Thursday, January 29, 2015

American Socialism

The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy that has long embraced both capitalism and socialism. True?
Our efforts have both up- and down-side issues, or course. Cap and Soc are amoral, neither good nor bad, ethical or unethical.  Each is just a top-level category name for how things get done.
An entertaining Tea Party perspective ...

Capitalism gives us our free markets, individual economic mobility, and a venue for innovation and talent.  It's the foundation of our strength and viability in the world economy and our status as the world's only superpower.  

gives us our public schools and universities, public parks, roads and highways, sewer and water, dams, harbors, along with social support initiatives such as worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, social security, and so on.  Universal healthcare is in the queue lately.

In common usage, it is an economic structure in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated.  The investment of capital, the prices of goods and services, all are decided by a free market rather than by the state. In capitalism, players in the market are there for profit.

Most generally, socialism refers to state ownership of common property, or state ownership of the means of production.  A socialist state would be one in which the state owns and operates the means of production and controls the marketplace as well. 

Modern developed countries combine socialism and capitalism in broadly varying ways.

In a purely capitalist economy, there would of course be no public schools, no public works, no welfare, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, Social Security benefits etc.

The University of Texas is a 'socialist' implementation, for example, because it is owned and operated by the state of Texas. The kids on campus are the beneficiaries even though they pay for the privilege. The same is true of highways, parks, harbors, dams, ports, bridges, levees, fire and police departments, airports, Army/Navy/Air Force, and the list goes on.

Simplistic name-calling perhaps reflects our preferential bias and lack of perspective more than our thoughtful participation in America's direction.
CAVUTO: Colonel David Hunt joins us now, the Fox News military analyst, in Boston. Colonel, I'm wondering whether this is a military threat -- leave aside the energy concerns -- but a military threat to our country now? 
HUNT: Yeah. There is no question. Oil -- oil is a weapon. And I think what you are finding with Iran, Bolivia, and -- and Venezuela, that it absolutely is being considered. 
Bolivia nationalized their oil and gas industries in 2006. No, despite news media claims of 'fair and balanced reporting, it was not a military threat.  Not their first such contribution ...

While it is possible to appreciate the perhaps noble intent of the media players, we might be better advised to sell the tv and get an education instead.

It is perhaps worth remembering that socialism, like its alternatives, is an adaptation to circumstances. It is not a virtue, not a standard for judgement, not a measure of right or nobility. It's just another 'ism' where virtue is dependent on the players.

See American Capitalism, if you like.