James Turner

This conversation is closed.

Why does it seem that only the highly educated or the filthy rich are interested in socialism when in is a known failure on planet earth

The current residents of Washington DC seem to want to turn us into a socialist nightmare, they want to spread the wealth but do not share their own wealth with the rest of us. It is just take from the middle class and give it to those who do no work or keep it for themselves. Is this the basis of socialism or just Russian Communism with a royalty outlook?

  • thumb
    Jul 26 2011: Hmm...

    I don't consider myself a socialist to European standards, but I think I'm probably socialist to American standards.
    Communism apparently did not turn out that great... maybe because it got corrupted, or maybe because it does not reflects human behavior.

    In the mean while: the united states has huge poverty, drugs, violence and health issues. A lot of them are due to the great inequality between the bottom and top 20% of society... (I think the talk about it will come up during the next months)
    It appears the free market idea has its own issues too...

    I do think social security is a great idea, not only because it is social (beneficial to the poorest), but also to eliminate the nasty side effects of poverty (bums on the streets, theft, violence). So giving people money decreases their willingness to commit crimes (there is no need to steal for food, as you get the money).
    As such it might even be cheaper for society to give money to the poor and have a firm social security system, than a system without it, that needs to solve all the consequences of big divides between rich and poor.

    If your claim is true (that only rich or smart people are socialist , let's say in America), then maybe you should listen to the smart and rich (the rich are the ones who will need to contribute most, so if they want to, that should make implementation rather easy)
  • thumb
    Jul 27 2011: Dear James, Please outline where true socialism has ever been tried and how it failed. The basic concept is one of cooperation and caring. I think that we in the west have been fed a steady diet of fear and propaganda against anything that was percieved as a threat to capitalism. Please read the book:

    Supercooperators : altruism, evolution, and why we need each other to succeed

    Martin A. Nowak, with Roger Highfield.

    Nowak is a mathematician working in the field of evolutionary biology and he studies game theory especially Prisoner's Dilema. He demonstrates that cooperation in everything from cell biology to societies enables humanity to advance.

    I am not saying that socialism is THE way but I am saying that knee jerk reactions to things like unions, cooperative behaviours and caring societies doesn't serve anyone and it is often the uneducated and the poor who suffer the most from the propaganda against them.
    • thumb
      Jul 27 2011: socialism is a system of cooperation? communism maybe, but socialism never was intended to be that. in socialism, there is a centralized decision mechanism, a strictly hierarchical approach. it turns off cooperation almost entirely. cooperation assumes decision making (in fact, any behavior assumes decision making), and there is no decision making for the masses in socialism.

      pure capitalism, on the other hand, is nothing but a grand scheme of cooperation, as ingeniously described by matt ridley in his ted talk:
      www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html
      • thumb
        Jul 27 2011: Beautiful definition of socialism
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2011: As I walked away from this posting, I just knew that you would bring me some great challenge, Krisztian! And I am grateful for it. I, of course, disagree with you. If you consider the research on the 'Tragedy of the commons' and consider how we have evolved as societies, you will begin to notice that a lot of great thinkers have utterly dismissed Adam Smith's conceptualization of capitalism and free market as being some sort of angelic or utopian force. It is simply worked out mathematically that one defector in a scenario (one selfish person) can throw off the equalibrium and the positive outcome for all. With respect to Matt Ridley- he hasn't done the math or studied far enough along the game theory studies. Ideas having sex though has nothing to do with capitalism, that is a fundamental flaw in reasoning. The greatest potential for ideas to have sex comes in cooperative systems where people have incentive to play fair.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: Cara Debra socialism is just the result from technology plus economy (in a monetarian view). The political aproach is just the form, The practical aproach is the basis, the media aproach is the vulgarity of real dimension of politics, and the feed for that sistem is the opinions. Of course in all that procces are a detritus named poverty vs."filthy richness"The strategy is divide the community, the tactics are in the media, and the logistics are the "freedom" as a false flag. All the method consist in a hidden manipulation in order to obtain the control. Really it doesnt matter the name of socialism, is just a tag, the very important is control and survival of capitalism economy sistem in the 21 century. And if theres some war in between, the financial roots are feeding with blood. Of course people are the less importan part of the sistem...we all are "expendables" or statistic casualties.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: please note that you are attacking a secondary point. you left my description of socialism unchallenged. which is in my view good, because it means we agree on that.

          in retrospect, my remark about capitalism was off topic in this conversation. but since you picked that line, i won't sneak out, and reply.

          don't you see the irony in the fact that you use the tragedy of the *commons* against capitalism, which *denies* common property? common property exists in communism and anarchism. in socialism, the situation is a little more complex, since things are run by the state, despite being "common". the tragedy manifests itself differently in this scenario, but at the end, it is not better.

          so it seems that you provided an argument against socialism.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: Debra, the arguments against Adam Smith are even stronger…they don't even require a selfish person, simply a person without complete knowledge is sufficient to turn the invisible hand against us. The faith-like insistence that the market is a magical force for good is one of the strangest things I notice among my more conservative friends who almost always make reason-based arguments in other areas.

          Krisztián: capitalism can deny the commons all it wants, but to do so ignores common property which are simple facts of the world like the air we breath. Until someone finds a way to corner the market on clean air and water and sell it back to us, we need to deal with the problems at the intersection of the market and public resources. They are real despite ideologues who want to ignore them.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: mark, air can (edit:) NOT be a property because it is not scarce. rivers, on the other hand, are scarce, and should be owned. not in their entirety, but certain uses. in the old age, a factory could not pollute a river unless agreeing all people who owned land on the banks, or otherwise had usage rights to the river. the owner takes care of his property. except if the owner is the state, which tends to trash things.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Krisztián, clean air can indeed be scarce. At least in the major cities in the U.S. we often have days when people are advised to stay indoors because the air quality is so poor that it is actually harmful to one's health. There is not a clean breath of air to be found. It is a textbook case of the tragedy of the commons. We have a common resource that is degraded by small increments, none of which in itself cause a lot of damage, but the aggregate degrades the resource. As Debra points our below, this is a well-studied and accepted phenomenon where market forces and individuals acting in their own interest have a bad result. I don't think simply carving everything into private property helps because nature ignores our legal borders. Water is a good example: even if the entire river is owned, what about the ocean it empties into? What about the ground water systems it feeds? What about wildlife that use the water? You can't ignore the fact that there will be resources which don't fit so neatly into a property deed.
      • thumb
        Jul 29 2011: For anyone really interested in the issues of "Tragedy of the commons" look up the work of Elinor Ostrom- who won the Nobel prize for Economics in 2009. Her work on game theory and conflict resolution is very exciting to me.

