Thursday, November 20, 2008

Socialism vs capitalism

Capitalists tend to be few and far between even in a capitalist society and a lot of capitalists just want what's best for themselves. They don't care how well (or badly) everyone else is doing. Some of them will step on whoever they need to or whoever gets in their way to accomplish whatever it is that they want to accomplish. There are a lot of capitalists who recognize that they're doing well and want to help out some of the people who aren't doing so well, though. On a very basic level this is why a capitalist society works so well. Limited government involvement, through taxing everyone on things that they utilize and benefit from (gas tax which pays for our highway, sales tax that pays for most of our government workers, etc) ends up benefiting everyone. Anyone with some ambition and a halfway decent business mind can put together something that works, profit from it and hire some people to help them out. Give them enough leeway and they start giving their excess to help the less fortunate via charity.

Socialists have an entirely different philosophy. They don't believe that anyone deserves to do any better than anyone else. They think that, despite how exceptional an individual is, that everyone should benefit the same from society. The guy pushing a button in a factory should get everything that the guy who's in charge of that company gets. Why should the guy who intelligently put together a business, ran it exceptionally and employed a lot of people get to live in a bigger house than the guy who he just hired, who is sick every couple of weeks and can't make it to work on time because of all of the unfortunate circumstances that always seems to befall him?

I can think of countless examples of people who started with nothing and worked themselves up to a success (myself included although I don't really consider myself to be very successful). Had the incentive for them to be a success been taken away they would still be at the bottom of the totem pole doing only what was asked of them so that they could take home their fair share. Incentive is one of the most important things that we can implement into the economy. Why bother working harder if it doesn't do you any good?

We keep seeing more and more socialist ideals implemented into our economy. At first glance and on the surface it seems like a great idea. It's hard for someone who doesn't know the consequences to read a book on socialism and not come to the conclusion that it's a great idea. How could taking from rich people who can do whatever they want and giving to people who have "practically nothing" be a bad thing? What's so scary is that we keep inching closer and closer to full blown socialism. It seems like every inch of ground that "they" (socialists) gain "we"(capitalists) never get back. I keep hearing about this pendulum theory. I understand it completely but it's strange how every time that it swings in the socialists favor that it never seems to swing back ANYWHERE NEAR as far into the capitalists favor. I can sit here and talk about why that is all night but I'd rather just go to bed. After all, why should I work so hard to convince anyone that one way is better than the other when it's so obvious that so many people are already convinced which way is the "correct" way?


Rachel B said...

Hear hear.

canadian survivalist said...

i'm not trying to be a dick, because i genuinely like this blog a lot. but i have to say that your understanding of "socialism" is kind of vulgar.

despite what a lot of hippy-ass, self-described "leftists" might proclaim from their filthy sewer mouths, charity, paying a lot of taxes and rewarding failed capitalist enterprises with bailouts are pretty antithetical to socialism.

i'd also add (with a similarly vulgar explanation) that laissez-faire policies are what got us into this economic catastrophe in the first place. i mean, not to say that capitalism is a sustainable economic system, anyway.

either way, i'm happy to see everything crash to shit.

Anonymous said...

I gotta second what Canadian Survivalist said. It's not that socialists think that nobody deserves to do any better than anybody else, it's that socialists question whether or not somebody deserves to do 10,000 or 100,000 times better than somebody else.

And there's lots of examples of socialism in the USA that work pretty well. Firefighters, for example.

You want firefighting services to be "socialist" or "capitalist"? If you house is on fire, do you want them to just come when you call 911, or do you want to have an operator ask you for your credit card before they send the fire trucks?

ddjango said...

might be best to worry a bit less about "socialism" and "communism" than about "americanism" - a main symptom of which is holding that something is either "THE answer" or "evil".

canadian: your message is lost in the vituperation, 'tho i defend your right to display your own "filty sewer mouth".

anonymous: bingo! thanks

The Urban Survivalist said...

Government services should most certainly be rewarded appropriately. Let's face it. Firefighters make good money and, after a reasonable tenure of service they're rewarded appropriately for the rest of their lives. They make more money than most people who just spend their life working for someone else. They also enjoy a much better retirement. The same goes for anyone else who devotes their lives to government service. Even in the most capitalist environment in America government workers have always done well. I understand that a lot of government workers (firefighters, police officers, soldiers, etc) risk making the ultimate sacrifice every day but they do it confident with the knowledge that if they should have to make it that their families will be taken care of. They also realize that if they never have to make it that eventually they'll be able to reap the rewards of those years of service. Then again, so will all of our postmen even though the most dangerous situation that most of them ever had to put themselves in was having to deal with a loose rottweiler.

I understand that government plays a roll. You can't compare how government employees are compensated to how anyone else is compensated. First of all there aren't enough government jobs available to employ everyone. Also, it's not hard for a government worker to expect what they'll be making over a period of time.

This system is great for some people. The people that dig it should stick to government work. Meanwhile, they should let other people do what they're going to do and not worry about them. While there's a lot more opportunity in the private sector there's a lot more risk. I don't know if my 401k will be worth anything when I decide to retire. I don't even know if 401ks will exist anymore. Anyone who chose to spend their lives working for the government has nothing to worry about as long as the US government still exists when they decide that it's time to retire. Meanwhile, I could be in a position to run the company that I work for in 10 years. While all of those firemen who just showed up for work every day and had to put it all on the line every day confident in the knowledge that if they had to make the ultimate sacrifice that their families would be taken care of were doing their thing I was working for a private company, proving my worth and working my way up. Meanwhile, some other guy was risking his future and everything he owned by starting up a business that may or may not pay off. If he fails then he's screwed. If he succeeds then he's set. The more apparent the risk the less the reward is in the end.

canadian survivalist said...

sorry, i get flustered when i'm trying to articulate myself and can't come up with any 20¢ words.

Anonymous said...

To Urban Survivalist, re: anonymous above:

I think the other anonymous poster was using firefighters as an example not to focus on how much the firefighters get paid, but how the whole business of firefighting gets paid for.

It is in fact, entirely 'socialist'. Everybody gets basically the same level of services (some variation), and it's paid for by tax dollars. And nobody has a problem with it, and it works pretty well.

If firefighters were handled in a 'capitalist' fashion, it'd be more like health care in the USA. You would either pay as you go when you need it (the scenario of calling 911, your house is on fire, and they want your credit card before they'll send anyone) or you'd pay into some sort of 'firefighting coverage' like you do with health insurance.

Gee, that'd be lovely, right? I mean every American clearly loves their health insurance provider and is happy with the service they're getting, right? Oh, wait...

canadian survivalist said...

this all reminds me of the fucking hilarious onion article "libertarian reluctantly calls fire department"