scarcity; constant improvement and innovation is forced through dog-eat-dog free market competition. There's a reason all these tech developments that drive the modern world are being pumped out almost exclusively by Capitalist nations.
Still, Bernie is the god damn man and I'll preach into the void until people realize it.
(I really wish you wouldn’t dude. Can’t you just call it here, please?)
[Dude… What aren’t you understandin' when I say, “Cut that shit out, people are gonna read this one day, and you're embarrassin' us?”]
Just ignore him, guys… Moving on....
If people could get over their Cold War era brainwashing and stop equating the word “Socialism” with "evil virus of satan", we might actually make some progress as a society. I'm not saying abandon the free market, and I actually do believe operating on a capitalist core is the best course of action. We need to steal some maneuvers from the socialist playbook though.
The concept of Socialism has some merit. I’m gonna do my best to account for all the different things that fit under the “Socialist” umbrella, but it's tough because "Socialist" could mean a lot of things.
So to start out, total government control of the economy makes economic forces more stable and predictable. The inherent stability created that way allows the government to more accurately plan and organize their growth. Even in the forms of Socialism that utilize a market, they’re able create a more reliable plan for their future. Historically speaking, the more power a Socialist government had in terms of planning their economy, the higher quality of life was for the people at all stages of economic development. Economic upturns and downturns don't suddenly leave people out of work, robbing liquor stores and selling hard drugs to put food on the table when you have complete control of your economy and never include those in your plan.
(How do they get weed if there’s no drug dealers then, Mr. Genius Writer Guy?")
[Oh my fuggin’ god Other Dave, will you just chill? Obviously they grow their pot in their neighbor’s backyard just like the rest of us do. I said stop already. People aren’t even gonna get the joke. Even if they do, it’s not funny. Go away.]
Again, all apologies for that guy… everytime I go to delete what he’s typed he makes it so my eyes won’t open and threatens to make us piss ourselves. I’m running out of clean underwear, so I kinda have no choice but to leave all that stuff in. He’s a bit of a prick sometimes.
(I heard that)
[Duh. You live in my head, you idiot.]
Anyway, the general idea behind Socialist governments is that the people are the main concern. In theory Socialists attempt to calculate what course of action will lead to the biggest benefit to the collective wellbeing. In the market forms of Socialism that maintain a profit motive, this takes the form of the general public getting a cut of the profits the state run companies generate. In more centrally planned economies, this is represented by the government employing anyone it can regardless of how profitable it is, and then cutting a check to anyone left over after they run out of made up bullshit jobs to hand out. The idea is they’re less worried about subsidizing corporations to keep the economy afloat, and more worried about... uhh… not having healthcare systems that incentivize price gouging and make their profits off denying people healthcare?
[Hold up… While I’ve got you here, are we sure that’s how the American healthcare system works, Other Dave? Like people actually pay companies money for a service, fully aware of the fact that the company they’re paying makes its money by intentionally not providing that service?
And that’s totally legal, you say? Wait… you mean it’s not only legal, but the expected industry standard? Well why don’t people just not pay them then? Well then how did the cost of medical treatment get so gouged that it became impossible to afford? What the fuck? Why the hell are people using the gouged prices as rationalization for HMOs existing if HMOs are responsible for the gouged prices to begin with? That makes absolutely no sense.
I get what you’re saying, I just don’t get why people put up with it. A company making their money by telling people they're gonna die after they paid the company to keep them alive just seems kinda…I dunno… unspeakably cruel and inhuman, I guess?
Huh?... Sorry repeat that one more time…. What do you mean I just typed my entire half of this conversation into the ess… oh shit...]
Just recapping real quick. The general benefit that comes from Socialism that I've had spoon fed to me by commenters blowing down on me in Facepage comments (which I then reinforced by skimming a wikipedia article on the subject for five minutes) is that the egalitarian focus on the greater good, coupled with a more inherently stable market makes it so developing nations can industrialize and progress further, faster and with a higher quality of life for the average person than a privately owned free market allows.
Now, "Other Dave" wants to get off this whole "fair representation BS" and just lie to you so you feel the Bern, but I love you guys, so I feel I gotta paint a fair portrait for you despite his protests.
The thing about Socialism is it… uhh… well lets just say it also leaves some room for chicanery. The problems stems from the fact that the government needs to set a static value for each good and legally require everyone to accept that value. That, in turn, leads to lopsided deals because everything carries a different value in every transaction based on the unique circumstances all buyers and sellers. There’s a whole bunch of different ways to deal with this problem, and how this dilemma is solved is one of the main things that differentiates between the various forms of Socialism.