        Martin Nowak has also done work to extend the findings. Also look under 'Public Goods Game".

        Of course the pioneering work was done by a Texan named Garrett Hardin so that is another resource for those who want to know more about the issues and how interdependent we all are and how much we count on one another's good will.
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: Krisztian--

          I disagree with James interpretation of US leadership. And I think it is a far stretch to say "often" people want exclusively state-run systems. My work has me interfacing with diverse sectors and people of different political views. I've yet to meet one leader or citizen whose ideals meet your criteria of socialism.

          What I see is this: Democrats are more likely to seek publicly equitable support for base-line human needs, including education and health. Republicans seek public support of economic and business systems, through tax breaks, financial buyouts of corporate debt, etc.

          Public leaders and influencers from both sides are wealthy. All get the social services, healthcare benefits and economic benefits citizens seek.

          A recent law called Citizens United runs contrary to all this. On the surface this might sound like a "socialist" type law. In fact it has nothing to do with citizens or uniting.

          It allows unnamed corporations to be considered citizens, so they can fund US political campaigns. This law is rejected by political progressives and some conservatives. But has been passed due to the strength of conservative political and economic influence.

          To further challenge James assertion I offer another example. The government of my state, Minnesota, shut down in early July. The sticking point was the budget. Conservatives demanded steep cuts, progressives have offered numerous of them. Progressives sought a 3% tax increase on citizens who make $1M or more per year to balance the budget, including for things like transportation infrastructure. A large bridge fell in our state a few years ago killing many. Others are in need of repairs and/or improvements. Including to bring commerce into our state.

          It is a mistake to perceive common wealth benefits only the rich or the poor or progressive leaders. It benefits all.

          Andrea
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: andrea,

          we seem to be in a misunderstanding of some sort, because i don't feel like you are reacting to what i've said. plus i also disagree with the original statement, and i commented it accordingly on a different thread. in my opinion, almost everyone wants socialism to a degree today.

          in my view, there is a spectrum between free capitalism (anarcho-capitalism) on one end and state-socialism on the other. today we often have a mixture of the two. and the trend of the last decades is towards state-socialism (and other forms of statism as well). to move toward socialism, we don't have to opt for total state solution at once. there are fine steps. it can start with regulation, subsidy, extra tax or other intervention.

          also please note that the above spectrum is not the only possible one. it is the one that this conversation is about.
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: Luigi,

          My comments regards the US were made because James framed up this question referring to the "current residents" of Washington D.C.

          As both you and Krisztian point out there are numerous flavors of socialism. And -isms themselves, yes, rarely achieve the original ideals. Some adapt flawed rhetoric based on pejorative perceptions. And sometimes political propaganda. Why I sought citations from Kristzian to support his claims. He didn't provide a full reading of the facts in US, but focused in on one very narrow interpretation of a much more granular reality.

          By contrast, I find your comments are more relevant, as they encompass the bigger picture.

          Your comments have to do with larger cycles of civilization. Which I, agree, the young US republican democracy echos and emerges from. In fact, I've been working on an essay that finds many factors that led to the fall of the Roman Empire are features of the current US system. Which, as you rightly note, erroneously perceives itself as an empire. There are short term corollaries of note in terms of the US military might and cultural influence, but it's force as economic leader of the world is fast eroding. Like Nero's Rome, many of the the cures for this economic decline are the very things that are accelerating the US collapse.

          I'm interested in Antonio Gramsci's thinking. And will dig deeper into it as I look at the comparisons you suggest. Your thoughts are timely, and quite resonate with what I've been noodling through in my writing.

          Andrea
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: Krisztian,

          I think our disagreement is mostly semantical. I react to the use of the word state-socialism because it is co-opted in the US as a rhetorical tool to disparage progressive ideals as big-government/big-brother constructs only.

          The problem is this perjorative use is adapted by many and distributed by media in quite brutal and unproductive campaigns that undermine the reality you point out: that any governmentally mediated public asset can benefit a society.

          Andrea
        • thumb
          Aug 1 2011: andrea, sorry for not giving a damn to how the american media uses or distorts words. as you can see, i'm not american. my analysis of socialism and capitalism comes from my studies of austrian school of economics. it predates the current american quarrel by a hundred years.

          whether "government mediated public asset" can benefit society or not is debated. i don't think you can find any strong evidence on its side. it is mostly up to personal taste and beliefs.
      • thumb
        Jul 31 2011: Krisztian,

        Can you cite the source(s) of your definition of socialism?

        Debra,

        Agreed re: Elinor Ostrom. She has some excellent thinking on common pool resources that engage public assets with citizens and businesses. So, in a sense, all are interdependent as beneficiaries and stewards.

        "Tragedy of the Commons" was written by another scholar.

