Socialism Vs Capitalism
Socialism and its big brother, Marxism / Communism, have been around since 1848. The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engles is an all-encompassing theory of economics and politics that sees conflict between the upper class of capitalists and the rest of the population who were poor workers. The rich and privileged capitalists exploited the poor workers. According to Marxist theory, When this had been accomplished for long enough, the workers would hold a revolution and over throw the capitalists, thus taking control of the system. The workers would then get what they needed by the efforts of everyone and all would be equitable.
The tenets of Marxism were written in a time when mass production and the industrial revolution were just starting. After the revolution, the leaders of the victorious workers would organize the distribution of goods to everyone. They would dictate who got what. All means of production would belong to the country, the people. The softer, gentler version was socialism, wherein some businesses could still be private, but the major industries– including communications, factories, distribution of goods– would be government-run.
Russia became the Soviet Union and took over the government of many countries. China followed suit. The results were a disaster. The only people who got wealthy were the leaders. They controlled everything. Innovation couldn’t happen because their vision was limited. All answers were expected to come from the top.
There are two thoughts that I have at this point. The first is that in the Soviet Union, a premium was placed on weapons. So they built up the military and space programs. In the meantime, folks waited in line for everything from cars to bread. The second is that with directions limited to the top echelon, and independent thought rejected, we now see the Russian troops in Ukraine not able to do anything to get around any problems they encounter. Therefore, they have no option but to be brutal. It must be very frustrating to the common soldier and the generals.
In our country, we encourage innovation in every field. And, we get it. But we are officially self-governed. So we may call a program “Social” like Social Security, but, it was instituted by a free and independent congress that can change or dismiss the program at any time. Now, I don’t recommend that every program in the social sphere be canceled just because of its name. We need to take care of people of advanced age, or persons with disabilities, or orphans. It would be inhumane to not care for those in need. But who is cared for and how much money is spent is a matter for our legislature to create as a law. We also collectively have decided to fund communication companies like PBS and the arts. We have created enough wealth with our innovation to be able to support many such “social” programs. They benefit society as a whole. This makes us richer in all sorts of ways.
Personally, I feel that Socialism/ Communism/ Marxism is a fraud. It claims to care for “the workers”. But it really only works for those in charge.