I fail to understand how you can so blithely dismiss mark noble's point...and simultaneously lay claim to intellectual honesty.
If someone wants to say they get services for "free" in a socialist society, that's fine and dandy, but it is only true to the extent that they do not receive a direct bill for such services or are not required to lay out cash before the services are rendered.
It certainly doesn't mean that they do not indirectly pay for these services.
The exception would be the destitute who contribute nothing monetarily to the society that provides them with what amounts to institutional charity. Currently the fortunate and productive outnumber the destitute. Should that change, the system will be gross stressed.
Where I live, our town provides weekly garbage pick up, "free of charge," but I would be ignorant if I didn't know that this service is funded by the taxes, I and my neighbors pay to the town government. That I don't receive a monthly bill from the town that is specifically and solely related to "garbage pick-up" obviously doesn't mean that I'm not paying for it, but if you want to call this a "free" service, knock yourself out.
It is this very charade, though, that makes socialism attractive to many. For all I know there may even be some fools who have moved to my town because they learned it provides "free" services like "free" garbage pick-up.
very important for people to understand that these services aren't free of cost, even if not a single penny of that cost is borne by them. Using the term "free" isn't a problem if the people using it understand that it is more a term of convenience than an accurate description.
Everyone in Canada isn't getting all of the services our Canadian member described without contributing some of their wealth to make them available. There aren't enough enlightened billionaires in the North who are willing to pay the cost of these services for 99% of their fellow Canadians and if the money is being coerced from them (it isn't) they won't be living and doing business in Canada for long.
If the government controlled the production of all goods and services in Canada so that it could 1) Distribute the nation's wealth and resources as it saw fit and 2) Sold some of the goods and services to other nations and their citizens in order to increase the wealth it intended to distribute, it would be true socialism. Or you could call it communism or anything else you like. The terminology doesn't really matter, it's the degree to which wealth and resources within a society are controlled and distributed by the State.
Under a system where the State controls all wealth and resources and the production and distribution of goods and services, I suppose everyone could say they are getting all sorts of things for "free" because they aren't charged directly for them and they don't have personal wealth of which a portion can be given or taken to help finance the whole thing. However in such societies they are still "paying" for what they receive through their labor, their creativity and their ingenuity. This is only sustainable if everyone truly accepts the notion that everyone must give all they have to give and take only what they need, AND everyone agrees on the means to determine what each individual needs, AND the system doesn't play favorites or allow slacking.
These requirements have repeatedly proven impossible to realize and the economic engine inevitably fails in which case the political system fails as well or injects its economic engine with a heavy dose of capitalism to keep itself in place and running.
There are numerous hybrid systems including that of "Communist" China, but they are subject to the same perils as the pure form.
A free market is a self-organizing system, it doesn't require constant attention from a central group of "experts" to keep it running. It may, at times, need intervention from the government to keep it truly free, but there is a huge difference between the government protecting an economic engine from being hijacked, and being
the economic engine.
When people meddle with self-organizing systems the results are seldom good, and it's ironic that "environmentalists" who seem to not only understand this as it applies to an ecology, but often resist any human intervention at all, tend to be in favor of a high degree of central control of the economy.
No system is perfect, but with capitalism we, largely, don't have to worry whether or not the citizenry is altruistic. Self-interest fuels and ultimately regulates capitalism. As long as you play by the rules, and the rules are not so myriad and complex as to render the market anything but free, it works just fine to be self-interested.
On the other hand socialism requires altruistic selflessness. In order for it to be sustainable not only must those who benefit from the excess production of others not become greedy and/or lazy, those responsible for the excess production must be willing and content with working for "the greater good."
I'm betting on self-interest over altruism and when it comes to economics, history has shown that's where the smart money should be played.