        Andrea
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: like a lot of ism-s, socialism is not exactly defined. basically there are as many socialisms as there are socialists. however, from the context, i derived that now we are talking about state-socialism. often people who wants more socialism, wants the government to implement it. health care: people don't want voluntary doctors and/or work-hour accounted systems, but they want state provided general health care. people don't want community based education, but state provided, publicly financed schools. and so on. so i took the liberty to equate socialism to state-socialism in these debates. other forms of socialism is rarely demanded these days (though we have some anarchists in this forum).

          wikipedia article is quite nice:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_socialism
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: Signora Andrea when we analyze the profound concept of democracy, we also find a great tragicomical play. The US are very new in this kind of discussions and 200 years are nothing in political history. The topic is about the planet earth and we europeans have more than five millenia inventing and reinventing the public affairs. In this conversation the word socialism, and democracy are in the high rank of use, but I never read nothing about monarchy or imperial status. The american people believes in democracy or in a republican sistem, but I suspect that all you miss an empire but dont talk about because you are used to take seriously the US political approach as if were the only choice for the entire planet earth. The military power or your broken financial power are not the ultimate status for rule the citizanship in just one way. We italians invent the roots od socialism (consult Gramsci) and we have an heritage from the biggest and longest empire in all history. The youngest northamerican people could be fell dissapointed by their actual leaders. From some actions in Roosvelt era nothing new and good happens to your country. The economical status that all of you has to suffer because the missunderstood of all the planet earth is not our fault. But when the collapse reach your doors (very soon) our fields remains full of greenest hope. The part of the play role that US like to show in fron of all the world is in the final stage. Socialism and any ism are unable to cure your broken economy and heath all your souls from the exagerated pride that US exhibit with the weapons in the hands. All of you forgot the cooperation feelings and subtitute with the competitive efforts. This is one of the many reasons that mantain the US alone with the hope lost. Please invent some positive governement but just for you, not for all the world. The US political sistem is like flowers in a vase...they died someday because are saparated from the original plant. Just to decorate.
        • thumb
          Jul 31 2011: Krisztián's link to the definition of state socialism is interesting and captures the way most people use the word in political debates today very well.

          To equate socialism with incrementally assigning duties to the government and nationalizing certain industries does lead to some interesting questions and problems, however.

          Such as:

          By this definition, when is a newly created government service or action NOT socialism?

          Does this definition prevent all innovative uses of government without them being deemed socialist?

          When writing the US constitution, the framers created government services such as the military and the courts. There are private solutions to both protection and legal arbitration. By assigning these services to the government, this definitions would suggest that some of the first acts of the founding fathers of the USA were socialist in nature. Can we accept this?
        • Aug 1 2011: Thank you Luigi for trying to call the US back to something more noble and more aligned with the core human values. Yes competition can and does kill. What we have lost I fear is the sense of community necessary to live with one another. James' original question and his original comments were truly about "bureaucratic government" not socialism. It is that loss of community and a sense of communtiy of a common good that we have lost.

          We have to step back from all these old terms, capitalism, socialism, communism; the isms are dead. It is not ideology that truly moves people or what we need today.
    • thumb
      Jul 27 2011: Socialism will never be pure because people are not pure. What you are defining is not socialism but utopianism. It was never designed to be helpful to people. Read Mein Kampf, or The Socialist Manifesto and you will see were it has failed. Look to Greece where it is currently failing. It creates government dependent people not thinkers on any but the highest level of government who only try to keep their positions. It kill creativity just look at the US today. Government regs are killing small businesses. I used to be a facilities engineer and the county regs made projects come in way over budget so we just did not do them. We cannot nanny out every risk in life. We can minimize the most dangerous and that takes cooperation, caring and sharing but not from a central government but from each individual. In response show me a pure socialism that is working any where in the world. I would be glad to study it. It is funny that so many people want socialism but are not willing to move to where it is practiced as a country. Many leave socialist countries to come to countries that have market economies so they can be free and do the good things they want.
      • thumb
        Jul 27 2011: Maybe, just maybe, the place we want to be is somewhere between socialism and democracy, between socialism and capitalism. It's as yet an undefined ideology and may not in fact be an ideology at all. We'll know when we get a little closer....

        Maybe Canada.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: it is interesting to note that socialism so far never got elected. people can be convinced to do the first steps, can be tricked to do some more steps, but to go all the way, you need force. by force i mean shooting a lot of people.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: Maybe this is true but do you really need a government 2,000 miles away telling you how to run your life?
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: For me it is not so far, I am Canadian. I am pretty darned happy with the country I live in and the studies around the world make it pretty clear that countries with 'socialist' leanings have the happiest citizens. That has to mean something.

          Krisztian, interesting point, especially since it takes no trouble at all to convince people to be self serving and selfish.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: yeah, debra, but you are as far apart from socialism as mako is from jerusalem. you are somewhere between the convince and the trick phase.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: You are right Krisztian but I am certain that James would consider my country to be 'way too socialist' and I bet you do too! In fact, i used to have an acquaintence who was an FBI agent and he used to call me "A Pinko commie" because i was Canadian!! What a laugh but it illustrates some of the knee jerk responses and fear associated with these political labels. In fact, all I am trying to do is help people be more thoughtful about the issues. I have always respected how informed you are but I do not reach the same conclusions you do.

          To quote a great Irish playwright who is famous in the town where I raised my kids:
          “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’". George Bernard Shaw.
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2011: MEIN Kampf ! Thanks for illustrating exactly what I mean by scare propaganda!
        How on earth can one political world view be so threatening that everything associated with it including the remarks of a religous leader like Jesus have to be edited and white washed to distance the poor from it?
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: Scare propaganda? Not at all it is just an example of one view of socialism taken to the extreme. From the writers perspective he just wanted to protect the people and make it a better country for the German Race. The right and the left have nothing to do with socialism. It has to do with centralized governmental control of peoples lives.
        • Jul 28 2011: Sorry James. That is not socialism. Nothing you describe is socialism. It might be "big government" in some people's minds, but not socialism. I am sorry for how you have been treated. But how you have been treated does not define something. What you are talking about (it seems) is government intrusion into what you consider personal rights. Again, that is not socialism.

          I believe government does have a legitimate right to control things like emissions, waste, speed limits, and yes, even what you can carry onboard an airplane.