The easiest solution people came up with was completely circumventing the problem by still having a market that operates with profit motive, and then kicking the profits back to the general public. This makes it so the value of a product can remain fluid and adjust to ever changing unique circumstances. There's a downside, though; it also limits that ability to plan the economy effectively, which you'll remember is the main advantage to socialism. Governments can still use market indicators to make really broad plans, but the level of autonomy agencies need to function in a market economy make true central planning impossible.
If you aren’t gonna cheese around the problem that way, there’s a whole bunch of different ways people have proposed to give things a static value, the problem is they will never be able to come up with workable method that determines something's static universal value because things will just never hold the same value to everybody. Here's a dope analogy:
I see a store charging $5 for a pack of off-brand cigarettes amd see a rip off, so instead I opt to roll my own smokes as a cheaper alternative. Someone else out there looks at that same pack of cigarettes and sees something made for poor people that’s so far beneath them, they’ll never dream of buying that brand. They’re the exact same cigarettes for both of us, but we both place a different value on the item.
Another problem with these non-market systems is that no matter how much they're directly opposed to the idea of one, a free market ruled by the people will always arise naturally whether its government sanctioned or not. This is why China was forced to open a stock market. They decided it was better to just sanction it legally so they could benefit from foreign capital investment and keep the market that was going to arise inevitably regulated.
(Did we just talk about legalizing inevitable black markets so they can be properly regulated? How’d the answer to the American Drug War get in here?)
[It's always about drugs with you, isn't Other Dave? You know, some of us are trying to be socially responsible here]
Ugh. Seriously, fuck that guy.
The next problem is that even though the “greater social good” is the theoretical goal, how could anyone expect to determine that accurately? Do you just give everybody equal amounts, regardless of the situation? Something being equal doesn’t necessarily mean it's “fair”. The logical leap people tend to make from there is “Hand things out based on each individual’s needs!” That sounds great, but check out this hypothetical:
Imagine there’s two guys: Guy One is 6'9, and he weighs 180 lbs when he's on the verge of starvation. Guy Two is 5'4 and weighs 140 when he's looking like a miniature Butterbean. (Butterbean is a really fat boxer)
Guy One obviously needs more food than Guy Two, because bigger bodies need more calories. If you give these dudes equal pay, Guy Two is actually making more money because he doesn't need to spend as much on food. So let’s give Guy One more money so he has all the food he needs like logic implies.
It's only fair, he's just getting what he needs, right?
If you do that, what stops Guy One from intentionally going hungry and profiting off the fact that he “needs” more on paper?
Now imagine having to write legal language that accounts for every single variable that could affect a person’s "need" while also thinking up every method shady people are gonna devise to abuse the system.
What's that? You pulled it off? Great job! Oh... wait... sorry chief, your plan still backfired. All the safeguards you put in to block scammers are also keeping legitimate cases from getting what they need.
There's just no way to write up a legal code that does everything it needs to in this regard; if you're throwing down with socialism as your core philosophy, you need to expect the system to be unfair. A government simply can't provide the employment, the material, the end product, and welfare.
Another unfortunate problem with socialism is it's much more dependent on a collectivist "we're all in this together" mentality. Thats dope in theory;. people helping people is A' okay in my book. The problem is it doesn’t allow individuals who’ve been treated unfairly to speak out about injustice and ask for it to be corrected. If you let people in those positions speak out, they’ll eventually convince other people who caught the short end of the stick to do the same. That would mean a lot of people won't be down for collectivism.
Collectivism needs everyone to be down for the cause in order to work; that means limiting the core freedom of speech that Westerners hold dear.. Limiting people’s ability to speak out, in turn, creates the perfect environment for a totalitarian regime to take hold, 'cause nobody’s allowed to call bullshit on tyranny when it comes a’ knockin’.
Look at how authoritarian Russia’s always been. They're as much an example of Socialism run amok as America is an example of corporatism run riot.
"So Dave... what do we do if neither system works? Invent a third system?" you ask, perfectly repeating what Other Dave predicted you would. Simple friendo: We do what every nation on Earth has already been doing for decades:
We find a mixture of the two principles that everybody can agree on.
(LOL!!! YOU THINK AMERICANS WILL EVER AGREE ON SHIT? THEY CAN'T EVEN AGREE ON BASIC SHIT LIKE THE EARTH BEING ROUND OR VACCINES SAVING LIVES. IF PEOPLE CAN'T AGREE ON OBJECTIVE, EASILY VERIFIABLE FACTS BEING TRUE, HOW THE FUCK DO YOU EXPECT THEY'LL AGREE ON A COMPLEX MIXED ECONOMIC SYSTEM?!?)
