There’s your problem! Socialism is both an economic system and a political system. If you don’t understand that, we’re always going to be talking past each other, and that would be a shame because we do appear to agree on values. The dictionary definition of socialism is:
- a political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
- policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.
- in Marxist theory, a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realisation of Communism.
Communism is just totalitarian Socialism indistinguishable from Fascism. The definition 1) above is the correct one, although “the community as a whole” is usually replaced by “the State.”
“Socialism, when implemented in a democratic republic” usually doesn’t meet the definition of Socialism above (because a democratic Republic, instead of confiscating all the wealth is trying to achieve “Progressive” goals by taxing the rich to fund welfare for the poor. As long as this “Diet Pepsi” version of socialist wealth redistribution is fairly minor, the Capitalist system can cope with it, and continue to support the parasitic government wealth redistribution, while still generating more wealth to feed the system.
Like a tapeworm, or any other parasite, if it gets too big, the organism that hosts it will sicken, perhaps even die. Look at Italy and Spain for examples of the Socialist policies destroying their economy. What you fail to understand about the economy is that you can’t all be consumers spending handouts without making anything. Production creates wealth but if the consumers are on-shore while the production is off-shore, the consumerism can only be maintained through borrowing to pay for imports, and only until you run out of other people’s money to spend.
“You can’t have a Libertarian Socialist.”
“Of course you can. They’re called anarchists.” No. Anarchy is not Socialism; Anarchy means “without Law”, so is no Government at all.
Definition of anarchist: a person who believes in or tries to bring about anarchy. Isn’t that helpful…
Definition of anarchy: a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.
This runs against both Capitalist and Socialist systems: Anarchists believe in the absolute absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, so are more in the Alt-Right camp, if they can be said to have a camp at all!
In my view Government needs to be just big enough to enforce ethical behaviour in an otherwise free market: it is Government’s job to enforce the law, to stop bribery and corruption, Cartels and monopolies from forming, and to prevent unfair exploitation of labour.
“Comrade! Are you sure you aren’t a socialist? Because that’s what the left wants too!”
Interesting, because it is what good Capitalists want too (the non-criminal ones), the rule of Law to protect private property and the Free Market. It is in Capitalist’s best interest to have protection of labour from exploitation by Government, rather than by Union thugs. If exploitation exists Unions will form, and behave in the market as protection rackets, taking bribes from employers for protection from Union action, and bribes as dues from the members for protecting them from their employers. Better to have Government set minimum standards and enforce them, punishing both Corporates and Unions who break the law.
Aside from the fact that Law is good for the market, it is often said that Capitalism only cares about making a profit, and has no moral values: that may be true. The Market has no ethical values, but the individual human beings operating the market do have ethical values, or at least should have.
I support the minimum Government interference in the Free Market to enforce ethical behaviour on those who have no ethical values of their own.
If that makes me a Socialist by your definition so be it! Thanks for the conversation, Ron.