          It isn't the rich or the wealthy that are seeking some sort of socialism, they never have in history actually. I am no socialist, but I do believe in government governing. "The free frontiersman" ended about 150 years ago.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Debra - Someday Krisztian will see the light :)

          Krisztian - are things really that dark over there in Europe these days? Is there any light on the horizon? I'm not poking fun at your skepticism. I don't doubt it's well-founded.

          James, socialism is not coming back. But a blend of socialism on social issues, democracy on political issues and capitalism on economic issues might emerge from this mess the world has gotten itself into. Listen to Obama. He is envisioning it. It's just that Christian fundamentalists and far right wing conservatives are determined to bring him down. Too bad. People like him don't come around very often.

          To paraphrase Woody Allen, I'd move to Canada but I'd never live in a place that would have me as a citizen!
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Deb, Here is the wiki def. of Socialism as follows:
          Socialism (pronounced /ˈsoʊ̯ʃəɫɪzm̩/) is an economic system in which the means of production are publicly or commonly owned and controlled cooperatively, or a political philosophy advocating such a system.[1][2] As a form of social organization, socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.[3][4] I do not see any country in the world trying to equalize the difference in power that would eliminate hierarchy not even Canada which I wish the best. Especially not in governmental power or affairs
        • Jul 29 2011: James your very wiki definition shows that you personally are not speaking about socialism. I am glad you finally gave a definition to the discussion. Now perhaps we can all agree that wealthy or the rich do not seek out socialism. What you have spoken about again is just big bureaucratic government, not socialism. While I do not agree with your original proposal at all, it is totally ahistoric, you should redefine it to speak about bureaucratic government, not socialism.
        • Jul 29 2011: James, just wondering, you say this "The feds make up to 64,000 pages of new laws per day." First of all do you really believe that to be true, secondly do you know really how that would even be possible, thirdly what is your source for such a statement? Not to be snarky here, but you said it as part of this debate so I would like to see your reasoning.
      • Jul 28 2011: Mein Kampf has nothing to do with socialism in any of it's contemporary forms. It is a book about the far right, not the far left.
        Government regulations of industry and laws in general have nothing to do with socialism. Government has a legitimate right to protect people be adopting a rule of law that disallows certain practices. How are government regulations, which have been around forever, killing small business? Did it kill it in the early part of the 20th century? How about after WWI or or II?

        Would you please define exactly what you mean and call socialism, since it appears anything and everything is being called socialism.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: I define socialism as when a government decides it knows better about how people should live their lives than the people themselves. It destroys individuals liberties, controls risks, and kills individual desire to get ahead. How does it impact small business? Over regulation that tries to protect every one to the same level. Not everyone needs the same level of protection. Everyone is unique. When you over regulate you do not get a better product you get an inferior product that meets a regulators requirements but may not meet the potential. In taking over the safety of all individual liberties are destroyed. Let me give you a personal example. I flew up to Northern Cal for a wedding. I took an 8 ounce tube of shaving cream with me. Plain did not pay attention to size. Got into San Francisco Airport to come home and was held up in security, questioned, and my bag gone through. Shaving cream was confiscated and smart remarks were made by security personnel there. Fear of my shaving cream being a bomb? Well maybe but is that justified. Is the in appropriate touching up of 6 year old children in New York airports justified? Thses I see as a loss of individual liberty and are taken to governmental extremes. I hope you never have to face this. News reports and my talks with individual businessmen as well as the directors of the school district I work in are showing that the nanny state is costing so much money that they are closing businesses and I will be losing more of my pay to have health care for those who are not employed and those illegal aliens that come into the country. This is a taking without my consent. Those are a few of the problems I see with socialism. Of course those who grow up under it do not see it as an issue as they have not other reference or experience to measure it by. Post WWII there was very a modest amount of government regulation but it has exploded in the past several decades. The feds make up to 64,000 pages of new laws per day.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2011: @James with all regards to your post above , taking the opportunity to say , the way you defined socialism is completely wrong. Socialism doesn't mean what you told that sounds like "Governmentism"at best.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Socialism (pronounced /ˈsoʊ̯ʃəɫɪzm̩/) is an economic system in which the means of production are publicly or commonly owned and controlled cooperatively, or a political philosophy advocating such a system.[1][2] As a form of social organization, socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.[3][4] I thought this might help us come to a common understanding of the term for further conversation. I see no countries trying to eliminate hierarchy. Either in society or in government.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Hi James Thanks for your response with clear defintion from book.Yes , both Socialism & Capitalism are economic systems, which can be executed through different political systems, like democracy, militray dictetorship, dictetorship of KING, benevolent dictetorship of any form, single party dictetorship etc etc.

          Socialism was executed in almost all cases through single party dictetorship , though with in that single party there was buzz word called "Democratic Centralism" which finally ended up in to pure party or person autocracy so had it inherent flaws. But that does not denounce Socialism as a whole.

          We also see how Cpatalism of Saudi Arabia , EU, Singapore or US differs in different aspects due to the execution system which is political system.

          There are myths which converted into stigma around socialism, as many takes Socialism means eqaulity forced by single party dictetorship (unfortunately socialism was not executed through other political systems )

          What I understand (may be wrong) Socialism has got more social part in it's economics , where as Capitalism more individualistic (it also eveolved from that now controlled more by stock market)

          To me main philosophy of Socialism is, state or community will first ensure the basic needs of all people than individual will be rewarded as per their capability (so question equality is not there). That's why even in the then Socialist country hierarchy was their. Workers of factory & Engineer was not paid same salary.