[Well they're gonna have to find a way to compromise, muh dude, 'cause I promise the shitshow corporatocracy we've been workin' towards isn't gonna be able to keep shit together very long, even with the most powerful propaganda machine in history backin' it up]
Every single functional nation on Earth incorporates elements of both systems. There is no such thing as a nation that has a pure laissez-faire Capitalist economy that's completely and totally unregulated. There’s no such thing as a Socialist economy where some form of market doesn’t exist, whether its legal like in China or an illegal black market.
“What do you mean no such thing as a purely Capitalist or purely Socialist country? Motherfucking China is straight up Communist as hell, isn’t it?”
Nope. Sorry muh dude. Even though the Chinese government is driven by Socialist ideology and therefore aims to keep their economy Socialist at its core, China has an open stock market with private corporations, along with state run enterprises partially owned by private stockholders. The Chinese system is a type of mixed-economy.
“Certainly though, Russia is Communist? Why else would we call them ‘Commie red bastards’?”
You call them that because you don’t know what Communism is.. Also no, Russia was never Communist, and they gave up on Socialism a couple decades ago. They privatized a large portion of their economy back in the 90’s, but decided to keep the authoritarian abuse of civil liberties going just for funzies. I guess Putin realized he couldn’t abuse his position as an ironfisted despot to make himself rich unless his country had money?
“Okay Dave, that’s cool and all. So the Commie countries had to give it up. Communism only works on paper. Duh. Our allies in Western Europe are Capitalist as hell…. Right?”
If by “Capitalist as all hell” you mean "mixed economies that apply social democratic principles to a Capitalist economy", then ya they’re totally Capitalist as all hell Except Norway, they try to pretend to be Capitalist to fit in with all their friends, but the government owns controlling shares in most of the nation’s business. We see you Norway. You ain’t slick, dawg.
"Social Democratic principles... Sounds like crazy talk... You're crazy writer Dave. Crazy as all hell."
Social Democracy is essentially a Socialist version of a Capitalism. It’s a series of Socialist laws and regulations placed into a Capitalist framework to protect social well being. Things like a minimum wage to protect workers and antitrust laws that prevent monopolies from forming would be examples of this type of regulation. There’s also a huge emphasis on public welfare in Social Democratic countries that’s expressed through things like food stamps, government agencies that provide income to the disabled, and checks written to people who’ve lost their job due to frictional unemployment. You may may be able to nae a country that has a few of these.
(But Writer Dave, America has food stamps, and Social Security gives income to the disabled. I’m actually collecting an unemployment check right now; that’s the only reason I can sit and read your stupid bullshit. America has a minimum wage and antitrust laws and stuff.
All the stuff you just said would mean America isn’t actually Capitalist either though.. If what you just said were true, that would mean we’ve been operating on Socialist principles since before most people still alive today were even born. Wait… America is Capitalist right? Like… Please tell me we aren't already tainted with Socialism. You’ve gotta be some kind of Soviet infiltrator… America is straight up as Capitalist as they come… If we're socialist, that would mean Ronald Reagan's propaganda films look kinda fucktarded, and the Gipper is not a fucktard...)
[First of all, you don't collect unemployment, you're a figment of my imagination. I bring home a check for both of us, you lazy piece of shit.
Second, are you sitting down, Other Dave? I mean you’re a fictional character that lives in my head, and I’m sitting down, so I guess I didn’t need to ask that...
Anyway, there’s something I need to tell you that’s going to shatter your world, so brace yourself:
All of this… Every single bit of this super long winded, super boring economics 101 lecture...
It was all just one long ass setup to tell you that America has been operating on Socialist principles since before our parents’ generation was born]
Bernie’s policies are in no way new or radical or opposed to Capitalism at all, people. Old Bernskies never once suggested tearing down our system and seizing the means of production to create a money-less, class-less society so you can go ahead and stop the Commie jokes. *The Berninator just wants to improve on the social democracy that we already have in place* by expanding our social safety net and instituting policies to correct income inequality. If Bernimus Prime were to go to any Western European country with his platform, he wouldn’t stand out in any way. In any other country in the Western World, Bernout would just be a really average politician, saying really average stuff, and getting made fun of for how he talks.
Please stop being led around by irrational stigma that was artificially attached to a vague and innocuous word by emotionally manipulative propaganda.