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I Love Socialism

April 16, 2011

I don’t see the problem with a more socialist America. To me, socialism means equality and isn’t that what this country is based on anyway? The words socialism and communism have obtained a negative connotation. Some people believe that Hitler’s regime was socialist/communist or that Mussolini was a communist. The fact is, these leaders were the direct opposite of socialism and communism. They were fascist, and anti-communist. Their policies were aimed to form an elite, hierarchal ruling class that used violence as a method to suppress state opposition. Socialism and communism seek to do just the opposite. They are systems which reduce the hierarchal class structures in society, and make every citizen equal to the next. Socialism suggests that the means of production are not owned by private individuals, but by the state and therefore people as a whole. This means that society is run with equal power, cooperation in terms of the means of production, and shared decision making. It’s a system the promotes the good of all.

Marx advocated for socialism in his Communist Manifesto. He said that socialism was the first building block to communism. I agree with Marx in his assessment against capitalism. He said that capitalism was a system that alienated workers, essentially creating an impoverished class. In a capitalist society, prices of goods are no longer a function of use value, but of profit. Capitalists manage to take something from the worker and sell it for more. This is a form of exploitation and theft, because the worker is still making the same wage, while the capitalist is rolling in dough. Although it’s the worker’s labor that produced the good, the worker is in poverty while the capitalist is rich from profit.

This system of exploitation can be seen in today’s society, with roughly 15% (44 million) of Americans living below the poverty line. A single mother can work three jobs to stay afloat. The son of a wealthy business owner, whose father just retired and gave the company to him, can sit at his desk and boss people around and do none of the work but get all of the pay. That son can go to a prestigious private school and weasel his way into an ivy league university just because of the money attached to his name. The single mother can’t go to college because she doesn’t have enough money. She can’t get good healthcare or dental care for her family. She is forced to live in a small house in a bad part of town and send her kids to a school which is poorly staffed and poorly funded.

Socialism would get rid of monopolies by big companies and would end unfair wages for more strenuous jobs. Each worker would get a fair wage for his or her work. Health care and education would be equally available for each person. A more socialist economy would lessen the amount of poverty in America. There would be no one living on the streets. There would be no starvation or lack of shelter. People would be able to get an equal education and live with the same comforts as any other citizen. And socialism is bad?

  “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporality embarrassed millionaires.”
— John Steinbeck

What do you think?

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6 Comments
  1. Christina permalink
    April 17, 2011 9:56 AM

    I was in your same place before Political Science- socialism is equality, and what’d wrong with that? Just like you said, isn’t that what this country is based on?
    However, although I agree with this, I think socialism is more complacated than just equality. You mentioned that socialism would get rid of monopolies. Well, I’m not so sure it’d work out quite that way. Of course, the big topic in health this presidential term is a socialized heathcare system. Although there’s been some action, I fear we won’t see change for a long time. And I think there’s a reason why- it’s not as easy as we think. Especially with heathcare, it’s not just cut-and-dry, it’s a very complicated factors with many fators affecting it.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, thing arn’t as easy as they seem. Theortically, socialism is perfect for America. But the implementation is where things get sticky. Something to consider..
    Great blog post!

  2. Anna Gwiazdowski permalink
    April 17, 2011 9:59 AM

    Layne,

    Socialism isn’t necessarily good either, at least in regards to Marx. Yes, in a perfect world everyone would have equal healthcare and education. That’s something that the United States should strive for, but due to the enormous budget deficits education, for one, is losing money right and left (at least in my home state of California anyway). I think the United States in terms of healthcare could stand to reformat its system, but that’s a whole other can of worms I’m not about to get into right now. I don’t want to get into a debate on that but I’m just wondering where the funds would come from considering the budget problems our country has?

    Going back to you argument about Marx advocating for socialism; he was advocating for more socialism/communism, which I don’t believe would work at all in the United States. One of the principles we were founded on was the right to property and Marx definitely would not agree with that. I think Socialism in its purest form is seen as bad, especially in the United States, because as you associated it with Marx, many would associate it with being to communist like and not following the principles our country was founded on. After all our founding fathers believed we had the right to pursue life and liberty and I don’t think many would see Marx’s view of socialism/communism as part of that.