          While communism says , everyone will contribute to the society or community as per their capability & merit but they will only take what they need. Means human being has to evolve in great way to have compassionate and empathetic holistic view, which made it more utopic. But if one looks back in to history of human civilization when hunting was way of living that was the practice. Not every hunter could get a hunt everytime but that didn't mean they starved that day
      • thumb
        Jul 29 2011: Debra, I really do have a warm place in my heart for Canada. I spent a little time in Montreal many years ago, have visited Vancouver/Victoria, and love Nova Scotia.
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: You are welcome any time and in truth i enjoy so much about your country as well. In fact, i hope everyone visits us to see that we are making it work! I also hope that people around the world take note that our two countries have existed pretty harmoniously for a long time with an undefended border.
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2011: Debra the socialism fail because is planned to fail in order to make the road to a pendulum sistem. Socialism---capitalism. The name is just a name and all the victims are taked as a number to justify the oscilation dinamic of the strategy.
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2011: Luigi! Thanks for joining in! I feel that there is much more behind your words and I want to know more about what you are suggesting. Please elaborate!
        As a woman, a mother, a citizen, I hate seeing any human being considered and in reality used as an 'expendable'. How do people with voices and intellect stand against this use of human beings?
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Debra sure that we all feel a tremendous pain when we see the injustice from any" ism".
          But also we have to recognize the real enemy: an idea. The higher class sell to the lower class the idea of any kind of stupidity: democracy, socialism, anarchy, capitalism, revolution, violence and the most precious product: peace and well being. The lower class buy all that things and pay with their lives, families, assets, studies, jobs and evrything that could be writed in a social invoice. The real good is invisible but not in the media. TV hollywood, internet and all the screen sistems work in the same way: as a refuge or a castle to protect the playit safers. There are five clues: Fear, Ignorance, Enterteinement, Subnutrition and Credulity. When all appears together and work as well, begins the real slavery. Socialism is just one ocassional strategy, no more than that.
      • thumb
        Jul 29 2011: This sounds like Conspiracytheoryism!
        • thumb
          Jul 29 2011: Exactly Signore Moonan...sounds like Conspiracy....this is the first cloud to "hide" the real thing. The best place to hide some is the more seened place. Any "ism" is a disguise to feed the ilusions from the people to be controled. Theres a word in rhe title of this conversation...."seem"
          ...everything "seems" what not really is. The whealty and rich people are invisible...the poorest people are also invisible. The new phantom is all that NOG's together to the Human Rights ....the socialism is a very old trick and if I mentioned the new media, just translate from internet to newspapers in the first age from socialism. Its the same allways. When Luther was the printing press, when May 68 in Paris was the mimeograph, and the first xerox machines, today the social mirrors are electronic devices. Google with all the good things that have is the same cave for the neobarbarians. The socialism "seems" but is already dead. ( excuse my english sintaxis but its not my original lenguage)
        • Jul 29 2011: You are right Luigi, so many of these are dead, because they are attached to the old rationalist paradigm. Keep speaking out for a true way to search and find.
    • thumb
      Jul 29 2011: I think that some kinds of socialistic systems providing just limited generic services, in many cases Governmental systems, are great, but only when they are SUPPORTIVE, not prevailing! It has to be some intelligent combination.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: There have been examples in some countries where a kind of socialism was working, where most of the people experienced the same quality of life. And then the CIA went in and funded some businesses and encouraged a capitalist system; after which the population was mainly made up of quite wealthy or extremely poor.

    There's no point in revolting against this system when it works in so many ways. But it needs SO MUCH tweaking. Tax the extremely rich harder. Make huge companies make a bigger contribution to their local areas, and tax them harder as well (but obviously not to the extent that they take their business elsewhere..)
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Michael, from the invention of Paradise to the Moro's Utopia we all have the right to invent our own personal miracle. When we see the history closely and out of all wikis and googles and historychannels we can go to the realm of clear facts without veils. But not all the people want to go out of confussion to wake up. I work daily with very old and original texts from Maquiavelo, Napoleon, Hitler and all the history that could be keeped on the Vatican Archives. I learn a few things about manipulation from the power elites to keep busy the lower and ignorant people in order to believe in something that could promise the heaven after death or in this life. Socialism is just a tool in the political and economical game that is over us. A very usefull tool taht want to be seem modern and provocative. Today socialism is usefull just for two things: 1 To laugh. and... 2. To send the police enforcements to keep the order right just after a new form of socialism emerges. maybe it could be calle police brutality, but is the response to be in the game over and ever and over. (I liked the mangos too, but here in Italy are very expensive...oh...almost forget to give you a salutation from the Count of Salaparuta)
    • Aug 1 2011: Grazie Luigi. Saludos alla al Conte y todos.

      All isms are going away. I wish I could describe what is emerging, but perhaps as you said quoting Eco...we must choose integration. New ways of seeing are surpassing the owld ways of thinking.

      Mangos are good....eat to the core Luigi!

      This discussion on bureaucracy only shows how dead and lifeless the system really is.
      • thumb
        Aug 1 2011: Michael you are right about bureauCRAZY. Some curious fact: In a inverse relation the minimization of digital devices is proportional to the maximization of bureauCRAZY. We have to start the reenchanting of the world. The old way is not bad...is REAL BAD...but we dont have to change without strategy to change or transform the status.

        I prefer mangism.
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Just my thought. Ironically, when capitalism develops into monopolized industries these colossal industries begin to control not only our markets' "demand", but our whole lifestyle, taste, habits and mentality. Monopolies are Dictating what people "need", what to drive, ware, "learn" about, buy, and even what kind of medical "help" to get. Monopolies greatly suppress, if not demolish the healthy capitalistic diversity and freedom of doing business and methods of producing, freedom of learning, freedom of consumer choices. Monopolies turn Capitalism into a horrific version of Socialism.
  • Jul 28 2011: So the rich want to spread their wealth? Now that is a first. So you want them to share their wealth? If you take a clear look at your question you will see that your question makes little sense given that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is huge. I think when we label a sense of social justice as socialism we stop conversation or a healthy one for that matter to develop.
  • thumb
    Jul 27 2011: If i had to pick an -ism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2011: agreed
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2011: its too bad so much vilolence has emerged from various anarchist movements, it gives it such a bad rep. but hey when those who should be there to protect you show up with bullet proof vest and machine guns.... but passive execution of anarchy to me would be us as humans living to our fullest potential.
  • thumb
    Aug 1 2011: Socialism (pronounced /ˈsoʊ̯ʃəɫɪzm̩/) is an economic system in which the means of production are publicly or commonly owned and controlled cooperatively, or a political philosophy advocating such a system.[1][2] As a form of social organization, socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.[3][4] I thought this might help us come to a common understanding of the term for further conversation. I see no countries trying to eliminate hierarchy. Either in society or in government.
  • thumb
    Aug 1 2011: Signora Andrea, this scheme is part of my work tools and belongs to an Art-Science named Hermeneutics. I used to interpretate the history and is a regular instrument among the Bible scholars here in the Vatican. The complete set are four arts-sciences
    1. Hermeneutics...........interpretation
    2. Mayeutics.................Interrogation
    3. Sinectics...................Comparision
    4. Heuristics..................Invention

