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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Socialism versus Capitalism

Socialism versus Capitalism

By Helene Stohne
June 19, 2014

It seems that socialism has become a dirty word for many Americans.

Having spent half my life in social democratic Europe I have to
wonder what exactly it is that caused this.

In a socialistic society everybody's basic needs are taken care
of through tax contributions.

The constant worry about lack of healthcare or education (in
this capitalistic utopia) is thus eliminated.

"Pre-existing conditions" are not an issue, and neither is

Roads, bridges and highways are kept in good repair, and things
generally work very efficiently.

Yes, the taxes are higher to accommodate for this, but the playing
field is leveled.

And no, in my experience this does not cause people to become
lazy, or indifferent, nor does it in any way stifle creativity.

The enormous differences between rich and poor are eliminated
when you don't go bankrupt and lose your home in the event of a
serious illness or injury.

Isn't it bad enough to have to go through major surgery/trauma
without the added stress of losing everything you own at the same

It seems to me that the main advocates for capitalism are the ones
who have been extremely fortunate, inherited a fortune, or think
that they're on their way to making it big, and are afraid of
reducing their own piece of the pie.

Rarely do we see a social worker or a volunteer firefighter (anyone
in a helping profession) rallying for inequality.

Most people who are concerned for the welfare of others as well as
themselves are usually just looking for enough to live relatively

Anything extra is nice, but it's just not something they're willing to
step all over others to achieve.

You know how the poorest people in the world are generally known
to be the most hospitable and generous"?

Interesting isn't it?

There are dangers in both extremes, but they are not due to the
theories themselves.

Rather, the fault (as always) mostly lies with the elected officials.

It seems to be a difficult task to find the right individuals to
appoint; the ones who will not abuse their power for their own
personal benefit.

At this point is the US we're seeing a small minority coddled
and catered to at the expense of the masses.

I don't see how this could be conducive to a well functioning society
in the long run, even though for a short while it probably appears
wonderful to these special individuals.

But if you just keep cutting useful programs, social services, wages,
unions, pensions and jobs without actually adding any revenue,
things don't get better.

Just like no matter how much I cut my personal expenses, there is
no possible way for me to thrive without some actual income too,

All it does is make the majority of people increasingly poor and
miserable, while the greedy top layer moves further and further
away from reality.

Just like in the developing world!

There are some good things about capitalism, and there are good
things about socialism.

The ideal would be to merge the two, and scrap the bad.

Provide the basics for everyone for free.

Make all members of congress equal to the rest of the population,
with the same rights and responsibilities, and without the
possibility of excluding themselves from laws that they implement
for everyone else.

Politics should be a temporary service appointment, not a lifelong

If politicians push policies that will ultimately benefit all, and none
of them only themselves, bribery becomes much less prevalent.

Some things ought never to be privatized or run for profit - like
prisons, postal service, healthcare etc. Think about it.

Any such service needs to be funded by the government or is
doomed to either fail due to trimming any unprofitable areas
(like rural postal service), or become abused in one way or
another (like current healthcare system and privatized prisons).

If you're for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, then you're
already for socialism.

And it's OK! This does NOT make you a "commie". It makes you a
caring human being.

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest
members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi.

Helene Stohne was born and raised in Scandinavia, where
democratic socialism is the norm. I am accustomed to relatively
high taxes in exchange for free health care for all, and a relatively
well functioning society. Independent and progressive when it
comes to politics, which to me means: let's move forward, not

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