    • Chris Lee permalink
      April 17, 2011 2:55 PM

      Your post was very interesting and it had some great points. However, I cannot say I support a socialistic USA. (with the exception of Anna’s socialistic reform of health care) In general, capitalism should forever be the basis of America’s economy. Like others said, it exercises the liberties and freedom that this nation was founded upon.

      Capitalism pushes the market to competition. This in turn results in companies wanting the highest customer satisfaction. To obtain this they must create a quality product and I feel that in a socialistic world, this cannot happen. It is the companies’ insatiable thirst for staggering profit is what makes them strive for quality, and with socialism, there is less opportunity for such profits. Therefore, I feel that if more emphasis is placed on equality rather than free-market economy, the quality in products in any market will go down.

      But what is most important of all, is the amount of power it will give to the government. I believe in checks and balances, and giving control of the economy to the government is too much power and is something we the people have a right to control. I’ll be honest, I do not trust the government. I feel that the majority have intentions that are not in the common good’s best interest. The politicians that actually give a damn about us, are too outnumbered to make a difference. In general, they are selfish and should not be trusted to have any control over our market. Besides, too many are already mindless puppets of big business so handing economic control would only make things worse for this nation.

  3. Zack Orsini permalink
    April 17, 2011 3:47 PM

    “I don’t see the problem with a more socialist America. To me, socialism means equality and isn’t that what this country is based on anyway?”

    Layne,

    This country was not “based on” equality. The word “equality” never appears in the constitution of the United States of America nor does it appear in the Declaration of Independence (Caine**). The phrase “all men are created equal” is, indeed, in the Declaration of Independence; however, this does not imply that people are entitled to equal property. In fact, the famous phrase in the Declaration, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is an amended version of Locke’s “life, liberty, and property.” Apparently, the founders did not think that people should have the right to “property,” as socialists think people should.

    It is, however, important to realize that we do have the right to pursue happiness (as it says in the Declaration). In order to protect this right (that ought to exist for all people), a little socialism is necessary to counterbalance capitalism, which, as you say, alienates workers, “essentially creating an impoverished class” and, quite frequently, makes it impossible for this “alienated” class to pursue happiness. Capitalism and socialism are the yin and yang of politics and of organized civilization; both must counterbalance one another and work off one another in order to create a happy society.

    *http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialism
    **http://www.aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/caine5.html

  4. davidpadalino permalink
    April 17, 2011 11:55 PM

    I found this post to be very interesting. Though I don’t agree with you, I do appreciate you standing up for what you believe in.
    I would have to say that socialism and capitalism seek equality in different ways. It’s true that socialism seeks for everyone to be equal, but how does it do this? It must essentially lower everyone to a lesser standard of living. Take this quote for example – “Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: ‘No man should have so much.’ The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: ‘All men should have as much.’ ”
    –Phelps Adams
    Capitalism offers everyone the chance to make the best life that they can by letting them work as hard as they can. Should we punish the rich becuase they made something in there lifetime? Can you really justify saying that the rich kid you talked about shouldn’t have that money? The truth is that free will through the free market offers us a chance to make what we want of our lives. Socialism says what your life is, and has no hope of changing.

  5. Jeremy Kucera permalink
    April 18, 2011 1:28 AM

    The real question is this: do you support equality of opprotunity or equality of results? Opprotunity being that every individual has an equal chance to try and become wealthy/happy/successful through the means of capitalsim. People are not guaranteed material possesions from the government. In capitalism, those who are smart and hard-working get rewarded through the economic system. Equality of results is socialism. The government owns everything, and they ensure that everyone has equal material possesions. Those who have good ideas for products or services to offer in a socialistt system are weeded out and not rewarded. America was not founded on this, equality of results. America was founded on equality of opprotunity for all to try and achieve what they want.

    The reason that socialism is such a bad word in America is because socialism at its true definition is state ownership of products/services. Americans are smart enough to see that we don’t want our contry to become Cuba, North Korea, or the former Soviet Union (just some examples of socialist, state-run economies.)

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