    As you can know we in the Roman Catholic Church dont see any hurry in anything. We work with the eternity in our side. So our analisys scheme see this four big eras as a time lapse in the whole, the holistyc vision, the summa. To us, socialism is just a glimpse in the eye that see all.
    • thumb
      Aug 1 2011: Luigi,

      I'm grateful for the depth of your analysis. It is very informative and valuable for themes I'm working through.

      I know I don't have to tell you the fall of the Roman empire involved its battle to prohibit the Catholic Church from state-reign. Notably, Catholicism is another 'ism that frequently falls far short of its common good ideals. Including as laid out by its "founder" God, and His son who was sent to remind humans that their worship of material idols and conflicts focused on us v them power was heading them in the wrong direction.

      Indeed, Jesus' life and transmission of divine truths parallels what some might see as socialism. He saw all humans as intrinsically equal, and spent his life trying to "balance the scales," embodying the ideal of people-focused "public servant." He reached out to all sectors of society from taxpayers, to those of different ethnic tribes, to social outcasts and those for whom hope seemed lost. He saw all people as both worthy and agents of the well-being of society.

      Notably, Jesus never used his power for personal gain or as a tool of coercion. threat, or self-righteousness. He never preached of His holier-than-thou, well, holiness. The proof was in the pudding of His actions,

      Neither did He hesitate to call out hierarchal injustices, including those of his own Jewish faith. And he did so without derogatory rhetoric, but rather with dignity and in the learned vernaculars they preached with. All only in service to His holy humanitarian efforts.

      In, short, Jesus persistently embodied what a priest friend of mine calls (referring to the most elegant linguistic interpretation) "radical humanity."

      Would that all leaders of religions, countries and societies and the people who are served by or claim to serve them could live up to his model.

      A good -ism for all to consider would begin with the prefix: humanitarian.

      Andrea
      • thumb
        Aug 1 2011: Bravo well said thank you
      • thumb
        Aug 1 2011: Signora Andrea, Our Lord Jesus is the total example of radical Humanism.. Thank for your enlightened words.
  • thumb
    Jul 31 2011: Signora Andrea, I appreciate very much your words and I want to share with you some scheme about the big cicles of civilizations and culture. The origin is in the center and we dont know that but just their manifestations integrated in four grand eras or cicles. If you depart from the origin and trace an spiral line then you find that this line goes trough the four eras. The political expresion is a lenguage and is the focus i propose to you. The spiral from theorigin first arrive in a divine expresion, always in a xerogliphycal form runned by priest hierarchies, then goes to a secon quadrant to reach the aristocratical expresion by kings and emperors, The line continues and the curve goes to an Human era with the techical expression by scientists and scholars. At this point the lenguage have been suffered a degradation from divine to aristocratical, to techical. Then the curve goes to the chaos quadrant to find the era of no lenguage or no expression. This is our present era and we see the final stage of all the assimetries in leadership but not the integrity of the formal authorityes. OPur era is a long era that has been view so meny years ago. The manifestations from interior converts in the chaos in exteriors. Gramsci talk about and this interpretation tool is very usefull to undestand the rithm and tempo from the human condition. The real simptom from the chaos is the absence of any for of lenguaje. The techical data are eroded by vularity, the arts goes deeper in the hole of degradation, and the human expresion is controlled by a technologies that provoques the desintegration. Of course as Eco said we have two, and just two doors ...tha apocaliptic door and the integration door. Wich one you choose as part of a big nation that runs to abiss in the progress dream? (please excuse me my sintaxis in english.)
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Right on and that is why Monopoly should only be a board game!!!!!
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Excellent question may you should post it on TED!!!!
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Interesting answer and just look at the MIssissippi river valley to see the truth in what you say, It floods they lose everything and then move right back to the same place and build the same home. A person once told me that stupidity is to do the same thing and expect a different outcome. Does this apply?
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Hi Debra, like the way you think.

    Just wondering, how much power and freedom to choose the majority of people might have over manipulating systems and industries when they come to realize that the systems make sense for People only if they SERVE them, not manipulate them?
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Debra - Yes, all countries should have such a harmonious relationship - really, they should! Really!!!!

