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The U.S. Economy Is Socialism for the Rich

 
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 06:56 am
Quote:

By Michael Leon Guerrero, Movement Vision Lab
...let's just be clear that the free market capitalism we have seen in the United States is by no means "free." In reality, the U.S. economy functions as a form of socialism for the rich. Taxpayers have bailed out the savings and loan industry, banks and airlines. We finance at least two federal social security programs: the one to which most of us contribute through each paycheck, and the one for United Airlines employees (since that company no longer pays its pension obligations). We give huge government contracts to the prison and military industrial complexes, and increasingly to private education and health care companies.


This doesn't even get into how local communities support multinational conglomerate corporations due to tactics used to eliminate locally owned businesses. Money that could stay in a community leave thus acting much like a tax. I am surprised this is not mentioned considering the author's conclusion.

Quote:
Today, the United States is the leader in a number of shameful statistics: the highest percentage and total numbers of its population in prison, the highest consumption of the world's natural resources, the only industrialized nation without universal health care, the biggest military budget. It seems that the greatest product that the United States is capable of producing today is war, and this makes us a very dangerous country. Our primary role in the global community is as a mercenary army in the interests of big business.


Quote:
It's clear that a profound change in the U.S. political direction is necessary. A fundamental shift in the political and economic direction of the country will require a cultural shift and a redefinition of social and political relationships. We need to challenge the values of individualism and competition and the culture of consumerism and reintroduce key values in defining our economic and social relationships -- values such as reciprocity, community, cooperation and solidarity. We need to affirm that as a society we share collective and community responsibilities. We must confront the underlying premises that have sustained the neoliberal/neoconservative agenda -- namely that taxes, unions and government are all bad. As Donald Cohen has outlined, we need to assert that taxes, organized labor, regulations and government are in fact necessary to keep the greedy in check and to achieve a just and democratic society.


I am curious to see how the shift from suburban sprawl to a rebirth of urban culture pans out. The automobile driven culture of the United States plagues the world with the sense of hyperindividualism it promotes.

The U.S. Economy Is Socialism for the Rich by Michael Leon Guerrero
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Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2008 07:53 pm
@Theaetetus,
What's wrong with individualism?! That's what I don't understand about communism, it doesn't appear to support individualism.

We are in a socialism, because the corporations control the wealth movement with little government construsion, or regulations; because the government is able to benefit *cough* Bush Administration *cough*.

Our ego is satisfied or given choice through the corporate media. But still, we can choose to buy whatever products, we can actually own property, big plus. And corporations make money through our self benefit. The government isn't going to display as much reciprocity if you put forth a communist state.

Is socialism more of a communism or democracy?
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 12:47 am
@Holiday20310401,
There is a difference between individuality and individualism. The former is a spontaneous existence the later a doctrine of being. Remember that any time something is changed to an ism it must be investigated for true understanding.
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 11:18 am
@Theaetetus,
Well which provides more individuality; communism, socialism, or democracy?

I'm already sure that capitalism is flawed in so many ways so I'll keep that out.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2008 03:12 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Quote:
Well which provides more individuality; communism, socialism, or democracy?

I'm already sure that capitalism is flawed in so many ways so I'll keep that out.


None of the above.

Revive Freak Power!
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Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 02:54 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401 wrote:
Well which provides more individuality; communism, socialism, or democracy?

I'm already sure that capitalism is flawed in so many ways so I'll keep that out.