    I often wonder what makes a person love his/her country. Some places are downright inhospitable places to live (looking from the outside) yet there theyt are and there they stay, through every conceivable kind of hardship. Yet they wouldn't move if you bought them a plane ticket. I don't know why that is. If I had to move for some reason I would move to Canada, England or maybe one of the scandinavian countries. I'm way off topic!!!
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2011: Salim, Then I need to investigate further because that is the definition used here. Then maybe you can give me some insight into why George Soros is spending so much of his money trying to manipulate the US government if not to forward his own agenda. Especially in light of the fact that all his money seems not to be in US banks. I see no profit for him unless socialism gives him an edge as a wealthy person. Any thoughts?
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: Derrick you questions are what I mull over when I think of any government that tries to make it fair for everyone. Yes the gap is huge and the difference cannot always be explained but we have to think that sometimes people choose to stay in the state of being poor for complex and various reasons. There have been some rich that gave away wealth look at Bill Gates and the foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Howard Hughes and his foundation, J. Paul Getty and his foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the various other foundations that allow research in science etc. They are giving away their wealth and trying to do good. It reminds me of the old proverb give a man a fish and he eats for a day teach a man to fish and he eats when ever he wants. Socialist hand outs give a man a fish but he soon learns not to fish since the government just keeps taking it from those who do and giving it to him. Sometimes the government even gives him no choice in the matter. Remember in the US we have 6 generations of people living off the government on welfare and that is part of 24 million people in a land where they can get education and grow if they choose to.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: You must not be talking about the police in California bullet proof vests yes, machine guns no. We have had to have police officers at our little middle school before it was closed and they were there with the vests and regular fire arms. I watched students be arrested and taken away in hand cuffs. Why? I think because there were no jobs and the parents were working two jobs if they could get them and taxed to the limits to support the green movement in California. True and pure anarchy would never work unless people were somehow suddenly raised to the highest of moral standards and fully took responsibility for their actions and placed the good of others above their own I think. Then it might work but socialism will never work well for all people because all people will not be responsible for others and morally guided.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: I agree to some extent but if the wealthy and businesses are taxed beyond what and here is the key they percieve as fair then they do leave. In california we tax businesses a lot and we regulate them a lot which is a lot of government interference and they are either shutting down or leaving at the rate of 5 to 10 per day. We are reaching a 20% or more unemployment rate. We have the nations highest rate of people on welfare and our classrooms are exceeding 40 - 45 students per teacher. The state leaders do not see this as a problem because they are not impacted by the taxes and they have the mind set that the less people there are the greener California will be. They also do not see the high rate of those on welfare as a problem since they do not live in their neighborhood. As an example the city of San Francisco has now banned all types of pet stores in the city. There is not smoking allowed in public businesses and we have the second highest tax rate on fuel in the US. All of this for the good of people who are green oriented but that is such a small group of people who are so extreme and they are in power.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: I agree
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: The US is not a democracy it is a republic. Democracies do not even work very well in families. Communal living works on an extremely limited basis and for a very few people. Look at the Amish in the midwest. They have a community style of life and it works for them but some of the younger folks are wanting to do more and are allowed to try it. Very limited amount of people is why it works. I cannot imagine a dynamic nation with the melting pot that we have in the US as every being functioning well as a single community. No one is a slave to large companies. Each persons job is an at will employment and they can leave at any time. I know because I have done it several times. People regulate the markets, people like you do it every day by choosing what you buy or even to buy at all maybe yo choose to barter services for goods. I do both at times. I trade people taking care of my horses while I am gone and in return I help them out, or buy them hay, or train their horses. I paid off my student loan and felt good about it. It took a long time but I am glad I did so other student could get loans and make successes of themselves also. I agree that anyone who wants to go to college should be allowed to and there are low cost alternatives. There are also schools like ITT tech, schools supported by the trade unions, schools for mechanics, schools for legal secretaries and paralegals. College and university are way over pushed in the current educational system. I teach and I tell the kids they do not have to go to college to be a success they have alternatives. I appreciate you comments.
  • Jul 28 2011: Kibbutzim didn't work? Hippy communes didn't work? Now, elder co-ops don't work? They do. Did you ever really read Mien Kampf? The work of syphilitic mad-man! I don't think there is any "pure socialism", just as there is no "pure capitalism" (and no pure democracy--we haven't had a democracy in this country since I was a young girl) The markets don't regulate themselves; our government doesn't take care of it's citizens; not the weakest of us, not even our veterans! Create community, grow food and trade, feed the poor, educate the children for free (not just to prepare them to be a slave labor force for giant corporations) and forgive all old student loans (anyone who wants to go to college should be allowed to go to college, especially if they major in sustainability, public administration, alternative energy, social entrepreneurship, alternative energy, sustainable agriculture) etc. etc.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: Obamacare is costing me more and more money each month to cover illegal immigrants and those who choose not to work. Government regulation is impinging on my ability to teach facts unless they are preapproved in state sponsored text books. These are just two quick examples. I guess the Russian government did not know what it was talking about when it called itself a communist government. So I would love to understand what communism is if the collective state of Russia was never one. Would you say China is not communist? It has collectivism and it controls how many children people. Look at the protest in the square a couple of years ago. If that is not communism please show me a country that you define as communist. I would be interested in a better definition. Higher taxes on everything from junk food (coming) to each financial transaction (trying to come from Nancy Pelosi) will kill any incentive to try and grow wealthy. Why put out the effort just so some clown in washington can spend it on turtle tunnels, and other wasteful projects. There are whole books written on how government wastes money and washington wants to tax business more so that they can develop more pork projects and waste more of our earned money. We need to restrict government to the role laid out in the US constitution. Protect the nation, make treaties, control interstate commerce, and I would add have a balanced budget. Socialism has created 214 mission people on welfare and some who believe that he government owes them a living. We can never had equal any thing because we are not equal. You have talents that I do not and vice versa. Government has no business trying to level the playing field. It was protecting us from outside enemies and working to increase US trade and not borrow us into debt it would be busy enough for several life time.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: Russia was never a communist country it's misnomer. At best we can say they tried to be socialist. Why socialism failed that's a different issue and will be long discussion, if someone is really open, free from prejudiced or blind belief to any system like religion.

    Can you please tell a bit what socialist nightmare you faced ?
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: When government spending is directed at providing for the defense of the country, or keeping the infrastructure up to date. Social programs, art, music, drama, education are items that should come from the people themselves not from a disconnected people worrying about getting re-elected who have no training in any of those fields. Government needs to be very limited like the founding fathers defined it. We do not need the government trying to fix social issues like racism, poverty, hatred etc. Those take changes of heart by individuals. Every government program beyond those listed take away individual freedoms either by restricting them or eliminating them. We need individual liberty to have true freedom and the ability to pursue happiness. We are not guaranteed happiness in the founding documents but the chance to pursue it.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2011: It seems, at least in the U.S., that any time someone is taxed and they then see government spending on programs of which they disapprove, a charge of socialism is leveled. In other words socialism is defined as government spending they don't like.

    I'm curious: how are you using the word socialism—what do you mean by it? When is government spending not socialism? Are you sure you just don't like taxes?
  • thumb
    Jul 27 2011: I guess only those in political power truly believe in it and that is so they can stay in power and wield power in my opinion. The more those in power control the more they like it. We are all prone to do this just look at how some people treat pets or children. Power likes to get more power so maybe that is why some people believe in socialism.
  • thumb
    Jul 27 2011: I dont think the Rich and well educated are intersted in Socialism...the rich and well educated are in business and thrive on compitition. The politicians are leaning that way because they get money from donations and government. they dont thrive on the same competition the working class does. they see the benfits from Europe, and how it can work but they have know idea how to implement it.
    • thumb
      Jul 27 2011: Rioting in the streets of Greece, government forced employment in France, tax rates over 70% yep it's working well in europe :)
      • thumb
        Jul 27 2011: nonsense. europe is a strong castle of cards. i mean stone! stone!
        • thumb
          Jul 27 2011: Really then why does the US have to support the UN financially. Why do people line up to move to the US from France, England, Italy, Germany, Norway, Finland and other countries. I know this because I work with people that have moved here from those countries personally.
          Why is it the US has had to police the world against Muslim Terrorism with minimal help from Europe and maximal bad mouthing from European leaders. How much terrorism is enough to make Europe take action, how may Frenchmen, Italians, Germans, Danes, and Swede have to die before people say enough is enough and take action.
          Where is the creativity that makes new products, finds cures to disease, and helps others in foreign lands. I do not see it coming out of Europe at all. Why? I am open to being proven wrong.
        • thumb
          Jul 27 2011: I know I'm wading into uncharted waters here (me being an american commenting on the european crisis) but I think it is times like what we in America are experiencing and those that most europeans are experiencing that produce real change. With any luck, it will be change for the good. No doubt it will be painful for some.Probably me, too, someday soon... knock on wood. When and if it does affect me directly and significantly maybe I will feel differently, but I hope not.
          Right now I believe that my life is not just about me - it's about me being engaged in something larger than myself, so I'm ok with the tumult of change. The world is changing slowly, painfully, in a big way and we are witness to it and engaged in it.
          Rahm Emanuel, Obama's ex-chief of staff and now mayor of Chicago, said it best: "Somewhere within the crisis is an opportunity for positive change. We're going to find it and we're going to take full advantage of it."
        • thumb
          Jul 27 2011: James: "Where is the creativity that makes new products, finds cures to disease, and helps others in foreign lands. I do not see it coming out of Europe at all. Why? I am open to being proven wrong."

          I think you are under the influence of a classic case of american patriotism. We are not as head and shoulders above everyone else as you seem to think. There is tremendous work being done by individuals all over the globe on all fronts (scientific, technological, etc.). There are more than a few socieities that have many qualities.that deserve your admiration - if only you could recover from the bad bout of patriotism.
      • thumb
        Jul 27 2011: Well the German socialist model is very strong. they have bounced back from the recession fairly strong and are piggy backing the rest of the EU along with the Netherlands and France
      • thumb
        Jul 27 2011: james, your irony detector just went off line. get it repaired :)
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2011: All that things are experiments in a economic laboratory.
  • thumb
    Jul 26 2011: i don't think that only the rich and the educated believe in socialism. at least not in europe, that's for sure. here, almost everyone believes in socialism, and the debate is only about how much we need of it. the idea of free market is losing in europe.
    • thumb
      Jul 26 2011: Who will give the government money to give away if everyone really believes in Socialism and quits working while waiting for the government to give them money? Money is generated by free market actions and the actions of free people. You just need to look at he fall of the Russian Empire to see how socialism failed. Expensive farm machinery rotting in the fields for lack of parts. Why everyone was given equal treatment (well except the rich government officials). Yet with no profit motive farmers raised food to feed their families and a black free market became the norm. Europe will soon be so broke that the IMF will be of no use. Greece is just the tip of the iceberg and other countries with out full free market economies will fail eventually. Rome proved that in history, so did Minoa, and other countries. Socialism is not the end that people need it is a romantic, blind idealism that fails to account for human variability. It is good for university students living off daddies money and government officials feeding off the sweat of honest workers. A silly idea that has been made into an even sillier way of running a nation by idealistic people who have too much time and not enough work.
      • thumb
        Jul 27 2011: i don't need to look at it, socialists need to. but you digress, the original point was who believes in socialism and why.
  • thumb
    Jul 26 2011: I would not call you a socialist at all. I would call you a concerned american. Yet, if you have children you know that free anything has little to no value. We have had the war on poverty for decades and given away trillions of dollars and people are now in 5th and 6th generation of government dependency and not trying to better themselves. Look at the Indian Reservations with the easy money from the Feds and the Casinos. There is little desire to improve themselves. I used to teach on a local reservation and it was all fun and games as long as it did not take any work on the parts of the residents to grow and become a living part of the life of the community. Socialism is a good idea but is counter to human needs to develop and grow. Those who have not had to deal directly with the impact of socialism in society are all for spreading the wealth as long as it is not theirs. Look at Obama all for spreading the wealth of the top two percent but has not given up the 5 million he has made this year in any significant way, has not down graded his life style at all , shows no fiscal responsibility towards the nation, his wife has 26 assistants and acts like a queen. This is just a simple example of the overly rich who talk socialism but do not want it to touch their lives. Those closest to being truly socialist are those early Saints in the churches that gave all to the poor and lived lives helping them do better. No the rich are only faux socialists like the the folks in hollywood who make huge amounts of money and waste it on huge homes, overly expensive cars and parties but say we should be more liberal as long as it does not touch their money. There is a disconnect that is obvious to me and I hope you see it.