Lots of factors lead to the promotion of individuality that have nothing to do with economics or government. Capitalism as practiced today is flawed but that has to do with the implementation and focus of modern day economics rather than the ideas behind capitalism. Not to mention you could have a socialistic democratic commune that participated in capitalistic economic transactions.
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 08:33 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401 wrote:
Well which provides more individuality; communism, socialism, or democracy?
These are not mutually exclusive concepts. Socialism is a social philosophy. Democracy is a political philosophy. Communism is an economic philosophy. Democracy allows for individual voice in government. Socialism can take away individual freedom by imposing a tax and regulatory burden, but on the other hand it can enhance individual freedom by providing certain societal protections (like availability of health care, education, etc). Communism, well, it seems to be feasible at the small local level (think of the kibbutzim in Israel), but it seems unrealistic at the national level.
johncee phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Aug, 2008 01:38 am
@Aedes,
How can you have socialism for the rich? That is ridiculous!
Socialism means a society based on equality, in the interests of all, and having a genuine say in society. Where goods are produced for peoples needs not profits.
What the rich have is a dictatorship of the rich over the immense majority, for the rich and by the rich. They promote capitalism, a system based on profiteering, exploiting society including the working class, as well as the worlds resources at the expense of society and the majority. An example being the oil/petrol monopolies whereby they steal the crude oil out of Iraq and sell it back to the public at high prices at the petrol bowser:And it is workers who are asked to put their lives and limbs on the line. The politicians are owned and purchased daily by different sections of the capitalists for plundering the economy. The US is the heartland of capitalism and today its economy is in freefall.
The capitalist system is consciously based on divide and conquer, divide and rule, divide and steal. Each is pitted against all with nationalism as the main tool. Communism is international not national nor the small local level. There is no such thing as any national form of communism nor could there be. The capitalist system is founded on the nation state and communism is based on the only alternative internationalism.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Aug, 2008 06:05 am
@johncee phil,
Re: Topic
- Yes it is

As far as different economic systems; they're ALL wonderful in their pure forms. Unfortunately, no pure form is possible in the context of human nature. So one has to pick their poison: Take the benefits and downfalls of one over another and go with it.

I abhor what Capitalism does, but I've studied much on other economic systems. From my limited perspective, all have their demons - it's only a matter which you're willing to put up with.
0 Replies
 
RDRDRD1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 06:00 am
@Theaetetus,
johnsee, socialism isn't truly based on equality. I like to think of it as rounding the sharp corners on a table. You still have a table, it's still as strong as ever, but fewer people get injured on those damned corners. Socialism, to the varying degrees it is practised, modulates society but, as that fellow who owns IKEA, can tell you, it gets along just fine with capitalism. It may restrain the political dimension that capitalism always seeks to acquire (see Washington, Lobbyists) and, at times, intercedes between the market and the consumer more than in only faintly socialist nations like the United States but that's a balancing act in any case.

It was your great (Canadian-born) economist John Kenneth Galbraith who opined decades ago that, in America, the only respectable form of socialism was socialism for the rich. It was true then which begs the question why anyone ought to find its expression surprising today?

As Aedes quite properly pointed out there are no truly, mutually exclusive political, social and economic models. With the extinction of real communism (the essential combination of totalitarian rule and state ownership of all means of production), capitalism has plainly prevailed. Those of us old Cold Warriors were brought up to embrace the naive belief, as an article of faith, that democracy and capitalism were inextricably wed - that democracy would not function without capitalism and that capitalism would not and could not flourish outside of our Western democratic model. Turns out that was a load of convenient hooey.

Capitalism finds democracy a royal pain in the posterior regions. It's unruly and can be unpredictable and intrusive when the little people get uppity. (See: Washington, Lobbyists). As it has discovered over the past generation, capitalism can positively thrive in a totalitarian state, at least initially. Can today's multinationals really make it in the long run in China, can they survive the social upheaval that's inevitable there? Very hard to say but, for now, it's Mardi Gras! Where are my beads?

But I do think we're reaching the point where we're going to have to take a hard look at the transfer of political power to corporate entities. Free trade, in one sense, can be taken as a partial surrender of sovereignty. Nations accept the free movement of capital and labour yet receive virtually nothing, as nations, in return. Their rentier or investment class, this being the coupon clippers, do just fine but the working class and the middle class that depends on them, don't do nearly as well as they see manufacturing jobs depart in pursuit of the cheapest wage rates and weakest labour and environmental regulation.

In reality, however, this wasn't about the free flow of capital. That's always existed. It's the free access to the wealthy nation's markets that's the real prize. What's the point of manufacturing Nike runners in Vietnam unless you can get Americans to pay American prices for them? That is where sovereignty has been surrendered. We've forfeited our right to say "if we're good enough to buy them, we're good enough to make them." Doesn't that sound like a curious thing to say? Cui bono?
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